Making Digital Transformation Work with Modern iPaaS

As SaaS sprawl continues to grow and business processes become increasingly complex, CIOs and IT leaders face more pressure than ever to help their companies successfully navigate the future. We all know digital transformation is key to surviving in today’s competitive environment, yet most initiatives fail. 

CIOs and IT leaders must be strategic and judicious about how they approach digital transformation.  Most companies’ digital initiatives fail when they get too big, too fast. Today’s IT leaders must set the pace for these initiatives, starting with modernization efforts that create the capacity to succeed later in more ambitious efforts. 

In this on-demand webinar Celigo automation experts Dave Wallen, director of platform product marketing, and Nick Piette, director of product marketing discuss why digital transformation often fails, how to reduce the risk of failure, and how to better leverage the organization to achieve success. They provide a step-by-step plan for making digital transformation work. 

In this on-demand webinar, you will learn:

    • Strategies for starting the digital modernization process
    • How to develop a blueprint for rapid automation
    • Tools and skills needed to effectively automate processes enterprise-wide and win the digital transformation challenge

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Full Webinar Transcript

Oh, good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, depending on where in the world you are. And on behalf of all of us, Celigo, I’d like to thank you for taking the time today to join us for today’s webinar on making digital transformation work.
Yep. We’re just going to wait a minute or so to let everyone kind of get in. Hopefully, everyone had no trouble with Zoom. How’s the weather up there by you, Dave?
So here in New York, we had snow two days ago. Now it’s going to be 55 degrees. So it was foggy this morning and now is– how are things in the mountains?
Yeah. We are waiting for a snowstorm. It was supposed to be a– thankfully, it didn’t happen because then I would have a little toddler running around screaming. So we actually can do this. But we are supposed to get a bunch of snow. So it should be fun.
And I think that’s supposed to get here around, I think, Friday night, but we’re only supposed to get rain.
Oh, all right. Well, there you go.
So I think we can get started.
Yeah. Absolutely.
My name is Dave Wallen. I am the director of platform product marketing here at Celigo. And I’m pleased to introduce you all to my colleague and teammate, Nick. Nick, how are you?
I’m good. Yeah. So hello everyone. My name is Nick Piette. I am the director of technical product marketing, and of course as soon as marketing finds someone who knows how to do integration automation. I also help with a number of internal initiatives to drive our digital transformation strategy. So we’ll be kind of– I get to play both roles, both the user of what we’re going to be talking about as well as some of the people that help put it together. So really excited to talk.
And Nick is invaluable to helping me get my stuff done, so that’s great. So we’ve got a full agenda for everybody today, but before we get into it, a couple of quick housekeeping items. The presentation is being recorded and you’ll receive a link to the recording via email when the session is over. If you’ve got any questions during the presentation, please enter them in the Q&A panel on your screen. We’ll try to address relevant questions in context. And of course, we’ll reserve time at the end for additional Q&A. So I think we’re ready to get started, right, Nick?
Absolutely. Let’s go.
All right. So despite the uncertain economic outlook, most companies continue to move forward with digital transformation initiatives. When the economy was growing fast, that focus was on agility and creating value and building new business models. During these more uncertain times, even risk-averse organizations want and need productivity improvements, they need cost savings, and digital transformation projects provide that.
Yeah. Dave, and you’re hitting exactly what we’re seeing. And whether it’s when we’ve been talking with our customers or even some of the external research we’re doing with the analysts, even in this current economic uncertainty, the leadership teams want to find investments to help drive new initiatives. I think one of the things that will– and I’m really excited to highlight as we kind of go through this presentation is how you should be doing this. I think what we see more often than not is people trying to cut costs to drive some of this just as a broad swath, and it’s like, no, we need to find new ways of doing this more effective, which I think is actually a funny transition into your image that we put together. So we promise all of the content on this chatGPT didn’t touch a single thing. We were actually very authentic, unlike some other people. But Dave, if you want to tell them —
But we are not artists.
No, by any stretch.
So we asked Dali– one of the issues is whether or not you’ve got a significant part in cramping that digital transformation strategy. It’s the IT leaders that are expected to lead in the execution of it. So I asked Dali for an image of IT being given a poorly designed digital transformation plan to execute and this is what we got.
Yeah. I find it unfortunate and hilarious at the same time that the artificial intelligence that designed this image also gave us the finger which more often than not is sometimes in our projects that happens more than we would like. But I think that kind of is the point which we start to see is that many of these organizations actually want to approach this recession as an opportunity for growth. And I think throughout this conversation and even through some of the examples that we’ll bring in, some of the stuff we’re doing here at Celigo to kind of give you our insight into what we’re doing, is that there’s a way to help kind of switch the conversation from a cost optimization to value optimization which Dave and I were talking right before this started is even some of the new research we’re starting to see come out of Gartner and Forrester and many of the other analysts around, “Hey, it’s time to start thinking about the value, not the technology.” So really excited that this is kind of all timely.
Is everybody thinking that way?
No. And this is where– so when we were kind of kicking off how we wanted to put this webinar together, we actually had, and I’ve had this both internal and through a number of customer meetings as well, where it comes through as this kind of message, is that we need to cut our IT spend by 20 to 30 percent. And I was actually at one of our partner sites presenting on this topic and I was seeing a lot of heads nod when it was like, “Hey, I bet, sometime over the last couple of months, especially as we’re getting into 2023, somebody somewhere, probably in an executive meeting, has had this conversation, right?” We need to cut our IT spend. We need to cut our app spend because we want to fund some of these new initiatives and we’ve just got too much of the stuff lying around. And that’s what I was saying fundamentally, as we’ve been getting into it internally and what I’ve been working in consulting with our customers, it’s just the wrong approach. If we are looking at just a blank cut without any view into the value that these applications are, what the IT team is doing, how it’s driving this, that’s where it’s like no, let’s focus on how do we drive value. And if we then can get through that, then we can work on optimizing. So yeah, I mean, I know that you’ve kind of mentioned that it’s not just this. There’s some of the underlying or underpinning problems that are actually driving some of these conversations.
Well, yeah, I would say, and I mean, it’s all related to economic uncertainty but– or yes and no. Some of it certainly does some of it’s not. So one thing that’s kind of not is talent, right? The talent crunch started to hit when things were going well or we thought everything was going to be wonderful forever a high growth. Even now with uncertainty, it’s a problem. And recent TechTalk article came up with this stat. 70% of digital leaders globally felt they can’t keep up with trends because of a lack of skills. And on average, these teams are losing 11% of their team every year mainly because staff are looking for higher salaries. And while we see in the news these massive layoffs in Silicon Valley, we are not seeing that outside of Silicon Valley. The global IT market remains tight. There was a survey of 14,000 developers in 131 companies done by Coding Game and Coder Pad. They found that 2 in 5 software professionals who stay in their company are getting software– are getting salary increases of 5% or less. That same number of developers said switching companies led to an increase of 25% or more. So people are trying to get those skill sets. There aren’t enough of them. There’s a great labor market for those folks. So this idea of, hey, we’ll just hire the best people and drive digital transformation, that’s not the answer.
No. And as you think about it like in– we found this as we were kind of doing our Boston Consulting Group. And I think it has not only a profound consequence to the organization. But when we kind of layer in the topics that we just talked about, how organizations are trying to find ways of driving initiatives through cost optimization, how organizations are trying to still kind of recover from I would say the skill gap and skill debt that they have. And then they take on these massive digital transformation projects because they know that they’re important. And of course, by doing that with a combination of all those three things, we often see as so does BCG that 70%– you can go back one, is that it– no. You’re good, is that these transformations fall short of their objective. And we’ll talk about why.
So this is a quote from an article in HBR from Didier Bonnet, who is the author of Leading Digital Hacking Digital. I mean, he’s a true thought leader in this space. And yeah, there are lots of reasons, some of which we have influence over, some of which we don’t. But one that we do and one that he finds particularly interesting and one that we’re going to kind of focus in on here is that digital transformations fail is by going too big and going too fast. And there is an opportunity, so takes big risk, right? 70% fail. This is a big reason is by going too big, too fast. So how can you overcome these challenges? How can you reverse this trend? And how can you successfully execute on a digital transformation strategy? So we’re going to show you that today. Some of the topics that we’re going to cover first, the first way to reverse that trend is to understand why do these digital transformations fail. We’re going to look at Bonnet’s three stages of digital transformation because this will really help in terms of building an effective execution plan that’s going to reduce the risk of these failed initiatives but also accelerate digital transformation across the enterprise and with a focus on this idea of building organizational digital capacity, focusing on kind of building the muscles across the business to be able to continue digital transformation, not as a series of discrete projects but as a true transformation, right? So we want to better leverage the abilities of our IT teams but also the people that are outside the IT organization who can really contribute. We’re going to redefine how to manage that transformation, both internal IT and the business users. We’re going to talk about implementing a foundational technical infrastructure to support all of that, the systems to support that change. And best of all, we’re going to kind of go through a step-by-step plan for making that digital transformation work for implementing those things we talk about in the first half of the webinar. So does that sound good to you, Nick?
Yeah. It sounds great. I mean, this is all stuff like we said. I’m having to use internal as well. So yeah, happy to discuss.
Yeah. So let’s talk about these are the three reasons that Didier Bonnet kind of defined as why digital transformations fail. First is, is when they set their objectives if they set– expect objectives at all to really define them they tend to be overly optimistic. And the scopes and the thought that, “Hey, these are going to go very fast. And they’ll be here to accomplish very big things.” The second is more mundane, right? It’s whenever you do a major project, what are the things that dog that execution? It’s generally lack of governance, lack of oversight, prioritizing technology deployment over adoption, using the moral metrics in terms of measuring the version, all of those things that’s always there. But the third he says is the least appreciated, but it’s the most interesting. This is something that we can really do something about is this idea of change management, managing that transition between old and new. There’s a learning curve to digital transformation and you have to walk before you can run. So to really be successful, think about understand this learning curve, which he defines as having three stages, which is nicely made it much easier to make slides because we can just repeat things.
The first step is modernization, right? And this is simplifying and digitizing your existing processes and functions. You’re not taking the bad ones and just making them faster. But you’re being managed in scope, identifying where you can make improvements, and getting that throughout the business. Step two, that is what he defines as enterprise-wide transformation. And that’s more complex across value chain efforts. So you’re fully automating your order-to-cash or quote-to-cash processes. And we’re going to look at how to do that effectively, how to go from one to two later.
And then really step three is this idea of new business creation, right, where you’re going to increase revenue from existing channels in a significant way or create new revenue sources, which many companies try to jump directly to. But in his model, you should leverage the improvements you made in step one and step two, then to move the step three and to be able to do that successfully. So that’s really what he’s saying here. Be manageable in scope, but still provide measurable business impact.
And overriding all of that is to initiate projects that will build digital capacity across the organization and provide you with a scalable people process and technical infrastructure for more and larger projects. And what’s the word? I foreshadow the people, process, and technology, right? When we’re talking about building that digital capacity, right, digital transformation is another transformation. Transformations have been going on for a while in business. And the concept of the golden triangle, the people process and technology dates back to the early ’60s in the first mainframes, the first time we really apply technology to business.
To succeed, right, you need to balance. You need alignment between the changes you make in people, process, and technology. You need to balance them, make sure that these are aligned. And most change efforts concentrate too heavily on technology and process without enough consideration for the people impacted. And this is especially true in digital transformation initiatives because we’re thinking, “Hey, this is about eliminating manual processes. This is about eliminating human errors and automating as much of that as possible.” But until AI could not only give us funny pictures and write really tell us– what was the article? It fell in love with the guy in The New York Times?
Oh, yeah. Jeez, yeah.
Well, until all that sticks, AI really replaces all of us. People are still going to performing vital tasks as part of any business process. They’re certainly going to be making decisions, and they’re probably going to be interacting with customers and your most important customers. So people are key. And I think, Nick, you’re going to start talking about people.
Sure. Yeah. As our resident millennia on the marketing team, I had to quickly look that up before we had this call just to make sure I would fit in this category. But what has been interesting about all of this – and I think as Dave has been noting – is that if any one of those three pillars is out of sync the whole process is in chaos. And what has been significantly changed I mean, obviously, you can think back in the early 2000s, cloud disrupted the technology sphere. Now, that is then having more impact on the process.
But I think the thing that is probably driving most of the change within this golden triangle is people. Never before have we had such a digitally fluent organization than today.
Now, we have two groups that are really starting to collide. Ones that we would call digital natives. People that have literally grown up with data at the touch of their fingers from their social lives, to their education, to now their professional careers.
It’s the assumption that this type of information and the way they can access data, the way they operate with data, is just second nature to them. And you have this other group which we will call digital immigrants, which has grown up through the dotcom era, through the changes in the cloud and so on and so forth.
And they’ve been able to evolve and adapt their skill set to include these new technologies. Now, if you think about it is that it creates this whole new class of people, which we would call the business technologist.
And that’s where we start to see that it really is starting to highlight how organizations can utilize these groups to actually drive effective initiatives within their organization. Now before, we were joking as we were kind of putting this together, that the typical office space scene where it’s like I take the requirements from the customers and I bring them to the engineers.
We are now faced with an organization that actually has more fluency in the business as well as the technology that needs to be supported. Where they tend to fall down then, as you can see, is like all right, so now that this pillar for people has shifted, I need to start thinking about how do I want to define an organization that uses it, and then work with the technology.
So that’s where then if you think of it from a process modernization perspective, in the past, because we didn’t have the skill set, we needed to have that arbitrary separation between IT and the business, right? I needed to pull this stuff through.
So that meant that the IT, the specialized resources needed to be centralized. It needed to be protected, it needed to be scoped and processed. Conversely, we see the other side, where it’s now completely decentralized.
And I would say that we’ve kind of grown up through that through what I would say the shadow IT processes that we saw with the adoption of cloud through the early 2000s. People said you know what, I can figure this out. I’m technical enough. Let’s get this done.
And what both of these kind of models are now leading into is this more federated approach. And you’ll see a lot more research from Celigo coming out on how to actually define these federated models, how that works.
But it essentially starts to help you organize where your resources are and how to best accomplish certain tasks. Because if I can utilize both the business technologist as well as someone may be my more traditional IT specialized resources, I can actually create a much more compelling business value because now the disconnect between what the business needs and what IT needs starts to become less and less.
Now, these three personas that we’ve kind of been talking about, Gartner, Forrester, they all kind of name it. But why it’s so critical and why we think this is the first pillar we need to discuss, is that the scope of the types of users that we’re working with.
And whether we call them ad hoc or citizen or business technologists, the idea is, is that for every one person you have that’s probably focused and dedicated on this, there’s going to be tens or hundreds of other people that are going to be wanting to interface with them or have business requirements.
So from a process perspective, each one of these– each one of these users are going to have use cases they need to solve. We have all these different people. You can see where then it logically creates an imbalance that has to be corrected with technology. Your technology stack should be representative of the people and process that you’re working with. So this is where, especially when it comes to finding an automation platform, it is so critical. And I find this fascinating because I was actually meeting with a number of my peers at other technology companies last night. And one of the things as we are kind of discussing the market shifts and everything else that I kept bringing up, “Hey, the importance of interfaces that support these types of personas.” And I’m friends with a lot of people that are in let’s call them the legacy integration vendors. And it was quick– it was fascinating to see how quickly they dismissed all of this type of stuff. “Oh, that’s just a requirement. No one really–” It’s like, “No, this is the new world we live in.” And finding a way to have a platform that supports all of the integration patterns that you’re looking for that then mirrors and matrices against the types of personas that we’re working with, this is critical to modern transformation. If I can’t find a platform– we joked before that I’m someone that helps. I would consider myself an ad hoc integrator. I don’t have the focus. It’s part of my job. It’s not everything I do. And I think where a lot of these organizations miss the mark when we start talking about this modern iPaaS is the intuitiveness. It doesn’t need to be easy, it needs to be intuitive. And that, for many of these types of organizations as they’re building their people, process, and then looking for technology, becomes something that’s hard to quantify, but they’d know when they failed. So that’s why it’s so important when thinking about the technology sector, like the pillar, you have to bring in the people and process. And Dave, I mean, a lot of what you’ve been talking about in some of the assets that we’re trying to put out to help organizations kind of navigate through this.
Right, so let’s kind of do a quick review of where we are right now, right? So we talked about in terms of managing digital change, the idea is to build organizational capacity and to build it across the organization, not just in IT. So we think about the people. Again, it’s the combination of generational change, the changing nature of technology, and the changing nature of technology and work has resulted in a workforce that is comprised of very skilled business technologists, digitally adept and users. And these are a huge resource of people who can drive a significant portion of your digital transformation efforts if they’re given that opportunity. So while those IT– so can we think of a process, right? While IT resources are still going to be needed for the more complex projects, by leveraging the federated model that Nick showed you, IT can have an exponential impact on digital transformation by focusing on, yes, completing and working on the most complex projects. But by defining governance and security policies and maintaining controls, helping to coordinate the digital transformation efforts across these various functions, and providing guidance and support to this broader workforce who can do a tremendous amount of the work that IT doesn’t need to do. And that’s going to spread the digital capacity. And then finally, technology to support all of that, right? A modern, cloud-native iPaaS is a great option because you can automate the business processes, improve data quality at a greater scale, right? A traditional iPaaS is going to provide benefits and it’s going to improve the productivity of the technical team.
It’s going to accelerate automation. It’s going to help improve data quality, but it’s limited compared to the modern iPaaS that’s going to enable the business technologists, the citizen integrators, as well as IT to drive automation and improve data quality in all places in the enterprise. So that’s where– did that sound well, Nick?
No, I mean, you hit all the salient points. It’s like, how do we– if we can get this triangle working effectively, then all of the things that we mentioned above, around digital transformation failures, step by step, and this is exactly what you’ve kind of been putting together in this ebook.
So now here’s the fun part, right? So executing on digital strategy is hard, right? But a quote from Bonnet, “The key to more successful digital transformation is not to skip ahead, start with step one and invest in the focus and resources to get it right.” So how do you start and what is that first step? And fortunately, Celigo has published an ebook on this very topic that includes a step-by-step plan. So we’re going to go through the highlights of that. We’re going to make this ebook available to everybody here. And after we’ve kind of gone through how to use it, we’ll have that opportunity to dive a little deeper. So, Nick.
Yeah. And yeah, so this is where I think it’s helpful to kind of– I’ll talk about at a macro level and then kind of provide you some insights into what we’ve been doing internally. And as we’ve kind of been putting this together, and I think we as technologists are always very oriented, I’d probably say to jump immediately into step five, right? We see a problem, fix a problem. We can define, we can map out all the processes, and then we go. And we assume if we can start fixing some of these things, that everyone will just understand what we’re doing. And as we’ve kind of been going through this exercise internal to Celigo, as well as what we do and help our customers that go through this, more often than not, when we try to get to then eight, if we haven’t done steps one through four, we often might feel like we’ve accomplished something, but it’s really hard for the rest of the organization to understand. So that’s where–
What you’ve done is, right, you’ve just done some discrete projects. You haven’t actually built organizational capacity.
Yeah. And it was– I mean, literally right before we got on this call, I was reading another piece of Gartner research that basically continued to say, “Focus on the value, don’t focus on the technical topics. And it comes back to your point. The value that you’re going to be able to help articulate the organization is actually going to come through steps one through four. How you assess your readiness, how do you actually start scoping out a platform to support it, defining the areas of work in identifying the automation leaders because at some point, you will have to transition from the advocate to the implementer? And you have got to make sure that you’ve got people that are continuing to advocate for you so that this can continue to move forward. So let’s talk about kind of that first step, assessing the actual readiness. And this is where– I look at it from a two-step perspective. One, obviously, as you’re starting and kicking off this project, understanding the peers and leaders around you as well as your organizational readiness to support this type of automation program is so important because this will help you kind of guide how much information, too little information, what is the kind of the Goldilocks effect or managing up when you’re kind of putting these things together? A great example of this, as we kind of say from one of the examples, is we’ve got an organization here at Celigo that understands the importance of all of this. We’re ready to commit, we want to do an automation first, so I would say we’re more of a transitioning to mature organization on how we’re trying to do this.
Now as we kind of start looking at some of the other pieces around, well, is the data accessible, is it accurate, all the benefits that you would expect out of an automation project? Some of that stuff is maybe towards we sometimes work with this, we might not always work. So as you kind of scope through this, what it really helps you do is kind of align towards really two and four. What technology do I need and who from a leader perspective do I need to get involved? So if we go to the next one, just so that I have it here. Is that the platform perspective, right? So once I understand the audience, who I’m working with, some of those initiatives, this is where it comes back to implementing the platform. You need to have this process earlier on. And the reason for that will kind of talk about some of the importance of quick wins in the future, In future slides. But knowing the type of platform, and again, aligning towards step one, which is really helping you kind of figure out, to some extent, the people and process that you’re going to be utilizing, this is where then it’s so critical to get because if you buy a traditional legacy iPaaS that maybe doesn’t support, you’ve kind of looked at the readiness and you realize, “Oh, the marketing team or my finance team really wants to drive some of these initiatives. They don’t necessarily have resources to be focused on this effort. Which means I don’t want something that’s super complex, and every time I load it up, I have to kind of reread the documentation in order to understand it. This is why those decisions are so important when you’re implementing the actual platform because now I understand where my organization is at, and what I need. Which then leads us into step three. And Dave, now, how does that now that I have my platform and I do this? What’s my next step?
Right, so now I’m looking at my whole organization, right? So, and starting to define how I’m going to organize this. So in conjunction with other business leaders, right, you want to define domains. And domains represent functional areas within the organization. And in the context of automation, they consist of processes, systems, and themes. And some domains will align strictly with the specific departments, right? There’s going to be– there’s certain HR things that only HR does. But generally, especially in more important processes, these systems and processes are going to span department boundaries. So here’s an example of domains that you would find in the typical SaaS enterprise like Celigo. That’s why we use that. And it’s understanding what needs to be impacted, who’s going to be– who’s going to be a part of this from the business side of you. And then within those domains you’re going to find the business technologists who are going to lead the change. And here’s where will really begin to demonstrate the value of the Federated model, right? Because the next series of steps are things that will be led by business leaders, by automation leaders, IT is going to provide guidance. IT is going to provide support. IT, especially if there’s multiple domains involved, may coordinate those activities, but they’re really focused– instead of doing discrete projects, instead of, like Nick said, jump into 5, go and 8, complete the project, go back to 5, starting all over again. We’re going to build digital capacity across the organization by identifying these business technologies, letting them lead the change, and providing them with the tools, capability, and knowledge to do that. And the first part of that is automation leaders collaborating with the other members of their teams and their domain, these other subject matter experts, to identify and map the processes that need to be automated, right? In this case, we’re using a domain that spans departments. Quote to Cash is a common business process and includes activities that are performed by sales teams and finance teams. So the business teams then are going to analyze these processes, identify what are the bottlenecks, or where are areas that require human interaction that should stay. Where are they very resource intensive or repetitive tasks that aren’t adding values? And where are areas where timely data are needed and don’t exist right now? Because they’re going to know this better– versus hiring a business analyst who’s asking questionnaires, who doesn’t really know what this is and is acting in a very abstract way. We’re giving the people who are part of the process, who live the process, the tools to define these things.
So critical.
Then they’re going to define– yeah, then they’re going to find the technology landscape that supports that process, right? What are the core technologies that are driving this? And the first part is for the automation leaders to identify and document those systems. In our Quote to Cash example, right, the process is anchored by what we call the hub systems, the CRM and the ERP systems. But additional systems are providing required functionality. There’s opportunity management, CPQ, contract management, subscription, payment management, shipping and fulfillment. And all of those are part of that technology landscape supporting that process. But it doesn’t stop there. Right? Because now there’s going to be additional systems from other domains that provide data or less likely process here. Here it’s more what is data that’s required from those other domains that are needed to support that automation or data is needed to– or conversely, what systems are going to need data produced by this process? Right? So commonly, Quote to Cash requires data from marketing automation, domain from the customer success domain. Certainly, when it comes time for provisioning from the product, management domains. Output from this process has to go into reporting analytics. This is where finance and leadership is going to make decisions based on a lot of things that go on in this core process. So this is now the technology landscape. This is what, in a perfect world, is totally going to be integrated. But now it’s time to say, “Okay, how are we going to prioritize– how are we going to build a roadmap to get to that point where we’ve got all of this done?” And that’s got to be based on value, right? That’s got to be based on the business case. And here, Nick, you say–
I was going to say, well, I mean, to your point, this transition from 6 to 7 is exactly what we were talking about earlier of if this is done improperly, you go too big too fast. And so I mean, as we were kind of putting out that landscape and it becomes a hairball of things to solve, it is and we’ll be talking about this in a minute once we kind of build that business case, you have got to make sure you don’t go too big too fast. It’s very easy for us as technologists to see that and go, “Oh, I can solve all of this.” But to Dave’s point, we have got to build the business case to help us drive when and where.
Right. And multiple versions. And we want to put this– again, this is why it’s ideal that the automation leaders are building the business case versus a business analyst or somebody from a central IT organization because they understand what is the financial impact of this. So if we’re going to start with building the business case, we’re really starting with, what is the cost of this process today? We want to look at outcomes in terms of financial outcomes. I mean, we’re all going to quantify all this in terms of money, but what is direct financial impact, right? What are the impact on processes and productivity and labor costs? What about speed and process efficiency? And finally, what is the impact on customer? How is this going to impact top line revenue? How is it going to our opportunity to get new logo if that’s the kind of business you’re in? So what is the cost? And then you apply modeling to that, right? So in this example, we used order to cash. It’s of a manual process. We identified lost hours to the business, cost of refunds, cost of shipping delays, and mistakes. We accounted for errors and manual processes and we quantified what’s going on on the customer side. And altogether, when we did this, we came up, and this was for one of our customers, we came up with a calculation of the cost of this order to cash process was $5 million per year. What’s the next step? Obviously, you model the cost of that process if you could eliminate the waste and your accuracies, right? And now by quantifying, hey, if we could if we could automate everything, we’re talking about a little over a million versus 4.4 million, we’ve got a target ROI. Or 5 point that that was the ROI. But what we’ve got here, we know that that’s just a projected value. But you’ve got a value calculation. And you can start to prioritize projects and develop your road map and strategy model based on a combination of what is the business value, but also other factors. And I know that this is a topic you’ve put a lot of thought into.
Yeah. Well, and it’s one that we had to actually use ourselves internal. We actually had a meeting the other day, of which I was reviewing some of the stuff we were doing internal marketing. And some of the projects– and again, we as technologists will want to solve and tilt for the windmills and go for the hardest problem to show the biggest bang because we solved it and we’re heroes. And now we’re four months into this. And we’re still kind of in this bottom right category of what we were trying to bite off was far too complex. I think that the processes were probably moderately defined, but it’s one of those cases where there’s other areas that are well defined, relatively simple that are going to have the biggest value. A great example of this, a number of projects we’re doing to continue to improve even the canids of messaging and the stuff that comes out of marketing into our customer base. And it’s like, oh, hey, we want to find a way of doing the analytics on certain aspects of our marketing automation platform and the email campaigns to go at. It’s a simple process, it’s well defined, but we’re kind of focusing on a different project. So it becomes so critical, especially as you kind of map all of these things out to recognize that even the simple wins keep you moving forward. It’s not leaps and bounds. It’s step by step. And I know that it’s often very hard for us, as we’re kind of putting these projects together, to kind of remember that because there’s this big burning issue over here, right, which maybe is sitting in the green or the gray area, but there’s often some of these things that will have a significant monetary benefit to the organization and help you kind of keep moving forward. Because if you think about it, and especially as the way you’re kind of defining some of these processes, they’re very probably iterative. You’re probably decomposing a larger problem, so each of these is more of a step to solve the other problem. And by the time you solve all of the problems in the blue, some of the stuff that was in the gray maybe turns green. Stuff that’s in the green turns blue. So there’s many ways that– as we’re kind of scoping out everything that we have, don’t overlook the simple one because the simple one creates that quick win for you, which then helps, again, back to what we were talking about before, identifying that champion for you– the innovation leaders. They’re going to provide– they’re going to see the value in that. They’re going to continue to push forward. They’re going to be able to use what you’ve just done while– so you’ve kind of fed them some of that stuff. So yeah, I mean, it’s so important that this stage is taken into consideration based on everything Dave has mentioned around kind of creating those business cases and understanding the ROI.
Yes, I kind of further would add, here is– we’ve said, “Hey, when you first look at that portfolio of possible projects, prioritize those that you can get that quick win.” But going back to this broader concept of building organizational capacity, those are the projects that you will get a win. You’ll create champions. You will educate automation leaders who will then have the capacity to build and maintain and continue digital transformations within their domains, or maybe even cross domain, as they become more capable. So what was a priority, it’s done. What becomes considered next becomes a priority. What you could not automate before– because as we think about empowering these people, we’re not only empowering their technical capability to be able to contribute to digital transformation efforts. They’re going to become more adept at defining business processes, thinking in terms of, “Okay. How do I structure this business process? How do I look at the way we’re going to do something new or something we’re doing now in a better way so that it is well defined and so that we can automate it?” And it’s no longer a complex problem because I fought through the process. I understand automation principles, and now I can partner with IT. Even if it’s something that requires a heavy level of technology that’s maybe beyond what I can do, I can give them everything they need. We don’t need a business analyst in the middle. We don’t need, “I get the requirements from the business team, and I bring them to the engineers.” That whole middle path is gone. You’ve accelerated the speed, and you reduced the risk of that because that’s when the problem goes wrong, right? It’s not that the coders can’t code. It’s not that business people don’t know how to do business. It’s that the communication broke down. And you’re adding that as well as adding the technical capability for those teams.
So let’s just kind of review what we covered today, make sure that we hit all our points. So we explained why digital transformations fail. We talked about the three stages that you need to work through in order to reduce the risk and accelerate transformation in a scalable way by building organizational digital capacity – and that’s people, process, and technology – leveraging the abilities of the people defining the process to manage that digital transformation better, implementing that foundational technical infrastructure that’s going to support all of those things that are going on. And we showed you at a very high level a step by step plan for making digital transformation work. And as I said, this ebook is going to be made available to everybody. That’s your first call to action. That’s what’s going to help you. You get there. But it’s also– we’ve broke it down step by step. Obviously, it’s not a– it’s a substantial project. It’s a substantial road. And there are ways that you can get help, right, Nick?
Yeah, absolutely. Well, and I think this is one of the areas that beyond just being a technology platform. There’s a partnership associated with this type of technology itself. And so everything that we’ve kind of talked about is actually something that our organization does with our customers through these architectural design sessions. So we’ll be able to actually help you kind of step by step to find these processes, build out this plan, associate it with some of the use cases that we know, and then kind of figuring out, when we get to five, and you start mapping out those processes, like what templates, what pre packaged integration processes do we have? How can you use our platform effectively? And then drive towards that. So I’m sure that a lot of you have probably already had an email from your direct contact here at Celigo, asking to drive one of these architectural design sessions. This is what we bring to the table to help you kind of understand. So if they haven’t already, please do reach out. But these, we try to schedule these at the beginning of the year to help you kind of align what you’re working with to align with what we’re doing as well so that we can kind of drive that mutual success.
And that is the end of our prepared–
Presentation, yeah.
So we got a couple of questions, but if you have had any thoughts since we’ve been kind of putting this together, we obviously appreciate everyone came in. We’ll start to answer them in a second. But yeah, thank you. This has been great.
All right.
Cool. All right. So we’re getting some questions around us versus some of the competition, which is great. I think so if we look at it, I’ll approach it from a macro, and then a micro. So certainly some of the stuff that we’re talking about today, and where one of the things that makes Celigo unique compared to our competitors is in the understanding of the business processes that you’re trying to solve and how that translates into a set of automations or integrations. Now, if you think about a lot of the traditional legacy I pass vendors that I’ve worked for or worked with over the last decade, the knowledge of the problem that’s trying to be solved really tends to end at, hey, we’ve got connectivity for that. Maybe we have a template. And so one of the things that I think is uniquely beneficial to Celigo and actually rated very highly by Gartner and Forrester and gig on is we’ve kind of been highlighting it more is what we call prepackaged integration processes or integration apps or a templates. Being able to sit down have one of these conversations and then relate it back to some of the pre built capabilities we have within our platform and having a platform that then basically has, oh, these things were a head start and this platform is intuitive enough for me to use to start solving some of my advanced complex use cases as well as some of the simple ones. You kind of drive it. So I would say that that’s a particular case. Now, the second question that I’m seeing kind of come in is like best practices, integration patterns, compared to some of the other ones. I would say that any traditional I pass will solve, I’d say the big three or the big four, I’ll call it this, where you have your application integration, your data integration orchestration of tasks as well as your business-to-business processing. And so that’s where I would say coming back to the intuitive nature of our platform, the ability for both advanced users, it’s kind of like an onion. Now, if our ability to expand out, so the deeper you dig, the more advanced capabilities support, doesn’t mean that it’s exposed up front. So it does create an easier entry point for the business technologists like we just talked about in this presentation to start. And as they have more advanced use cases, they can kind of open up the platform to solve the advanced things while keeping it intuitive enough that, hey, I have got this integration process that we need to solve and now I need to go manage NetSuite environment, a Salesforce environment. Or I’ve got to go run this initiative, and now I’m coming back to integration. Oh, yes. It’s easy for me to pick up and remember what’s going on.” So that’s how I would kind of position ourselves against some of the legacy or traditional iPaaS vendors. It’s just back to that people process technology, they’ve got a technology platform that was designed for processes and people that no longer reflect the modern organization that you’re dealing with.
So the next question that kind of came in is what are some of the general timelines for the process? Well, depending on the scope of what you’re working with, and depending on if this is something you’re doing yourself, we also work with our partner organizations and we’re training them to help kind of do some of these architectural view sessions as well. And we have our teams that can do it. It depends. Depending on how much of the organization you are trying to bite off and kind of what you’re doing, it could take a few weeks to several months. It just depends on the level of complexity. Now that said, I think it’s less on the implementation time, more on what Dave and I were talking about, and which is important is the scoping of steps one through four. Right? How do we identify where are the companies at? Who are the leaders that are associated with making sure that their voices are heard and collecting it? Because then from that aspect, it becomes five through eight for us as seasoned integrators, that stuff’s the easy stuff. It’s just mapping it back to the value that we’re bringing on the other end.
So I was actually going to say, the way you can define your timeline is step one. It really is, is where is your level of automation maturity if you are a highly mature organization? And this is culturally, technically, and in terms of the different process definition maturity, it’s that’s what’s going to define how fast this is. Because we can guide, we can help and guide steps two, three, and four. We can tell you how the best ways to do that. And if you are a leader from a leadership maturity level, if this is, “Hey, we’re dedicated, this leadership wants to do this,” that could be very fast, right? Because people aren’t going to prioritize that. And that’s really just about, “Hey, does the business want to embrace this? And is the business want to accelerate this?” And it really makes it not just lip service. And once you’ve got that, then, yeah, then we as a partner can help you. Then again, how fast is five to eight like Nick said really? It’s really how fast are you ready to move.
Yeah. And so then the question is coming in around budgeting and how much should they budget. And I would say from a T-shirt sizing, so on and so forth, it’s hard to say. So the question was, how do you budget customers? How much budget should customers allocate for a medium-complex to high-priority digital transformation project? It depends on the size of the organization, it depends on the level. Medium for some versus medium for others. I mean, I would say that I think to your point, which is a very valid question, is how do I help advocate that this project, which is somewhat complex, but has a high priority needs the budget that’s allocated with it. So I’m slightly turning the question a little bit to, again, if you use this kind of path to explain some of these use cases and you can kind of define the ROI that should be associated with, that should help you with your budget. I mean, it could be depending on your level of complexity. I’m trying to handle three or four applications, right? But they have anywhere from 10 to 30 flows, different objects between those applications that I need to start with. So it really just depends on the level of that complexity. But I think this is where ultimately steps one in four, very specifically, like running through identifying the leaders and to some extent the domain definition will help you then build that proposal for a higher budget.
Cool. We’ll wait a couple of minutes if there’s any other questions. I think, Dave, there’s a plug for one of them, I know the next webinar is where we’re thinking of putting together, or I know that there is– so I think one of the things we could call out while we have this audience is that there’s some questions around best practices. There’s some questions around integration patterns. I’d like to take a moment to call out. We have university courses that are happening every week, two or three of them usually a week that cover best practices, introductions, stuff like that. The other side when we’re talking about defining timelines, processes, budget, we have CSM capabilities that we also have available as well. So I want to make sure we put the plug there because those are things that we absolutely have available already out of the box.
And I was going to add is the part of the architectural design sessions and we build out that road map and we build out a kind of an annual cost both from the terms of software process, what kind of consumption times you need, that’s something they can work through if you’re at that point of, “Hey, I’m really ready to take this step.”
Yeah, absolutely. Cool. Well, if there’s no more questions, we absolutely appreciate the time that you’ve spent with us to talk about this topic. And we look forward to seeing you guys on our next webinar.

About The Speakers

Dave Wallen

Director of Platform Product Marketing


Nick Piette

Director Product Marketing

Dave Wallen

Dave Wallen is a veteran industry evangelist with a passion for promoting innovative cloud solutions that help organizations improve performance and maximize their return on investment. As Director of Platform Product Marketing, he’s focused on industry and market research, customer insight, go-to-market planning and spreading the word the about the Celigo platform. Dave lives in the historic village of Dobbs Ferry in New York’s Lower Hudson Valley with his wife, daughter, and their three rescue cats.

Nick Piette

Nick is a 13 year industry veteran focused on enterprise integration patterns and iPaaS. His last five years have been centered around the convergence of application integration and data integration within the mid market. He has held roles in engineering, support, presales and product helping companies develop platforms for modern integration teams.

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