Order-to-cash transformation

Implementing a process to execute your business model

19 June 2020

Order to cash is all about delivering customer experience. Receiving an order, delivering a product and getting paid to do so can kill a business with even the most superior products and attractive prices. Building an efficient and sustainable order-to-cash process is the execution of your business model to target customers and cannot be taken lightly.

An order-to-cash transformation provides you and your organisation with an ability to work according to common principles that are true to your brand, strategy and customer needs. You will need to build an agile model that provides the ability to deliver new products to new markets and ultimately the ability to revamp your revenue and delivery model.

Whether you need to improve customer experience, decrease your DSO or DIO or improve your employee engagement, the optimisation of your order-to-cash process is most likely a very good place to start.

The order-to-cash process is the sequence of events and data flow occurring when a customer places an order, one of your products or services are purchased and payment and cash collection are finalised. It is a complex process that cuts across many parts of the organisation and relies on several handshakes, a multitude of systems and data with different attributes and requirements. If not structured properly, the order-to-cash process can upset your customers, your people and ultimately hurt your bottom line. It is complex and can be transformed into a process that is fit for you, your products and your customers, minimising inefficiencies and optimising your customer experience. Ease and speed! And here is how you do it.

Build a strong case for change to provide clarity and impact

First, you will develop a thorough purpose and core story of your order-to-cash transformation. The anticipated impact from your initiatives will have many variations when you ask the organisation. You need to be specific in what you strive for to build purpose, clarity and rapid impact. Spending a large portion of time framing your issues and understanding the root causes of them will most often be a good investment. You will then identify the dimensions most critical to your order-to-cash process and with the most potential in your order-to-cash transformation journey.

The building blocks of getting started on your order-to-cash transformation

It can be daunting to initiate an order-to-cash transformation. Yet, with a structured approach and simple building blocks you can get started with shared ways of working in the project team.

You will need to build insights into the As-Is situation by breaking down your entire process into specific detailed steps and understanding them properly through interviews and workshops with process owners and stakeholders of each step. This will provide you with the ability to generate ideas and build the foundation for a solution design.

Your insight building, idea generation and solution design will cover these interlinked building blocks:

  • Process and handshakes: Ensure that your process and handshakes are mapped out, standardised and well understood on a deep and detailed level. Clarify the links to other processes, i.e. idea to market, market to order, record to report and sales and operations planning.

  • IT landscape: The relationship between all involved IT systems are to be established in a system landscape that is well structured, coherent and easy to navigate.

  • Data: Have your master data clearly structured, defined by a certain set of attributes and stored in a system that interfaces across your IT system landscape.

Designing a programme that will ensure progress and engagement

Your solution design will provide numerous actions, initiatives and projects. Planning, executing and monitoring these activities successfully will require a strong project organisation.

The dependencies between activities will require thorough planning while the vast number of stakeholders involved will require defined guidelines and principles to work from. Obstacles, findings and changes in key assumptions will also require to be handled during the roll-out.

Most importantly, the order-to-cash programme is to drive and engage a core project team and relevant stakeholders through a transformation journey that will take years. Establishing the right programme is most often worth the investment.

Getting started on your order-to-cash transformation

Zoom in on what you know and diagnose the As-Is. Generate ideas and design the To-Be solution design. And map out the key building blocks for a successful OTC process.

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