How SaaS Firms Can Speed Customers' Order-to-Cash During the Pandemic

By Brian Busch in API Industry Trends Posted Oct 27, 2020

As the ongoing pandemic drives companies to stabilize operations, pounce on new opportunities, and develop new strategies to adapt to long-term change, cash is king. Financial resilience hinges on speeding up multiple threads of the order-to-cash cycle. In its Artificial Intelligence Weekly newsletter, The Wall Street Journal AI Pro reported that companies are doubling down on automation to keep customers satisfied and revenues flowing.

speed order-to-cash processes

  • Global food giant Danone S.A. is using AI and machine learning to analyze supply chains and optimize logistics, to quickly identify the best options for sourcing goods, and keep operations running smoothly.
  • Norwegian aluminum manufacturer and renewable energy company Norsk Hydro ASA is leveraging AI to keep its factories humming when engineer access is limited. A project to improve the quality of data sent to AI-enabled software bots monitoring the performance of cooling pumps, compressors, and other machinery allows engineers to oversee production without entering a plant.
  • International Data Corp. estimates that 40% of companies worldwide are expected to adopt or increase their use of automation in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Process Automation Starts With Unfettered Data Access

All of these points illustrate the necessity of automating myriad enterprise processes to build resilience in a disrupted economic environment—a niche that software as a service (SaaS) application providers are poised to serve. 

But before any processes can be automated or customer experiences improved, applications and data must be integrated. That’s because the lifeblood of enterprise order-to-cash processes is data that is integrated from customer orders placed via sales or eCommerce platforms; with the accounts receivable (AR) systems in Finance & Accounting (F&A); as well as fulfillment, delivery, and support systems and processes. B2B manufacturing companies and consumer-facing retailers selling customized offerings additionally loop their configuration systems into order-to-cash. 

Automation Stabilizes Supply Chains

Let’s take a look at the impact of process automation and supply chain disruption, and an example of how SaaS firms can help customers to better absorb shocks to their systems. The shocks are big—during the first few months of the COVID-19 crisis, suppliers in China made more than 3,000 force majeure declarations, sparking a chain reaction that affected innumerable companies, industries, and goods globally. 

For suppliers looking for new opportunities, the current state of disruption affords many chances to secure additional revenues. For example, companies that participate in the SAP Ariba network, the largest B2B procurement and supply chain collaboration solution, can dynamically connect with buyers and other trading partners around the world. SAP Ariba provides order-to-cash process management and automation, allowing suppliers to quickly conduct business with new buyers. 

Replacing Paper Invoices With Digital Processes 

Companies of all kinds are also using the pandemic as an inflection point to automate billing and invoicing. For reference, Tungsten Network streamlines transactions and improves efficiencies by replacing paper invoices with digital processes.

The Tungsten SaaS solution processes, translates, enriches, and validates the data before delivering invoices directly to customers in any country in the world. It then archives invoices to meet regulatory requirements, alleviating a significant administrative burden. 

Both SAP Ariba and Tungsten are powered by Cloud Elements’ API virtualization technology.

Learn How to Accelerate Order-to-Cash

Faster order-to-cash velocity isn’t new. Rather, the pandemic is accelerating many process improvements that were already underway, such as expanding eCommerce revenues, finding new supply chains to sell into, optimizing cash flow, and improving the customer experience. 

Cloud Elements offers essential technologies to streamline processes and, in turn, build customer satisfaction and business resilience. Cloud Elements’ application programming interface (API) integration and data virtualization solutions allow SaaS firms to quickly accelerate order-to-cash cycles, helping organizations to survive in today’s turbulent pandemic environment. 

To learn more, download our latest eBook, Building Resilience with Strategic Order-to-Cash Management."

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