If you’re working in the manufacturing industry, chances are you’ve encountered SAP one way or another. Since Tacton’s CPQ solutions are developed for complex configurations especially common for manufacturing companies, an SAP integration is a given.
Tacton for SAP is our latest product release, which combines the power of the Tacton Configurator with SAP. This tool provides full control of configuring, pricing, quoting and ordering complex products by tying together the power of Tacton with SAP data and logic.
We decided it might be fun for you to get to know the team behind the product a bit better, and managed to schedule (almost) everyone on the team for a joint interview. We talked about Tacton for SAP, the value it brings, and what the pre-launch process looked like.
Let’s start by introducing the team. Esther Bergmark is the Product Manager for Tacton for SAP (if you’re a loyal reader of this blog, and we know you are, you’ve read her interview for Meet the People at Tacton earlier this spring). Additionally, these specialized developers are the brains behind Tacton for SAP and are constantly working to make the product better and more seamless:
- Albert Haag (Germany) – SAP Luminary who worked on the initial creation of the SAP ECC variant configurator (SAP VC) already back in 1992.
- Johan Eriksson (Sweden) – Solution Architect and Tech lead with 20 years’ experience in integration. Created the Tacton Integration Layer.
- Grzegorz Zebrowski (Poland) – Java Developer. Created the export of quotes and orders from Tacton back to SAP.
- Joakim Almgren (Sweden) – Senior System Developer. Researched and developed the SAP VC translator together with Albert and Jean-Noël.
- Jean-Noël Monette (Belgium) – Software Engineer & Tacton Configuration Engine expert and one of the brains behind the SAP VC Translator (not pictured)
What’s been unique about developing Tacton for SAP?
Johan: – Sometimes development is “only” a matter of programming and solving algorithms. However, since a lot of our work includes tying the logic of SAP ECC and Tacton CPQ together, we often find ourselves working on a very high level of logic. We could have long meetings where the topic of discussion was abstract concepts like “What is configuration, really?” or “What is a constraint?”.
Grzegorz: – I think those kinds of meetings are really interesting but also crucial for the development progress. When you end up with difficult challenges, especially when it comes to logic, you have to really push yourself while also continuing to work as a team. I think there is an added benefit of us having such different backgrounds, in terms of age and nationality. We all bring a different perspective.
What does Tacton for SAP do for manufacturing companies?
Esther: – The SAP VC is an excellent tool for manufacturing logic. Tacton for SAP, in addition, enables companies to leverage their SAP ECC installation in the Tacton CPQ application.
Joakim: – Exactly, we are not creating a competing solution. Rather, we add value to the SAP CPQ. Our aim is to meet the demands of high-end configuration problems and address challenges mainly related to sales CPQ.
What is the difference between Tacton for SAP and the SAP ECC?
Albert: – The term CPQ didn’t exist back in the 90’s when I started working at SAP. The SAP VC is a powerful configurator but it addresses a different set of configuration problems – and it solves them differently. It provides powerful “object oriented” product modeling capabilities integrated with the SAP master data maintenance, and is constructed to ensure that configurations are consistent and complete from the perspective of the manufacturing process. In interactive configuration it can be seen as a decision support system that “looks over your shoulder” and tells you about conflicting choices.
Esther: – I believe we add a perfect match to the SAP ECC and give you the best of two worlds. SAP ECC for configuration during manufacturing and Tacton for complex sales configuration.