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Key Takeaways From Gartner’s Market Guide For Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) Application Suites, 2016

  • NYC SkylineGartner estimates the CPQ application suites market was $570M in 2015, attaining 20% year-on-year growth between 2014 and 2015.
  • Cloud-based CPQ revenue was $157M in 2015, attaining 46% year-over-year.
  • Gartner predicts CPQ will continue to be one of the hottest enterprise apps for the foreseeable future, predicting a 20% annual growth rate through 2020 with the majority being from cloud-based solutions. Legacy on-premise vendors including SAP’s Variant Configurator (VC) are going to face increasingly strong headwinds in the market as a result.
  • SaaS and Cloud solutions are driving the majority of CPQ market growth today, fueling greater innovation in the market.
  • The CPQ market continues to grow as companies replace legacy on-premise CPQ apps and outdated ERP quoting and ordering apps with cloud-based CPQ solutions.

These and many other insights are from the recently published Gartner Market Guide for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites (PDF, client access required) by Mark David Lewis and Guneet Bharaj on October 27th of this year. CPQ selling strategies are part of the broader Quote-To-Cash (QTC) business process that encompasses, quotes, contracts, order management and billing. CPQ market leaders also are offering solutions that support the creation of quotes and capturing of orders across multiple channels of customer interaction (such as direct sales, contact center, resellers and self-service). Cloud- and SaaS-based CPQ systems scale faster across multiple channels and often have higher adoption rates than their legacy on-premise counterparts due to more intuitive app designs and better integration with Cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Sales Force Automation (SFA) and incentives systems.

What makes the Market Guide so noteworthy is that it is the first research piece on CPQ published by a major analyst firm in several years.

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • Microsoft Azure and the Salesforce platform are benefiting the most from the intense competition in the CPQ market today. Microsoft Azure is emerging as the enterprise leader from a platform perspective, evidenced by the points made in my previous post, Seven Ways Microsoft Redefined Azure For The Enterprise And Emerged A Leader. Being able to scale globally and provide greater control over security and openly address Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) concerns of enterprises are a few of the many factors driving Azure’s adoption.  Salesforce has gone in a different direction in the CPQ market, choosing to acquire SteelBrick earlier this year. Salesforce in effect became a competitor with its partners in the CPQ market by doing this. According to Gartner, SteelBrick is a good solution for high-tech assemble to order (ATO) and software companies.  Last month Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff was interviewed at the Intel Capital Global Summit, and the video is available here.  At 11 min., 20 seconds, he says that “Steelbrick is not for all customers, so Apttus still has a tremendous opportunity.” Earlier this year Apttus announced their entire QTC suite is now available on Microsoft Dynamics, showing just how critical it is for CPQ engineering teams to move fast from a platform strategy perspective to keep their companies growing.
  • Omnichannel and digital commerce is a high-growth area of CPQ as companies seek to improve buying experiences across all customer-facing channels. For many companies, their omnichannel selling strategies and initiatives are proliferating, driven by how quickly customers are changing the channels they buy through. Leading CPQ and QTC suites are now offering digital commerce and omnichannel apps integrated into their main app platforms. They are having initial success in B2B selling scenarios where self-service configuration is needed.  Gartner mentions Apttus, Oracle CPQ Cloud, and SAP as having the most robust digital commerce offerings today.
  • CPQ vendors are attempting to reinvent themselves by innovating faster and more broadly than before. Relying on machine learning to recommend the optimal incentives, pricing, and terms to close more deals and increase up-sell and cross-sell revenues through guided selling apps is a fascinating area of innovation today. Apttus’ Intelligent Quote-to-Cash Agent Max, Salesforce’s Einstein and others exemplify this area of development. Rapid advances and improvements in visualization, 3D modeling and Configuration Lifecycle Management (CLM) from Configit also illustrate how quickly innovation is changing the landscape. Gartner also mentions intelligent negotiation guidance, mobile configuration support, estimated compensation, verticalization, and deeper integration with back-end fulfillment systems as being additional areas where innovation is redefining the competitive landscape.
  • Improving promotion, incentive and rebate performance across a multitier selling network based on machine learning algorithms is redefining the QTC competitive landscape. Eighteen CPQ vendors are profiled in the market guide, many of them selling into industries that rely on complex multitier distribution, selling and support networks for the majority of their revenue. It’s clear many are moving in the direction of using machine learning to improve the effectiveness of promotions, incentives, and rebates across all selling channels. Being able to provide the best possible incentive to a distributor, dealer or 3rd party sales person defines which manufacturer wins the deal. Look to see more emphasis in this area in 2017 as CPQ vendors work to provide companies with the chance to steer more deals their way in channels they don’t directly control.
  • The CPQ landscape will continue to consolidate as the race for new customers accelerates, driven by the need companies have for improving QTC performance. Gartner mentions how there have been major acquisitions over the last four years including Big Machines being acquired by Oracle, Salesforce acquiring SteelBrick, Configure One acquired by AutoDesk, and Cameleon Software was acquired by Pros. There are many other CPQ vendors privately for sale right now, with all of them looking to find an acquirer or company to merge with who can best complement their core technologies. Look to see the pace of acquisitions accelerate in the next year.
  • I’m looking to see which CPQ vendors further distance themselves from competitors with modern and intuitive user experience design (UX). CPQ, while a necessary foundation piece for B2B use cases is evolving into the broader Quote-to-Cash umbrella. To attain its full market potential, I believe that CPQ vendors must excel at UX across all products and app experiences. I am looking forward to seeing which vendors will invest in modern and intuitive UX to drive this change in the market and deliver great experiences to customers as a result.
  • From the enosiX blog, Key Takeaways From Gartner’s Market Guide For Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) Application Suites, 2016
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