Apttus CPQ - force.com native and complex (pro and con)
Stryder Thompkins profile photo
December 29, 2015

Apttus CPQ - force.com native and complex (pro and con)

Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Apttus

Our North American and UK based sales teams use Apttus for all quotes (new business, add-on sales, renewals). We use it to manage pricing, quoting, and assets. We use X-Author for Word for our quote/order form. We have about 30,000 active price points, 400K active assets, and a few hundred inclusion rules.
  • Force.com native is very important to us - for reporting, administration, integration, and uptime.
  • 70% of our business is back to base, so having customer owned assets fall under the same inclusion rules as items in the cart is critical.
  • Variable bundles allow us to build fewer bundles.
  • Change management: Pricing changes are difficult to deploy, no regression testing for existing configurations.
  • Administrator usability: Very easy to create problems with price list items firing unintentionally which leads to price list item sprawl. No holistic testing tools to make sure you've set up pricing / rules the way you intended.
  • X-Author has limited capabilities to include related objects - our Quote header object has several hundred fields that serve no purpose but to make form generation more stable / faster.
  • Positive: all opportunity values / forecast values come from actual quotes, improving accuracy.
  • Positive: automated approval and e-signature drive much faster time to close (hours vs. days).
  • Negative: Complex pricing without adequate testing leads to errors, usability issues, and incorrect quotes.
Apttus had the best SFDC integration (force.com native) which was by far the biggest point. It also had key showcase customers and ample rules / pricing features for our use cases. Asset - based inclusion rules was a big positive. We were concerned with the business models of the competitors (this was pre-Oracle acquisition of BM).
In a complex environment where the IT team has plenty of SFDC expertise, Apttus is a great fit - especially if you sell the same product in multiple offerings / packages. In a simpler environment, it may not be worth the overhead.

Apttus Feature Ratings

Quote sharing/sending
7
Product configuration
7
Configuration options
9
Pricing rules
9
Price adjustment
8
Purchase history and open contracts
8
Guided selling/Sales portal
7
CPQ reporting & analytics
7
CPQ-CRM integration
10
Attachments to quotes
9

Using Apttus

450 - Apttus is our full quote-to-order system for new sales, cross- and up-sells, and renewals. It is the database of record for our pricing and our customer purchased assets. We built our renewal process in SFDC, automating the creation of renewal opportunities from the Apptus assets. Finance teams use the asset and quote data to provision.
2 - IT support includes support for sales ops and pricing managers. Finance support includes pricing setup, inclusion rule setup, and quoting support. Sales Operations supports the sales team directly and owns reporting / forecasting.
  • Automated approvals: we use SFDC approvals based on a complex matrix triggered by the Apttus quote. By staying with SFDC approvals we reduce our cost and
  • Quoting: the core value prop of Apttus is the ability to manage and automate the quoting process from within SFDC. Our quotes are now faster, more accurate, and visible -- and actively drive the forecast process.
  • X-Author for Word: Our quote/order forms are somewhat complex and varied, X Author enables us to give our reps the ability to create customer-ready forms.
  • Renewals automation: by customizing the Apttus assets we can drive a fully automated renewals process with full 180 day pipeline visibility
  • Selling based on installed products: both recommendation engines and inclusion rules can fire based not just on the cart but also on what the customer has already purchased
It is critical to our sales process. We are not satisfied with all aspects of the product and have gone through many tough experiences with their PS, support, and PD teams -- but we're not unhappy enough to re-build what we're already built.

Apttus Implementation

Be iterative. Take the opportunity to build a catalog based on how Apttus works well. Learn the tool yourself or use an SI. Take the time to build a configuration / pricing migration tool with X-Author for Excel or roll your own. Stick with OOTB Apttus as any customization will cost you every time a new version is released
  • Vendor implemented
  • Implemented in-house
Yes - We took a subset of our products and customer base as an initial 'phase I'. About a year later we went live with most of the rest of our products and customers. This was very key, as the first implementation was extremely rocky.
Change management was a major issue with the implementation - Apttus was badly unprepared to take us through this process. Expect to manage change on your own. It is a big step for most sales organizations to move from spreadsheets to a relatively complex and rigid UI, which can't be over-managed. We also had major problems converting existing active quotes, we would have been better off finding ways to create a cleaner go-forward catalog and using that in the old CRM to enable a clean cut-over to a new catalog. Again, Apttus was very unprepared to help us through this process.
  • Immature PS team: We went through a couple analysts before we decided to implement it by ourselves and bring our SI up to speed. They didn't document our configs, they were confused about how to use their own product to achieve our desired results, and they made very poor design decisions that took us months to un-do
  • No support or vision for Agile: We strongly believe that using an iterative approach (take a couple scenarios all the way through the process) would have saved us thousands of hours and resulted in a better product
  • Very poor testing and deployment planning: There is no vision or tool for regression testing or overall health checks. It is impossible to know if you are creating a problem. Most error codes are vague. Many configs were firing without leaving any log file or trace that they had affected the price. Migrating Apttus configurations from sandbox to production is very difficult.
  • Very poor release management by Apttus: We had to release on an earlier major release than we were demo'ed because the demo UI wasn't in GA 6 months later when we needed to go live. Many patches failed, broke existing configs, or had insufficient test coverage.