Choosing a Configure-Price-Quote solution is complex. Your manufacturing business might have already lost money on inaccurate quotes and RFQs lost to competitors; choosing the wrong CPQ provider can cost you more revenue.
The question of "How quickly can the CPQ solution be implemented?" can become a main decision driver for businesses in fast-paced environments. From our years of experience, we can tell you that it depends on 3 main questions.
What Platform Is The CPQ Built On?
Why is it important which platform a CPQ is built and running on? Well, let's put it this way: Any ship can stay afloat in a safe harbour. But if you are sending your CPQ out on the rough seas with massive amounts of data, integration challenges with legacy systems, and sales teams who want fast, reliable and secure access anywhere around the globe, you should be paying a whole lot of attention to the underlying technology platform. Ultimately, a cutting-edge platform is a massive factor on how fast you can have a digitalized sales process up and running.
An example: Our own Cloud CPQ Express for Manufacturing companies is built on and delivered through the SAP Cloud Platform. SAP has a long history of delivering cloud solutions for CRM (SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer) and has an industry-leading ERP system. The SAP Cloud environment is secure, flexible, and offers quick deployment of our applications and any new release and feature. With data centres all around the world, even global rollouts with a high number of users can be quick.
How Much Integration Is Needed?
Do you have or are you planning to implement a CRM? How much data relevant for the manufacturing sales process do you have residing in your ERP? And who needs access to the data? In order to speed up your implementation time, you should carefully consider your existing IT environment, how it can be extended and which architecture is the best to support your processes. We highly recommend to choose a solution that is certified to extend your specific CRM and ERP in order to guarantee consistent data management and a fast integration.
A Configure Price Quote solution that makes use of the standard APIs of your existing CRM and ERP will integrate smoothly and fast, with minimal customisation needed on the external systems. This ability makes a reasonable CPQ uniquely able to overcome data silos and connect the data points that run a company’s sales in an end-to-end workflow.
Do You Have Existing Product, Configuration, Or Pricing Models?
Buying a "Quick-Start" CPQ solution that guarantees a fast deployment for some companies is just the beginning. Do you have existing product, configuration or pricing models? Are they residing in your ERP as LO/VC models with very limited availability for sales? Or do you need access to prices, products, materials or other custom tables from your ERP? Some manufacturers do have their configuration logic, costing models and prices spread out over Excel sheets. For all of the above it is crucial to choose a CPQ solution that can deal with your data - in whatever structure it is available.
A CPQ solution catering to different IT landscapes could have the following goals:
- Making Variant Configuration, products and prices from SAP ERP available for sales in the Cloud CPQ
- Building agile configuration models directly in the CPQ whilst using External Pricing from ERP
- Building agile configuration models and making use of ERP and/or CPQ data for pricing and products
The ease of creating configuration models without vast IT knowledge is getting more and more important in a fast-paced business environment. Many companies therefore value the option to create, change and maintain models directly in a CPQ system. Even models uploaded from Excel sheets are consumable by a flexible CPQ solution.
What Else Can Slow Down Your CPQ Implementation?
Of course, there are further factors determining if you need weeks or months to get your sales up and running with a CPQ.
- Take the factor of user-friendliness: with a CPQ that looks just like another tab in your CRM and uses the same UI technology (e.g. SAP UI5), your users only need minimum training to be highly efficent with the new system.
- A high level of self-administration within the CPQ system is another big time-saver. When the business side of the company can build and maintain their own models, you are gaining business agility when it comes to market demands, marketing offers and price changes.
- A CPQ provider that is specialized to your industry will be able to deliver matching quote templates that can cut the time significantly, as you won't have to start from zero.
It is the complexity that slows down your CPQ implementation project. With the right platform, a certified CPQ solution with various standard integrations and flexible data modelling, you could be looking at a time frame of just 1 to 5 months!
Want to learn more about Cloud CPQ and the integration of CRM and ERP? Download our whitepaper "Cloud CPQ for SAP and its Integration" now!