Biggest Pitfalls of Order-to-Cash Digital Transformation Projects

Digital transformation projects are never a small undertaking. They are long and resource intensive. This certainly holds true for transformation projects focused on the order-to-cash cycle, which includes all the internal processes and steps a company must take between a customer placing an order and receiving payment for that order. While it is inevitable that digital transformation across such a multi-faceted, complex process would be full of challenges, there are some common mistakes that teams experience early in the process that can have a very significant impact on the outcome of the project. We’ve identified 5 of the most common pitfalls to avoid.
1. Lack of a clear project vision
Before starting any digital transformation project, you need to ensure goals and outcomes are well-defined. This involves clearly defining project scope, including what parts of the order-to-cash process will be included in the project, as well as what success looks like and how it will be measured. The project vision should consider the challenges and concerns of all impacted stakeholders. To ensure all relevant stakeholders feel included and to consider different perspectives, you may also consider integrating them into the process of defining vision.
Additionally, it is important to challenge the project team to expand focus beyond operational efficiency and financial visibility. Thinking more strategically about how the current order to cash process creates friction for your customers may reveal highly valuable opportunities to enhance the customer experience across almost all touchpoints.
2. Lack of adequate stakeholder buy-in
Once the vision is defined, it is critical to take the time to get buy-in from all the relevant stakeholders. This includes everyone from executive decision-makers to order-to-cash process owners to collections managers. Investing the time to uncover existing pain points and project expectations can pay dividends later in the project.
Also, keep in mind that those not directly involved with the project may be fearful of change and how technology and automation pay impact their day-to-day responsibilities and overall job security. Address and work through these issues upfront will optimize software adoption and overall engagement, two critical aspects to a successful project rollout.
3. Set Expectations About Success
Transforming your order-to-cash process doesn’t automatically mean all existing inefficiencies will be resolved in the near future. Rather, it implies that your business now has the visibility and tools it needs to identify points of friction, pinpoint root causes, and make better business decisions overall
To avoid frustration and concern, it is important that all stakeholders understand what success looks like in the short, medium, and long-term and how it will be measured at each stage. For example, considering the ROI on implemented technology may not be a good short-term success indicator, but looking at improvements in team productivity or overall employee morale may be more appropriate.
4. Thinking you need to update the entire process all at one time
The order to cash process is long and complex. It involves a multitude of processes, systems, and functional teams. Often, because the software vendors in this space market an “end-to-end” solution, teams feel pressured to update all parts of the process at once. However, note that there is benefit in a module-by-module approach. It is important to choose a software provider that takes the time to identify the lowest hanging opportunities while also recognizing budget or resource constraints to develop an optimal implementation plan.
5. Inadequate internal resources to manage the transformation project
It’s one thing to have a transformation project plan, it’s another to have the mindset and resources to manage and see it through to the end. Most businesses make the mistake of assuming existing process owners can drive the project while also keeping up with day-to-day responsibilities. Unfortunately, that type of bandwidth rarely exists, especially in organizations that don’t have effective digital resources in place.
To compound this problem, this kind of project has the potential to increase in scope as you move forward because you will inevitably discover previously undetected issues and opportunities as a result of the increased scrutiny and focus.
Given this, many companies will form a dedicated project team with existing internal resources or rely on external consultants and project managers to spearhead the effort. This should be considered as you iron out your project budget and costs.
To ensure sustainability and continue competing effectively, all businesses must accept that the future is digital. Order to cash is a space that has historically lagged in terms of digital transformation but is now increasingly being identified as one of the most critical factors to a company’s long-term financial viability. Addressing common pitfalls in organizations embarking down this path will lead to optimized outcomes and results.

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