By now it is known that CPQ software creates a lot of benefits for businesses in the manufacturing industry. You might be interested in an application that creates flawless quotations and BOMs at the speed of light, and in turn prevents costly errors and shortens your processes. But with selecting and implementing CPQ software there are some things to keep in mind.
In this item you will read how in only 4 steps you are able to choose CPQ software that best fits your company and generates the most value. And along with that: a successful future for your business.
There are various software developers who create CPQ software. Every supplier offers different qualities and specialties, so it is important to choose the solution that fits. On top of that, it should suit your long-term vision. This can mean several things. You might notice your IT-landscape keeps on growing, so you are looking for software that is simple to integrate. And you are probably not excited about long implementation trajectories and sky-high consultancy costs, so the software has to be user-friendly. Scalability is also an important factor: perhaps you will start with only giving your own salespeople access to the CPQ software, but eventually look into expanding it to international dealers. Finally, an online visual product configurator is essential if you do not want to miss the B2B e-commerce train.
These are just a few subjects that are important for writing down your own wish- and demands list. In our CPQ Checklist you gain an expansive overview of all factors that are of great importance to find a suitable CPQ package for your long-term vision.
As soon as you have envisioned what you want, it is important to not immediately make your choice. Every self-respecting supplier would give you the opportunity to request a demo. That is the most accessible way to check if your considered vendor can actually do what you expect.
You could start out with comparing a few generic demos. But before you make your definitive choice, it is important to also run a product-specific demo that perfectly suits your situation. Only then will you find out how well a supplier fits your company and how they handle sector- and product specific challenges and enquiries.
Now that you have experienced a demo, it is time to finetune your wishes and demands as you have gained more insight into the process. You show your package of wishes and demands to your preferred supplier, to determine the next step together: a short or long trial phase.
Our short trial phase spans around 2 weeks, and is sufficient for most customers. Together we create a very clear definition of phase 1, so that you quickly gain a piece of working CPQ software that directly adds value for your business. In more complex situations it could occur that we vouch for a longer trajectory, of ~8 weeks. We would look at factors like the impact of future integrations. We are glad to help out with making the wisest choice.
Whichever variant you might choose, you should expect a global plan of action from your supplier. And that plan should contain clearly worked out phasing. The biggest mistake you could make with implementing CPQ software is trying to do it all at once. Should you try this, you would likely end up with a failed IT project.
Good phasing brings you 2 important benefits: a fast time to market and a fast time to value. In other words: how fast will you gain working CPQ software and how fast will investment in said software generate revenue. Additionally, good phasing improves overall quality as you learn and adjust based on each previous phase. Finally, your employees will very quickly be able to work with the software, making user adaptation much better than with a so-called big bang. And it is precisely this support that is indispensable for a successful implementation.
Which phasing you choose is extremely dependent on your processes and wishes. We often see the following phasing among our customers:
As soon as you have laid the foundation you are able to expand both horizontally and vertically, by adding more products and functionalities.
If you have found your preferred supplier, you obviously do not have to decide what phasing works best for you all by yourself. Based on your input and experience, we would gladly give you advice about phasing. For instance, time to value can often be drastically shortened by starting out with generating quotation documents with CPQ. This does not require a direct link with your 3D-drawing program or ERP system, but user adoption will rise immediately; you will quickly start saving time and money.
As a matter of fact it is not necessary to have fully designed your ERP system or other adjacent IT packages in advance. If you have done this it is obviously of interest to already keep these packages in mind during phasing. But if you have not then you are still faced with a nice starting position: the correct CPQ software challenges you and helps you consider how you can design your products modularly.
While good CPQ software is valuable standalone, it gets even better. Some CPQ software is extremely viable to form the foundation for your entire pre-production. Generating a lot of benefits, as your CPQ software contains all sorts of valuable data. Said data can be used in dashboarding software or forecasts. You could also track down your most used configurations, or why one dealer needs much more revisions than another to reach a successful sale. And there are many more sorts of data you might not already have insight in or control over. Imagine what advantages you could gain if you did have access to this data.
Yet not all CPQ software is suitable for this, because its architecture might not support it for instance. For this reason it is incredibly important to select CPQ software that is developed on the basis of API first principle. In short, this means that literally all information is available, granting your maximal flexibility and allowing you to perfectly shape the application around your work process. Moreover, Elfsquad is available on so-called low-code platforms where you can connect your CPQ software to other software in just a couple of clicks.
The difficulty in this decision? The fact that you must choose beforehand and cannot go back once you have chosen. Meaning that if you choose for CPQ software that has not been created on the basis API first, and you find out you would actually like this later on, you would have to start all over again.
To prevent this situation, it would probably be best to go for API first from the get go.
Elfsquad removes all worries from your pre-production process. With Elfsquad as backbone, we realize the digital factory that smart industries have been trying to find for so long. We do this through a product configurator, with integrated solutions for marketing, sales, and operations.
Let us know what you think.