eSpline Blog



Variant Configurator - Extract, Translate and Load?

What are my CPQ choices? 

Best Practice 45686595 - midsize

There are literally thousands of SAP customers using the LO-VC or Variant Configurator and many use other SAP configurator solutions to extend the Variant Configurator ("VC") such as the IPC.  However the IPC is no longer recommended by SAP and not available in S4/HANA.  So, what does a SAP VC customer do?   Of course, companies can remain with the SAP CPQ track. The VC knowledge base is uploaded or translated to the SAP CPQ and loaded to SAP's hybris along with customer and non configurable products.  This newer application requires the modeler to be conversent in Eclipse and that is a language used globallly.

 


 

What are the better practices for a CPQ solution for VC users?  

 

First, you are not likely to retire or get rid of the VC.  It likely has served your company very well over the years.  It has its limitations and was built to be contained within ECC or R/3 not for sales offering.  IPC (Internet, Pricing and Configurator) was developed for the sales capability and nearly a thousand SAP customers use it today.  In nearly 20 years of working with hundreds of SAP VC customers, we have only encountered one (1), yes, just one customer that did not continue with the SAP VC.   Virtually all SAP VC user companies have way too much invested in treasure and time to start over again.  Besides that, the VC works.  Look for additional capability when the Advanced version is readily available.

 

Yes, the current version of the VC may be difficult to maintain but again, thousands of large, medium and small companies use the VC to define their products for manufacturing, engineering, purchasing, forecasting, etc.  If you don't like the classic UI of the VC,  then try using SAP's Fiori, it is a superior UI and so is the PMEVC (Product Modeling Environment for VC).  

 

There are an untold number of VC profesionals that build, maintain and support the VC and IPC for these companies and are in demand globally.   Most of these professionals work for the SAP VC user company and a select few SAP partner companies have the expertise in SAP's VC, IPC, and CPQ.  To find these partners (eSpline is one of them) do a "search" or ask your SAP account executive.  But, in any case, retirement is not going to happen for the VC any time soon.

 


 

Check out what SAP has to offer

 

SAP grad R prefSecond, try the SAP CPQ solution (formerly the SAP SSC) to see if it fits your scenario.  If you need configuration for Guided Selling, contracts, warranty, complex products, or product bundles; it may fit your situation.  This CPQ solution leverages your investment in VC or IPC.

 

 


 

Ask a CPQ analyst

 

Third, there are several analysts like the Gartner Group, Forrester Research, Ovum, Aberdeen Group and others that follow CPQ solutions and rank CPQ companies and their solutions according to their individual guidelines.  Some are more thorough than others.  These analysts listen to the CPQ solution provider, watch demonstrations and most importantly, talk to customers that use the application.  If you are a member of one or more of these analyst companies, call them.

One issue at least for now, there are only a few CPQ solution providers that can offer a reference for SAP VC to a 3rd party CPQ solution, therefore a  new application may not be well known to the analyst and most of the analysts have little detail information on the three or four CPQ solution providers that do offer the capability.  There are a few SAP customers using the extract, translate and load capability.  SAP also only has a few.    

 

 

SFDC and the cloud

Fourth, if your company uses Salesforce.com and your company is desiring to use cloud solutions now or in the near term, your company will likely have to look at other CPQ applications other than SAP to fit your requirements.  Longer term, SAP will be there, too.

 


 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 October 2017 16:09 )
 

eLearning - 550x445eLearning for SAP VC now available

Having trouble finding training for the SAP Variant Configurator? 

 

Unless you or your company has a program to train you in-house or you are fortunate enough to be able to find a 2 day or 5 day training workshop, getting trained on the SAP Variant Configurator is probably a hit or miss situation for you.  

There is a new release of a Basic SAP VC Modeling Workshop that can be self-paced and most importantly, online.  So, you can take it from the office, your home or where ever you have an internet connection. There are exercises, tests and some basic modeling better practices included.

If you would like to have a "teaser" or try the course to see if it is a good fit for you, that is possible, too; but you would only get a small sampling of the content.

This courseware is oriented to the individual or to be used by a company using the SAP VC via subscription for those in their organization that would need to update skills or to train new people. 

More information

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 05 September 2017 15:43 )
 

Translate Blue ButtonDoes your organization have a custom developed configurator or CPQ solution? 

It probably has worked well for years and may have "hit the wall" when it comes to being able to handle high volumes of quotes, orders and order lines. 

If your organization also is an SAP customer and uses the SAP Variant Configurator there are some unique ways to translate the legacy configurator to SAP VC.  

We recently worked with a well known company that has had a legacy configurator for believe it or not for 45 years.  It takes orders but the error rate is pretty high (>50%).  Now all those errors are not severe, but it takes a human to review the order and correct it delaying the order from being accepted by SAP.   There are over 600 configurator models and maintained by nearly 80 people at multiple plant locations.   One of this company's goals was to eventually create all the configurable products to the SAP VC so that the legacy configurator could be retired. 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 August 2017 15:23 )
 

training_student300x200SAP Advanced VC Modeling training workshops offered after CWG Conferences


eSpline has offered SAP Variant Configurator Modeling Workshops and a workshop for IPC Technical Training after the CWG Conferences  The 2-Day workshops offer a lot of material with multiple units and excercises.   Is this something that you think should become a part of the CWG Conferences? 

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 August 2017 15:48 )
 

computer_health_checkChecking VC or IPC model for errors?  There are differences between the VC and IPC and how do you know what is not compliant?  


SAP has released a Health Check capability from inside the PMEVC.   Another "Health Check" is also available from eSpline from the PMEVC or outside of SAP.  The eSpline Avenue Health Check examines your SAP VC or IPC model outside of SAP and performs over 175 checks . 
 
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 09 August 2017 15:52 )
 

RowingTeamDo you manage changes in your SAP VC Product Models?  

Do you have an audit process that you have to follow?  

The results of a  survey about a year ago found some scary facts.  Of the 100 VC users surveyed, over 90 changed their VC models in production.   There was little review of the changes except by the person that made the change.  There is a better way.  Especially in a very large product model you know it is hard  to determine what was changed, when it was changed and who did the change, let alone if someone tested the change. 

We encountered a medical device manufacturer that uses the SAP VC and many do.  However, this time a change was made to the VC product model and the change was not documented.  The VC modeler could not prove that a change was made.  Since, this was part of an FDA audit, there were some bad results.  The company was shut down until they could document the change in the model and prove that the model was updated as specified.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 16 August 2017 12:45 )
 
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