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Align Sales and Finance in Your SAP Systems: Q&A on Lead-to-Cash Integration to Shorten the Sales Cycle and Drive Revenue

December 10, 2014

Lead-to-cash integration aligns your sales processes – including quotes, discounting, and contracts – with SAP back-office financial accounting. 

Chris Lords and Dana Henriksen of FPX took readers' questions in an online Q&A to look at opportunities for sales and back-office integration in SAP and other systems, as well as integration with on-premise CRM and SAP Cloud for Customer, and other concerns on achieving lead-to-customer benefits.

Questions included:

  • What should we take into consideration when when setting up rules and pricing for more complex products or services?
  • Where will accounting teams see changes if sales leads, opportunities, and pricing processes are extended into invoicing and financial accounting?
  • What are options for automating order-creation with on-prem CRM workflows?
  • What are best practices for setting up pricing rules, where are these rules managed, and how are they integrated into financials systems?
  • Any suggestions for speeding up workflow for BOLs and invoices when dealing with paper invoices?   
  • Does lead-to-cash integration support compliance with transfer pricing requirements?

Review all the discussion in the chat replay, below, and in the edited Q&A transcript.


Live Blog Align Sales & Finance in SAP: Q&A with Chris Lords & Dana Henriksen Dec 10 2pmET
Live Blog Align Sales & Finance in SAP: Q&A with Chris Lords & Dana Henriksen Dec 10 2pmET
 


SAPinsider: Welcome to today's live chat on opportunities for improving lead-to-cash integration in your SAP systems. Submit your questions to our moderator, CRM 2015 conference producer Charlotte Christy, at any time.  

Our panelists, CPQ and lead-to-cash integration experts Chris Lords and Dana Henriksen of FPX, will take your questions for the hour, starting at 2pm EST. Looking forward to your questions and a great discussion! 

Charlotte Christy, CRM 2015: Thank you for joining us today for our Q&A with Chris Lords, Chief Technology Officer, and Dana Henriksen, Vice President of Solutions & Delivery at FPX. In addition to expertise in CPQ (configure-price-quote) processes, they also bring experience in cloud-based processes  across the lead-to-cash cycle for SAP customers.   

Welcome to you both!   

Dana Henriksen, FPX: Thank you.

Chris Lords, FPX: Happy to be here.

 

Charlotte Christy: We already have questions for you posted from our readers – I’ll let you get to those now.

Dana Henriksen: OK, sounds great. Thanks.

 

Comment From Guest

How is security handled for pricing and contracts with cloud-based solutions?

Chris Lords: Cloud solutions require a known users and users need to authentication to access the system. All communication with the system is handled over secured http connections. The solutions provide access to various pricing and contract only to users who have been granted access to those contracts.

 

Comment From Guest

Where do you see customers benefiting most from linking sales opportunities and back-end accounting, besides invoicing?

Dana Henriksen: We do so by providing a means to simplify otherwise manual steps in the buying/selling process such as quoting, pricing, contract management, and order creation/automation. This gives your sales channels advantages to ensure opportunities result in closed sales and renewals. As a result, the organizational benefits are:

  • Increased productivity and revenue performance. Closing the gap on the end to end quote to cash process
  • Reduced order error rates associated with manual sales and order management processes
  • Higher margin contribution as concessions and ungoverned discounting is better administered

The FPX Platform extends the capabilities of the CRM system, bridging the gap between CRM and ERP.

 

Comment From Ken

For SMEs, does a piecemeal integration make sense if you're just now starting to anticipate a growth in sales?  

Chris Lords: For our perspective, no. At the root of almost all of our customers’ problems when we initially engage with them is piecemeal integration or disparate systems or processes. Duplicate data stores, manual processes, multiple business systems, etc. The result is inability to scale their organization, inability to maintain and update data, order errors and an extended sales process. By itself, piecemeal integration can alone be reason enough to change.

Dana Henriksen: In addition, we typically see anticipated sales growth as a contributing driver or accelerator within the evaluations that we are involved. Because the company is expecting growth, it will only compound the problem.

 

Comment From Guest

Where will accounting teams see changes if sales leads, opportunities, and pricing processes are extended into invoicing and financial accounting?

Dana Henriksen: Accounting would see improvements in the quality of orders submitted, which results in fewer change orders and rework to invoices and adjustments to previous bookings.

 

Comment From Guest

What are key considerations when setting up rules and pricing for more complex products or services?

Chris Lords: There are many. Here are a couple:

  • Maintainability: How will new products and options be added? How will products and options be "end of lifed"? How to, as much as possible, drive the rules from the data, since data is easier to update?
  • Standardization: As much as possible, how do you model your products and services so that they work similarly, with data-driving the output of the rules?

 

Comment From Ken

Does lead-to-cash integration support compliance with transfer pricing requirements?

Dana Henriksen:  Yes, FPX provides the ability to model and centralize the product/services, pricing and associated business rules and distribute accordingly across multiple channels within an organization. That would include resellers, distributors, partners, etc. that re-sell from a base price or costing model. In addition, we typically find different pricing schemes and programs across these different channels.

 

Charlotte Christy: How do you see the cloud changing integration between sales processes and back-office systems? Where specifically do you see the big opportunities for integration?      

Dana Henriksen: With large investments in customer relationship management (CRM) and ERP systems, companies today cannot afford to treat these key assets as two disconnected applications. That’s because between the two exist a number of complex business processes and time-consuming tasks critical to achieving strategic targets and ultimately revenue goals.

FPX spans this gap, seamlessly extending key functionality of CRM solutions, including SAP® Cloud for Customer, with a single application platform that transforms business performance within sales and service channels

With solutions for quoting and pricing complex products and services, generating compelling proposals, renewal process automation, managing contract processes, and capturing and creating orders,
FPX delivers:
• Increased productivity and revenue performance
• Reduced error rates associated with manual sales and order management processes
• Lower operation costs associated with human resources that are typically needed to administer manual processes
• Higher margin contribution as concessions and ungoverned discounting is better administered

 

Comment From Guest

If this solution bridges that gap between sales and ERP, how does this integration work - where does it take the Cloud for Customer process end and this solution start?  

Dana Henriksen: The FPX solution typically starts from the Sales Opportunity in Cloud for Customer, and ends with an approved quote or order containing the validated products and options the user has requested being put back onto the Sales Opportunity in C4C.

 

Comment From Guest

What's the process for setting up pricing rules? Does it happen in Cloud for Customer? Can the rules be integrated with financials systems?

Dana Henriksen:  Products, pricing, and associated business rules can be sourced from external systems and also managed directly within the FPX Product Data Manager. If the pricing and pricing rules are currently being managed within the Cloud for Customer environment, then FPX can leverage that data. Typically the data output from FPX in the form of a quote or an order is what the Financial system would consume.

 

Comment From Sue

We are currently running Business One and are a small company experiencing quick growth. Our billing comes from Projects where we buy materials and then use them on the job. One of our biggest challenges is in getting all of the BOL's and invoices for the materials received and entered so they can be added to the project and billed. Many of our suppliers are small local businesses that either email or mail invoices. What solutions do you offer in speeding up this process?  

Chris Lords: FPX offers both CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) and CM (Contract Management).  Contract Management may be able to help in this regard, since it would allow your suppliers to send you the invoice for the CM (or as you receive them you could enter them into CM). Within CM you could tag each invoice to the project that it is a part of and attach a workflow to have it added to the project and bill.

 

Comment From Guest

Any options for automating order-creation with on-prem CRM workflows?  

Chris Lords: Yes, FPX solution provides API level access to the quotes, so it would be possible to have the CRM workflow make use of the API to generate an order.

 

Charlotte Christy: Thanks to everyone for some great questions!  For more advice on sales and CRM processes and cloud integration, I invite you to view our and to attend our CRM 2015 event March 30-April 1, including a dedicated Sales track covering both on-premise and cloud solutions.

And again, thank you to Chris Lords and Dana Henriksen of FPX for taking time to answer these questions. Great to have you here!  

 

Chris Lords: You're welcome.

Dana Henriksen: Thanks to all for your questions. To learn more, please visit FPX.com or call 1.866.826.6344.  Have a great afternoon.

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