Why to Choose CPQ Instead of an ERP Variant Configurator

When it comes to product configuration and customization, two different tools often come into play: the Variant Configurator and CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) software. While both serve the purpose of enabling product variation and configuration, they differ in their functionalities, integration capabilities, and target user base. The variant configurator is used to handle the variation of products within an ERP system. It enables users to select and customise various product options, but it is not capable of handling complex product configurations with numerous possible combinations. The variant configurator looks promising, but it does limit you in connecting with the customer and enabling sales with a powerful configuration software. Elfsquad helps the configuration, pricing, and quoting process. The software is a spider in the web, connecting different departments for a digital and automated pre-production process.



1. Functionality Difference Between Variant Configurator and Elfsquad

The Variant Configurator, also called ERP Configurator, is focused on managing product configurations with multiple options, variants, and dependencies. The Variant Configurator’s purpose is to handle the configuration of products within an ERP system, such as SAP ERP. It is integrated with other SAP modules, enabling end-to-end visibility and control over the product life cycle. The Variant Configurator is used primarily for modeling product configurations within an ERP system internally.

Elfsquad focuses on guiding sales representatives or customers through the product configuration, with pricing based on various factors and generating accurate quotes. Elfsquad provides visual and interactive tools for configuration modeling. Elfsquad helps you simplify and accelerate the process of creating customized quotes, ensuring accurate pricing, and improving the overall customer or dealer experience when using the channel management module and showroom possibilities.

2. Not Creating a Defined Scope

As with any project, scoping is crucial for a successful CPQ implementation. It’s essential to align the scope of your CPQ project with the size and needs of your company. One common pitfall is either overreaching or underestimating the scope, leading to delays, budget overruns, or functionality gaps.

During the Proof of Value (POV) phase, we guide you in understanding and defining the optimal scope for your CPQ implementation. We analyze your business processes, identify pain points, and prioritize key functionalities to deliver quick wins. By focusing on the core requirements and leveraging our expertise, we ensure scalability and flexibility for future growth. Our goal is to strike the perfect balance, providing you with a CPQ solution that meets your immediate needs while catering to your long-term strategic objectives.

3. Implementation, Integration and Customization of a Variant Configurator and Elfsquad

There are some contrasting aspects when it comes to the implementation, integration and customization between Elfsquad and a Variant Configurator.

Implementing a Variant Configurator involves setting up the system, configuring product structures and rules, customizing the user interface, and conducting thorough testing and training. It requires establishing the necessary infrastructure and modeling product configurations based on business requirements. Customization of the user interface and user experience is also part of the implementation process. With a Variant Configurator this involves a lot of custom coding and consultancy. When changes are needed in the future, you remain dependent.

Implementing Elfsquad involves setting up the software, product catalog, pricing rules, and customization options. It requires defining the product structure and dependencies within the CPQ system. The implementation effort varies based on the complexity of the product offerings and business requirements. Elfsquad keeps the user in mind and focuses on ease-of-use. Curious about how your CPQ implementation process can look like? Our blog “4 steps to more revenue and sales” explains how.


Integration with Other Systems
The Variant Configurator is tightly integrated with other modules within the ERP system, ensuring data consistency and integrity. Integration with other systems outside the ERP ecosystem may require additional customization and configuration efforts. You are probably using other systems in your current process. Then the integration with other systems is something that can really benefit you. Next to that systems, products and processes evolve and innovate over time. You can’t get stuck in an inflexible system when you want to compete during times of rapid digitization. With a Variant Configurator this customization is done through consultancy, and is a costly process.

Elfsquad is designed to integrate with various systems, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CAD (computer-aided design) platforms. Elfsquad is cloud-based and focuses on connectivity and extensibility. These integrations enable seamless data flow and consistency across different systems and processes. Elfsquad can synchronize customer information, product catalogues, pricing and quotes with other systems to ensure accurate and up-to-date information throughout the customer journey.

The level of customization with the Variant Configurator may depend on the capabilities provided by the underlying ERP system. Customizing the Variant Configurator typically involves utilizing the customization tools and frameworks provided by the ERP platform. Extensive customization within an ERP system may require technical expertise and knowledge of the ERP customization processes.

Elfsquad is designed to be customizable to accommodate specific business requirements. Elfsquad offers configuration options and tools that allow businesses to tailor the solution to their unique needs. Elfsquad provides a range of customization possibilities, such as defining custom product rules, user interfaces, pricing structures, and quote templates. In Elfsquad it is easy to maintain or change a configuration model. In the master data users can make changes without having to turn to costly consultants or developers. The data entry (backend of the configuration models) is easy to access and change in the management system as can be seen in the visual.


4. Key Differences Between Variant Configurator and Elfsquad

Even though both the Elfsquad and the Variant Configurator seem to fulfill the same need, there are some differences. A variant configurator enables users to select and customize various product options, but it is not capable of handling complex product configurations with numerous possible combinations. The variant configurator looks promising, but it does limit you in connecting with the customer and enabling sales with powerful configuration software. Elfsquad helps with the configuration, pricing, and quoting process. The software is a spider in the web, connecting different departments for a digital and automated pre-production process. We will elaborate on some key differences that will help you choose between Elfsquad and Variant Configurator.

Guided Selling and Product Visualization
The user interface of the Variant Configurator within an ERP system like SAP may have a more technical focus. It is designed to cater to users who are familiar with the ERP environment and may require knowledge of the product structure and configuration rules. The interface does not have the same level of visual appeal or user-friendly design as Elfsquad. The Variant Configurator relies on rule-based configuration, where configuration options and dependencies are defined using business rules and constraints. The focus is on ensuring valid and consistent configurations rather than providing a visually appealing or interactive interface.

The user is also not guided when making configuration choices.
Elfsquad places a strong emphasis on guided selling capabilities. We provide a user-friendly interface that guides sales representatives or customers through the entire configuration process. This can include dynamic questionnaires, visual product selection, and step-by-step guidance to help users select the appropriate options and features based on their needs. Elfsquad can also offer a real-time visual representation of the configured product. This enhances the user experience and helps users visualize the final product before making a purchasing decision.

Pricing Optimization
The Variant Configurator integrates with pricing functionalities offered by the ERP platform. It leverages the pricing engine and rules defined within the ERP system to determine accurate prices for the configured products. Pricing optimization is typically based on predefined price lists, customer-specific pricing agreements, and other factors managed within the ERP system.
Elfsquad excels at pricing optimization by offering advanced algorithms and rules to calculate prices based on various factors such as product configuration, pricing rules, and discounts. We provide flexibility in setting up pricing strategies such as dynamic pricing.

Quoting Generation
The Variant Configurator, as part of an ERP system, leverages the quotation generation capabilities provided by the ERP platform. It enables the generation of sales orders based on the configured product, pricing rules, and customer information. The Variant Configurator cannot create a tailored and personal quotation but just gives an item list with pricing.
Elfsquad is specifically designed to generate professional and detailed quotations or proposals. We automate the process of creating accurate quotes by pulling information from the configured product, pricing rules, and other relevant data. With Elfsquad, you can generate quotes in different formats, such as PDF and Word documents. We offer customization options to tailor the appearance and content of the quotes to align with the brand’s or business’s requirements.


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