Configure your business

                        What is a configurator?

Http://                       Configure your business

What is a configurator?
A configurator is a...
Http://                         Configure your business

The benefits of a web configurator
How do...
Http://                          Configure your business

Section 1: What can a web configurator d...
Http://                        Configure your business

3. Integrate
Your enterprise configurator ...
Http://                     Configure your business

Section 2: What can a configurator manage?
Http://                      Configure your business

Section 3: What are configurators used for?
Http://                     Configure your business

      For customers, a sales and mar...
Http://                       Configure your business

ETO: Engineer to order

       An ETO confi...
Http://                           Configure your business

How do I start?
Creating a Configurator...
Http://       Configure your business

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What is a configurator? The Guide


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Learn about the potential of online configurators for your business in this guide. Vizualise Configurators shows you configurators works for mass customisation, sales, and product vizualisation. For more information go to

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What is a configurator? The Guide

  1. 1. Configure your business What is a configurator? Configure your business A Vizualise black paper
  2. 2. Http:// Configure your business What is a configurator? A configurator is a unique software tool which helps your customers visualise, configure and purchase a product, request a service, or instantly obtain the information they need. Customers can do this through an easy to understand, highly visual, efficient, structured and interactive process. Simplify – Your customer sales and product orders Automate – The sales process and documentation requirements Integrate – Into your financial and sales systems Capture – Business knowledge and customer intelligence Visualise – Complicated processes and choices How does this help my business? Using a web based configuration manager helps a business by reducing sales lead times, error rates and costs. A configurator will improve business by increasing efficiency, customer satisfaction, market knowledge, business revenues, margins and market share. Configurators, delivering strategic business advantage. Business is entering an era of hyper competition and in a global marketplace it means your business is finding it increasingly difficult to create sustainable competitive advantage. In this era of hyper competition businesses are forced to engage in a process of continuous strategic manoeuvre to stay one step ahead of the competition. Sustainable advantage is now a thing of the past. Strategic manoeuvre is the reality of the future. Strategic manoeuvre is a continuous process seeking to draw out efficiencies and advantages in a business wherever they may be found and a configurator is the pre-eminent tool that allows you to remove crucial impediments from your sales and business processes. Web configurators, for your customers they make your business as lithe as and manouevrable as a gazelle.
  3. 3. Http:// Configure your business The benefits of a web configurator How does a business with a complex sales process leap to 12 million dollars’ worth of prospective orders in only two years using a simple software tool? The business first developed a series of requirements to help it understand where it could develop a number of improvements in its online processes using web automation techniques - do any of these same points ring a bell for you? ÊÊ Improve sales ÊÊ Increase market share ÊÊ Improve your customer experience ÊÊ Automate the sales process ÊÊ Help visualise a product for your customers ÊÊ Gain a competitive advantage ÊÊ Reduce operational cost If your business has a complicated range of products, services, options and choices, do you know how you can simplify the product or service ordering and configuration process for customers? Kitchen Studio had these sorts of issues with its order generator process. By using Kitchen Studio Configurator by Vizualise a Vizualise designed web configurator, they solved these problems with a number of very positive outcomes such as these: ÊÊ Pre qualified leads with a total estimated value of 12 million dollars ÊÊ 1,000 pre-qualified conversions, ÊÊ 44,000 page views.
  4. 4. Http:// Configure your business Section 1: What can a web configurator do? There are 5 main categories that describe the functional benefits of a configurator can bring to your business processes. A configurator can: 1. Simplify 2. Automate 3. Integrate 4. Capture 5. Visualise 1. Simplify At its most basic, a configurators purpose is to assist in the design of a product or service, access information and match exactly to your customer’s individual needs. A configurator is most useful for any businesses that need to build configurable, multi-option and customisable solutions for their customers that are web automated and useful for mass customization. The tool simplifies what can be very complex processes into a structured and easy-to-understand visual forms and sequences. Boboots configurator by Vizualise 2. Automate Sales or quotes can cause a cascade of documentation – requirements and process-gathering documents, quotations, warranties, terms and conditions, material orders, bills of material, freight instructions, shipping orders, delivery orders, and scheduling and routing plans, to name a few. If your business relies on independent systems, a online configuration manager can pull disparate elements together, and automate workflows within your business. Your online configurator will assist in preparing all necessary documentation, triggering production and other workflow processes, and disseminating data as necessary.
  5. 5. Http:// Configure your business 3. Integrate Your enterprise configurator can be designed as an enterprise integrator designed to act as a central hub to deliver information from your business databases that interact and assist in customer choice, whilst also integrating the enterprise across disparate information sources that create new documentation and information across your enterprise systems. This data may include financial and sales metrics that results from orders, or data gathered by materials and scheduling components. The ability to merge this information using custom designed rules engines and web automation through a number of different data sources increases efficiency within your organisation and releases funds for more productive pursuits. 4. Capture Configurators have the ability to capture both business knowledge, and customer intelligence. Business knowledge permits the automation of that knowledge in electronic format using a rules engine, increasing business efficiency when used to answer customer queries, or your internal business information needs. A configurator can further be developed to capture vital customer information and knowledge, derived from specific needs, contact information and even budgets. Harnessing this knowledge, your configurator can even be used to build prospect and product databases, and act as a valuable indicator of market trends. Canon Pixma configurator by Vizualise 5. Visualise A configurators strength is its ability to communicate visually complicated processes and choices to the end user, typically your customer. From deciding which computer parts to put together using a product configurator to help assembling a custom computer or deciding on the colour scheme for a set of custom shoes, a configurator presents a selection of choices allowing a customer to choose from a visual array of options and enable the mass customization of choice. A configurator can apply these choices dynamically to the product model These types of configurators may even present and dynamically generate 3D models of exactly what was configured, giving the customer the ultimate guarantee of satisfaction with their own design.
  6. 6. Http:// Configure your business Section 2: What can a configurator manage? Managed configurators A managed configurator can capture customer profiles and allow the customer lifecycle to be managed from the customer’s point of view as well as the business point of view. It can allow the management and alteration of large numbers of quotes, sales orders and ancillary information about the client or its progress through a sales funnel. Managed configurators allow the possibility of saving, editing and maintenance of documentation necessary for the sale. A managed configurator is the epitome of web automation technology. Simple configurators Simple configurators have limited “memories” and limited outputs; they may serve to simply deliver information as requested or perhaps send an email to a sales person. These configurators have limited reporting functionality so that trends, choices and data captured from the configurator will be limited. An example of a configurator used by Dell
  7. 7. Http:// Configure your business Section 3: What are configurators used for? There are 4 categories of configurator which define their usage. A configurator will generally belong to one of these four categories: 1. Sales and marketing configurators 2. Product configurators 3. Knowledge configurators 4. Enterprise configurators Category 1: Sales and marketing configurators A sales configurator is very much like an advanced shopping cart as seen on e-commerce web sites, but with added capability and optimised usability. They help to facilitate the sales, ordering and quotation processes for internal business usage and for trusted customers. There are two classes applicable to a sales configurator A configurator designed for the UK IPO office by Vizualise • Internal • External Internal A sales configurator simplifies the quote creation process, and can be used to perform advanced order entry tasks that conform to business rules which can be used to calculate advanced pricing information for example. These order configurators use an internal rules engine to define workflows and pre-requisites to any aspect of the sales process.
  8. 8. Http:// Configure your business External For customers, a sales and marketing configurator can be custom-built to aid product catalogue creation based on the explicitly stated needs of your customers and coded via a rules engine. It can also facilitate data capture of your client contact information and other marketing statistics that you may wish to gather from prospects, and can be used to facilitate quote creation and improve upon generic e-commerce transactions by creating more user friendly ways to purchase. Category 2: Product configurators There are 3 styles of product configurator. These configurators enable a company to offer mass customization and web automation abilities for their customers. • ATO: Assemble to order • CTO: Configure to order • ETO: Engineer to order ATO: Assemble to order This type of configurator is used by businesses that need a tool to assemble a product built from standard components configured to a customer’s specifications. Examples include computers, kitchens etc. Vizualise captures the business rules that define what components may be included in an order. Have a look at Dell Computer to see an ATO configurator in action, or visit Kitchen Studio for a Vizualise example. CTO: Configure to order A CTO configurator, configurator, resembles the ATO configurator except that it takes more detailed instruction from the customer on how exactly the product needs to be configured, the business rules that define how the product must be assembled using a rules engine, and the customer entry mechanisms involved. Examples of a CTO configurator include those tools that select and configure clothing . A good example is a CTO configurator that selects cloth, colours and embroidery on shoes. Visit for an example of a CTO configurator.
  9. 9. Http:// Configure your business ETO: Engineer to order An ETO configurator requires complex rules to be captured through a rules engine as well as detailed instructions from the client on dimensions or part specifications. This style of configurator must be able to handle non-standard requests that cover price, cost, part numbering, bills of material and scheduling, for example. A company that manufactures custom furniture may require such a tool. Category 3: Knowledge configurators A knowledge configurator captures information in a structured way that allows precise information to be displayed depending on the choices made to remit the information back to the user. Think of a supercharged search engine that can obtain exactly the information you need from a few mouse clicks. Knowledge paths are structured in such a way as to return specific information based on the route taken. Advanced knowledge configurators can be integrated with CAD systems to provide productivity solutions; simpler variants offer access to pertinent information via hierarchical trees. Visit Canon Pixma for an example of a Knowledge configurator or try out our trial configurator on this website (link). A configurator example at Category 4: Enterprise configurators These are software tools designed for in-house usage in complex environments. They are designed to facilitate quote-to-production order systems and integrate with a variety of incumbent systems. They enable the automation of sales and engineering processes including quotation, invoicing, bills of material (BoMs), legal documentation (such as terms and conditions or warranties) as well as scheduling and routing of jobs. ERP configurators are internal maybe the criterion job is an example of one?
  10. 10. Http:// Configure your business How do I start? Creating a Configurator is a 4 step process Step 1: Assess Vizualise provides risk-free on-site consultation for businesses who wish to explore the strategic benefits that a configurator can provide in their industry. These assessments include group sessions with Vizualise consultants and your own subject matter experts that can focus on analysing your company’s existing processes. We help you to establish the improvements that a configurator can bring to streamline your customers’ interactions with your existing sales methodology, business processes and systems. Together we can determine the improvements and impact a configurator can have for your business. Step 2: Design After an assessment is made of your requirements a configurator a design specification is developed that captures the methods and data that were developed in the assessment phase The configurator is then prototyped, tested and refined to ensure compliance with specifications, and your objectives for the configurator. Step 3: Build Once the model for the configurator is approved, the configurator is built, tested and readied for commissioning into the online environment. Step 4: Integrate We commission the configurator into its intended environment and ensure all data links and outputs work as intended for final acceptance and deployment. Get in touch with Vizualise now to arrange an appointment
  11. 11. Http:// Configure your business Vizualise Email Tel 03 3661512 Mob 021 1101 837 Skype rupert.deans