May 23 2018

4 key issues to keep in mind for your CPQ selection

Navigating the jungle that is the CPQ market is easier said than done, and many companies struggle with knowing what they should focus on in their selection.

From more than 20 years of working with CPQ projects, we have identified four critical aspects that are paramount to your selection but are rarely considered as such (here’s another good read on the topic). Below are our top-4 things you should keep top of mind when selecting a CPQ solution.

1. Look beyond CRM integration – it isn’t enough for most companies

In general, CRM integration is mentioned as the main strength of many vendors and CPQ is often seen as a CRM-exclusive “quote-to-cash” tool. It is correct that CRM integration is essential, but a company looking to stay competitive and relevant within the coming years must look beyond its sales efforts. Quote-to-cash might bring quick results and sales efficiency, but it does not address operational excellence, an increasingly important issue for global companies. Sales efficiency has nothing to do with the development, production or delivery process of your products, and that is why it’s critical to look beyond CRM integration and search for additional ones. Simply put, capturing an order is not enough – you must also know how to deliver on that order. Because let’s face it: what does it matter if you have the best sales tool, if you can’t deliver what you promised your customer?


2. Fully synchronized enterprise systems speed up digital transformation

A modern CPQ should offer full integration to all business-critical systems and host them on the same platform – not just synchronize them. The CPQ solution you ultimately select should have enough power to connect all your key-processes: from product development, sales and through to production. This enables all company divisions to work holistically and will have a direct impact on product quality and time-to-market, which is crucial to speed up delivery and meet your clients’ requirements to a T.


Tacton provides full integration for e-commerce, ERP, CRM, PDM, PLM, and CAD systems on our smart manufacturing platform, connecting the customer, factory and product.


3. The importance of the CPQ back-end

App response time is quite often mentioned as a common weakness of many CPQ solutions. But it’s not really about the app. Instead, it´s the configuration engine that is the real deal-breaker for your CPQ success. The app response time is just a reflection of what configuration engine you use. The engine and the speed of the app are highly correlated. Thus, companies need to think both one and two times about what level of product complexity their CPQ should handle. This will ultimately decide how quick and easy the app will be to work with and is a crucial consideration for companies with complex product offerings.


4. The added benefits of AI-powered CPQ

Connectivity is key to a seamless customer experience, which in turn is critical to stay competitive. An AI-powered CPQ helps you optimize your offer for each customer and deliver exactly what they ask for; all while keeping your internal processes connected and up-to-date. It’s a win-win, really, and necessary if you want to stand out from the competition.


Tacton’s smart manufacturing platform is the result of ground-breaking research from the Swedish Institute of Computer Science on artificial intelligence and knowledge-based systems. Ever since, we have helped some of the world’s leading manufacturers digitally transform their business. Our customers include companies like Caterpillar, GE Healthcare, Siemens, Swisslog, Yaskawa and Meyn.


Closing thoughts

When done right, CPQ is a highly strategic tool that will have a significant impact on your organization going forward. But to be strategic, CPQ must cover all critical functions within your company; it must speed up sales and bridge silos to ensure continued excellence. Because the essence of digital transformation is not sales efforts. It’s connectivity.


If you want to know how Tacton can help you connect customer, factory and product – watch a video here.

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