As digital transformation initiatives have moved from early adopter industries to more mainstream sectors like manufacturing and hospitality over the past few years, there’s been a renewed focus on both identifying which existing processes can be made more efficient with technology – and also how technology can enable new offerings, customer experiences or routes to market. This duality, between efficiency (often associated with process automation) and innovation (creation of net-new processes or products) was front and center at the recent Strategic & Operational Excellence Exchange (“OPEX”) event that TreviPay recently sponsored and attended in London.
While the event covered a wide range of use cases, it was clear that many of the attendees were focused on CX and growth initiatives – and the various building blocks for better leveraging digital commerce. Within this domain, as we have discussed in many forums, seeking new ways to improve payment processes should be a key transformation priority for B2B enterprises given the “multiplier effect” that comes from encouraging both larger transactions (AOV) and more frequent purchases (LTV). At the same time, looking for efficiency improvements by automating key elements of the order-to-cash (O2C) process can not only allow organizations to focus more on their core competencies but also to shift finance or accounting resources to higher value initiatives, like pricing optimization or even M&A projects.
Seek Efficiency Plays on the Path to Business Change
The leading edge of digital transformation has often centered around online selling, support and experience delivery. Yet, even as technologies like e-wallets or marketplaces blur the worlds of B2B and B2C, a common thread is how to make the process of doing business with your firm more seamless. As discussed in the initial post on how loyalty begins at the payment™, offering choice and convenience to buyers is foundational. But so is looking at ways to automate the back-of-house functions, such as invoice creation and reconciliation.
Even better, these “efficiency plays” often emerge from a broad business change initiative, especially in firms that are guided by clear objectives and a fresh look at how and what role digital approaches can play. Business transformation – new offerings, new markets, new buyers, etc. – may be the desired outcome, but on the path to this future state, there are often opportunities that drive near-term benefits (or can even fund broader innovation). Great examples include embedded payments and A/R automation.
Technology is an Enabler but People Still Need to Champion Innovation to Drive Change
Just as consumer adoption of mobile devices and apps drove a revolution in how they interact with their favorite brands, digital enablers like TreviPay’s payments and invoicing network is driving innovation around how B2B sellers and buyers (and funding partners like banks) are doing business. There are pure efficiency plays in this approach, like real-time credit decisioning and providing a more intuitive B2C-like purchasing experience across all sales channels. Yet, at the same time, there are innovation possibilities as well, such as giving customers a new way to buy via commercial terms or offering a new branded mobile payment app.
Ultimately, even as technology enables these innovations, a business must set up the right vision, metrics, project team and incentives to make it work at scale. At OPEX we saw these ingredients on display in the sessions that pondered what success actually looks like, how to align transformation efforts with company values, and – emphasizing the “people” part, discussions and sessions about org design and governance.
Interested in how our clients are focusing their digital transformation strategies on high-impact O2C automation, risk services, and new types of commerce services and apps? We’d love to talk!