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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Why is Apttus stealing the march over Zuora?

Salesforce is a vibrant platform which caters to most of the housekeeping activities of any standard business.
Those activities/ processes may be :-
  • Pre Sales / Marketing
  •  Sales
  •  After Sales Service / Support
  •  Knowledge Base Management
  •  Website for popularizing products or taking information about product & services to potential clients



Having said that one realizes that there is no OOB (Out of Box) CPQ module or Configure - Price - Quote Module in salesforce.


What is CPQ?
CPQ, or Configure Price Quote Software is a sales tool or a set of tools designed to help companies produce accurate and highly configured quotes making all of the complex product, pricing, and business rules centralized, automatic and available in real-time, so that sales has all the information they need while making sales handy.
Since Salesforce doesn’t provide a module / tools dedicated for CPQ, what are the options. Some of the options are:-
1.  One can build a CPQ solution using some custom objects and other customization ( which no wonder is a cumbersome process)
2.   The other option is to leverage the existing CPQ solutions.
       i.  Some are on premise systems hence perhaps not the best choice
       ii.  Others are on the cloud but integration between the different cloud ecosystems is sometimes not that easy. Remember why salesforce is such a hit because of the ease with which one can learn the platform nitty-gritties and develop solution. Unfortunately many of the earlier cloud based CPQ solution have very cumbersome API based integrations, which at times might not be so easy to grasp.
In the IInd category let’s take the example of Zuora which is a cloud based CPQ solution (among other solutions like billing engine) and an ideal candidate for adoption in the cloud eco-system.
So what is Zuora?
Zuora for Salesforce lets one sell and nurture subscriptions without breaking one’s sales and customer care processes.
Zuora for Salesforce provides two native Force.com applications:
·         Quotes to enable direct assisted sales of your subscription offerings
·          360 Sync to provide full visibility in Salesforce into key Subscriber activity and into opportunities that exist to foster deeper subscriber relationships
Despite being fully on cloud one gets a sense that implementing Zuora at times poses some challenges.
i.                     The API at times is not very well documented for a new developer to implement, also unlike salesforce the training resources are not freely available.
ii.                   Also one should be a partner to get a Zuora org/ instance; hence one cannot easily play around with it.
iii.                  The fact that Accounts and some other associated data reside both in salesforce and Zuora give a semblance of data duplication though the 360 sync ensures that both the copies always reflect the same information.
iv.                 The fact that despite both environments being on cloud the fact that the cloud are different and need some kind of hand-shake for the information to flow also brings in some complexity thus impeding adoption.

What is APPTUS CPQ?
As per online Apttus resources- Apttus Configure Price Quote (CPQ) is the choice for Salesforce to intelligently configure price and quote new deals, add-on sales and renewals — all inside Salesforce.
The following screenshot further clarifies what Apttus stands for.



In simple words Apttus is a force.com product built on force.com platform or one can say that its native to salesforce.  Now what does it imply , it means objects like Accounts, contacts , quote won’t be duplicated or in other words in Salesforce and Apttus CPQ there will be only one instance of such objects unlike Zuora.

The Native VS Composite App debate

 Hence despite sharing some of the similar difficulties with Zuora ( from a developer/ implementer point of view) like:-
1. Documentation / Resources not freely available like salesforce.
2. The product cannot be tried by developers in general unless one is a partner 
APTTUS is having fairly good adoption rate in the Salesforce –CPQ space due to being native to salesforce.
                         


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