Pricing & Commercial - Digitalization & Automation

Well by now most of us have come to terms willingly or unwillingly that Digitalization is upon us. Pricing & commercial function is slowly but surely embarking journey towards digital. Web-based digital tools, analytical and artificial intelligence approach to pricing and commercials contract management is now common talk in Commercial & Pricing community. Moving to a digital platform is going to be a challenging journey and for successful adoption, finance leaders have to take following steps carefully:

  1. Plan ahead and start collecting/digitizing data: Every deal, contract, pricing step produces data elements which are very valuable in long run. To run analytic; implement artificial intelligence, you need tons of data to churn out meaningful reports, analytic. So even before you figure-out how AI, BI, and other process, tools will be implemented start collecting/ digitizing data. Doesn't matter if you are collecting data in Excels or databases; as long as data is building over time to be consumed in near future.
  2. Start Small but Immediately: Don't wait for creating a comprehensive strategy and use cases etc; start small and build incrementally. As soon as you see an opportunity to move to digital do it; bells and whistles will be added as you take this journey.

  3. Workflow & Automation: Do focus to automating the current process; eliminate every single non-value-add step and minimize user keystrokes. Just static data is never fun; carefully planned and implemented workflows will help everyone doing their job efficiently. Digitally track every process step and record time taken, which can be analysed to make the process/workflow efficient.
  4. Involve Stakeholders and integrate with existing systems: Don't underestimate the power of learning from peers and other stakeholders. Talk to your stakeholders, peers and you will get 100s of new ideas for enhancements and improvement. Integrate with back-end and existing systems; there is a wealth of information available in organizations; when these systems talk to each other and orchestrate real value comes out.
  5. Training & Road Show: Fast and successful adoption of digital pricing tools and contract management systems will hinge on comprehensive training and road shows of these with the user community. Initial hand holding and support is a must for making adoption painless and successful.
  6. Talent Strategy rethink: Pricing and commercial team-members can no-longer be only Excel experts. While Excel is not going away anytime soon, digital requires next breed of Pricing and Commercial experts who are good with analytic, out of box thinkers, good communicators, great mathematical skills and above all great business knowledge. Hiring the right skills and training/grooming existing talent will become very important