Building an in-house quoting solution is the process of using internal resources or outside contractors to build a custom application. The more unique the requirements, the more appealing a “bespoke” system is to the business. If an application embeds knowledge or processes that are proprietary and give a business a competitive advantage, then taking an in-house approach may be justified. However, most often this is not the case and businesses embark on in-house development without a clear direction or long term vision.
The biggest advantage of going this route is the custom fit that is developed and the direct contact between the developers and the people using the system. Users get exactly what they want. It also may initially appear to be less expensive approach as the cost is hidden in salaries and other internal resources.
On the surface, it can appear to be an effective way to develop a system that fits the specific needs of the company. However, like the excel and word approach, what initially seems highly beneficial, slowly hits the limits as the demands of the business grow. Too often an in-house solution is never completed or once implemented stagnates as the original developers move on or lose interest. An in-house development system can also be time consuming taking key staff away from their primary responsibilities of selling or customer service as they are sidetracked to help with the system requirements and testing.
Very often a business is left with a partially completed solution that lacks a clear path to completion. Data such as cost and price can become out of date, new products can’t be added and resources are unavailable to add new features. Furthermore, as technology advances, it’s difficult to allocate resources to upgrade the application to newer technology. Again, in time, the in-house solution stagnates and handcuffs the business from moving forward. Although it may seem less expensive initially, in-house development can become very costly as resources are allocated to analyzing requirements, processing data, programming, designing, implementing, testing, user training and on-going maintenance.
For businesses that need a custom solution, there is a better approach. A purpose built solution. A purpose-built solution is a highly configurable program that enables a business to adapt the application to their specific needs at a fraction of the cost of in-house or custom development. These solutions offer greater flexibility and the ability to quickly tailor the application to fit a wide range of business requirements including:
1. Production configuration of custom product assembly
2. Packages and BOM
4. Diverse business rules for cost, price, commission and discounting
5. Supports custom fields, tables and forms
6. Quote approval process, workflows and auto notifications
7. Integration and connectivity tools with other business systems
8. Advanced reporting, dashboard capability and Reporting Services (e.g. Microsoft SQL Reporting)
9. Market trend analysis and sales forecasting
10. Supports for custom add-on functions and program extensions outside of traditional sales quoting
11. Rapid deployment capabilities
A purpose-built CPQ solution offers many of the benefits of Excel and Word, but packaged in an integrated database solution. With this approach businesses get a custom-fit, but also retain the capability to upgrade the software as business requirements change and new technology evolves.
In addition to finding the right software, a reliable solution provider with creditable industry experience is also important. One who takes the time to understand your business, helps to identify your specific needs and makes recommendations to benefit your business.
Take the stress and guesswork out CPQ, download the whitepaper NOW! or contact us a ProQuoteInfo@ProQuote-Solutions.com or call 905-403-1198.