Why Enterprises Must Modernize Their Revenue Technology Stack Now

This article was originally published in Forbes. It was written by Rohit Shrivastava, Clari’s EVP and Chief Product Officer, and who is responsible for the company's product strategy and roadmap.

Sales is the most complicated—and mission-critical—business process. After all, what’s more important to a company’s long-term success than predictable, sustainable revenue growth?

And yet revenue technology, or revtech, has yet to achieve top-tier priority status for most CIOs. As a result, the average enterprise revtech stack too often consists of a hodgepodge of siloed point solutions and backward-looking transactional systems that aren’t serving revenue professionals, or the business itself, particularly well. As the enterprise scales for growth, these point solutions inevitably hit a wall.

This is all about to change—and none-too-soon—as a confluence of market pressures and technological innovations spur a complete rethinking of how technology should enable the end-to-end revenue process for the world’s largest enterprises.

So, what exactly has changed? And why should CIOs elevate revtech modernization to the status of a top priority?

First, financial markets are increasingly punishing. Companies that reported weaker-than-expected earnings at the close of 2023 saw their stocks fall 5.2% on average, or double the average over the last five years.

Expectations have changed as well. The era of growth at all costs is over. Private and public investors nowadays insist on sustainable and profitable growth underpinned by operational rigor, transparency and robust corporate governance. That puts more pressure on CIOs to not only reduce costs but also deploy best-in-class systems and tools that help company leaders predict and manage risk, drive efficiencies and enable long-term, predictable growth.

That’s not the only catalyst driving this impending revtech modernization. Corporate boardrooms are also asking how their organizations can harness the power of AI to help meet their business objectives.

Yet the fragmented and outdated revenue technologies that too many companies rely on—mainly in the form of spreadsheets, CRM and BI tools—are woefully inadequate for the job. It’s also clear that companies need to take a systematic, platform-approach to the revenue process. One-off, disconnected tools that support salespeople for this task, revops for that task and post-sales for yet another task won’t cut it in this new world.

Companies require a unified, enterprise-grade revenue platform that supports and enables every revenue team and every revenue process end-to-end. And deploying this platform—with all of the requisite security, privacy, redundancy, scalability and every other “-ility” enterprises require—is a job for the CIO.

As CIOs and their IT teams look to modernize and “future-proof” revenue technology, what, then, should top their considerations?

Consolidation And Cost Reduction


The smorgasbord of disconnected, point sales solutions deployed in the average enterprise is a major contributor to spiraling technical debt that is the “silent killer of technology modernization efforts.” Nearly a third of CIOs interviewed by McKinsey estimated that they were diverting 20% of their new product innovation budgets to resolve tech debt issues.

Today’s revtech stack needs close inspection and is ripe for consolidation so CIOs can pay down tech debt and free up funding for a modern platform.

Deploying A Dedicated Revenue Data Platform


Running the enterprise revenue process with predictability and precision requires a common revenue data set—well beyond what’s in CRM (e.g., activity and conversational intelligence data from emails/calendars/meetings). Going forward, enterprises will need to monitor “revenue signals” from many more systems as consumption-based pricing and business models continue to proliferate. It’s also my thesis that as AI usage increases, it too will drive more consumption-based models as companies monetize AI-powered solutions.

Typically, the consumption workloads and usage data are stored in data warehouses like Snowflake and Databricks. A modern revtech stack needs to bring all of these signals together in one dedicated revenue data platform for enrichment, analysis and optimization for every revenue workflow. As new use cases arrive in the future, the data platform can quickly add new configurations and provide the flexibility that CIO and revenue leaders need to support new business models.

Long-Term “Platform-Thinking”


CIOs and their teams need to apply the same “platform thinking” that they’ve used in other areas of the enterprise, from finance to HR and more.

Fundamentally, that means not just solving one problem, but always thinking about what other problems can be solved as you build and deploy. It means more time thinking about scaling and performance. And it means not only meeting today’s requirements, but anticipating what new use cases might emerge tomorrow or next year and architecting a “future-proof” platform that new tools can easily plug into.

Deep Partnership With The CRO And Other Revenue Leaders

IT should partner closely with revenue leaders and their teams to fully understand their business needs, their workflows and the value that needs to ultimately be delivered.

That might come in the form of creating AI councils with every revenue leader and team, from pre-sales to post-sales and customer success. I would also advocate for taking a “product manager approach” and mindset, with a focus on deeply understanding the users, their personas, their pain points and their role-specific workflows.

Historically, there simply hasn’t been enough time or attention spent on these for various reasons. In many ways, sales involves multiple amorphous processes, many of which are people-oriented. And salespeople themselves often haven’t spent much time thinking about what they need from technology because they want to spend time with prospects and customers, not working in front of a screen.

But the time is now to shed old habits and chart a new course. Working together, CIOs and revenue leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to modernize not just revenue technology but the end-to-end process for how companies generate predictable, sustainable growth over the long term.


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