Business Assurance: Leveraging, Executing and Realizing
By Al Brisard
Business assurance is a hot topic these days. Identifying causes of slower growth, discrepancies in inventory and billing records, sales and operational ineffectiveness and high levels of customer churn are important first steps in resolving process, policy, system, database and organizational problems.
Unfortunately, once these and other problems are identified, there is very often no long-term commitment to leveraging the information found, correcting the problems and executing ongoing solutions to permanently eliminate these problems. To survive long term, organizations must put in place the tools and processes necessary to continually accelerate revenue, reduce costs and improve the business.
The need for this long-term, ongoing approach is most evident in the area of customer experience where identifying, isolating and correcting problems needs to be ongoing. How is the customer feeling? Are products delivering or are they breaking down? When there are issues, are you handling them effectively and delivering a high level of customer satisfaction? Are costs being managed properly and are you billing correctly? These are the sort of questions that need to be addressed.
An effective business-assurance program creates the “probes" and locations for those “probes" to measure and monitor on an ongoing basis. As issues are identified and corrective actions taken, these same “probes" are used to determine if the expected results are realized. Without this kind of approach and rigor, obtaining a high level of business assurance is not predictable or dependable.
For example, when looking at sales operations and performance correlations between recognized revenue and sales objectives, commissions and forecasts must be determined. How are individuals, groups or regions performing against revenue objectives, product mix and customer retention versus acquisition? Are commissions being handled properly, are they tied to a plan and is the plan real or fictitious? Creating the "probes" that deliver the necessary business and data intelligence can provide quick answers to these questions. Greater visibility and analysis into revenue booking trends, breakouts based on sales opportunity data and the effectiveness of sales representatives can also be achieved. The important thing is that this process should not be a “one off," but rather a sustained element in an organization’s business model.
The benefits to sustained business assurance are many: improved visibility across financial operations for the long haul, long-term cost savings through validation of invoicing, stronger margins through proactive management, products that better meet customer requirements and ultimately — solid new business growth.
Al Brisard is vice president of marketing and business development at Vertek Corp. , a leading provider of end-to-end business process outsourcing, business consulting and managed business assurance offerings that allow communication providers to reduce costs, improve customer experiences, grow revenue and ultimately improve profitability. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.