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Customer Service customer service technology Saas adoption Software Software as a Service

6 Ways SaaS is Improving the Way Businesses Do Things

Software as a service, also known as SaaS, has quickly transformed the way that people think about digital technology. Instead of seeing applications as static things that are downloaded and then quickly forgotten, SaaS allows for tools to constantly be tweaked, updated, and reworked in order to fit the needs of those using them. SaaS will take off no matter what, so businesses better be prepared for it when it does.

The reasons a business may adopt a SaaS model are numerous, but some leaders may not be aware of the full breadth that SaaS can offer them — here are some prime examples:

1. Improved Customer Service

The model of the traditional call center is outdated, inefficient, and beloved by no one. Between long wait times and limited options for accessibility, the call center needed an extreme makeover — thankfully, it has gotten one courtesy of new SaaS technology. Maximizing the call center experience has long been the goal of customer experience experts, and the tech has finally arrived to make it a reality.

Contact center as a service, or CCaaS, integrates every aspect of the call center experience with cutting-edge technology, allowing customer service representatives access to vital information instantly. Instead of being forced to go through prefab questionnaires, customer experience specialists can now get directly to the heart of a client’s issue and solve things themselves. It may not be universal just yet, but cloud-based contact centers are changing the world of customer service at this very moment.

2. Increased Cybersecurity

In today’s digital world, most companies simply cannot afford the levels of cybersecurity they need in order to stay safe. The threat is greater than ever, but so is the cost of the solution — unless, of course, your company adopts more SaaS platforms. 

If your company operates its applications in-house, it’s up to your IT or cybersecurity department themselves to protect you from outside threats. No matter how talented your teams are, there are always going to be threats too large for them to take on directly. SaaS apps rely on the cybersecurity capabilities of the company providing them, often companies larger and better-equipped to handle these threats than you are. Whether you’re protecting your employees’ information or the periphery of your network, SaaS can help you in the process.

3. Fewer IT Responsibilities

Speaking of  IT teams, SaaS tools can be something of a double-edged sword for them. On one hand, they’re applications that operate outside of their direct purview, meaning that they can’t protect and take responsibility for them the way they’d like to. Conversely, they also ease their burden, letting someone else shoulder the burden of protecting your business from harm on the internet. 

The best way to find a happy medium here is by giving your IT team the responsibility to manage your SaaS applications. 97% of IT executives think that SaaS management is an important responsibility of the IT team, but only 45% know how many SaaS apps are in usage at their business, a frighteningly large gap for most businesses. SaaS can help your IT team focus on more important work, but don’t let SaaS management fall through the cracks as a result — the results could be catastrophic.

4. Cost Reduction

This is still business, of course: there’s no point in adopting SaaS technologies if they’re not cost-effective. In almost all cases, gravitating towards SaaS will save your company money in the long run when compared to applications that are hard-installed. There’s often very little setup required, slashing startup costs, and the continued maintenance of most SaaS platforms makes them a far better long-term investment than traditional apps, many of which can fall out of fashion in just a few years. 

There are still a few measures businesses should be taking in order to minimize costs, however, namely in the form of maximizing usage: between 35 and 40% of all SaaS licenses are underused, meaning the businesses that pay for them aren’t getting as much as they can for their money. Be sure to do regular audits of your SaaS licenses, ensuring that you’re maximizing your usage of them wherever possible. Better yet, before purchasing a license seriously consider what your usage of it will be: if your answer isn’t commensurate with the price, opt for a different platform.

5. Boosted Efficiency

One of the biggest appeals of SaaS has always been efficiency — the prospect that your chosen platform will be optimized, streamlined, and feature minimal ballast. This is perhaps the biggest distinction between SaaS platforms and traditional applications: because the latter are designed for continuous usage after installation, they tend to do a lot of things well instead of a few things excellently.

SaaS platforms, on the other hand, are generally built around a small set of highly-specialized tools designed to perfectly suit your company’s needs. This allows you to rest assured that you’re not making any sacrifices in efficiency for the sake of your platforms — you’re always using the best possible tools available to you.

6. Dynamic Adaptations 

By virtue of its very structure, SaaS makes updates easy. Because SaaS apps tend to be cloud-housed instead of implanted in individual devices, they can be tweaked or bolstered dynamically by their provider. These SaaS updates are often frequent, unilateral, and respond to the most recent changes in what users want from their platform. 

A traditional application may work well for you when first installed, but time can quickly erode the novelty that keeps these apps fresh. With SaaS models, continued updates are almost a guarantee, ensuring that the tools you’re using never dull over time. This can allow businesses to adopt a platform that works early on, not having to worry about finding a new, better application every several years. 

SaaS may not have changed the way you do business just yet, but it’s poised to do so soon. As you prepare your business for the next generation of tech, keep the benefits of SaaS in mind — they could have quite the impact.

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automation ReadWrite Saas adoption Sales sales automation supply chain management

Prioritizing Revenue Capture: Why Sales Order Management Needs to be Automated

sales order management

Businesses have known for years that digital transformation needs to happen. However, many companies have struggled to initiate Digital Transformation in an effective way, and most DT initiatives have failed to fulfill their goals. Here is: prioritizing revenue capture and why sales order management needs to be automated.

Digital transformation: no more delaying.

Historically, a big cause of DT struggles has been a lack of buy-in from the executive level. Without the support of this kind, initiatives tend to flounder. Why? Because DT is less about technology and more about a top-level business strategy that can drive investments and business decisions.

Without this momentum, the best technology in the world will struggle to take hold.

The turbulence of recent months is putting an end to DT sluggishness.

Executives are properly turning their attention to the potential of DT initiatives, and driving their implementation. Organizations that were dabbling in digital transformation are now rushing to prioritize it, acutely aware that the proper prioritization of digital transformation projects can lead to hundreds of millions in savings.

And so what is the broader, executive-level vision that should underpin this newfound executive enthusiasm for DT?

A key part (perhaps the key part) of digital transformation is automation. As Forrester put it, in December of 2019: “The organization of the future depends on automation to create massive efficiencies and new capabilities,� and embraces automation as a way “to unleash human capital to pursue more creative, higher-value goals.�

Where to start with automation?

Automation is at the core of most successful digital transformation projects. This is why we are seeing various forms of AI enjoying massive adoption across multiple industries. But lots of organizations aren’t sure where to start executing on automation-driven digital transformation projects. Which part of the business? What department? What are the goals?

Here’s the answer: start with low risk, a fast time-to-value process that impacts the most important part of your business: revenue.

One of the easiest places to locate such processes is in the supply chain. The supply chain is benefitting from a range of automation and automation-adjacent technologies (including Blockchain). And one element of the supply chain that is ripe for automating is sales order management.

Sales order processing: Ditching the manual.

A large portion of small business owners is still running manual supply chains. In the US alone, 49% of total B2B sales — totaling $7.37 trillion — are still processed manually.

These stats mean that the conversion of purchase orders into sales orders still happens the way it did decades ago: By hand, one by one. Customer service representatives take a purchase order and manually key it in, doing their best not to make a mistake.

That process is terribly inefficient. With manual sales order processing, you see:

  • 20-30 minutes of manual entry time per order
  • An average cost per order of $9.05
  • CSRs spend 2 to 3 hours a day re-entering orders with errors
  • The order to cash cycle stretches out to an average of 45 days

Some businesses have tried to improve this dated approach with robotic process automation. But RPA is a hit and miss technology. According to Gartner, 50% or more of RPA implementations fail to deliver sustainable returns on the investment. Instead, by 2022, 80% of organizations that pursue a cloud-first strategy will forego the use of RPA in favor of low-code integration platforms.

What sales order processing needs is true automation.

With real automation, a company can automatically convert purchase orders from its customers into sales orders and directly enters those sales orders into their clients’ ERP systems. This isn’t OCR, which still comes with errors. This is a data extraction technology that lifts the text out of a document with 100% accuracy, removing the need for someone to manually review the document.

With a sales order automation solution, over 80% of orders can be “touchlessâ€� – meaning there is zero human involvement in the process of a purchase order turning into an (error-free) sales order. This drastically increases an organization’s capacity to process their customer orders, while substantially shortening the fulfillment time. The outcome? Better revenue, better ROI, and better customer experience.

With this level of sales order automation, you can go from order emailed to shipment in less than 15 minutes. Cost per order falls drastically, to less than a dollar per order. And FTEs who were previously spending hours entering orders can be freed up to focus on increasing the level of customer service and engaging in activities that actually drive revenue.

The future is digitally transformed.

Digital transformation can be a daunting task. It’s hard to know where to begin, and hard to be sure you’ll succeed. This is why starting with sales order automation is smart. It’s an easy-to-understand business process that directly impacts revenue. If you could allocate fewer resources to it, then you will recapture revenue.

Global connectivity means that sluggish and inefficient supply chains hurt everyone. For companies that hesitated to digitize, the end is now.

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