August 2, 2018

5 Aspects of a Carrier-Grade CPQ Solution

There are many characteristics to look for in a configure price quote (CPQ) solution, especially in today's digital and highly connected environment.

To capitalize on the growing B2B opportunity, service providers must be able to bundle digital services together with traditional IT services and sell them efficiently across channels. It’s simply a must as the world becomes more digital.

But service providers face some unique challenges when selling enterprise services, namely the process of configuring the offering, pricing it and getting a quote. The reason for this is that enterprise offerings are complex, as they can incorporate hardware, communication services, applications, IT and managed services. All of these services are usually priced differently, have different discounting rules and can have dependencies on other services. Complicating the matter further is the need to validate services and make sure they are available at specific locations or meet specific infrastructure rollout costs. These complexities often lead to lengthy and error-prone processes for calculating deal profitability and getting quotes for customers.

A configure price quote (CPQ) solution can help service providers better manage this complexity. However, there are certain characteristics that operators should look for when considering a CPQ offering. Here are some capabilities that should be in a service provider’s CPQ.

1. Comprehensive Product Catalog Capabilities

The solution should be able to handle diverse types of services with different business models and combine them into multitier bundles, accounting for possible dependencies between products. Because many products may be provided by partners (e.g., XaaS offerings, applications, hardware, etc.), the solution should support the quick introduction of partner-enabled services. Configuring these new offerings should be done by non-technical users through a business-friendly user interface.

2. Support for Complex Pricing Rules

The inherent complexity of pricing enterprise solutions requires support for complex discounting and pricing rules. The CPQ solution should support diverse business models, such as flat-fee, usage-based or volume-based plans, and provide capabilities to calculate deal margins based on projected revenue and capital costs incurred by the service provider.

3. Integration With BSS/OSS

A CPQ solution should be integrated with existing business support systems (BSS) and operations support systems (OSS) to provide service feasibility checks and assign tasks for various departments to make necessary calculations, like calculating the cost of network build-out to specific customer locations. After the customer accepts the quote, the order needs to be submitted automatically for fulfillment to avoid swivel chair and errors, which can lead to order fallout.

4. Omnichannel Support

Many customers today prefer to shop for services online, meaning that a CPQ solution must be able to support quotes across multiple channels, including self-service, call centers and direct sales. To do this successfully, it needs to rely on standardized APIs which can be integrated to third-party channel applications.

5. Built-In Analytics Capabilities

Service providers have access to large volumes of customer data, including customer profiles, interactions histories and usage. A CPQ solution needs to leverage that data to increase average deal sizes and spot upsell opportunities. By analyzing previous deals, finding similar customers and identifying offers with discounts that are most likely to result in maximum revenue, a CPQ solution can truly help service providers grow.

The enterprise market promises significant revenue opportunities. To reap its benefits, service providers need to have carrier-grade CPQ solution with the right capabilities.


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