Part of the Fortune 500 company Ricoh Group (specializing in Managed Document Services, Production Printing, Office Solutions, and IT Services), Ricoh Europe operates via 25 subsidiaries across EMEA with a total of 17,850 employees. Responsible for 21.3% of the Group’s revenue, Ricoh Europe has a turnover of over £4bn.
Board Project Overview
Sales Performance Management for 4.6 million customers, 5 million sales activities and 750,000 sales opportunities
- Customer 360° (A complete, single view of the customer)
- Pipeline management (Key measures include Forecast opportunity count/revenue and Open Marketing Qualified Leads)
- Sales process optimization (Key measures include Won revenue vs target and No. of sales activities vs target)
- Salesperson focus (Reporting on each individual’s sales activities)
- Sales forecasting (Comparison of sales forecasts against actuals to evaluate business-wide forecast accuracy)
- Account coverage (Analysis and assessment of customer retention based on KPIs)
The Challenge: Twenty-five different operating companies to be analyzed together
Having been formed of multiple acquired business units over several years, Ricoh’s analysis and reporting activities were traditionally quite disparate across different offices, countries, and regions. The company’s senior management team wanted to improve overall visibility and there was a desire to evolve its perspective on sales cycles from a bottom up to a top down approach. In addition, Ricoh sought to replace time-consuming and ineffective ‘data dumps’ with a comprehensive, modern sales performance management solution.
Matthew Layman, BI Delivery Manager at Ricoh, explains:
“We have 25 different operating companies across EMEA and one of the key challenges that we had in this project was to bring those 25 operating companies together to have a single source of information that we could use to really drive our business.”
“Our business data is really showing that we’re not small… we have 4.6 million customers, 1.3 million products, 2 million assets, 3.5 million sales contacts, about 5 million sales activities, 3.5 million sales contacts, 750,000 sales opportunities at any one time, 2 million orders per year getting loaded in, and about 9 million service activities.”
To achieve a centralized view of these massive volumes of data, Ricoh decided on a four-step project:
Gather data from European CRM, ERP, and several Supply Chain applications, as well as signal data from product sensors, throughout different regional businesses, to get a Single Version of Truth based on a European Data Warehouse.
Within each Process Area, set up standardized measures based on relevant KPIs.
“One of our desires was to align the meanings of our analytical terms, so that we could compare information across different geographies and business units relying on a consistent set of measures,” explains Matthew.
On the basis of the standardized KPIs, create, control, and manage dedicated indicators to intuitively and interactively compare measures to goals, e.g. ‘traffic lights’ to indicate performance levels at a glance.
Following those signals, decision-makers must be empowered with the capability to load budgets and targets into the solution at Individual, Divisional, Business Area, Regional, and European levels.
Empower users with the ability to perform self-service analyses on large volumes of data to enable them to quickly and easily identify the right course of action.
“We wanted to provide people involved in decision-making processes with a modern tool for data analytics and self-service reporting so that they could act in a proactive way,” adds Matthew.
The Ricoh team set out several key requirements for the new solution which would complement the four stages of the project:
- A single source of truth across the business, shifting the culture away from the use of disparate databases and spreadsheets
- The ability for users to play with data in a self-service environment by slicing and dicing it as desired and drilling anywhere, right down to a single order level of detail
- Support for multiple languages and currencies to enable use across all 25 operating units
- Strict security and access management controls to ensure the protection of sensitive data
- A flexible platform enabling rapid development and the ability to make ongoing changes as business needs evolve
The Solution: Board
Ricoh implemented the project using the Board decision-making platform, which combines analytics, simulation, planning, and forecasting capabilities, building up a sales performance management solution across the EMEA region.
The result is a Management Information System for all European and Operating Company reporting, which is formed of six intertwined applications:
Effectively integrated with the different information sources of the Group, Board empowers Ricoh with a complete, accurate, and always up-to-date view of its customers. This provides sales reps with useful reports that they can use to better set up their face-to-face meetings with customers. Each report summarizes all the data from systems such as the ERP, CRM, and contract billing so that the Reps can easily identify a particular customer’s information or anything useful for their daily sales processes and customer relationship management.
Board allows Ricoh’s sales reps to gain full visibility of their current pipeline, as well as control and evaluate it, through a set of standard measures across all the European operating companies of the Group. In this way, Board brings the most meaningful and business critical data to the sales reps’ fingertips, highlighting the top opportunities within the pipeline.
“By means of Board’s modern analytics capabilities,” says Matthew, “users can analyze their entire pipeline by channel or line of business and can look across all the different stages and expected close dates. For example, they can look at things that are overdue, things that they've won, and how that corresponds to what they had forecasted for that month.”
Sales process optimization
Board also acts as a sales intelligence tool that – as Matthew highlights – “reflects the Ricoh Sales methodology.” The sales measures coming from the CRM software are compared with the objectives and performance indicators to measure progress against targets.
“For example, on the Board platform we have easily created some visual indicators to assess if people are creating the expected number of opportunities and earlier understand their possibility to hit their targets, so that senior managers can act on it. Board helps us to decide which customers Sales Reps need to visit and nurture, and which additional activities they should do in order to achieve the assigned objective.”
Supporting the sales reps and sales managers in their weekly catch up meetings, Board aggregates information on customer sales activity into a user-friendly, consumable format which helps the reps to make the right decisions on who they need to visit and any additional activities they need to undertake.
“This is the email that every sales rep has on their doorstep on a Monday morning. It shows them their month-to-date, won business, what’s in the pipeline, how much they have won year-to-date, how that correlates to their targets, and how many opportunities they have created that month. All of these are key KPIs that they are measured on by their managers and they can see them in a visual way which is consistent with all of the sales reps across Europe.”
Ricoh uses Board also to compare historic snapshots and insights of the sales forecast for given months against the actual results. The resulting report enables sales managers and executives to evaluate the accuracy of Sales Forecasts across the entire organization, both for individual sales reps and divisional or European teams.
“This is one of the most interesting applications we have built on the Board platform because it allows us to drive actions in the view of continuous improvement,” says Matthew.
With this tool, Ricoh leverages Board’s modern BI capabilities to pursue a Customer Retention Strategy. Based on the analysis of certain KPIs, Board helps sales reps to identify those customers that have not received enough attention.
“The Board solution we have called ‘Forecast Accuracy’ enables us to find out the customers we need to visit by combining together different KPIs, based on analysis of the feedback coming from our previous face to face visits or calls in the last six months. Alternatively, we can proactively look for those customers that have contracts expiring in the next 12 months.”
Overall, Board has enabled Ricoh to achieve the full transparency it desired across each of its operating entities. Performance data can be analyzed and explored with ease, making it easy to continuously adjust and improve the approach at each stage of the sales cycle, while a consistent approach has now been realized across the entire business.
“25 different companies all had a lot of autonomy at one point in time, and we've brought them together into a single set of processes. And we really drive those sales processes through our optimization initiatives and through Board. We have 33 different Board databases and 37 different dashboards being utilized by 3,000 users to gain full clarity over our 4.6 million customers and 9 million service activities taking place each year. We're in a different age now, thanks to the Board decision-making platform,” concludes Matthew.