Letting users easily explore how products can be configured to meet specific needs and requirements is the main purpose of product configurators and CPQ solutions. It is supposed to be a smooth and intuitive process for the user, hiding the fact that the configuration problem is an extraordinarily hard problem.
Most configuration engines will require that the configuration problem is made simpler, by e.g.:
Limiting the number of choices given to the user, thereby simplifying the problem
Forcing the user’s hand to configure the product in a specific order, breaking down the configuration problem into smaller chunks.
The alternative is that the performance of the application will suffer as the configuration problem of the entire product containing all choices will have to be solved over and over, as the user progresses to close in the desired configuration.
Focus on the valid configurations
As mentioned, Virtual Tabulation™ provides a drastically different approach as it does away with all the invalid configurations and compiles all valid configurations into a compact file. This gives organizations using Virtual Tabulation™ several advantages:
1. Unrivalled response time and user guidance
Common drawbacks of many product configurators include, wait times for applications to respond and backtracking from an invalid state and arriving at dead ends.
With Virtual Tabulation™, your CPQ or sales configurator only holds valid configurations and only allows valid options based on previous choices, thereby quickly guiding the user to a complete configuration – and minimizing the risk of erroneous orders.
2. Save time and effort when defining and combining product definitions
The compilation step also makes Virtual Tabulation™ quite insensitive to how, and in which order, configuration rules are expressed. Combining rules and options from PLM, ERP, legacy systems or one of Configit’s tools, is possible because it is all compiled. Compared to other configuration technologies, that means increased flexibility and efficiency, since less time is spent sweating over how to express the relationship between different options.
3. Capture the sales, marketing, and engineering perspective in the same product model
The same product model can hold several different aspects of the product information, while remaining small in size. Some technical aspects are relevant to Engineering, some commercial aspects are relevant to Marketing and Sales, som for an Ecommerce site, some for a reseller channel. And in the end the final configuration should resolve into a BOM, ready to be manufactured.
Using the same product model to hold information about all these different aspects of the products aligns engineering, marketing, sales and manufacturing about how customer requirements relate to features and how these features relate to components in the manufacturing bill of material (mBOM).