For all the downside of the COVID-19 pandemic, one positive outcome that will be discussed for years to come is how the crisis sped up the march of global business towards digital migration, significantly accelerating a seismic transformation in the way we do business.
PwC has been at the forefront of this journey into the cloud. According to Samrat Sharma, US & Global Marketing Transformation Leader at PwC US, ‘At the core of digital transformation is how we can now use technology to manage data. This means we are reducing complexity within an organization and creating new avenues for growth. This is all about being able to engage with consumers and customers to help deliver unique value propositions.
PwC’s recent collaboration with the AI search company Yext (NYSE:YEXT) provides a powerful case study for how to get this kind of digital transformation right.
Starting in 2020, Yext turned to PwC to help overhaul its systems, specifically its ‘quote to cash’ (Q2C) operation.
Yext’s CIO, Deepika Rayala explains: ‘To better serve our customers, we made a strategic shift to a consumption-based pricing model. However, the existing quoting tools could not support the new pricing model and the expected increase in the volume of transactions. Manual processes and multiple quoting tools had the potential to result in lower productivity, higher costs and lower deal conversion rates.’
‘Yext needed to build a solution that was more agile, automated and catered to their various business segments to unlock operational efficiencies, would automate their process overall, especially in configuring pricing and quoting,’ says Jen Yanoff, Cloud & Digital Principal at PwC US ‘They also needed to increase productivity and efficiency, because of the high volume of transactions that they have. Finally, they wanted to improve the customer experience overall.’
The collaboration ultimately resulted in key innovations across three areas: productivity gains (reducing processing time by 50%), workflow improvement efficiencies, increases in automations and support for the new pricing model.
According to Rayala, working with PwC has led to a significant hike in the efficiency of Yext’s business, saving many hours that sales staff would have otherwise spent producing detailed quotes to customers and providing contract support.
Sharma says with such projects there always should be an element of pragmatism and focusing on what really matters, from experience to outcomes.
At the same time, it’s important to leverage technology and data in order to be able to really focus, amplify, and simplify the company’s ability to deliver, tackling that with empathy and doing it with a high degree of empathy and trust.
‘We need to be clear that we need to build infrastructure in a sustainable way with a clear intent to help drive the customer experience, drive growth, and drive profitability,’ he says.
This is an area where Sharma thinks organizations can truly drive business transformation with triumph.
‘Digital transformation is not easy,’ he says ‘You need to take several paths. The route we took with Yext was the story of diverse teams each bringing rich and really relevant experiences to the project.’