July 6 by Jason Runnels
WYSIWYG software like Word and Pages, transformed word processing in the mid-1980s by eliminating the need for manual typesetting and printing presses. Document formatting could be handled automatically by the software. Your pages could print immediately without waiting for somebody to sort through a dirty drawer of stained movable types.
What does WYSIWYG mean for companies that sell complex products – such as industrial equipment?
If your company is like most manufacturers, you struggle with complexity. Your customers demand more and more choices and expect your products to be tailored to their specific needs. But to support this, the number of saleable combinations quickly becomes unwieldy. And the number of buildable combinations cannot always be pre-engineered ahead of time. Often manufacturers must choose to sacrifice either speed or accuracy. But at what cost?
Customers aren’t willing to wait by the mailbox for your quote to arrive by snail mail. And if your product experts are reviewing proposals for errors, then they aren’t doing their “day jobs.” The business impact can be margin uncertainty because you don’t know if the quote is valid – until it’s too late.
How do industry thought-leaders approach this problem? The obvious answer is WYSIWYG Configure Price Quote (CPQ.) If you can see what is quoted before it’s built, then you can fundamentally transform the way your complex products are sold.
What is WYSIWYG Configure Price Quote (CPQ)?
Imagine a “virtual product expert” living inside of your selling system who ensures proposal accuracy instantaneously.
The knowledge and experience from all your product experts could be applied as rules and constraints so sellers can make informed quoting decisions. Correct versions of components and Bills of Material could be automatically selected from Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems. And the complete, custom design could be generated in real-time based on the customer’s requirements. To ensure margin predictability, a bottoms-up, cost rollup could be invoked at the time of quote.
Now, what if that “virtual product expert” not only made sure what you are quoting is valid, but could also show you that everything is correct with 3D visualization? The seller could visualize the impact of their choices as they were made during the quote rather than having to wait for engineering.
When 3D visualization is leveraged up front for all sales channels, and in the back office to validate designs, manufacturers can address the full spectrum of product variability – from Configure to Order, to Engineer to Order.
This is WYSIWYG CPQ.
Below is a sampling of what WYSIWYG CPQ means to manufacturing organizations.
Front Office Benefits
Back Office Benefits
The scope of business outcomes can be transformational when the revenue-impacting processes in the middle office are integrated. For most organizations though, the processes between front-office CRM and back-office ERP and PLM are disjointed, manual, and inefficient.
With demands for new selling models and new customer engagement models, deal complexity may surpass product complexity. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to implement an agile strategy for WYSIWYG CPQ.
When WYSIWYG CPQ is delivered on a Middle Office Platform that seamlessly orchestrates mission critical revenue processes, like Configure Price Quote, Contract Lifecycle Management, and Revenue Management, manufacturers can truly achieve digital transformation.