In the first 3 blogs of this series, I covered general differences between Salesforce and Vlocity CPQ, Vlocity and Salesforce Order Capture and cart, Enterprise Product Catalog, differences between the pricing functionality of both applications and Vlocity Promotions Vs Salesforce Discounts.
In this blog, we will address the heart and soul of these applications. We will describe the Rules engines of Salesforce and Vlocity CPQ.
In case you have not gone through the series, you can start reading here.
Vlocity CPQ Rules Engine
The rules engine is the core of any CPQ application. Rules engine defines the schema and mechanism of defining business rules based on which the Quotes, Orders, and other components of the Lead to Cash value chain behave dynamically and confirm to business requirements. Rules engine ensures that the quotes and orders and complete and errorfree.
For example, if product X requires the auto addition of product y when the product X is added to cart this is taken care of by Rules engine. Another example could be that the availability of Product X is limited for a certain kind of customer.
The construct of the Rules engine is specific to a particular application but in general Rules, engine deals with Product and Price rules. Product rules deal with compatibility and validation of different products in a quote and Price rules deals with the dynamicity of pricing based on the context of the quote.
Vlocity Rules are categorized as follows
- Configuration Rules (Compatibility/Validation)
- Pricing Rules
- Eligibility Rules,
- Attributes configuration
- Context rules
The rules types mentioned above are further classified as Context and Advanced Rules.
These rules are triggered based on the context of the transaction between the customer and the company. From the rules mentioned above, context rules have replaced Availability and Eligibility rules. The rest of the rules come under the preview of Advanced Rules.
Availability Rules (Context rules): These rules are related to the availability to the customer. Here are some examples of these rules
- In the energy sector there is a possibility of a particular type of a Smart phone not available in some states
- A particular color of a phone may not be available for customer in a particular Zipcode due to logistics issues
- Some products may have a limited availability for customers like only 1 unit of a certain device
Eligibility Rules (Context Rules): These rules are related to the eligibility of the products to certain customer
- In the communications B2B space, some partners are eligible for more partner discount
- Installation of certain products may be available to customers who are less than 12 months old
- New customer eligible for a special exchange offer on the iPhone
- Customer who is more than 3 years old are eligible for a special loyalty rate on unlimited plans
- Eligibility of Business Pricing for a business customer and B2C pricing for a consumer
Penalty Rules (Context Rules)
This is a kind of a price adjustment in the form of a levy of a penalty for the customer. For example, if a customer breaks the conditions of a particular promotion, a penalty is assessed and levied on the customer. Penalty determination and applicability can be implemented through context rules.
Configuration Rules (Compatibility AKA Validation): These rules are related compatibility of products with each other in the Cart. Here are some examples:
- Include a Product – Product X make Product Y’s selection mandatory in the quote or Product
- Exclude a Product – Selection of a particular an Apple Iphone will exclude Samsung earbuds and include Apple earbuds
- Recommend a Product – Iphone 12 Pro Max selection auto recommends apple care with theft
- Attribute based Exclusion- If a broadband streaming package is selected with 10 MPBS then Video streaming service cannot be selected
- Attribute modification and reversal context is handled by Configuration rules à This can be explained in with the help of the following example à If complementary iCloud space of 1 TB per month is selected then the customer can only buy an iPhone with memory 512 GB. If complementary iCloud space is removed from the cart then the iPhone memory options open up for the customer
- Auto Add and Remove products from the Cart – This can be explained with the following example- During Covid, any orders of Earbuds placed by high priority customer in New Jersey will automatically get a complementary Iphone case
Pricing Rules (Context and advance rules)
Pricing rules apply on the order Line items in the Vlocity Cart. Pricing rules modify the standard pricing of a product based on the context of the transaction. Context rules can be created to modify a certain price through adjustment or override or the applicability of a completely different price through a Price list.
Salesforce CPQ Product and Pricing Rules
Salesforce CPQ Product rules help ensure that reps are selecting the right products in the quote and the products selected are compatible with each other. The functionality is very similar to any CPQ rules engine.
Salesforce CPQ Product Rules
In Salesforce CPQ there are 4 kinds of Product Rules
- Validation – Just like Vlocity these are primarily product compatibility rules which make sure that products are selected as per the pre-defined compatibility configuration
- Selection – These are rules through which products can be automatically added, removed, hidden enabled or disabled in the Salesforce quote. Examples are the same as Vlocity examples
- Filter à These are like Vlocity eligibility rules which pre-filter the products that are available to add to the bundle. An example could be that particular colour of iPhone not available in a certain Zipcode.
- Alert – These are comparable to configuration messages which appear in the quote during product selection.
Salesforce CPQ Price Rules
Price rules automate price calculations, adjustments, work on quote lines and update quote line fields. One example of price rule is that if an additional 10% discount to the net price is to be given for a certain period of time it can be handled via price rules.
In Salesforce CPQ Price rules work with quote calculation sequence as well as the product configurator.
We have seen a functional description of both Vlocity and Salesforce rules. Let’s try and see if we can compare them
- One obvious difference is that the Vlocity rule engine is currently catering to Communications and energy sector while the Salesforce rules engine is more generic and caters to all industries.
- The fact that Vlocity treats Prices differently then Salesforce and due to Vlocity prices being component based they can be relatively more dynamically applied and reapplied through Vlocity rules framework. In Vlocity there are pricelists while in Salesforce CPQ there will be multiple price books for different prices. To apply prices dynamically in Salesforce CPQ, different price books will have to be applied.
- Modification and overriding of a price are more configurable in Vlocity then Salesforce CPQ as in Salesforce CPQ formulas or custom logic may be required. Vlocity has added more dynamicity to the prices by introducing price lists in addition to price books which make the pricing automation for configurable.
- Attribute-based pricing and product compatibility is more configurable in Vlocity than with Salesforce
- Another important difference between Vlocity and Salesforce CPQ rules engine is the integration of Vlocity Quote with Opportunity and order. Vlocity rules are applicable to Opportunity, Quote and Order line items while Salesforce CPQ rules are generally applicable quote line items. Vlocity order and Quote is much more integrated then salesforce. This may not necessarily be an advantage in all scenarios.
- Finally, the Interface – Implementation logic of Vlocity offers flexibility to the company to implement its own rules logic. On the surface, it looks like more flexible then Salesforce CPQ.
Overall, it seems that Vlocity CPQ is a cutting-edge solution currently catering to specific industry verticals. However, it has a lot of potential to be more extensible in the near to mid term future. It depends on how the solution is supported and developed.
The other important conclusion is that Vlocity is more B2c oriented in its current avatar. I would recommend a Salesforce CPQ solution if there are more B2B pricing scenarios which are generic in nature and community portal oriented. At this stage, Salesforce CPQ remains a more widely applicable generic solution which can be customized. It will all depend on how the Vlocity CPQ is supported and developed.
Vlocity CPQ offer a lot of promise.
I hope that I have been able to give you a decent functional flavour of the rules engine of both Salesforce and Vlocity CPQ. Your like’s comments and shares will motivate me to keep writing.