Effective CPQ engine, but output DocEngine is unstable. CPQ Cloud (BigMachines)Unspecified7.8110101
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October 15, 2012

Effective CPQ engine, but output DocEngine is unstable.

Score 8 out of 101
Vetted Review
Review Source

Software Version


Modules Used

  • Product Configurator
  • Commerce
  • DocEngine

Overall Satisfaction

  • Ability to incorporate business logic within the configurator, i.e. if you buy “x” product, must also include “y” product
  • Ability to trigger approvals based on business rules i.e. sales manager approval needed if discount exceeds 20%.
  • Ability to trigger approvals based revenue recognition rules i.e. finance approval needed if one module discounted more than the others, finance approval needed in previous contract within 6 months, etc.
  • Allowed us to have line-item pricing history.
  • The feature that distinguishes BigMachines from its competition is also the feature that needs the most improvement- DocEngine. DocEngine is the tool that creates RTF or PDF documents based on the results of configuration and discounting/approvals. Most competitors do not have an output option, only configuration. It is supposed to be dynamic, but is very unstable and the output can break. We still have to run contracts through legal to ensure that the system has not caused any errors. Part of the issue is stability, and part is administration UI.
  • Earlier versions required system administrators to understand a code called “BQL”. It was a system designed by engineers with little thought about non-technical system administrators. The latest releases of the product show much more investment and improvement in this area as they move towards clicks not code configuration.
  • Custom pricing/invoicing is difficult, mostly because it’s hard to build logic around “custom” in the system.
  • Better audit trail for maintaining Estimated Selling Price.
  • Line item visibility on pricing/discounts.
  • Faster time to create order and contract.
BMI may be the “Cadillac” of CPQ systems. Make sure your org will get ROI.

BMI can also integrate with other CRM systems such as Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, etc.

Consider having at least 3 environments. Production, Development, Testing/QA

Don’t underestimate the end-user support needed. And QA required.

Product Usage

75 - Approximately 75 users, some of them for “Approvals” only
• Sales – Account Executives and Account Managers
• Sales Management
• Services Management
• Finance
• Legal
2 - 1.5 Business Analysts in IT department to administer tool. (which is not enough)

2-3 End user support staff (part time responsibility)
  • Product configuration
  • Quoting
  • Contracts

Evaluation and Selection

We did not have any Price Quote or contract tools (also known as CPQ: Configure-Price-Quote) other than spreadsheets.

We did and continue to use Sant/Qvidian for proposal content, but this did not include any pricing or logic around offers.
Our shortlist beyond Big Machines was:
1) Apptus – Their biggest downfall was their lack of responsiveness in the sales cycle. It made us very nervous about their ability to be responsive post sale.
2) Using the Opportunity Products feature. native functionality falls short in the following areas: a) Its ability to handle complex pricing bundles; b) no logic for workflow/approvals, e.g. defining which SKUs must go together; c )invoice structure; output to contract/proposal does not exist i.e. creation of Word or PDF file.

We picked BigMachines because of its ability to handle:
a) Integration with
b) Product Configuration
c) Complex invoice structured
d) Bundled offers
e) Custom SOWs
e) Ability to use “Guided Selling”
f) Ability to generate document outputs (vs on screen pricing)
g)Ability to customize workflow/approvals
h) Mobile Approvals
i) Reporting
j) Future international capabilities
k) Potential for partners/resellers to use system
l) Potential to replace Sant/Qvidian
m) Company viability


It was a much more technical implementation than we thought. It involved much more code.

Future releases have made and will make administering the tool easier.

EDL consulting had one good developer, but when he was moved off, they were horrible to work with.

The BMI sales team does a “BOA” or a “Business Operation Assessment” which is extremely valuable, not only for them to scope an implementation and get more reach within the organization, but it is also a documentation of business process that most organizations don’t have. It highlights inefficiencies and allows for correction during implementation.

Having a dedicated team (in-house) for implementation is key.
  • Vendor implemented
  • Professional services company
BMI did the initial implementation. We then used the Chicago based consultant EDL Consulting for future phases.


  • In-person training
We had train the trainer training which I did not attend so cannot rate.

Our staff was trained by BMI and subsequently trained end users.


To support our business processes


I have never contacted customer support.
No - Administrator support is available for a fee (hands-on administration in the tool)


As an end-user, I don’t recall having issue with access.
Errors occur while processing orders seem to be generally administration or data errors vs. performance errors.


  • Echosign - Single Sign On. It works very seamlessly.

Echosign - partial integration. It is possible to set-up signature fields in Big Machines output files to be EchoSign ready.

Vendor Relationship

BMI as a company is growing quickly and they are making significant investments in R&D.

As they grow, they’re moving more of their smaller implementations to partners. Growth also means that there is movement in staff at BMI, usually from promotions, so the end-user point of contact has changed several times over a 3 year term.
Negotiated an “out” based on proof of concept. Once implementation was complete we had the right to end contract if tool didn’t meet needs.