With Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for CPQ about to be released…

Here are 4 key things to keep top of mind when selecting a CPQ solution.

Navigating the jungle that is the CPQ market is easier said than done, and many companies struggle to understand what really matters in their quest to find the best solution.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Report certainly helps! If you’re making strategic technology decisions, you want to make sure that you invest in the best. The Gartner MQ report continues to be a critical and objective tool for understanding the CPQ landscape and identifying which vendors have market-leading technologies.

Here at Tacton, we are of course happy to hold a spot in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for CPQ.

That being said, it is important to remember that the Magic Quadrant is not a matchmaking tool. Manufacturers will need to dig deeper to assess the factors that are important to them when selecting a CPQ.

With more than 20 years’ experience working with CPQ projects in the manufacturing sector, we have identified four key areas that inform your selection, and that you should absolutely keep top-of-mind when selecting a CPQ.

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

CRM integration is mentioned as a main strength for many vendors and indeed CPQ is often seen as a CRM-exclusive “Quote-to-Cash” tool. While CRM integration is a critical consideration, manufacturers looking to set the agenda in the coming years must look beyond sales. Quote-to-cash might bring quick results and sales efficiency, but it does not address the vitally important issue of operational excellence.

Sales efficiency has little to do with the development, production or delivery or after-sales care of your products, and that is why it’s critical to look beyond CRM integration. Simply put, capturing the order is not enough – you must also know how to manufacture and deliver on that order and service it into the future. Because let’s face it, what does it matter if you have the best sales tool, if you can’t deliver what you promised to your customer?


  1. 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 to sales through to production. This enables all company divisions to work holistically and will have a fundamental impact on product quality and time-to-market, which is crucial to speed up delivery and meet your clients’ requirements to a T.


  1. The importance of a powerful 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. Rather it´s the configuration engine that powers the app that can be the real deal-breaker for your CPQ success. The app response time is just a reflection of what the configuration engine can do. The engine and the speed of the app are highly correlated. Thus, companies need to think carefully about the level of product complexity that their CPQ should be able to handle. This will ultimately decide how fast your tool is and is an absolutely crucial consideration for companies with complex product offerings.


  1. The added benefits of AI-powered CPQ

Companies with complex products or large numbers of product variants often struggle to find a scalable CPQ solution. This is where AI-powered CPQ comes into play. A CPQ that utilizes AI techniques enables you to optimize your offer for each customer and deliver exactly what they ask for, regardless of the complexity of your product portfolio. All while keeping your internal processes connected and up-to-date.


Closing thoughts

When chosen correctly and implemented well, CPQ is a highly effective tool that will have a significant impact on your organization. But in order to deliver the desired results, the solution must cover all critical functions within your company. It must speed up sales and bridge silos to ensure continued excellence – because the very essence of Digital Transformation is not sales efficiency. It’s connectivity!


More on the subject

If you’d like more on how to select the right CPQ vendor, visit research and advisory firm Novus CPQ and take a look at their two-part course on CPQ best practices (Course 1Course 2)

I’d also recommend this article by Louis Columbus for Forbes – What’s Missing From Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant For CPQ. Here, Louis covers the need for a more enterprise-wide integration across PLM, ERP and CRM.


About Tacton

Tacton’s manufacturing software solutions connect customer with product and factory for smarter business. By putting customers at the heart of the process, we enable better sales and more efficient operations. We go beyond CPQ – letting your customers build relationships with their clients, not just products.

If you’d like to learn more about how Tacton can help your company, get in touch and we’d be happy to arrange a demo.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2018. The content has been rewritten and updated.

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