As the pandemic continues to change the needs of your business, the requirements for your order to cash process will also change.  

How can you address these changes proactively? Mike Flynn, Software Architect at Rapid7, and Kyle Jackson, Director of Business Systems at Seismic, discussed this at length during their session at Biz Systems Magic. 

Here are some of the key insights they shared!

You can catch everything they said by watching a recording of their session here.

Perfect Your First Normal Form 

Jackson recommended using a database design mentality when it comes to approaching your O2C forms. 

One of the principles of designing a relational database is to have one concept per column per field. This helps you avoid, as Jackson coined it, conflated concept columns. In other words, your columns can become conflated when you have too many combinations of options or if you have a form that combines different values.  

Jackson elaborated by providing an example of dealing with creating and renewing contracts, two vital components of your O2C process. When you include values for a sequence-based contract lifecycle and values based on customer decisions on the same form, you can end up with a conflated concept column. So before you dive headfirst into designing elaborate systems, take a step back and perfect a concise normal form as the building block for your process.

Focus on Your Customer Experience

Flynn recommended aligning your goals and initiatives with customer needs. After all, if customer expectations aren’t being met, it doesn’t matter what best-of-breed tools you use or how smart your employees are. 

Your end presentation should be easy for customers to navigate and should show exactly what you are promising to deliver. This can not only influence what customers  think of your product, but also how they perceive your company.

Align on Seemingly Obvious Concepts

Remember that not all your stakeholders are going to be on the same page. 

Their level of understanding on the O2C process will vary based on their functions and backgrounds.  Oftentimes in conversations and meetings, for example, people use terms liberally without making sure the group has a shared understanding or definition.  Jackson used the example of the term “account”. An account can have different meanings depending on who your audience is. For someone in sales, an account can mean a territory, for finance, it can denote a billable entity, and so on and so forth.  Because the order to cash process reaches across every organization in your company, you need to aim for a uniform vocabulary and align on other concepts to avoid confusion down the line. This alignment can enable your team to communicate effectively and understand the nuances of the process.

Be Where Your Users Are

Have you ever implemented a product or service at the request of your users, but had a low adoption rate?  Flynn faced this very problem and shared a piece of advice to the audience. At Rapid7, Flynn explained, employees were requesting access to every step of the order process.  In response, they created an order tracker with insights into roadblocks, alerts and next steps.  However, even though the offering itself was comprehensive and ticked off the requirements, employees were not using it.  Flynn noted that the users were extremely active on Slack, and decided to push the offering through Slack. Adoption skyrocketed.  

The moral of the story? Be where your users are. Your company could offer amazing products and services, but if you’re unable to communicate and connect with your users, you’ll fall short.

Leave the Enablement to the Professionals 

If you are putting a lot of time, effort, and resources into your O2C process, you don’t want to fumble the handoff. Jackson suggested building out an end-to-end strategy and having dedicated resources to aid the enablement process. This can entail hiring a professional who can help nurture and maintain enablement, such as training users on the nuances of your order to cash process.

With these 5 tips in mind, you can ensure that your O2C process is COVID-proof.

Wondering what else Jackson and Flynn shared? Access their entire session here! 

Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary previously worked in IT recruiting and is thrilled to bring her community building skills to the business systems community.