What to Focus on in Digital Transformation? Speed.

How do you know if you are approaching Digital Transformation the right way?

How do you know if your Digital Transformation is delivering results?

An easy way to answer both of these questions is speed.

Why Should I Focus on Speed?

Because without even getting into the details, spreadsheets, analytics, and metrics, your Digital Transformation should enable you to make obvious gains in speed. Speed of execution, speed of sales, speed of service, etc.


And those gains should be by an order of magnitude that makes them stand out by themselves, without any need for data or analysis. They should be noticeable to most people involved in the process. They should be no-brainers.


Digital Transformation, aka The 4th Industrial Revolution,  should result in crystal clear benefits, not subtle or marginal nudges in the right direction. Having  to dive deep into the weeds to figure out the benefits of a Digital Transformation is a bad sign that could indicate that the focus was put on the wrong place or on the wrong solution.


From 1 Week to 1 Day / 1 Day to 1 Hour / 1 Hour to 1 Minute

What we mean when mentioning obvious speed gains by an order magnitude is that tasks that previously took a specific amount of time should now take only a fraction of that time to be completed.

  • A task that took 1 week now takes 1 day.
  • A task that took 1 day now takes 1 hour.
  • A task that took 1 hour now takes 1 minute.


It should be as obvious as that. Anybody coming in contact with this kind of transformation will notice it without needing to look at spreadsheets, data or metrics. It’s a no-brainer. Here are a few examples of no-brainers… all inspired by some of our customers at SOLJIT.

Sales Report: From 4 Days to 4 Hours

A sales manager has to report to company executives on a monthly basis and does this by building a sales report. This report takes him 4 days to build, every month. How?


From 4 days…

  1. He starts by sending an email to his team to get their sales and, hopefully, pipeline data. Some sales reps are organized and have it on hand; others, not so much.
  2. Over several days, he emails and calls the sales reps who have yet to submit their data.
  3. With his reporting date coming closer, he gathers all the numbers received, which include most of the sales data and enough pipeline data to work with.
  4. He manually builds his report in Excel. Creates charts. Copies and pastes into PowerPoint.
  5. Counting the back and forth with his team over several days and the time needed to craft the report and the presentation, the sales manager has spent 4 days (32 hours more or less) on this report.


…To 4 hours

With a CRM like Salesforce, the sales reps enter the closed sales and sales opportunities directly in Salesforce as they go about their daily routine. They can do that from their laptops as well as their mobiles. All the data is in the system, all the time, and updated in real time on input.

  1. One or two days before the meeting with company executives, the sales manager goes to the Salesforce dashboard built specifically for company executives and reviews the charts and data that are already in.
  2. Noticing two or three things that seem off, he calls the sales reps involved to get an explanation. The matter is sorted out after a few quick chats and he’s now ready for his meeting.
  3. All in all, it took him 4 hours to have a quick look at everything and investigate irregularities. Because the executives also have access to the same dashboard, they will all be on the same page when the meeting starts and will be able to maximize their time focusing on what’s next.


42 extra work days per year… it’s a no-brainer

By shrinking his time dedicated to his reporting from 4 days per month down to 4 hours per month, the sales manager has more time to focus on growing the business. Over the course of a year, instead of devoting 48 work days to building those reports, he will only need 6 days. That’s 42 extra work days per year he can focus on sales, sales management, and growth.


It’s a no-brainer.

Contract Signing: From 2 Weeks to 2 Days

Every day, sales reps send contracts to prospective customers with whom they have a verbal or email agreement to get a contract signature. And every day, week, and month, sales reps wait and wait and wait for that signature process to be over with. How can a simple signature process extend the sales cycle for weeks every time?


From 2 weeks…

  1. The contract is ready for the customer and the sales rep sends the PDF via email.  “As discussed, here’s the contract. Please sign and return it and we’ll be ready to go!”
  2. The customer is busy and ignores it for the time being, as is tradition.
  3. The sales rep knows how much trouble it is to print, sign, scan, and send back documents, so he sends a reminder a few days later. “Hi, don’t forget to sign the contract and send it back to me, our team is waiting on this to start.”
  4. The following week, the customer slowly — very slowly — decides to print the PDF. He holds off for another day or two, signs it, and painfully scans it using the office printer. He then sends back the contract.
  5. All in all, it took 2 weeks from the initial email with the PDF to contract to receiving the signed and scanned PDF.


…To 2 days

  1. The contract is ready for the customer and the sales rep sends the PDF via Salesforce email, including the electronic signature add-on. “As discussed, here’s the contract. As soon as you sign it, we’ll be ready to go!”
  2. The customer is busy and ignores it for the time being, as is tradition.
  3. The sales rep knows how easy it is to sign the contract via electronic signature. So he emails the next day. “Hi, I haven’t received the signed contract yet. I may not have mentioned it but we use electronic signatures. Simply open the PDF and click, no need to print or scan, etc. Thanks!”
  4. Seeing this, the customer opens the PDF and signs it in one click (or tap via mobile). “Hmmm… that was easy. Man, I hate printing and scanning.” Immediately the Opportunity in Salesforce is set to Closed-Won, the sales rep is notified, the project team is notified, and the sales manager’s dashboard is updated.
  5. All in all, it took 2 days from the initial email to the contract being signed, which also updated all the data in the CRM.


Shorter sales cycle and better cash flow… it’s a no-brainer

By simply using one add-on (electronic signatures) with the Salesforce CRM, this company was able to reduce their sales cycle by almost two weeks (8 business days), while improving customer experience. This means that sales are closed faster and that sales reps have to spend less time doing follow-ups. It also means that the company’s cash flow has improved by about 4%. All of that just with electronic signatures.


It’s a no-brainer.

Sales to Project Hand-Off: From 5 Hours to 5 Minutes

A professional services and software development company is experiencing a disconnect between their sales team and their project team. This results in projects being slow to get off the ground, and at times missing the mark when it comes to scope and objectives. The company uses JIRA to manage their projects.


From 5 hours…

  1. When a contract is signed, the sales rep notifies the project team via a brief email.
  2. The selected Project Manager has to reach back to the sales rep as well as the customer to align on scope and deliverables. Because every sales rep has their own process and is frequently unavailable, there is little consistency and communication is limited. The back and forth can last a few days depending on how difficult it can be to reach the stakeholders.
  3. From these discussions and whatever document the sales rep can provide, the Project Manager will create an initial set of JIRA Issues to serve as a base for the project.
  4. All in all, the Project Manager spends about 5 hours over a few days doing back and forth between the sales rep and the customer in order to get alignment and create the initial basic work breakdown structure of the project. Besides the hassle and delays, the more critical issue with this process is that it leaves room for error between what was signed in the contract and what will be delivered by the project team.


…To 5 minutes

  1. The company decided to formalize their sales process with Salesforce and integrate it to their JIRA with a connector (made by SOLJIT).
  2. When a contract is signed, the project team is notified automatically and every line item of the contract is in the Salesforce Opportunity, as the contract is built from these line items.
  3. The Project Manager goes into Salesforce to sync the Opportunity with JIRA. In a few minutes, this creates the JIRA Project and Issues based on the Opportunity line items. This ensures complete alignment between the contract and the structure of the project. From there, the project can start.
  4. All in all, for each project, the Project Manager spends about 5 minutes performing the sync for each project. In addition to speed, the best part of this integration is the alignment between customer contract and project breakdown structure.


Faster project hand-off and kick-off, with better alignment… it’s a no-brainer.

When talking about integrating two applications together, such as Salesforce and JIRA, the key element to remember is how this integration will enable different teams or departments to work better together. In this case, the Sales and Projects departments are better integrated; the result is increased speed and fewer business risks related to miscommunication.


It’s a no-brainer.



Fundraising Integration: From Weeks to Seconds. 

A nonprofit organization was using multiple platforms for fundraising, relying mainly on Salesforce for its regular donor campaigns and Panorama (Fronstream / Artez) for fundraising events held in multiple locations for which people can enroll friends and colleagues, etc.


From Weeks…

  1. The event organization was very decentralized, and there was no easy way to get that data into Salesforce.
  2. The nonprofit tried to do so manually, calling all its organizers and trying to get them to export their data successfully so it could accesst it.
  3. Even when dedicating significant time to coordinate with 100+ events, the organizers  always ended up with incomplete data.
  4. All in all, and even when dedicating weeks to the effort of gathering decentralized data from satellite organizers and importing it into Salesforce, the best they had was an incomplete picture of their fundraising and finances.


…To Seconds

  1. The nonprofit organization used a connector (made by SOLJIT) between Salesforce and Panorama (Frontstream / Artez).
  2. Every time anyone makes a donation to one of its decentralized events on Panorama, it is automatically created in Salesforce. The process is completely automated.
  3. All in all, the connector integrates all Panorama donations automatically, so the time spent to do that is technically 0. Let’s say “seconds” just for kicks.


The impossible made possible, from weeks to seconds… it’s a no-brainer

Something that seemed impossible for this nonprofit organization is now possible… and it’s automated. Meaning its organizers no longer have to spend time and energy on it. They went from spending weeks every year for a “this is the best we can get” result to getting the complete and successful result they wanted in the first place… in 0 seconds.


It’s a no-brainer.


Look For Speed Before Making a Decision

In conclusion, before selecting a solution or the next area of priority for the Digital Transformation of your organization, look for which action or solution will help you generate the most gains in terms of execution speed. If the answer isn’t obvious, look for more options, as there should be plenty of opportunities to increase the speed of many processes by an order of magnitude.

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