What comes next for order-to-cash in 2021

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2020 showcased all the different ways technology can be used to make life a little easier, especially when it comes to business. But what comes next? Here are some predictions for order-to-cash (O2C) trends we will see in 2021.

To say 2020 was a year like no other is a bit of an understatement. It changed how we work, do business, and interact with everything and everyone. It was a year of firsts for most of us. For example, I had my first drive up vet appointment for my dog, my first telehealth visit with a doctor, and shopped for groceries online through a delivery service (I can’t believe I waited until 2020 to do this).

Technology isn’t changing just for consumers. Some exciting trends and innovations are emerging in 2021, especially when it comes to O2C. Here are my top three picks for the O2C trends to watch in 2021.

Organizations will be more willing to pioneer innovative technology solutions.  

One of the biggest trends we will see is artificial intelligence (AI) becoming even more commonplace. AI is accessible to business teams through automation libraries, platforms, software, and point solutions. As many of us realize, you can only go so far with process improvement and robotic process automation (RPA) alone. Finance teams are starting to realize the benefits of machine learning, conversational AI, autonomous transactional processing, to name a few. Organizations will build on their digital strategies from 2020 and further optimize and evolve AI solutions.

The O2C solutions that gained the most momentum in 2020 leveraged AI across functions and solved problems that traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) and platforms struggled to address, matching cash without remittance, predicting forecasts, and interacting with customers to resolve issues. As organizations look for opportunities to reduce cost and drive innovation, more companies will be willing to pioneer and pilot new AI solutions internally and with customers.

Rethinking team design around a new North Star

One quickening trend within global organizations is to redesign their operating models for O2C, shifting beyond traditional business team structures. Supply chain, customer service, and finance teams will realign to remove barriers and reimagine processes from end to end. O2C teams are currently over defined, which has created inefficiencies and process silos.

You cannot perfect collections, cash, and other finance activities without improving processes and interactions around master data, customer setup, pricing, customer development, billing, invoicing, etc. Disconnecting these reduces agility, limits transformation and process improvement, and creates unnecessary approvals and touchpoints.

Orchestrating data is no longer reserved for your IT teams

I predict that leveraging Integration Platform as a Service (IPaaS) for O2C transformation will continue to grow in 2021. Historically, data orchestration and IPaaS solutions have been overlooked by business teams but will gain traction with finance and transformation teams in 2021. IT teams have been using IPaaS solutions to solve business problems for years. They have quietly used solutions to solve system integration issues, customer master data management, product or pricing masters, and other data automations usually delegated to IT teams. Data orchestration tools can be used to accelerate access to data, reduce exceptions, remove process friction, and transform key processes.

2021 will be about removing friction from O2C processes by looking for better digital strategies and being brave when it comes to innovative technology solutions and team design. Organizations will focus more on digital customer interaction and customer experience. The goal will be building customer loyalty while reducing costs. Digital transformation strategies implemented in 2020 will continue to grow throughout 2021.

Stay tuned for more on how to achieve frictionless O2C in the year ahead!

To learn more about how Capgemini’s Frictionless Finance can help you start your frictionless finance journey towards enhanced O2C processes and improve customer satisfaction, contact: caroline.schneider@capgemini.com

Caroline Schneider has been delivering and designing O2C solutions for clients for over 18 years. She is passionate about delivering solutions to clients to maximize their working capital through technology, automation, and industrialized process design.

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