Many years ago I worked in a merchandising department at a large retailer. I experienced first hand the struggles faced with managing large retail promotions across many products, from many vendors at the same time. Back then, that involved querying a legacy system through a reporting tool that was less than easy to navigate, downloading the data into Microsoft Excel and doing all the work there. That was really the only viable solution. It was tedious, time consuming and prone to error. Today, for some retailers, the solution of choice is still Microsoft Excel, and it’s still tedious, time consuming and prone to error.
The Promotions Challenge
Retailers still have to manage large product portfolios, across many suppliers, stores and funding types. For some, with both online and brick & mortar stores, the size of the product portfolio is astronomical. It’s difficult to get all data into one place to have a complete picture of the health of the various promotions running at any given time. To complicate matters, these promotions start as a contract negotiation, with frequent bargaining, contract redlines and changes. Additionally, retailers often use CRM systems to track customer interactions, and ERP systems to manage their finances. The list of tools in their tech stack goes on and on. The bigger challenge lies not just in managing the contracts, the promotions, and the customer and financial data, but how to create efficiency at the same time, so as the retailer grows, the tools being used can scale with the growth.
The Promotions Solution
Fortunately, Apttus has a solution, and for those tied to Excel due to its superior calculation and analytical abilities, the good news is, Apttus’ X-Author for Excel helps you bridge the gap between stand-alone Microsoft Excel and enterprise CRM applications, by allowing end users to continue to use Excel. The one difference is this time, Excel is connected to CRM. It’s the best of both worlds: all the advantages of Excel speed, combined with the customer and supplier data of CRM. Retailers can continue managing promotions in the same Excel spreadsheet they have been using with many added benefits:
- Version Control: Everyone in the organization always uses the current version of the Excel workbook because it is stored in CRM
- Everyone in the organization has visibility to the latest data, with CRM security and access controls enforced
- Sharing workbooks with partners and suppliers to collaborate on data is secured by CRM
- Excel spreadsheets with hundreds of columns of data are transformed into easy to manage, enterprise applications