Lately, we’ve been talking about the ROI Benefits of SharePoint Line of Business (LOB) Applications, such as unification of enterprise data, insight into critical business processes, and improved adoption. Gains like these are often referred to as “soft” or “intangible” and though they’re equally significant, it is critical that we also look at the quantitative returns realized when making a SharePoint investment.
We recently completed a Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) application for a major global supplier of facilities and industrial maintenance products. This solution unified enterprise data by pulling customer and contract information from SAP and joining it with contract milestone and addendum information stored in SharePoint. It provided insight into critical business processes by allowing the sales and CLM teams to see milestone data, contract status, and approval bottlenecks in the pipeline. And of course, adoption improved as users began working inside our user-friendly custom interface instead of a difficult-to-navigate SAP interface. Before the pilot ended, these “soft” returns turned into major tangible gains:
- 100% compliance in aligning customer need to the right solution
- Before moving to SharePoint, the CLM process was unstructured; necessary steps in contract negotiations were missed due to lack of insight into approval and negotiation status. As a result, contracts didn’t meet customer needs, resulting in consequences ranging from reduction in terms to actual customer abandonment.
- After moving to SharePoint, contracts were 100% aligned with customer need. Although the client still sees some renegotiation of terms, it is not because of mistakes or faults in the process. Further, when needed, renegotiation details are now tracked in SharePoint and completely visible to both sales and the CLM team.
- 40% reduction in contract/agreement closing time
- Working with an efficient and responsive partner is a big win for customer satisfaction.
- A 40% reduction in closing time unblocks the pipeline for additional contracts to be managed, negotiated, and ultimately signed.
Put simply, satisfied customers, receiving accurate contracts that provide the services they need, sign faster and more often than dissatisfied customers receiving erroneous and untimely documents. Ultimately, the CLM solution led to an increased number of signatures and speed to revenue.
What’s great to see is that benefits like these aren’t tied to a specific industry. Looking at another lifecycle management LOB application – Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) – in the food and beverage industry, we see similar quantitative gains driving increased savings and launch to market (i.e. increased profits), including: improved visibility into approvals, costing, supply chain management, and the pricing process. For this specific system, we focused not only on data unification, but also employee unification – successfully bringing employees working across a large number of disparate operations together under a single system and process. Again, these intangibles immediately turned into hard numbers:
- 90% reduction in transportation costing turn-around
- 50% decrease in time-to approvals
These huge gains turned into delivering product to market 30 days faster! Pardon the redundancy, but again, decreased time to completion (by 50–90 percent) turns into more product available to customers, and increased sales and revenue.
There are both qualitative and quantitative gains to be had when implementing critical business processes in SharePoint, and the two are often intrinsically tied to one another. Be sure to take the time to analyze both sides of the equation to maximize ROI for the platform and your efforts implementing the process – the net result often means increased revenue and/or profit.