The Quest for Operational Efficiency
Over the past three months I have been on the road meeting with CFO’s and CIO’s and their direct reports to better understand the challenges that they face in their businesses. One of the terms being used more frequently is “Operational Efficiency,” and it’s being used within the context of looking for solutions to improve and help drive this efficiency. When I engage executives further in discussion, I hear phrases such as “doing more with less” and “outsourcing non-strategic solutions,” as well as “the pace of technology is moving too fast to keep up across our enterprise.”
As we dive deeper into the conversation, what really comes out is an underlying sense that executives know their businesses are not running at peak efficiency. They feel that the sheer amount of technology and data within the organization makes it challenging to identify where those areas are that need improvement.
When our discussions move to Billtrust’s suite of solutions in invoicing, payment and cash application, I usually get a response from the executives that implies that this area of the business “is working well” or “we have that covered”. Their belief, like many of the executives in these functional areas, is that the only thing that matters is getting invoices out the door and getting paid. In these two areas, any final results indicate success, and the executives don’t care how it happens, or whether the process is efficient. Sometimes our discussions end there, but sometimes I can get the conversation to delve down another layer with these executives. This is where things become interesting.
As we dig deeper and discuss the areas of the business that invoicing, payment and cash application affect, they quickly realize that things might not be running as smoothly as they once thought. We talk about issues such as payments, electronic adoption, PCI compliance, Level 3 credit card processing, cash flow, invoicing’s impact on customer care, and more.
By the time we are done with the discussion, many of these executives realize that how they are currently running these processes is nowhere near the level they should be at, compared to many of Billtrust’s clients. Our discussion that started on the broad topic of improving operational efficiency has now narrowed to an area where unknown deficiencies exist, some of which are real risks to the business.
During my past three years here I have seen this conversation play out over and over when meeting with prospective clients. Many times AR departments appear to run smoothly until we open someone’s eyes, encourage them to look closer, and challenge the status quo. In that moment, the prospective client decides to strive to make every aspect of their organization efficient and best-in-class.
As you embark on your quest for operational efficiency across your organization, I encourage you to review your entire invoice-to-cash process to ensure you maximize your customers’ experience.
Article written by Kirk Dauksavage, Chief Revenue Officer at Billtrust