Designing CPQ Systems – Part 1 of 3

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IT projects always include a design phase of a project. Why is it then that so many enterprise applications look like they were designed by someone intent on making their users’ lives as awkward as possible?

In technical terms the design phase refers to the creation of a logical structure for the system, however to the layperson design is often associated with look and feel. The choice of terminology should create a common vision between the technical teams and the end-point user experience but it rarely does.

“What is design? It’s where you stand with a foot in two worlds the world of technology and the world of people and human purposes and you try to bring the two together.”
Mitchell Kapor, Designer of Lotus 1-2-3 and Mozilla

There is no doubt that a well-designed technical architecture will enable a great system but it needs to look and function beautifully for everyone who works and lives with it.

One of the things that we love to focus on at the Walpole Partnership is the question of user experience (UX). A challenge with CPQ systems, often overlooked, is how to make a system a pleasure for users. We often say that CPQ sits at the heart of a systems landscape and company processes. By its very nature, CPQ systems are a touchpoint for a wide variety of different business functions.

In the second part of this three-part series well look in some detail at a variety of users affected by the implementation of a CPQ system and we’ll see how the world looks through their eyes.

“Design must reflect the practical and aesthetic in business but above all good design must primarily serve people.”
Thomas J. Watson, Chairman and CEO of IBM.

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