If youre considering investing in a CPQ system for your company, youll find a wider variety of vendors and solutions than ever before. Its great to have a big choice, but as a result, the selection process can be overwhelming.
There are several guides available to help you choose the right system for your business, G2 Crowd and TrustRadius etc, and of course youll need to define your requirements and judge the various offerings against your specific needs. But before you get to that point, lets consider a more fundamental question, how enterprise level does your CPQ system need to be?
A good definition of enterprise software comes from Wikipedia Although there is no single, widely accepted list of enterprise software characteristics, they generally include performance, scalability, and robustness. Furthermore, enterprise software typically has interfaces to other enterprise software. When we look across the wide range of CPQ offerings on the market, there are some that meet this definition better than others. Although lets be clear ALL the systems on the market have value to their customers and there is room in the CPQ landscape for a wide range of vendors. Its simply a case of working out what level is right for your organisation. What were often asked at Walpole Partnership is, what benefits does my company get if we go for the higher end and more complex solutions?
Our experience tells us that the benefits can be grouped into three main areas Performance, Adaptability and Maintenance.
Probably the single biggest factor in differentiating between CPQ systems is the way in which performance is handled. (Note that this correlates well with the earlier enterprise definition of performance, scalability and robustness!) Especially for the cloud-based solutions on the market, you need to look at how your CPQ system needs will translate into real-world performance.
Key questions to ask when considering performance include:
Can the solution we need handle multiple interactive calculations effectively?
How efficient is the rules engine for product configuration?
Does the current platform were working with have any limits or restrictions on the number of calls to it?
How will performance be impacted as our quotes grow in size?
Will the solution remain robust as we scale up our business or bring more departments or products onto the system?
Working through these questions with CPQ vendors will give you a much better idea of the capability of their solution.
We will be focusing on the final two benefits of getting the right sized CPQ system for your organisation in part two of this article, so do look out for it it will be published soon!