Aspect Software’s Move to a Distributed Environment Transformed The Business
In just six months, Aspect Software, which specializes in contact center solutions for global Fortune 100 enterprises, went from outmoded, manual and very inefficient business processes to a distributed environment where true integration automated processes, improved data quality, enabled deeper reporting and ultimately, transformed Aspect into a modern, more competitive business.
Oracle E-Business Suite to Cloud
Stefanie Causey was hired at Aspect as Director of IS Solution Delivery to manage the massive project of moving from the Oracle EBS platform to a distributed environment using Salesforce and Apttus for quoting, NetSuite for ERP and SuccessFactors for HRIS.
“It became very obvious to me that we didn’t have the expertise to really even envision what we needed to do,” Causey said. “And on top of that, we also had a very tight timeline.”
But thanks to Causey’s steady hand and the decision to use Jitterbit as their integration platform as a service —just six months later—Aspect went live with a totally scrubbed Salesforce Sales Cloud with Apttus CPQ and CLM fully integrated to their brand new NetSuite environment.
Now, everything is connected.
Sales Cloud is used to manage opportunities, quotes and forecasts; all approvals are automated and tracked within Apttus; and NetSuite handles billing and fulfillment information. Jitterbit seamlessly connects and transforms accounts, opportunities and quotes from Salesforce into customer and sales order data in NetSuite. Once an order is fulfilled, Jitterbit connects that data back to Salesforce and automatically creates Service Cloud assets and the next renewal opportunity for renewable maintenance. The new system is real time and transaction based.
Aspect’s long-term strategy is to run their business completely in the cloud. “We essentially have no EBS pieces still in place, but we have the data, and we still need some form of database to enable corporate reporting,” Causey explained. Aspect will use Jitterbit as the engine to grab important pieces of information from Salesforce, Netsuite and SuccessFactors and move them into the new SQL server environment on the Azure cloud, so they have the big-picture data warehouse. “Every company or vendor I’ve talked to says, ‘we have a data movement solution.’ But I say, ‘Well, good for you. I have Jitterbit.’”
Three-month Quotes to Quick Quote-to-cash
Aspect’s finance team was struggling because prior to CPQ, Salesforce opportunities provided visibility to the sales funnel, but it wasn’t very accurate. Causey explained, “An AE would talk to a quote specialist to explain what’s being sold, and it would take an hour to three months, depending on complexity, to generate a quote in an Excel spreadsheet. Once the AE printed it out and got a signature, that spreadsheet was handed to the order management team whose job it was to manually enter into Oracle.”
“There was no science to it; it was all manual, time consuming and difficult,” Causey said. Most importantly, they didn’t have any way to reconcile forecast and bookings to revenue.
The finance and sales teams weren’t the only ones suffering under the manual process. The service organization had a hard time knowing what quotes turned into serviceable assets. “Many times, we didn’t even know what our customers had,” Causey said.
With a fully connected CPQ and CRM, the finance team has a window into the whole process, the sales team has much faster quote turnaround and the service team knows exactly what products customers purchased.
Manual Reporting to Automated Process
Before the cloud project and integration, Aspect didn’t have the ability to effectively report on what was forecasted, what was booked and what that became revenue-wise. Now, through integration and APIs, they can reconcile bookings to revenue.
The sales organization can now effectively forecast. “We went from significant volatility in our forecast from the beginning of the quarter to the end of a quarter—sometimes a loss of 60 percent of the funnel as the quarter progressed—to having quality measures and significantly improved forecasting.”
Syncing product masters between NetSuite and Salesforce ensures that sales people aren’t selling things that didn’t exist. Plus, applying matrix pricing to bill customers was incredibly challenging, because there wasn’t a way to capture all of the complex usage data from cloud applications and move it to NetSuite, Aspect’s system of record. Now, through APIs, they can not only capture and move the data, they can also automatically and accurately invoice customers on time every month, while reducing errors.
Automation has removed manual data entry, which caused many data quality issues. As Causey stated, “Jitterbit is the data movement and transformation engine that has eliminated a lot of data quality issues we had.” This means that even though Aspect started with really bad asset data, by January 2017, they will have a fully scrubbed asset base; they will know exactly what their customers have—and it’s all automated.
“Now we have an enterprise-class integration platform that gives us the ability to manage our customer lifecycle from end to end.”
– Stefanie Causey, Director of IS Solution Delivery, Aspect
Batch Processing to Modern, Agile Integration
Perhaps the biggest business transformation, the change that was the hardest, was pushing an “antiquated IT department into the future, shifting toward solving business problems instead of worrying about a development specialty in a particular technology and pushing the idea of a cloud-first strategy,” according to Causey.
Causey said that when she first arrived at Aspect, they said they had an integration strategy. They would take a file downloaded from a system, put it on an FTP, move to another FTP site where it was picked up and consumed by another system. “This is not integration. This is batch processing,” Causey explained. “I knew I had to come in and push the company toward reality, the 21st century, a true integration.”
The true integration facilitated by Jitterbit brought about huge business transformations, including moving to flexible, more scalable cloud solutions; significantly reducing friction and errors in the sales process; creating better, more accurate reporting; and setting Aspect up to be more competitive both now and in the future. Speaking of the future, Causey explained how is Aspect planning to incorporate Jitterbit’s real-time APIs to take their products to the next level.
“With Jitterbit’s real-time APIs, I can infuse artificial intelligence into our Salesforce instance for on-the-fly language translation of tickets from customers all over the world. This means answering questions faster, improving customer experience and cutting costs.”
– Stefanie Causey, Director of IS Solution Delivery, Aspect
Aspect’s contact center, self-service and workforce solutions work together to deliver better outcomes for those on either side of the conversation.
- Significant volatility in forecast from the beginning of the quarter to the end of a quarter—sometimes a loss of 60 percent of the funnel as the quarter progressed
- Finance team struggled to reconcile forecast and bookings to revenue
- Manual quote process could take as long as three months
- Service organization had a hard time knowing what quotes turned into serviceable assets
- Batch processing took too much time
- True API integration facilitated by Jitterbit brought about huge business transformations, including moving to flexible, more scalable cloud solutions
- Significantly reduced friction and errors in the sales process
- Created better, more accurate reporting for finance and service teams
- Automation has removed manual data entry, which caused many data quality issues