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IDC Evaluates Worldwide Manufacturing Configure, Price, Quote Applications Vendors

vincent Lemuwa

IDC Manufacturing Insights has announced the availability of a new IDC MarketScape report to help end users assess current and anticipated performance of configure, price, quote (CPQ) applications vendors in the manufacturing marketplace.

The new study, IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Manufacturing Configure, Price, Quote Applications 2017 Vendor Assessment (IDC #US41156617), examines the capabilities and business strategy of 12 key vendors with robust suites of CPQ applications used by manufacturing companies to support the sale of complex products and services, including: Apttus, Callidus Software, Cincom, Configit, Experlogix, IBM, Infor, Oracle, PROS, Salesforce, SAP, and Tacton.

According to Heather Ashton, research manager, Service Innovation and Connected Products Strategies at IDC Manufacturing Insights, "Manufacturers are looking at CPQ applications to enhance the customer experience, optimize the sales process, and create better alignment between engineering, sales, and production. While CPQ applications have existed for more than 20 years, the rise of the 3rd Platform has disrupted this market and created an opportunity for manufacturers to more closely align the configure-to-quote process with greater customer engagement, leveraging innovation accelerators like cognitive learning, IoT, and augmented reality. We expect to see this market continue to expand in the coming years."

According to the new report, configure, price, quote applications are increasingly central to manufacturers' efforts to more closely align product availability and production capacity with sales efforts, especially for products that are engineered to order, make to order, and assemble to order. Based on this research, IDC provides a number of key recommendations, including:

Look at customer engagement, sales enablement, and production capacity holistically. Understand how tools like CPQ can be used to enhance the customer experience (CX) and set realistic expectations for product availability based on production capacity.

Align CPQ functionality with your sales model. If you are predominantly selling through channels, understand how a given CPQ application will support your channel and how easily it can be adopted by channel partners and what type of visibility it can provide you to better optimize sales forecasting and production capacity. If you are primarily selling direct, perhaps a CPQ tool that has more functionality in the revenue and price optimization arenas is desired as a way to improve your overall margins.

Create a cross-functional team that represents business and technical leaders. Look to users of the ultimate application to help define requirements, including sales representatives, production managers, and engineers, depending on how you intend to use the CPQ tool.

IT is an important resource here because there is a critical need to integrate CPQ applications with CRM, PLM, ERP, and other enterprise systems of record to maintain the single source of truth.

IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants and end users. Market weightings are based on user interviews, buyer surveys and the input of a review board of IDC experts in each market. IDC analysts base individual vendor scores, and ultimately vendor positions within the IDC MarketScape, on detailed surveys and interviews with the vendors, publicly available information and end-user experiences in an effort to provide an accurate and consistent assessment of each vendor's characteristics, behavior and capability.