Many of you will have seen the recent Future of CX presentation by Larry Ellison where he spoke eloquently on the topic and presented the most coherent view of a “single closed-loop system” that I’ve heard in a long time, and discussed the benefits of joining up your systems.
I noticed three very important things that were there in the background, but that weren’t specifically discussed. I’m cheating slightly as two make the same point, but for me his exercise ball and breakfast bowl in the picture of his video make one point, and CPQ, (which wasn’t explicitly mentioned) makes another.
The exercise ball and bowl are a wonderful sign of some of the changes that we’ve faced since the awful global pandemic of Covid-19 has changed the way we live and work – perhaps forever.
Who hasn’t experienced that same loss of formality on a Zoom, Teams or any video conference? Who hasn’t smiled at a cat walking across someone’s screen mid-sentence or offered virtual sympathy to a parent who is trying to quieten a toddler while maintaining eye-contact with a camera since we’ve all started communicating in high-resolution wide-screen mode?
A lot has been written about the lack of tolerance in the world today, however this is one area that I think everyone has realised that we all have challenges and we share the experience. I think it’s also made us realise that we’re not reliant on old structures and establishments and that we’re capable of working (and exercising) from wherever you are. I felt more connected to Larry simply because he didn’t feel the need to hide where he was or what he’d been doing right before delivering a high value presentation to thousands of people.
The third thing he didn’t explicitly mention was Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) technology. He did discuss at length the benefits of an integrated suite of Customer Experience (CX) Cloud products and gave many great reasons for “joining up the front and back office”, and CPQ is pivotal to both.
Firstly, why is it so important to join our systems up? Most importantly, customers expect good service and a consistently great experience, whoever they are talking to or whatever web-page they are on. In the world today the cost of switching provider is often lower. It’s based less on geography or which supplier is local if you can’t just ‘pop in’ or build a face-to-face relationship. Covid-19 has moved the trends that started with the internet and accelerated with Cloud Computing to light-speed, decentralising, democratising and sometimes dehumanising our transactions and relationships between clients and suppliers.
Nowadays, there’s no use in joined up customer experience if you can’t transact with the customer at the right point for them, and CPQ is pivotal to this in the integrated CX experience. You can market, build awareness, sell ideas and provide great service but CPQ (and its cousin e-Commerce) provide the means to turn relationships into revenue, positioning into profit and offers into orders.
And integration between front and back office is more important than ever – especially internally in B2B sales. If your processes aren’t joined up you can’t just walk down to a ‘deal desk’ with your paperwork any more, relying on ‘who you know’ to get a deal approved, processed, corrected. Slick, joined up systems are fundamental to letting organisations retain control, and making remote employees efficient and effective. Providing management with the control they need without restricting creativity or killing momentum with the tedium of manual reporting is a critical benefit of putting CPQ at the heart of your systems, being the logical conclusion of CX and the entry to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), being the glue between front and back (and back to front again).
We’ve got clients who can tell their stories of how CPQ and its integrations can bring CX together, and can join all their systems together and we’re happy to help you explore what can be done to keep your business well fed and fighting fit – just like Larry.
If you want to find out more about how putting CPQ at the centre of your systems could help your business, then please get in touch.