In the recent release of Oracle CPQ 19B, a new feature was introduced to allow for collaborative quoting. This directly addresses an issue that projects commonly faced where users had to concern themselves with who else may be trying to access a transaction. With this new feature enabled, users can instead access a transaction worry-free and work alongside their peers instead of competing for access.
Prior to Collaborative Quoting, all user interaction was done as a sequential single-user flow, meaning only one person could have access at any given time which presented a number of challenges and was a common source of frustration on projects. One of the main resulting issues was that the act of opening a transaction updated the transaction’s state on the server in addition to any save actions performed by users. This would mean that if a user was working on a transaction while it was opened by another user, all unsaved work would be lost. To add insult to injury, the initial user would not be alerted that this happened until they tried to save again, at which point they would be presented with an error and given a choice to refresh, but in doing so, they would leapfrog the other user and potentially cause them the same problem. Eventually, an enhancement was added that allowed users to place a lock on their transaction to prevent others from kicking them out, but this was a band-aid to the real problem and left many concerns untouched.
Those who have become spoiled by Google Sheets will feel at home with the addition of Collaborative Quoting, the Oracle CPQ solution is just as elegant and functional. If two or more users are present on the same quote, there is a legend showing each active person along with an assigned color code, as depicted below:
When a user focuses a field (as seen below)
or a tab (as seen below)
or makes a modification (as seen below)
a is style applied to indicate what other users are doing along with the effects of any changes they make. You can easily monitor other user’s edits and clearly observe how their changes may be impacting you and your contributions. If there is a situation where two updates are made to the same field, the most recent one will always supersede.
With the implementation of Collaborative Quoting, there is still an option to lock a transaction so that you can use collaborative features while maintaining the ability to lock others out when appropriate, as such:
All users can go about their flow without worrying about imposing on others as the system itself is leveraged to recognize what is considered the most up-to-date.
That said it’s not quite as simple as flipping a switch; there are some considerations to recognize when using collaborative quoting. Many sites were built under the assumption that users would be making updates one at a time. These sites must be thoroughly reviewed to examine whether or not accompanying updates are necessary. Net new projects would not have quite the same concern, but it would still require a clear mandate whether it’s to be used or not so that designers can take the requirements into account.
Collaborative quoting is just one of the recent additions to Oracle CPQ, but it’s long been one of the biggest ask from customers. All sites, new and old, should consider utilizing this feature going forward as it’s a game-changer and sure to be a win for customer satisfaction. Reach out to Pierce Washington to learn more.