We are far more efficient and have dramatically improved the billing reconciliation process. Our sales and management teams now have information from the entire opportunity to billing cycle at their fingertips on Force.com.
It has never been more critical for publishers to differentiate themselves in the competitive and ever changing media landscape. Cloud computing is allowing us to do that. FinancialForce.com’s media solution is providing the data, process efficiencies and insight we need to optimize ad sales and deliver the best service to our clients. We picked the right company to support our business.
- Yingjie Shu, Vice President Information Technology, US News & World Report
Despite the electronic nature of online advertising and the promise of new digital business models, the back office systems used to manage the advertising billing process at most online media companies are relatively undeveloped, labor intensive and disconnected. In fact, the systems used to manage the entire opportunity to cash process usually consist of a collection of disparate technologies, home grown systems, spreadsheets and a large dose of human effort. While it is ironic in this digital age that media companies are struggling to automate and optimize what is arguably their most important business process, it is an untenable situation, particularly as companies attempt to keep a lid on administrative costs as they grow.
Compared to the print world, online advertising is a relatively new and more dynamic business discipline. Hence, the business applications used at most media companies have not matured into complete systems that tie the process of selling, inventorying, tracking and billing online advertisements into one automated and integrated process. It is not unusual for companies to deploy 3-6 disconnected applications to manage the entire opportunity to cash process, causing re-keying between systems, an over-reliance on spreadsheets and invoice reconciliation issues. This in turn delays billing, delays cash payments and lengthens the period close process.
Fragmented systems are also a source of reporting problems, depriving your sales, finance and management teams of critical business information. For instance, in a fragmented environment it might take reports from 5-6 separate systems to generate a complete view of a customer’s opportunities, agency relationships, proposals, campaigns, insertion orders, click rates, impressions served, bills and receivables. This situation is compounded if separate systems are used for print and digital advertising. Fragmented data prevents teams from seeing the complete customer relationship, thereby complicating customer service and impeding cross selling and upselling opportunities. And maybe worse, your company can appear disjointed and out of synch with the customer depending on who the customer speaks with and how much information your employees can easily access.
To address your problem, FinancialForce.com has teamed with the leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and cloud computing, salesforce.com, to deliver a complete system that simplifies and integrates the various components in the online advertising opportunity to cash process. This is done by leveraging FinancialForce billing applications, Salesforce CRM and the Force.com cloud computing platform.
FinancialForce Media automates the process of selling, tracking and billing for online advertising campaigns. The solution closes the loop between Salesforce CRM, ad servers like Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers and FinancialForce Billing, creating one integrated process. For the first time, online publishers will gain unprecedented efficiency and complete account visibility through all stages of the online advertising sales, ad serving and billing cycle.
FinancialForce Media unifies and automates process and data flows across traditionally fragmented media industry application environments. Business processes can be tailored to the company’s specific flow. For example, an opportunity created in Salesforce CRM can be linked to proposal creation in an ad server based on available ad units. This proposal is synced to FinancialForce Accounting for the creation of a media sales agreement and an insertion order; at the same time, the opportunity is updated in Salesforce CRM. Once the ad has been served, billing information is imported or linked via web services to FinancialForce Accounting to update the sales agreement on an as-needed basis.
Users can automatically create invoices, easily reconcile with the original proposal, and post updated account information to accounts receivable as required. FinancialForce Media can integrate with a variety of ad servers such as Operative and ERP systems such as Peoplesoft, Oracle and SAP. It can also simultaneously accommodate online and print advertising in a single cloud based system.
With the entire process tracked in single cloud, 360 ° account and agency views are easy to see anytime, from anywhere on any device. You can analyze an account’s opportunities, campaigns, insertion orders, impressions served, click rates, billing, and receivables all from one easily accessible and online information source. Sales teams have a complete view of account activity at their fingertips using a familiar tool they use every day, Salesforce CRM. Management benefits from a treasure trove of information to analyze accounts, properties, campaigns, cash and sales forecasts. Role based dashboards are easy to create and publish, including availability on mobile devices. This comprehensive database is further complimented by Chatter, salesforce.com’s social media application that allows all employees to collaborate around a single data source online.
FinancialForce Media helps publishers make the shift to online products with optimal speed and operational performance.
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