At the end of 2022, we surveyed our clients, prospects and social media following to find out how business leaders were responding to both macro and micro challenges, as well as the role that Document Automation* and Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software have in addressing those challenges.
Macro-economic challenges like supply chain disruptions featured prominently in the results, but organizations are also faced with increasing expectations, from both employees and customers. As a result, organizations are looking to maximize the ROI of their software investments across multiple areas of business, needing to drive efficiency while creating more positive experiences for users.
How are organizations adapting to these challenges?
We identified four major trends in our research:
- Accessibility and security are the top tech concerns in 2023
- Maximizing ROI from CPQ and Document Automation tools requires investment from leadership down to users.
- Improvements to employee and customer experiences can offer cascading value across the organization, making a cause for optimism considering macro-economic uncertainty
- Small process changes and efficiency gains add up to a large difference
Why Businesses Are Prioritizing Accessibility
When we asked about some of the advantages of using Document Automation and CPQ solutions, improvements to employee and customer experiences were key areas of focus. Here are a few of the results:
- 66% agree that CPQ improves customer interactions (66% agree or strongly agree)
- 59% agree that CPQ improves the employee experience (59%)
- 59% agree that Document Automation improves the employee experience
- 56% agree that Document Automation improves customer interactions (56%)
These results show that decision makers feel that these advantages are just as important as more quantitative advantages — for both Document Automation and CPQ software, more than half of respondents agreed that the solutions had a direct impact on profitability. Those benefits are also interconnected. When employees can easily leverage the tools they need to do their jobs, they can focus more on critical work.
We also saw high interest in adopting AI- and machine learning-powered solutions. This is also an area that’s likely to make software more accessible to business users. AI chat assistants can help users navigate more advanced features, and machine learning technology is also likely to help organizations create and manage a greater depth of analytics. We’re already starting to see AI become more accessible with tools like ChatGPT, and that trend is likely to carry over to business technology as more vendors incorporate into their solutions.
How to Maximize ROI from CPQ and Document Automation
Getting the most out of any business solution requires support beyond the initial implementation, from top to bottom. When we explored the major challenges to adopting CPQ and Document Automation software, leadership support was among the most significant barriers to adoption.
Here are some of the other results:
What are the primary reasons adoption of your CPQ software is not higher?
- Employees don’t understand or weren’t trained in how to use it
- We lacked management engagement/promotion
- The system is not adequately customized to our needs
What are the primary reasons adoption of your Document Automation software is not higher?
- It doesn’t integrate smoothly with other solutions (43%)
- The system is not adequately customized to our needs (38%)
- We lack management engagement/promotion (33%)
Greater support from leadership featured prominently for both types of software, highlighting the importance of management sponsorship for newly adopted solutions. Vendors also face increasing expectations from their clients. When asked about important vendor qualities for selecting business software, 56% respondents highlighted onboarding support as a top factor.
The sometimes-hard truth is that today’s technology challenges are often too complex for a single organization to solve. Businesses today use more software applications than ever before, and less than half of them are actually used regularly by employees. Adopting new technology or optimizing existing solutions often requires as much of a culture shift as a technical one. Employees must really see the value of new solutions over their existing tools and processes, and organizational leaders play a critical role in helping to facilitate that understanding.
We see these challenges as encouraging more collaboration between vendors and their clients, as well as pushing growth in technology partnership programs.
As technology becomes simpler to use, it’ll give business departments more control over the technical tools they use. This doesn’t lessen the need for tech experts, though. Just as business units will be able to focus more on their core areas of work, technical teams will be able to do more that truly requires their expertise — customizing solutions to fit the needs of users, building integrations and maintaining security and access control for the solutions they adopt.
The growth of cloud-based software truly empowered business users with powerful self-service tools. Now, many organizations are in optimization mode and looking to maximize the utilization of the tools they have. This has made integration and consolidation a key priority for the future, particularly for large organizations where business application sprawl is a more present problem. The good news is that AI-powered software will make it easier for technical and non-technical users alike to do their jobs more effectively.
Download our 2023 Document Automation and CPQ Trends report to learn more.