“The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.” Prof. Albus Dumbledore
There are many emerging trends in the world of Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ software)‒several of them well-documented and often part of the natural progression of current technology. We’re currently seeing improvements in the areas of simplified user experience and personalized UIs, improvements in machine learning to provide intelligent sales support, and increased use of 3D visualization technology in manufacturing sectors applications.
These evolutions are likely to be the key drivers for changes in the world of CPQ software this year. There’s a podcast series by Frank Sohn of NovusCPQ that highlights leading CPQ players and how they see technology developments in CPQ making an impact on organizations.
But if we look beyond these technology advances, how will the changing world of business impact the demand for CPQ?
As the divide between the ‘have’ and ‘have not’ companies in relation to technology increases, companies will strive harder than ever to be on the right side of the evolutionary line. This will drive market adoption of key strategic technology, and CPQ will be a smart option for companies looking to stay ahead.
The most obvious example of this is the automation of manufacturing production (the robots are coming!), which is attracting significant capital investment. We predict big growth in the adoption of CPQ by companies that produce capital equipment as demand for their products increases, as well as for the manufacturing sector as a whole. Greater automation of production often means more modular and customized products to sell (C), more focus on smart pricing (P), and more rapid response to customers (Q) in a competitive market place.
Beyond manufacturing, there’s also an increasing wave of maturing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) projects now stabilizing for mid-market companies, just as there was in large enterprise organizations a few years ago. As an adjacent technology to both CRM and ERP, the CPQ market should now see a surge in slightly smaller implementations as these companies look to make their next step: change improvement.
The challenge for many organizations will be to choose the right ‘size’ of CPQ system (hint: it’s not just about company size). Smaller companies will demand faster project turnaround too, as well as outsourcing the ongoing support of their system.
There are challenges ahead in 2018 for CPQ, but riding on the crest of some positive macro trends, it’s an exciting place to be. Perhaps we’ll even deliver our first CPQ project where Bitcoin is a currency this year!