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IBM - Sales Enablement Solution

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2019, Click to Enter The 2020 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Company: IBM, Armonk, NY
Company Description: IBM is a values-based enterprise of individuals who create & apply technology to make the world work better. Today, more than 400,000 IBM employees around the world invent and integrate hardware, software and services to help forward-thinking enterprises, institutions and people succeed on a smarter planet.
Nomination Category: New Product & Service Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Enablement Solution – New

Nomination Title: Engage AR - Excellence in Managing Account Receivables

Tell the story about this nominated product or service (up to 650 words). Describe its function, features, benefits, and sales to date:

Overview

Engage AR is a Global Account Receivables execution IBM Cloud based platform facilitating E2E collection activities, workforce optimization and seamless integration with all AR systems and upstream processes. Engage AR platform provides users with the capability to effectively Collect, Forecast, measure Metrics, manage sales Disputes, retrieve Invoices and provide operational Insights all in ONE application.

Problem we are solving

AR Professionals around the world have been using 3 legacy system of records to manage their daily collection activities or using independent applications creating manual work; juggling between different systems; creating multiple operational process deficiencies and generating additional manual workload.

Engage AR removes all those limitations. Leveraging existing data regardless of the source and using leading open standards technology (Hybrid Cloud, Microservices, Node.js, Angular UI), Engage AR platform is a ONE stop shop for Global Account Receivables Professionals.

Through discovery sessions, we documented “Problems”, iterated different “User Experience Solutions” and “Process Simplification” which drove “Prioritization & Benefits to Cycle time”.

Modules

Problem Statements

Solution Design

Collection

    • Multiple systems or applications to manage E2E collection activities
    • Unproductive manual work
    • Process inconsistencies
    • User frustration with overall complexity of systems and their usage
    • One collection grid view providing complete customer account information in ONE place enabling remarks, letters, forecasting and dispute identification functions
    • Global process and data flow alignment
    • Exceptional user experience

Forecasting

    • Managed in spreadsheets
    • Manual workload reconciliations
    • Modifications have limitations and take too much time causing potential errors
    • Currency conversion challenges
    • Streamlined global forecasting process
    • Integrated target allocation and adjustment features in daily collection activities
    • Automated forecast and currency conversion in the roll-up process

Metrics

    • Independently managed via spreadsheets or various applications
    • Manually collected metrics view of the account, territory, team and market
    • Aligned global measurement metric definitions and criteria
    • Automated real time roll-up of AR organization metrics with full drill-down capability

Disputes

    • 3 different applications globally with process inconsistencies
    • Manual assignment process slowing down resolution cycle time
    • Automated assignment process and creation of resolution task
    • Integrated disputes within collection grid view to facilitate identification
    • Two-way communication between initiator and resolver

Invoices

    • Separate application to view invoices
    • Manual work to download and emailing to clients
    • Connected directly to image application allowing users to see invoices in grid view without leaving the application

Analytics / Insights / Reporting

    • Limited analytics capability
    • Managed independently within each geography/unit/organization
    • Outdated technology minimizing automation of operational and historical data reporting
    • Flexible data reporting capability supported by actionable automated task driven operational insights
    • 2019 roadmap: develop an integrated insights module providing a 360-degree operational visibility and workload optimization

 

Benefits

  • Reduced cycle time
  • Reduced DSO and improved cash performance
  • Increased Client Satisfaction

Specific achievements are outlined below:

- 3x productivity boost: automated collection program for low dollar high volume invoices increased invoice coverage – able to assign 3 times more invoices to 1 collector (1,500 invoices vs <500)
- Application scalability across global geographies due to a consistent process and single application
- For each client dispute: a 9-minute reduction in identification & assignment process improving resolution cycle time
- 60% reduction in collection action codes used daily by users
- YTY 5% productivity gain in operational and process simplification
- Savings of $400k per year due to sunset of legacy applications

Our approach for all these modules and or features have been initiated by user experience design methods and eliminating process deficiencies, enabling us to build what the user wants to improve their experience and increase productivity.

What’s Next

The solution is live in all the Americas, Europe and Middle East and on target to roll-out to Asia Pacific by 2H2019. With an aggressive roadmap over the next 12 months, we are continuously adding more enhancements (Global Reporting and Insights, Telephony Pilot) so that we are always operating more efficiently and effectively.