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Operation Principles

With the help of operation principles, systems of rules are created between the selections made in the user interface and product items by either allowing the possible or denying the impossible combinations and selections. A small number of rules can be used to control a large number of possible product item combinations.

The majority of CPQ tools available on the market are either rule-based or constraint-based. Whether a tool should be constructed using rules, constraints, or both, depends on the application of the tool and the structure of modelled product data. In addition to these, various functions can be used to create systems of rules and various calculations. In Summium, all three operation principles can be used simultaneously; this allows tool flexibility, making it the most efficient sales configuration on the market.

Rules are formulated as follows: ‘If you choose A, B is also selected”. Since rules are unidirectional, choosing B will have no influence on A. Rules may also be conditional, which means that some options are selected by default, but the user can change them. In this case, for example, several selections can be set as default by making of a single higher-level selection, thereby relieving the user from the need to access the lower levels separately.

Rules are truly useful in situations where individual selections need to be denied or allowed or if invalid options and product components need to be concealed from the user interface. This may be necessary, for example, in case of ‘product selector’-type applications, where the large number of options or products visible in the user interface need to be restricted based on the selections made.

Unlike rules, constraints apply in both directions. Constraints establish limit values for selections, within the limits of which the options of the selections in question are usable. In this case, for example, the options available include all options larger than the lower limit but smaller than the upper limit. If constraints are applied, the selections and product components, impossible because of selections made earlier, are displayed in the user interface, but choosing them is restricted. If the user chooses a restricted option, the tool indicates the choices that need to be changed in order for the option to be valid.

Constraints are truly useful in situations where limit values need to be established for selections and displaying of restricted selections in the user interface is required. In this case, the user can find out if making of a preferred selection is prevented because of a selection made earlier. Since constraints apply in both directions, a single selection could influence other selections in a chain reaction-like manner. In such a case, the user can often quickly arrive at the desired outcome by making only a few selections.

Functions allow implementing many operations impossible to achieve by rules and constraints. These include various mathematical and conditional functions used in mathematical calculations, for example. Additionally, in case of most demanding operations, several different functions can be combined into a single function or programmable variables used. The basic system of rules of a tool is rarely implemented by functions alone – rather, functions are used to supplement rules and constraints.

Functions are truly useful in case of various mathematical calculations, such as calculation of prices, costs, margins, and quantities consisting of several different factors. Functions can also be used to influence rule and constraint activation and visibility of selections in the user interface. Moreover, functions can be utilised when retrieving a suitable value from a large data volume based on certain criteria.