Posted by Paul Overy, Senior Consultant
Buan Consulting has partnered with SteelBrick since August 2014 and has delivered SteelBrick CPQ solutions since then.
SteelBrick CPQ is a Configure, Price, Quote application that runs on the Salesforce.com platform. While SteelBrick CPQ can be used out-of-the-box, you may require additional customizations to meet specific needs of your business. Depending on the complexity of your customizations, you may even need a Custom Quote Calculator.
Why would you need a Custom Quote Calculator Plugin?
SteelBrick CPQ is very powerful and easily configurable out-of-the-box, but some of our clients have quoting or pricing guidelines that have a complexity level requiring even further customization. Custom Quote Calculator Plugins give you the additional control over quoting and pricing calculations, which allow you the ability to handle these levels of complexity.
A few examples where you might want to use a Custom Quote Calculator Plugin could be:
- Complex bundling rules/guidelines
- Billing for services based on complex criteria
- Conditional pricing or discounting (Possibly based on SKUs or Part Numbers)
- If you have a large number of price rules or workflows, moving them to a Custom Calculator will improve performance
Apex Quote Calculator Plugin
The Apex type of Custom Quote Calculator is developed as a QuoteCalculatorPlugin Apex class. This is a custom Apex class that runs in the Salesforce environment.
Things to note about the Apex Quote Calculator Plugin:
- Runs Server Side – This means when calculations are made, they are made in the Salesforce instance.
- Because the Apex Calculator runs in the Salesforce instance, it receives a few benefits:
- It’s easier to access Salesforce objects and fields from within Apex
- When a user reports a problem, a developer can review debug logs in the Salesforce instance
- Development may be quicker since Apex is native to Salesforce
- Cons of an Apex Quote Calculator Plugin
- Since the Calculator runs in the Salesforce instance, performance may become more of an issue with more complex quotes or requirements
- Apex Development expertise required
- Apex test class and deployment from a Salesforce sandbox is required
- Debugging in Apex can be very complex and can be slow going at times
- Runs Locally – This means when calculations are made, they take place in the user’s browser.
- By running locally, calculations will be far less affected by networking and server-side delays, which should result in quicker results.
- Local debugging can be done using the browser’s debugging tools.
- No test class is required for deployment
- Changes can be made without requiring the use of a Salesforce sandbox (although using a sandbox is always recommended)
- You can use new advanced price rules
- Debugging a user issue may require access to their browser
- Not all field relationships are available to the Quote Calculator by default
- JSForce, a third-party plugin can be used
- Price Rules might have to be rewritten to handle the new calculator.