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What to Automate in a CPQ QA Project

 

First things First…

The previous article ‘CPQ QA Automation – Inevitable for Enterprise CPQ Implementations’ explains why CPQ QA automation is a necessity for any organization. Say an organization wants to start implementing CPQ QA Automation, what’s the first step? One could suggest that a feasibility study of automation tools, planning followed by the automation effort is a viable sequence, but hold on for a moment there. How about starting with the automation scope?

When talking about scope, regression tests always come to mind first as they’re stable. However, “regression tests” is a broad term. The exact scope needs to be identified for automation that focuses not only on faster regression cycles but also on the speed of deployment of new changes, updates and implementation (remember ‘Launch of New Products’ and ‘Pricing Updates & Promotions’ points of the previous article). Additionally, the scope would help us identify the appropriate automation tool which would serve our purpose.

 

The following areas should be considered first when launching a CPQ QA Automation effort:

Product Pricing Rules: Pricing is at the heart of any product structure. CPQ facilitates the creation of complex pricing rules using the Price Matrix, Price Rule Sets, Conditional Charges, Multi-currency pricing etc. Automation could be leveraged to drive thorough testing through systemic calculations and submission of complex data. So, scenarios related to product pricing should be considered while getting started with automation. Promotions driven by pricing rules and conditional pricing, make great automation candidates, especially when it comes to time bound promotions.

Product Constraints: An important area after pricing is in regard to product constraint rules. Though they’re easy to build, the critical challenge is validation as they require a large number of permutations and combinations to be validated. It may not come as a surprise that constraint rule test cases are usually higher in number when compared with other areas. To avoid a proportionately high level of manual effort, automation could be successfully leveraged to drive testing efficiency at scale for complex product portfolios.

End-to-End Business Flows: One should consider automating End-to-End scenarios, rather than focusing only on the specific feature flows only. Not addressing the comprehensive business process flows is a common mistake in CPQ QA Automation that leads to inadequate testing of business scenarios.

The automation sequence could be divided into two parts, one starting from Account/Opportunity creation leading up to asset validation and the second could represent the complete cycle of asset management (alteration, termination, replacements etc). Automating E2E flows usually surfaces regression issues (from unidentified areas), integration issues and other critical business issues that may not have been covered in the individual feature test plans.

 

Conclusion

Product Pricing and Product Constraints are some of the areas of any CPQ implementation. The adverse impact of regression issues to the business can be avoided through automation. By externalizing data for the above areas, one can target regression while accounting for evolving business needs (like the introduction of new product suite(s), new product pricing, promotions which are highly time sensitive and require rapid deployment to production.)

Please comment on areas relevant to your CPQ QA Automation effort.

 


Author : Mehul Savariya

Mehul Savariya is one of Hansen’s Salesforce Quote to Cash experts.  He has held the position of QA Lead on multiple full project lifecycle CPQ, Billing and CLM implementations for a wide range of enterprise organisations across multiple verticals.

mehul.savariya@hansen.co.uk


About Hansen

Hansen is a specialist consultancy helping you maximise Lead-to-Cash ROI. Our expertise is focused on unlocking value from your investments in CPQ, Billing and Unified Commerce on the Salesforce ecosystem.

In recent years, cloud-based CPQ processes have enabled companies to benefit from greater innovation and substantial competitive advantages by delivering fast and error-free quotes to customers. It has become imperative for companies to have stable, updated and reliable CPQ systems, providing the impetus for fast customer interactions and responses. One of the most efficient and effective ways to ensure operational continuity and stability coupled with the most rapid upgrades is by automating the CPQ QA process.

When enterprises are planning their CPQ implementation and preparing for their Quote to Cash transformation, they often fail to prioritise their QA process automation; this commonly results in a slow down of the delivery of CPQ features and data including new flows, new products, pricing updates, promotions and many more.

In this article we’ve considered some examples to highlight the importance of CPQ QA automations along with the enormous benefits it brings by shortening the End-to-End cycle.

Launch of New Products

In today’s highly competitive markets, enterprises are keen to achieve the shortest possible time-to-market when launching new products or enhancing existing ones. At the same time, it is critical to avoid the risk of impacting flows and products. CPQ QA automation ensures that the existing flows and E2E processes are not compromised owing to any of the new product changes.

Pricing Updates & Promotions

For organisations, pricing is always dynamic and subject to constant change over time. Promotions, loyalty programs and other marketing strategies play a significant role in improving sales and top line revenue for companies. At the same time, these promotions are highly time sensitive with campaigns carefully planned. Pricing updates like these need comprehensive QA before being pushed to production. CPQ QA automation helps to mitigate the risks associated with these changes.

Enhancements & Hot fixes

– Cloud technologies enable organisations to innovate faster while also streamlining their sales processes. Because of this, organisations are often adopting short release cycles in order to deploy the latest features, workflows and bug fixes. CPQ QA automation enables organisations to quickly verify and regression test changes to ensure that the production instance remains unaffected and in full working condition all the time.

Platform & Vendor Updates

CRM platforms like Salesforce regularly release their latest patch upgrades. Sometimes these upgrades are mandatory, whilst on other occasions they are applied on demand. In either case, CPQ QA automation can be proactively used to foresee any issue which may occur owning to the introduction of the latest enhancements, rectifying any failure or issues.

In all of the above scenarios, along with a lengthy regression cycle, QA test cycles are an important pre-requisite. The overall delivery timeline for production increases exponentially if organisations carry out all testing manually. In addition, manual testing requires multiple iterations of bug fixes and verifications and this negatively affects the overall release cycle. A final consideration when planning the test strategy is the cost associated with manual testing versus the ROI associated with the QA automation effort.

Conclusion

For highly complex Quote to Cash products like CPQ where application changes are highly time-sensitive, QA automation plays a vital role. It not only reduces the overall cycle time when rolling out new features, updates, bug-fixes and products/pricing updates, but it also ensures that an organisation’s response time to its customers’ needs and any associated interactions can be dramatically reduced. For a CPQ implementation to drive the kind of transformational business change that is now possible, QA automation is now one of the imperative drivers.

About Hansen

Hansen is a Quote-to-Cash business consulting firm. We help organisations in their QTC process transformation to industry standard cloud solutions. With highly niche product expertise and vast experience of CPQ/QTC implementations, we partner with our customers in every stage of project and ensure a successful, adoptable and scalable solution. For more information, please write to me mehul.savariya@hansen.co.uk