CPQ customizations

CallidusCloud, year 2010-2017

CPQ is a business application that allows you to quickly configure, price, quote, propose, and sell your offerings. The product was supposed to be customized according to specifications we received from clients.

The challenge

Understanding clients and their needs

One of the biggest challenges was understanding the marketing side of things, and knowing what it takes to sell a product. Creating a demo without really knowing what would impress a certain potential client was always risky and took a lot of time that sometimes didn't pay off.

Another challenge was working with clients who didn't have a full understanding of our product but knew their business very well. Understanding what they want to achieve and offering them a better solution than what they had in mind already was not always as easy. Some clients were very stubborn in requesting certain complex features for a problem that could be solved in a much easier way.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said: faster horses...

Henry Ford

It was our job to make sure we give them the right solution for their problems without always fulfilling their wishes but always exceeding their expectations.

My Role

  • meeting with professional services team, sales team and clients
  • providing basic trainings on how to customize the product
  • branding changes (logo, fonts, colors)
  • layout changes as well as simple functional changes (templates with HTML, CSS and KnockoutJS)
  • usability testing of functional changes
The approach

Ensure everyone is on the same page

As a UX designer I worked with professional services team who were responsible for meeting with clients and collecting their needs and translating their business logic to that of our product. At often times I was also present during those meetings to better understand what they want to achieve and translate that to use interface that would be easy to use.

Working with sales team before the demo consisted of a lot of research of the potential client. Sales team met with potential clients to better understand their business needs. Demo needed to prove them that they are making the best choice by buying our product.

Make clients happy

We could customize the product in a number of different ways - mostly by changing different set of templates to alter the behavior but also changing the styles and branding to match client's branding guidelines. Very often we wouldn't receive HLD document with specifications or we just wanted to impress a new client, so we would go to the client's website and make the product look similar in order to show them how powerful it could be.

powerful magic of CSS

Final results

Iterate till you get it right

There was a lot of iterating and endless meetings with clients to make sure the final product we deliver is going to be suitable for them. Each new solution required us to do usability testing and iterate based on feedback and what we observed from the way they were using the product.

I also often met with clients to give them basic trainings and teach them how to change some simple things themselves.

Key Learnings and Takeaways

Even though this was not a project but something that was constantly happening with each new and potential client I decided to showcase it here as it helped me build the empathy for users and better understand their struggles.

Having to explain something and understand non tech savvy people who just want to get their job done in easiest way possible and hearing their complaints was a really unique experience. Since I was providing trainings, I also learned to prepare basic materials and easy to follow tutorials.

Up next: Bringing design thinking mindset into an organization that's used to small step optimization.