Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is one of the tech world’s great success stories. Originally a designer and manufacturer of semiconductors and processors, today AMD focuses on design rather than manufacturing, and their products power some of the world’s most advanced technologies.
But while AMD’s business model today is often described as “fabless,” (i.e., they don’t fabricate their products themselves), its legacy, home-grown suite of 11 different applications and websites handling forecasting, pricing, account management, and other relationship-management tools, was decidedly not fabless.
Hoping to consolidate its sales and relationship management stack and improve revenue forecasting workflows, AMD installed Salesforce. Very quickly, John Stage, senior manager of business operations, realized the massive customization effort needed to complete the transformation wasn’t feasible given his very aggressive timeline and limited budget.
After researching several options for customizing his Salesforce install, John found Skuid.
Forecasting was a less than perfect science.
Because AMD sells into and supports nearly every vertical and industry, demand for its products ranges from high-end supercomputers to highly-stable workhorse solutions powering some of today’s biggest names in cloud computing. This multi-tier sales model creates a forecasting challenge between what customers want and what the company can supply through its partners in manufacturing and shipping.
To manage all of this, over time, AMD built nearly a dozen different applications and websites. Some of these properties captured customer data, while others managed pricing and quoting. And then there were the forecasting apps integrating with everything and attempting to make sense of it all.
Each week, the sales organization created and reviewed its updated attainment report, a semi-real-time tracking vehicle comparing the state of the team’s quarterly goals against the company’s annual revenue expectations. Just building the report took nearly four hours, excluding the time sales executives spent entering their data.
Given the scrutiny sellers faced managing revenue, John’s team wanted to make accurate forecasting fast and as simple as possible using the fewest number of clicks. Pulling that off meant an overhaul of AMD’s software suite, where attainment (representing the current state) and forecasting (representing a future based on today’s data) work in lockstep. Successfully marrying attainment and forecasting would allow AMD to achieve the nimble responsiveness its customers require, from sales to shipping.
With the purchase and integration of Salesforce, John hoped to create a one-stop-shop for streamlining workflows and data entry, while providing key insights into the company’s sales process. And with Salesforce installed, John’s team launched an aggressive project focused on revamping sales and forecasting for the server market and commercial pipeline.
But as is often true of Salesforce implementations, building the processes, workflows, screens, dashboards, and models needed, was a far bigger task than expected. Just to get Salesforce “off the ground,” John was looking at a significant amount of custom code, impacting a budget already largely spent on the Salesforce base product.
After researching different solutions for customizing Salesforce, in July of 2019, AMD integrated Skuid. With the company’s next annual sales forecast looming just three months away, the team quickly learned how and what they could do with the addition of Skuid.
“Just the exposure to Skuid helped us understand what makes sense for us to do natively in Salesforce versus what we can do in Skuid,” said Alfredo Silva, IT business partner for sales.
John Stage agreed, “Skuid is very flexible. We quickly realized that we needed to take its capabilities into account when designing the architecture of our new system.”
In a short time, John’s team developed an entirely new revenue forecasting app. The new app not only allows the team to run attainment reports daily rather than weekly, but now it only takes thirty minutes instead of the usual four hours. And with the streamlined workflows, each sales representative, on average, gets back two to three hours each week normally spent on data entry.
Perhaps the best part; each quarter when the sales team has to start a new forecasting model, instead of spending days collecting data from each sales rep and entering it into the application, they can simply clone last quarter’s model and make any necessary adjustments to bring it up-to-date. This saves sales reps hours each month, which they can now spend on revenue-generating activities instead of paperwork.
The benefits of the new system don’t end on the weekly attainment conference calls either. With the critical real-time insights the business has into the deals sales has in-process, coupled with the new ability to run forecasts as far as three quarters in advance, the business can more nimbly adjust to market conditions.
For John, the benefits aren’t confined to the sales team but extend well into other areas of the company. He says, “In executive meetings, we’re having higher quality conversations about what we can do in the business, how we can expand market share, and where we need to take the product portfolio. And it's driven by this connection between the downstream demand signal and the tactical manufacturing and shipment of chips. That's one area where I think Skuid has been instrumental because it helps us visualize that connection.”
Building on the success of the forecasting application, the team also created an app for tracking product distribution for large retailers and resellers. This information also feeds into forecasting and helps the worldwide team better understand the future needs of its commercial customers on a region by region basis. This helps AMD more closely align future needs with supply and shipping, ensuring customers around the world get the products they need on time.
With its new forecasting applications in place, the future looks bright for AMD.