Time and time again, the promise of a faster sales process is a key factor in getting executive buy-in for adopting Oracle Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Cloud. Faster pricing, faster quotes, and, therefore, faster revenue recognition. So, when it comes to implementing the system, it’s natural for stakeholders to want it done and fast.
But as with any business software implementation, early in the solution’s architecture process, CPQ Cloud’s point-and-click functionality may not appear to meet every necessary use case. The quick fix?
Let’s just code it.
Whoa there, not so fast! Like my parents used to say, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” (I now see that they were talking about using custom code in a CPQ Cloud implementation all along!)
Don’t get me wrong, one of the big advantages of CPQ Cloud is that it is truly enterprise-ready – the ability to incorporate custom scripts makes it possible to accomplish virtually any use case. But while it’s available, custom code isn’t always advantageous. The effort you save in the short term could cost your team time and money for years to come.
While there are certainly still complex use cases that require custom code, recent Oracle CPQ Cloud releases have made life a lot simpler. New functionality like Formula Management and the Alta UI have made many previously code-reliant use cases possible (and simpler) via point-and click customisation.
In my experience, finding ways to meet complex requirements using CPQ Cloud’s point-and-click interface has a number of big-picture benefits:
1. Simpler, more efficient long-term administration
As years go by, your CPQ Cloud implementation will likely be managed by its fair share of technical administrators. When an administrator gets sick, takes time off, or leaves and takes another job, a different administrator will have to pick up where he/she left off.
If your implementation is built on point-and-click functionality, administrator turnover isn’t a problem. If the new administrator knows CPQ Cloud, he/she will be able to update existing functionality without much of a learning curve.
An implementation that features a lot of custom code is a different story. If you’ve spent any amount of time trying to interpret or edit someone else’s code, you know what I’m talking about. Even if code is well-commented, the process can be time-consuming, difficult, and frustrating. Sometimes the comments are even more confusing than the code!
2. Your business users will thank you
If you plan on having ‘business users’ update your CPQ Cloud instance when parts, pricing, or proposal templates change, a predominantly point-and-click implementation is a must. These business users can easily be trained on how to update products and pricing formulas that were built with point-and-click functionality.
However, if those parts of your system are reliant on custom code, you certainly won’t want business users poking around trying to update scripts. Your technical administrators will thank you too, because it’s one less thing they’ll have to update.
3. Your implementation will be ‘upgrade-proof’
When your CPQ Cloud implementation only utilises point-and-click functionality, you don’t have to worry about something breaking every time Oracle releases an update. Oracle will have already tested that all point-and-click functionality works as expected with each new CPQ Cloud release, and if something does go awry, Oracle’s support team will be on hand to find you a solution.
That’s not the case if your implementation contains a lot of custom code. If your code goes out-of-date because of a release, it’s on your team to update it, which means more time and money out of your budget to support your custom code.
If you believe that a certain piece of functionality you’re looking to implement must be coded, make sure to talk to your Oracle product management contact or implementation partner before developing a custom solution. There may be a way to implement the functionality via point-and-click functionality that you haven’t thought of yet, or there may be a good reason why Oracle hasn’t already added the functionality to CPQ Cloud.
Plus, the last thing you want to do is sink time and money into developing a solution that may be rolled-out in the next CPQ Cloud release, so make sure to exhaust all of your consulting resources before resorting to a custom code solution. Finding a way to implement your requirements using point-and-click functionality will mean less headaches for years to come, and more time to add additional functionality to your implementation.
‘Code-free CPQ Cloud’ is written by Walpole Partnership’s MD, Andy Pieroux.