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Workday gives debt collectors predictive analytics software

Workday is providing predictive analytics to help in collection of bills and scorecards for managing employees and projects, while Zuora is upgrading with big data analytics.

Workday is now supplying organizations with advanced predictive analytics software to help them forecast which...

customers are least likely to pay their bills on time.

In its latest update, called Workday 26, the provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources includes a "customer collections dashboard" for users. The dashboard offers predictive analytics software to help in collection of outstanding receivables, said Betsy Bland, vice president of financial management products at Workday.

"We are not just arming the collections department, the finance department with what is happening currently but through decision science, through machine learning, we are arming them to help them predict what customers, and more specifically what customer invoices, are likely to not pay on time," Bland said. "We do that through analyzing their historical data."

The customer collections dashboard from Workday, already noted for its predictive analytics that can forecast if a top performer might be quitting an organization, is a central place for collections personnel and finance to obtain information and metrics required to perform collections and to more effectively and productively convert outstanding debts into cash, Bland said.

The predictive analytics software assigns a risk score to invoices to help forecast whether they will be paid on time, she said. Collections personnel can prioritize their time because they know which invoices are most at risk.

"Also, finance now is able to better predict cash," Bland said. "You have a better forward-looking view into which of those receivables are likely to convert to cash and which are not."

New project and workforce scorecards also available

Workday 26 also includes two new scorecards for managers.

One, a project portfolio scorecard, provides project managers with a simple and visually intuitive way to view key performance indicators relevant to projects, she said.

That includes the skills and competencies of project staff and the progress of projects such as whether they are on time or on budget.

An executive workforce scorecard was also delivered to HCM users.

The scorecard provides managers and operational leaders in areas such as HR with critical metrics and key performance indicators for managing people, including head count, actual head count compared to planned head count, cost of turnover and metrics on recruiting such as the time it takes to fill a position and the time for a hire to start. The scorecard provides a profile of the workforce including numbers of full-time workers, hourly and contingent employees.

Workday also delivered a dashboard for procurement, or a single place for a vice president of procurement, for example, to understand and manage what an organization is spending on suppliers.

The dashboard includes outstanding purchase orders, how much is being spent on managed spending versus unmanaged spending and on which suppliers an organization is spending the most, she said.

Bland said all the functions in Workday 26 are available for customers at no additional cost. Workday has 1,100 HCM customers and more than 200 financial, or ERP, customers and all received Workday 26.

Workday, founded 11 years ago, has two major updates a year and Workday 26 is the first this year.

Zuora upgrade targets huge subscription economy

Zuora this week unveiled a comprehensive upgrade of its main enterprise billing, commerce and finance software, including new big data analytics.

The Foster City, Calif.-based company released Zuora '17 for users of its software, which helps businesses manage recurring revenues from subscribers on the cloud.

A key service of Zuora '17 is that it offers the ability for users to launch and test more than 40 new pricing models for services, without putting a burden on accounting or other back office services, said Tom Krackeler, vice president and general manager of products at Zuora.

"It enables companies to monetize anything," he said.

Some important upgrades are aimed at big organizations among the top 1,000 for annual revenues in the U.S., he said.

For example, one Zuora customer, Gerber Technology, will be able to use additional pricing options for charging for digital textile printing, which is a newer technology delivered as a service over the cloud, he said. Gerber customers, for example, might not have to pay in advance; only for what they use, he said.

Zuora allows businesses to more efficiently manage the subscription lifecycle of their customers, including pricing and packaging, acquiring customers, billing, collection and renewal.

The upgrade will be free to all users of its main Relationship Business Management (RBM) product, which comes in separate editions for startups, midsize and global organizations, Krackeler said.

There will also be monthly improvements over the next year, he said.

Zuora '17 will offer big-data architecture that will allow businesses to pull together behavioral and demographic data on customers, along with financials.

The data software will allow businesses to understand real-time use and consumption patterns of millions of customers for a product or service and how those patterns affect revenues and other financial metrics. A business would use the analytics for in-depth and more precise examinations of the reasons for a customer upgrading, renewing, canceling or downgrading a service, he said.

A sales and marketing team could also benefit. For example, one Zuora user, BizLibrary, which offers workforce training over the cloud, could measure levels of customer use of different types of learning and how the use affects revenues and renewals. This would allow BizLibrary to design and deliver a better product, Krackeler said.

Another key feature is a multi-entity capability that allows big companies to scale globally across multiple divisions and nations, he said, adding that organizations can manage each division and nation independently but can also roll up financial reports such as monthly closes of budgets into a single consolidated view.

Next Steps

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How does your organization benefit from predictive analytics software?
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I'm not sure if I understand the purpose of identifying invoices that might not be paid on time. Are debt collectors now going to start harassing people BEFORE they're late?
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