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4 Key Questions to Ask When Comparing CPQ Solutions

Srikesh Menon
March 23, 2018

Companies were previously slow to adopt CPQ solutions because they were at one time difficult to use. But now, CPQ solutions have evolved to become easy to use, easy to implement, and instrumental in achieving high levels of productivity and ROI.

Today’s CPQ market consists of companies in various industries such as insurance, automotive, travel, and financial services, who use the tool to achieve high levels of ROI. The “Global Configure Price and Quote (CPQ) Software Market 2017-2021” predicts the CPQ software market to grow at a CAGR of 14.53% globally.

So where can an organization begin to evaluate CPQ solutions and find the right fit? Here are 4 key questions to ask when comparing CPQs.

CPQ solution question 1

Cloud, On-Premise, or Hybrid?

Cloud – Cloud CPQ solutions allow users to easily customize products to meet their needs, and complex coding is not required for UI customization. You can also easily create, edit and produce documents with an easy-to-use interface. Businesses don’t need to use their own computers and servers, rather support is through a third-party vendor and security is highly efficient. System upgrade alerts are automatic, and the timing and functionality of upgrades are controlled by you. The cost is usually a monthly fee for infrastructure, software support, back-ups, and upgrades.

On-Premise – Implementing an on-premise solution may mean additional expenses for hardware/software and may take time to set up. Usage may be difficult for sales reps who work remotely or are in the field. Although on-premise means having control over your data, it has a complex product configuration. The interface is also fully customizable and user-friendly with vendor involvement. You are responsible for upgrading, maintaining the application and ensuring availability and recovery of data, and moreover, security software is required. A one-time license fee is paid for an on-premise solution with annual maintenance.

Hybrid – Hybrid CPQ allows you to use the cloud while still retaining some data on site. Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud platforms coexist and you can decide what remains on premise and what remains in the cloud. Hybrid allows the integration of on-premise with other applications in the cloud without the need for complex coding or configuration. This means that business processes and data are secure.

CPQ solution question 2

Does the CPQ solution have a flexible and powerful rules engine?

When choosing a CPQ solution, another important factor to consider is the ability to build rules that are flexible and powerful. This allows you to configure logic specific to your business to fulfill complex requirements. A rules engine that is flexible and powerful will be able to handle complex sets of rules and constraints with minimal customization for faster delivery while reducing implementation costs.

CPQ solution question 3

How fast is it, and is the UX/UI pleasing to the customer?

The ability for CPQ software to provide you with a configuration experience that will work quickly is of utmost importance. Many CPQ customers with complex products may require considerable processing power for the user experience to be worthwhile. A CPQ system that performs fast so that there is no wait time for loading data or for rules to process, for example, is an important factor that should not be overlooked.

Moreover, the UX/UI should be pleasing to the customer. The experience should be pleasant and one that is easy to use, functional, and secure. The benefits of UX that is pleasing to the customer are:

• Increased productivity and sales

• Reduced training, support, maintenance, and development time costs

• Increased customer/user satisfaction

Depending on your business, driving user adoption and customer engagement means implementing a CPQ solution that includes:

• Easy integration with front- and back-end systems

• Dynamic contract management

• Easy approvals

• Mobile and offline functionality

• Guided buying and selling

CPQ solution question 4

What are the “out of the box” capabilities?

Some “out of the box” capabilities to look for when comparing CPQ solution are:

Customization – The ability to build quotes through a highly customizable configuration flow and to adapt to changes as your business evolves

Integration – The ability to integrate with other corporate systems, such as the need to integrate a CRM system with an ERP system

Guided selling – Guided selling guides users to the optimal products and options based on customer needs

Automated pricing – The ability to price products automatically and create accurate price quotes

Document generation – Having functionalities to create documents with multiple pages, tables, images, add conditions, etc.

Proposal generation – The ability to create, customize and brand proposals

Workflow approval process – The ability to route orders for review and approval

The CPQ market continues to grow as outdated sales systems are being replaced. Choosing the right CPQ platform to achieve sales targets, be it cloud, on-premise, or hybrid, depends on the needs of a business. In addition, selecting the right system depends on out-of-the-box capabilities, having a powerful rules engine, and the ability to provide outstanding customer experience.

Srikesh Menon
Srikesh Menon
Srikesh Menon is the Senior Technical Architect and CPQ Practice Director at SoftClouds, and has 12+ years of experience with technical solution design and end-to-end implementations. He specializes in developing CPQ processes, complex configuration of product catalogs, pricing, tracking & approvals, order management, service management, partner management and loyalty management modules.
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