May 23 2018

4 Key issues 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 they should take into account and focus on in their selection.

With more than 20 years of working with CPQ projects, we have identified four areas that should be critical to your selection but are seldom considered as such. Louis Columbus provides another good read on the topic in his article for Forbes - What's Missing From Gartner's 2018 Magic Quadrant For CPQ.

Here are the four things you should keep top-of-mind when selecting a CPQ solution.

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, companies 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 increasingly 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 deliver on that order and beyond. 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?


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 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.


3. 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 what level of product complexity their CPQ should handle. This will ultimately decide how fast your tool is, and is an absolutely crucial consideration for companies with complex product offerings.


4. 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 to have the desired results, your solution 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 efficiency, it’s connectivity.

Tacton’s smart manufacturing platform connects customer, product and factory by providing full integration for e-commerce, ERP, CRM, PDM, PLM, and CAD systems. The solution is the result of ground-breaking research from the Swedish Institute of Computer Science on Artificial Intelligence and knowledge-based systems. Tacton is helping some of the world’s leading manufacturers to digitally transform their business. Our customers include Caterpillar, GE Healthcare, Siemens, ABB and Yaskawa.

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.

Or learn more on how to select a CPQ vendor with research and advisory firm Novus CPQ in their two-part course: Course 1 and Course 2.

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