The end of custom-build product configurators

Blog 6 min.

In the nineties, everyone had to have ERP-software as an all-in-one solution. When it turned out that this resulted in a one size fits no one-situation, it was time for custom made software. The development of custom made product configurators surged, supported with a relatively large investment in consultancy. The results of this are still noticeable at many companies. Or maybe you are still using an Excel Configurator? In this blog post, we prove it can be done differently. Read more about the end of an era, the end of custom-built product configurators. The alternative is here to stay: Elfsquad’s cloud-based product configurator.

Many apps without integration

While the all-in-one ERP’s are reaching their end, the amount of applications that it has to support is ever growing. From planning to CRM, from finance to configurator: everything had to be custom made and specialized. This is not a problem per se, except that all this customization is difficult to integrate. And that is a problem. You’re not only drowning in applications, but also entangled in a spaghetti of workflows which makes it hard to get a high-level overview. And that is grist to the mill of software vendors who provide customization.

Customization is a disaster

It might seem nice at first glance, customization. An application that perfectly suits your needs. But when you start to think about it, long term success is going to be a challenge. What happens when whoever has made the code is no longer available? When it comes to custom application logic, the reality is that documentation is hard to understand if this is required from a maintenance perspective. For example in case of upgrades, and making sure that all the integrations remain functional. Let alone development of new functionality on top of this custom code.

How it can also be done: best of breed

Specialized applications aren’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as they can communicate with each other. Which is why we build Elfsquad CPQ software specifically for the manufacturing industry: it seamlessly integrates with all the other IT applications typically used by companies in the manufacturing industry (e.g. ERP, CRM, and CAD). That’s what you call a best-of-breed approach.

From and for the manufacturing industry

You can use CPQ-software for a broad spectrum of use cases, but we chose to focus on the manufacturing industry. This is where we were born from, so we know the obstacles you might run into. This has resulted in the development from a vision that we share with you, and our software integrates to well known CAD- CRM, and ERP-software used in the industry.

Shorter time to market & time to value

When you start with the development of custom made software, it not only requires a high investment in consultancy. It will also take a long time before you have a functioning software application that you can actually use. When you choose standard CPQ software that is already available, you reduce the time to market and time to value tremendously. Implementing Elfsquad usually takes no longer than 2 months. And because we phase smartly, you quickly start to return on investment.

Automating by yourself with low-code platforms

Elfsquad is available on several low-code platforms. This means that you can develop your own workflows and processes, without the need of programming knowledge. Simple example: you connect Elfsquad to Outlook in a few clicks, so that your sales manager automatically gets an email when a configuration with a value of over € 150.000,- is submitted. As of yet, Elfsquad is the only CPQ-solution that offers these kinds of integrations.

Continuity in your business operations

You won’t be the first running into problems because your software builder is not available anymore to maintain and/or develop your custom made software. Also internally, customization can also result in issues, as most businesses have limited internal resources that are able to perform maintenance. These issues often arise from the difference between on-premise CPQ software and cloud-based CPQ. Elfsquad expects users to watch a Youtube video, and then continue onwards with the implementation, instead of just calling a consultant.

Choose business agility

When you are choosing custom made configuration software, you will lack the agility that today’s market requires. Imagine, you have to add an option to your offering because of market changes, this requires you to make a change in the configurator as well. With custom made solutions you rely on scarce resources to process these changes. After a request for change you can wait a few weeks (or months!), whilst reality has caught up. With Elfsquad? Signals from the market can be analyzed in application insights, resulting in an update with new functionalities before you even knew you needed it.

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No more pre-production nightmares

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.

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