Carving out a $1 billion business while transforming the lead-to-cash process

RSM's advice positions complex SaaS security software company for a bright future

Jun 24, 2024
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Business applications Digital transformation Customer experience Modern work solutions
Technology industry Salesforce CRM services Technology consulting

Overview

Our client was a successful, fast-growing security software division of a larger firm and was being carved out of the parent company to deliver a higher overall valuation for all parties. The client approached the divestiture as a value-creation opportunity to rebuild their business and digitally transform their infrastructure within a short time frame.

The client selected RSM US LLP to perform an entire company carve-out, including all front- and back-office systems as well as IT infrastructure. The cross-organizational team took approximately 18 months to fully achieve the split, even as the company was growing quickly, responding to chaotic market conditions and changing their organizational leadership in real time.

Challenge

The client’s software as a service business is highly complex and includes both business-to-consumer and business-to-business customers. Their sophisticated software product offers freemium and subscription options and is sold over the web, and through direct sales and partner resellers. With a user base in the tens of millions, scale and automation were key in their digital transformation efforts.

The company’s processes, applications and data were spread across a number of organizations and systems. Defining the business goals and vision required leveraging best practices and coordinating strategy and process across several groups.

Subscription businesses can have significant complexity, with an operational model that emphasizes freemium to paid conversion, term renewals and minimization of churn, and subscription forecasting, as well as amendments to active contracts, which have many downstream effects. The client’s complex co-termination, pricing and discounting processes required automation to handle the scale across many salespeople and customers, from lead to quote, to order to billing, invoicing to revenue recognition.

Data was also strewn across several legacy systems and databases, with differing structures and data duplication that prevented establishing a single source of truth for customer information. In addition, during the carve-out, significant organizational and staff changes occurred across the parent and divested companies, which required strong stewardship by the project leadership team, involving both client and RSM team members.

Solution

The client engaged RSM for guidance on properly carving out the entity and maintaining smooth operations during the transition. As a security company, the client had significant reputational concerns and requirements for minimizing disruptive impacts. RSM leveraged experience across multiple areas—including management consulting, Salesforce, NetSuite, billing, revenue recognition and IT services—to create the top-to-bottom rebuild strategy that would maximize business value while minimizing disruption.  Industry best practices were utilized, as well as strategies specific to the needs of the client.

Improvements RSM delivered included: 

  • Consolidation of three different quote-to-cash processes into one unified Salesforce and NetSuite process
  • The ability to quickly and accurately calculate deal profitability, revenue schedules and sales commissions
  • Establishment of a data master that enabled a 360-degree view of each customer and a true understanding of the full value of the customer’s annual recurring revenue (ARR), total contract value (TCV), profitability and more
  • Transformation of the channel partner organization, including in the areas of training, enablement, selling and provisioning, as well as standardization of partner pricing and discounts for easier scalability
  • The ability to respond faster to sales and account management needs for quicker deal closing, through capabilities such as:
    • Quick generation of quotes and requotes from a standardized price and products list
    • Enabling reps to handle standard contract clauses and exceptions and scale approval processes for more complex changes
    • Automation of contract amendments, significantly reducing the manual effort previously required for co-terminations, such as for add-ons, extensions, renegotiations and more

RSM optimized our current processes, set up the guiding principles and aligned us to best practices while still understanding the nuances of our business. It’s a strong relationship that has really made our project successful.
Vice president of sales operations, security software company

The takeaway

Carving out a successful business, even with a “lift and shift” approach, in which existing processes and systems are replicated without significant change, is a large effort in itself. But conducting a full digital transformation across multiple divisions at the same time creates significantly greater complexity, as strategies, processes, systems and data need to be reengineered and harmonized. Skills across the entire lead-to-cash life cycle are paramount for the successful design and implementation of digital transformation—an effort that should minimize time to value, maximize the return on architecture investment and generate maximum business value for all parties involved.

At the conclusion of the project, the client was established as a separate entity and poised for ongoing growth. The new technology infrastructure and strategy implemented by RSM set the stage for more efficient and effective sales processes, enabling the company to unlock more extensive revenue streams.

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