Delivering successful CPQ outcomes
It is now becoming recognised by a growing spectrum of businesses of all sizes that implementing integrated CPQ applications can deliver significant benefits and rapid returns on investment - particularly for organisations that provide complex products and services.
However it is clear that there there are a number of factors reported by businesses which have been through such implementations, which set apart those that have been truly successful. They can largely be described as factors of Business Readiness.
It may seem obvious but... Getting commitment at the highest level is essential if a new Lead to Order process is to be successfully embedded across the organisation.
The appointment of a senior champion, preferably at board-level, who can drive the risk management process at every level, is something that has proven to enhance project success.
This champion should have an extensive understanding of the products and processes, provide high levels of support and have the authority to ensure that all relevant functional areas provide the required level of information and feedback.
It is highly beneficial if organisations going through such change have a clear and full understanding of the business and personal benefits that can be derived from CPQ systems which effectively streamline the Lead to Order process.
Communicating and getting the involvement in delivering these benefits requires their involvement from the outset. One powerful method of delivering this understanding is to involving relevant individuals in a detailed analysis of the current business process that will be affected and enhanced by the deployment.
The success of a CPQ implementation depends on the readiness and ability of the product or service range to be automated in this way.
There needs to be a hierarchy and structure that lends itself to automation will rules that can be applied for each product or service.
Will this new system be for internal use only or will it also be extended to channel partners, distributors, resellers, sales agents or even end users themselves?
Organisations must have a clear understanding of what they are trying to achieve by providing these external channels with access to a CPQ system. They must also understand the needs of these external channels and how, why and where they need to access CPQ tools.
In addition to the design and development of new processes and procedures, there are technical issues that need to be addressed to successfully integrate CPQ applications with the existing CRM and/or back office system.
However, this can often present challenges as internal staff focused on business as usual will rarely have surplus capacity to take on board the change management initiatives or the experience to develop an effective and workable roadmap for change required. They may also not have the experience of this level of technical integration.
It is not just a one-time project to ensure that a CPQ implementation continues to deliver the expected level of benefits over time.
A member of staff must be charged with the ongoing management and control of the system to ensure that all product updates and changes are implemented on the system to ensure that it continues to be accurate and usable
Addressing the Lead to Order complexity challenges can deliver rapid results with benefits flowing straight through to the bottom line providing the gaps that exist between existing processes are understood and correctly addressed. This should be subject to regular and ongoing review to ensure that the new processes continue to deliver the required results.
Below are a group of companies form a range of industries that orientated their business to a CPQ centric methodology of working and deployed sound processes to secure real business advantage. Each of their specific stories is different, but the overall theme and outcome is the same