January 11 by Nagi Prabhu

Database Object design—a.k.a. schema design—is the heart, brain, and soul of any enterprise application. Apttus chose to design its own standardized object structure, utilizing a combination of the standard Salesforce objects as well as custom objects intended to address Quote-to-Cash processes, varying complexities, and scaling business models.

Application architects need to spend a lot of time thinking deep and hard about the object structures they design that form the foundation of the application. It’s a small investment of time for a large potential of growth and opportunity.

Apttus’s object design was and continues to be guided by these 4 core principles:

1. Future Proof

The object structure should not only address the current needs of any business but should be capable of addressing the future needs as well. While Apttus provides the usefulness of standard objects, Apttus’ solution is offered as a managed package so the introduction of new functionality does not require changing the object structure. In 9 years, since Apttus launched its first application and secured its first customer, the company has expanded its footprint to encompass 20 unique Quote-to-Cash applications — most recently incentives and rebates—that now run off the same object model, allowing customers to evolve as necessary.

2. Scale Proof

Object structures should serve an enterprise that has minimal Quote-to-Cash needs while also being able to serve a large enterprise with multiple locations, departments, products, and business processes. Given the same application will serve every size enterprise on the Salesforce ecosystem, the object structure should make it easy for a small enterprise to get started, but be able to handle complex enterprise needs as well.

3. Related Applications

Object structure you design should be capable of handling other adjacent and dependent applications. Given the robust footprint of Apttus applications in the Quote-to-Cash area, the object design for Configure Price Quote (CPQ) for example should not only satisfy CPQ needs, but also the needs of Billing, Invoicing, Revenue Recognition, Contract Management, and other functions.

4. Applicable to all Industries

The object design should support industry data models and out-of-box best practices while flexibly scaling to accommodate evolving data standards. An example is the eTOM telco certification achieved by the Apttus Quote-to-Cash solution for the Communications vertical. Apttus Quote-to-Cash applications provide extensible support for mission-critical processes across industries. These include allowing medical device and pharma product managers and marketers to set up and execute rule-driven dynamically tiered contract prices for healthcare customers, telecommunication companies to position customer-specific solutions based on site-sensitive configurations and promotions, insurance and asset management companies to offer highly customized financial products across 3rd party instruments while dynamically calculating fees and rating models, and manufacturing companies to manage multi-level nested configurations that must be properly translated for pricing, order orchestration, rebate and revenue reconciliation to contracts. In doing so the data models must provide support for smaller companies needing out of box support for their industry while scaling flexibly to the needs of the large, complex enterprise with region-specific or highly localized, divisional requirements.

With these principles in mind, and with decades of experience designing Quote-to-Cash applications under its belt, Apttus chose to use its own object design rather than use built-in objects provided by Salesforce. Customers have a lot of Internal Protocol in how they run their businesses. The Apttus object model provides flexibility and extensibility. One size does not fit all, and Apttus respects every customer’s need to be unique in crafting their multichannel go-to-market strategies.

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Posted by Nagi Prabhu on January 11, 2016.

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