In the 2017 Innovation Insight for Visual Configuration report, Gartner explores the types of visual product configurators and VR/AR technology currently on the market; providing key findings and recommendations, benefits and uses, and key risks.
While Axonom is listed in this Gartner report, we are forbidden to distribute it. However, Axonom recommends that all interested parties, especially make-to-order manufacturers, download it from www.gartner.com. It's worth the read.
Gartner's key takeaway is that visual configurators are an effective, essential tool to win deals at a high rate, and early adopters have a substantial advantage over the competition. Here are more highlights from the report.
"Application leaders responsible for sales applications should seize the opportunity to disrupt their industry by being the first to offer visual configurations... The first organizations to adopt it in their industry experience substantial competitive advantage and cost savings."
Analyst Mark David Lewis' headline is precisely the reason why many of our customers select Powertrak Visual CPQ.
They find that the interactive (drag-and-drop) and visual (2D/3D) quoting, ordering, and configuration experience increases the ease of doing business, helps their brand stand out from the competition, and are perceived as technologically advanced by prospective customers.
Don't take my word for it, Skytron President Craig Wassenaar shares the business benefits gained as a result of its Powertrak 3D Product Configurator and VRoom implementation in this interview.
"The ability to experience the spacial relationships and easily try different locations of equipment placement in an OR helps build confidence in the final design before anything is ever put into a final specification. This saves time and money, and contributes to a functional, high performance design." - Wassenaar
Let's be clear, Gartner does not endorse vendors or products but it identifies "best technology" as visual configurators that enable the user to interact directly, in real-time, with the visual model. If you've explored our site, does this sound familiar? It goes on to mention that "only a few" 3D configurators support drag-and-drop and hot spot technology. Yes, Axonom's Powertrak is one of them.
Take a look at how this is done - Designing an operating room with a visual product configurator
Powertrak supports drag-and-drop technology.
Place accessories onto the main product and move them into the correct position.
Deal Win Rates
"Companies that implement visual configuration solutions see significant improvement in their deal win rate... and less rework in the factory and lower carrying costs for samples at retail locations."
Mr. Lewis' statement mirrors Middle Atlantic Products' rapid user adoption of 10,000 registered users in year one of its 2D Rack Configurator launch. Infact, a Middle Atlantics' distributor/integrator finds the visual configurator as a 'game changer.'
"Working with the Configurator simply makes my job easier. My favorite feature is the ability to easily see the equipment and layout visualized exactly where I want each component. The tool is indispensable for large AV projects; it’s become a key step in our integration process." - Hong Cheng, Karcher Group
In my opinion, this is the most important section of the report. With any sizable (money and time) technology investment, there are a number of things prospective customers need to consider.
One important item mentioned is to ask the vendor to identify what feature is core vs. custom vs. third-party.
I get it, this is not a new evaluation question but the report signals out vendors that use 3rd-party apps to fill the gaps. Prospective customers need to know this information and carefully evaluate.
Other risks mention in the report are similar to what our customer Bull Outdoor Products had experienced several years ago.
“We had invested in a flashy, upstart quoting and ordering solution but eventually found it too demanding to maintain, lacked scalability, and wasn’t easy to train new dealers on how to design and quote our outdoor kitchens. When the company suddenly ceased operations, we were left holding the bag." - Frank Mello, Bull Outdoor Products
I was a little disappointed that this report didn't go into depth about augmented and virtual reality. After all, it's the next wave of technology in Visual CPQ products.
There are not many CPQ providers with AR/VR technology. Gartner has less than ten AR/VR providers in this report. If you want additional providers, download the Novus CPQ report. It names roughly ten providers.
Feel free to look at both reports if AR/VR is an important component to your visual product configurator requirements.
Leader or Laggard?
In many industries, it's still possible to be the first adopter of this technology. Gartner notes that early movers will take market share while laggards need to react quickly.
Remember, Powertrak CPQ is a single platform that is comprised of 2D and 3D product configurators with interactive, drag-and-drop technology, including an extension to virtual reality. We don't rely on third-parties or custom code. Everything is built on one platform.
So, is your company an industry leader or laggard? Contact us to schedule a demonstration and learn why manufacturers are rapidly moving toward visual configurations vs. standard.
Disclaimer: Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in our research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
Source: Mark David Lewis, "Innovation Insight for Visual Configuration," Gartner, Inc., June 17, 2017