Remember Web 1.0? Among the many misconceptions taken as truth during that era was the notion that electronic commerce tools, such as online product configurators and customer relationship management systems, would magically simplify ordering processes for customers and drive growth for manufacturers.
At many organizations it didn't work out quite that way, and now executives, such as David Macaulay, senior vice president at diversified manufacturer Siemens AG, are left to clean up the mess. Over the past few years, Macaulay says, systems intended to make it easier for customers to order and for Siemens to track its customer relationships were implemented in a departmental and stand-alone fashion. As a result, he says, Siemens today has some 500 different CRM systems and 100 product configurators spread across the company. And there's little integration among Siemens' customer-facing systems, such as those it uses for CRM and order management.
As a result, Macaulay says, Siemens has a hard time getting accurate, up-to-date visibility into company-wide customer ordering patterns, nor can it easily compare different business units in terms of metrics, such as sales effectiveness.
"It's even hard for us to know at any given time who are our top 10 customers," Macaulay says.
In response, Siemens has embarked on a major, multi-year project intended to allow the company to more effectively manage its end-to-end opportunity-to-cash processes.
Source: Managing Automation, http://www.managingautomation.com
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