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SteelBrick Quote Calculator Plugins

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 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.

Buan Consulting has the expertise to assist you with all aspects of customizing your SteelBrick CPQ to meet your specific needs, including the development of a Custom Quote Calculator Plugin or, if needed, the conversion of your existing Custom Calculator Plugin to/from Apex/Javascript to the other.

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

There are currently two types of Custom Quote Calculator Plugins available in Steelbrick CPQ: Apex and Javascript.

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

Javascript Advanced Quote Calculator Plugin

The Javascript type of Custom Quote Calculator is developed as a Javascript class, which resides in a Custom Script Object.  This Javascript class runs locally in the user’s browser.

Things to note about the Javascript Quote Calculator Plugin:

  • Runs Locally – This means when calculations are made, they take place in the user’s browser.
  • Because the Javascript Calculator runs locally, it receives a few benefits:
    • 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
  • Cons of a Javascript Quote Calculator Plugin
    • Javascript development expertise is required (as well as knowledge of Salesforce)
    • 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.

Call Buan Consulting today to find out which calculator plugin is right for your organization and if you should consider migrating to the new Javascript plugin.