In working with many of our software publisher clients, I have observed an interesting trend. There is an emergence of a senior role within publisher organizations tied to revenue. This individual is sometimes called the Chief Accounting Officer or Chief Revenue Officer and his or her role differs significantly from the Chief Sales Officer or Chief Financial Officer.
The Chief Sales Officer (CSO) is tied to bookings. This individual relies on a CRM system such as salesforce.com to manage a forecast, keep track of individuals and accounts, and manage the steps of the sales cycle.
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is tied to all company revenue. This individual relies on the data from an ERP system such as SAP or Oracle to generate financial reports, manage cash, and the balance sheet.
The Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) is often tied to customer success, increased renewal rates, and the management of subscription licensing contracts. Although the CSO and CFO care about these things, the emergence of the CRO or Chief of Customer Success is tied directly to the business value associated with an entitlement management system. The entitlement management system helps in improving renewal rates, speeding revenue recognition, managing subscription agreements and enforcing policies for an organization to receive improved tax treatment. The benefits of the entitlement management system are tied to such goals as:
- We must improve our renewal rates by 3% and proactively manage our subscription contract expiration dates as part of this effort
- We must recognize all revenue with orders booked up until 11:59 PM on the last day of the quarter
- We must ship products from locations with the best tax treatment based on the geographic location of the order
These goals are not well facilitated or managed by a CRM or ERP system. Although these systems may have elements that help address such questions, entitlement management systems focus on the management of these outcomes.