Before a CPQ Transformation Project starts I suggest to (almost) all customers (some exceptions below) to spend at least some time to determine where they stand in regards to
- Organizational Readiness and to determine
- The complexity of their CPQ Requirements
This is important for two reasons
- To ensure the customer is fully prepared at the beginning of the CPQ Transformation Project. They need to know where they are right now and where they should be once the project starts to have the highest probability for success at the lowest possible cost.
- To ensure the customer can start selecting the best possible CPQ Solution Providers for their business requirements. There are 80+ CPQ Solution Providers and if the customer can focus only on the ones that represent the best potential fit that saves valuable time and money.
While some companies, especially ones that have been using CPQ for a long time and hence have knowledgeable in-house resources, can do this analysis themselves I generally suggest that a vendor-agnostic CPQ Expert gets involved.
I say that because a vendor-agnostic CPQ Expert typically knows multiple CPQ Processes and Systems from numerous CPQ Customers and CPQ Solution Providers. Their experience and exposure to different viewpoints from different stakeholders typically provides a valuable source of information that can help prevent costly mistakes. Here some examples of costly mistakes
- A CPQ Solution was selected, implemented and deployed but does not provide the expected benefits. Customer starts looking for another CPQ Solution.
- The CPQ Selection Process lasts 4 months instead of 2 months
- The CPQ Implementation Project lasts 9 months instead of 6 months
The main benefit a vendor-agnostic CPQ Expert provides is a broad perspective that very few companies have in-house. While this represents “additional costs” it is typically a small amount and much better than using a “free” resource that a CPQ Solution Provider may offer. For example we offer a fixed price “Eight Day Analysis” to go through the process described here.
Now lets have a look at the two areas and see some examples of what you should be looking at.
Are the impacted Business Teams ready for this project? Some Questions you should be able to answer are
- Is there a sense of Urgency to fix your CPQ issue?
- Who supports the CPQ Project and who (if anyone) opposes it?
- What is your Vision for CPQ?
- How is the Organization currently organized? (e.g. Who sets up the product configurator, pricing, quote forms, workflows etc.)
- Are you using Agile Project Management?
- Do you have successfully used Change Management Processes in previous projects?
- Are Business Requirements available and prioritized from all impacted teams?
- Are your CPQ Processes documented (current/future processes)?
- Can you clearly articulate the Sales Process Pain Points?
- Do you have any KPIs that can measure if the CPQ implementation was successful?
- Is the New Product Introduction Process documented (current/future)?
- Is the Change Products Process documented (current/future)?
- Who maintains the Product Configuration Rules?
- Are User Experience Requirements agreed upon and documented for all Routes-to-Market?
- Where is the pricing currently determined? (e.g. Excel spreadsheet, SAP System)
- Do you want to keep the current pricing logic and processes or do you look to improve it?
- Is your pricing logic documented (current/future)?
Quote & Workflow
- Who is currently maintaining your Quote & Workflow Data?
- Are the Quote & Workflow processes documented (current/future)?
Quote to Order Conversion Requirements
- Are the Quote to Order Conversion Processes documented (current/future)? (e.g. Order Acceptance Criteria)
- What KPIs are needed?
Here are some examples of what you should be looking at when you evaluate CPQ Complexity.
Complexity of Business Requirements
- What Routes-to-Market are required? (e.g. Direct, Indirect, eCommerce)
- What is the expected User Experience for each Route-to-Market?
- What is the current System Architecture?
- Where is the CPQ Master Data coming from? (e.g. Customer Master, Material Master, Channel Partner Master, Pricing Master)
- Are Engineer-to-Order Processes required?
Product Configuration Complexity
- How many Product Configuration Levels are needed to correctly represent a product?
- Is Marketing Data (e.g. images, white papers, videos) required in the User Interface?
- What capabilities does the CPQ Support Team require? (e.g. can a customer call support to finish a product configuration? )
- Is the pricing dynamically determined or statically? (e.g. based on Customer Group, Region, Industry)
- Do retroactive discounts (Rebates) need to be supported?
- Do you offer tiered pricing for your Channel Partners?
Quote & Workflow Complexity
- How many quote forms are needed?
- Does the Sales Rep need to be notified as soon as the customer looked at the quote?
- How many approval workflows need to be supported?
Complexity of integrating 3rd party systems
- What CRM/ERP/PLM/CLM/CAD etc. Systems need to be connected to CPQ?
- How does the data flow between these systems?
As mentioned above this should be done for every CPQ Transformation Project. Some smaller customers may not do that in order to save time and money but then they have to accept the risk of making costly mistakes.