Looking for an Open Source Product Configurator?

Simplify Your IT Landscape with Elfsquad Product Configurator

A product configurator is a software solution many manufacturing companies can benefit from. However, many of these companies face challenges due to complex IT landscapes, making it difficult to integrate a product configurator.

This is unfortunate because using specialized tools offers significant advantages over a large ERP system. Such systems are often not the fastest or most flexible and require considerable effort and time to maintain. Therefore, choosing specialized software is a logical step. However, effective communication among these tools is crucial for success.

There's a common misunderstanding that an open-source solution can facilitate integration and communication, but that's not the case. What you really need is a product configurator built according to the API-first principle.


Open Source, API-First: What Exactly Does All of This Mean?

Open source means that the code for an application is available and customizable for everyone. This may seem convenient when you want to add code yourself to adapt an app in your IT landscape, but it requires quite some specialized knowledge and time. At the same time, open source solutions are usually more akin to school projects than complete solutions. In other words, the first complete open source solution for CPQ is yet to be made. Another problem is that you're completely dependent on people willing to spend their free time in order to improve open source software. These are a few of the reasons why we chose a different path during the development of our product configurator.

Elfsquad is developed according to the API-first principle. This means that we develop everything from the API and then make it available in the user interface. This approach offers many advantages compared to an open source configurator.

Advantages of API-First

There are many applications for which an API is available. However, it's different from API-first. Often, it means that an app has been created with an API on top of it, resulting in limited information within the API. You still don't gain the flexibility you're looking for, even if it's an open-source solution. When an app is developed API-first, everything the software is capable of is available in the API.

1. Perfect Adaptation Every Time

If your IT landscape resembles those of most of our customers, it's likely quite complex. There's no shame in that. It's not just a matter of legacy; it's also challenging to support your complex production processes with a simple IT setup.

One of the greatest benefits of API-first software is that it can be perfectly adapted to your workflow. For example, if you require quotations of €300,000 or more to be approved by the commercial director before being signed, that's possible. If special customization is needed where engineering needs to review first, that's possible too. These are just simple examples; in fact, we assure you that everything can be integrated with Elfquad, however you want it. No matter how complex your processes are, we make it work. Let's see an open-source solution giving you that guarantee!

2. Low-Code Solutions Available

Additionally, Elfsquad is the only configurator software available on so-called low-code platforms, such as Zapier and Power Automate. This means that for more accessible cases, you only have to select the app you want to connect with through the API, and then you're all set. 

Would you like to send an email from your product configurator to the commercial director when a high-value quotation rolls out? Using Elfsquad, you would only have to choose which mail program you want to utilize for this. Configuration then only takes a few minutes, much easier than writing a unique piece of code in the case of open source. Otherwise, you would be dependent on programmers, with all corresponding costs and efforts. To make a long story short: free open source software is usually not free anymore once it’s integrated and customized to your needs.

Talking about costs: thanks to our API-first principle, we’ve created a software interface that's highly flexible and configurable. That means that even people with no knowledge of coding at all, like those annoying marketers that keep bothering your IT experts, can use our software and make it work for them in all the ways they can imagine.

3. Add Black-Box Calculations

A final advantage we would like to share is the fact that you’re also able to adopt so-called black box calculations when you use our API-first solution. This can be beneficial when you rely on an external supplier for a portion of your product. You’ll probably never get the exact process calculation from them, but through the API, you're able to take into account the outcome of said calculation. Because of API-first, you're able to approach external applications and calculation tools during the walkthrough of the desired configuration in Elfsquad. As such, you deliver a total solution without needing an army of IT experts to write the correct code.

CPQ IT landscape

Are There Disadvantages?

When comparing API-first to open source, there's a significant difference we need to address: open source is usually free to use. But then again, when was the last time you used something for free that you truly benefited from? Add to that the fact that a complete open source CPQ solution doesn’t even exist, and the solutions that come close to that require time, money, and effort to integrate within your existing landscape, and the answer is clear: there are no disadvantages to API-first in the realm of CPQ.

We also understand that you may want to dip your feet in the water before diving in. That’s why we created a 30-day free trial of our software, in which everything Elfsquad can do is available for you to use and work with. And if you choose to work with us after that, we’ll provide you with a clear business case wherein all options are discussed. We also take phasing and integrations with other systems into account.

That way, we ensure that you gain a product configurator that's very well prepared for the future, powered in part by API-first!

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