Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) -- How to Get It Right

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Freedom for the IT Department

CPQ takes certain elements out of the IT department and puts them into the hands of teams who are not necessarily experts or technological wizards. Administrators in a range of different departments can quickly and easily keep systems up to date and make rapid changes without recourse to expert IT staff.

This provides a solution for IT skills shortages and frees up existing teams. Instead of concentrating on the nuts and bolts and making systems speak to one another, they must first ensure the platforms are being adopted properly and that everyone is accessing the right information. They can then move downstream to information management, focusing on more proactive and strategic tasks such as analytics. However, this will need planning, training and careful management.

Next-generation CPQ can help break down organizational barriers and provide a single view of all aspects of the customer, the sales process and the product. In other words, in the future, it could be as vital a business tool as CRM or ERP, for example.

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) platforms are relatively new on the scene. But, as often happens with technology, the pace of market change has been so swift that the first platforms have soon become outdated. As a result, second-generation CPQ has emerged before the first wave has been fully appreciated.

CPQ is a sales tool designed to help companies produce accurate and highly configured quotes. It centralizes all complex product, pricing and business rules, making them automatic and available in real time. But so much for definitions. Why is it needed?

Appropriately for an application that’s evolving so rapidly, the topline answer to this question is that CPQ turns ideas into reality more quickly. Taking a great new concept from initial discussion to fruition used to take anywhere up to a year or so. In many sectors, such as telecoms or software, this is no longer fast enough; the markets move so quickly that by the time the product or service is launched, it may no longer be relevant.

Due to this constant need for reinvention and renewal, product portfolios have become increasingly complex. Technology advances, new compliance regulations and increasing globalization have also played a part in making life more difficult for sales and marketing teams who struggle to optimize their entire catalogues. It hasn’t helped being hampered by outdated legacy IT, which can present them with a confusing array of configurations.

Enter the first CPQ platforms. At first, these were exactly what was required at a functional level to make the sales process more efficient. But now, these sales operations need more streamlining and more agility. It has become even more urgent to quickly launch new products and services, to eliminate clunky business processes and excessive admin tasks in order to stay competitive. Businesses now want something that takes them beyond CPQ to help them manage the entire customer lifecycle from quote to cash. So, a new generation of platforms that includes CPQ – and more – has emerged in the market.

Needless to say, this can be confusing for anyone considering investing in the technology and naturally wants to ensure a fast return. How can they be sure they get it right? In this slideshow, Rowley Douglas, executive vice president of CloudSense, explains more about this disruptive new technology and issues that should be considered.

 

Related Topics : Vulnerabilities and Patches, Resellers, Broadcom, Broadband Services, Supercomputing

 
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