Lion Apttus Taming the Beast Blog

Control the Apttus Beast: Flexibility Can be the Key to Make the Most of Your Implementation

seanmcinturff Blog, Business Application Services

Apttus is a great tool! There is a reason why they are one of the fastest-growing Salesforce partners! Put quite simply, their Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) and Contract Lifecycle Management (CM, or CLM) solutions are flexible, powerful and immensely configurable.

However, these benefits of Apttus can also result in an overly complex, or sub-optimal implementation if best practices aren’t considered. This is often the perfect time reexamine your business process. “Lift and Load” may not be the right answer. So how do you do you ensure your Apttus implementation is as effective as possible? How do you control the beast? Here are three areas to consider:

Adapt your business processes change to meet Apttus’ best practices

Apttus has spent a lot of time developing best practices regarding Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) and Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM). These are very complex processes that have been packaged into tools for your business. Take some time to analyze what you do today and the level of effectiveness it is providing. Perhaps this is a time to simplify and update your processes:
• Which users should be able to add new line items, or otherwise modify a Quote?
• Should a customer be able to buy Product A with Package B?
• Do you have an approval process that would benefit from automation?

Once you can clearly identify and simply state your processes, it is time to move into the next step…

Make Apttus do things the way that you want them to.

Apttus provides a lot of functionality out of the box. This means numerous ways and places to configure the application. Spend some time learning the tools that they have provided you, and then leverage them:
• Build rules into your Shopping Cart that prevent specific products from being bundled together.
• Be sure your Apttus implementation supports and enables profitable add-on sales. For example, add the training that your customers need when they buy your best-of-breed solution.
• Configure which fields automatically copy when you amend or renew an agreement. If you have specific rules surrounding these events, Apttus has provided the ability to configure them resulting in fewer errors and reduced manual rework.
• Control when and to whom to an approval is sent; don’t recreate a heavy legacy process. Advanced Approvals provides capabilities well beyond the standard Salesforce approval engine, allowing you to process accurate and concise approvals; only send approvals to the people who need to see them.
• Use and enhance their context aware buttons that appear only when a record is in a specific state. Apttus has great automation and you can dictate when your users can see (and hence trigger) individual actions with fine granularity. For example, only show the “Approval” button when the Status = “In Filing”, Sub-Status = “Ready for Approvals”, Price is > $50,000 AND the Owner’s territory is “South East”.

Leverage Customization When Necessary

While utilizing out-of-the-box functionality (clicks, not code) is always most desirable, if you have requirements that Apttus can’t address, now is the time to leverage the power of Salesforce. Since Apttus is built directly on the Salesforce1 Platform, you can leverage Apex Code and VisualForce pages to customize your solution even further. What might you need it to do for you?
• Enforce complex validation before an approval is allowed to be sent
• Employ custom rules that update Line Items when a Quote is modified
• Retrieve and display data in other systems
• Allow other portals to leverage your master data

Helping our clients find that sweet spot between simplicity and functionality is what we do. Are you considering an Apttus CPQ or CLM implementation? We would welcome the opportunity to share how we can help you control your Apttus beast.