Introduction to the Variant Configuration Integration

Why Integrate SAP CPQ with Variant Configuration

Variant Configuration is used for configuring exceedingly complex products. Although SAP CPQ also supports product configuration, Variant Configuration exists specifically for configuring complex tangible goods for manufacturing purposes.

In other words, although Variant Configuration models can be recreated in SAP CPQ, that would come at a high cost in terms of time and resources. With that in mind, the primary motivation for integrating SAP CPQ with Variant Configuration is eliminating these costs. This is especially convenient to clients who are already working with Variant Configuration models and wish to begin using SAP CPQ.

Moreover, highly complex models are typically a back office feature. However, an integration unites the front office practicality of SAP CPQ with the detailed features of Variant Configuration, resulting in a well-rounded solution.

On the one hand, integrating Variant Configuration expands the technical capabilities of SAP CPQ. On the other hand, SAP CPQ makes Variant Configuration models client-friendly and sales-oriented. With an integrated solution, users can experience Variant Configuration models in a practical, fast and lightweight cloud context, featuring a user-friendly and customizable interface. In SAP CPQ, the models can be adapted for a specific market or customer group, thus further optimizing the sales process.

In other terms, integrating SAP CPQ with Variant Configuration provides a cloud-based solution for simplifying and enhancing sales. However, this integration is unrelated to the manufacturing process, which primarily relies on on-premise solutions.

Integration Flow

First, SAP ERP supplies SAP CPQ with simple materials via SOAP API. In SAP CPQ, products are imported from SAP ERP with specific product data (see Variant Configuration Integration Overview for the list of data that is sent) and flagged as products originating from SAP systems. This is performed via SAP Cloud Platform Integration, a cloud-based microservice which facilitates the integration of front office and back office applications.

Once simple products are imported from SAP ERP, SAP CPQ needs to obtain the configuration in order for these products to become complex, configurable Variant Configuration models. This information is obtained through the process of knowledge base synchronization – the process of exporting configurations and other model-related information from back office applications into the cloud.

A knowledge base contains relevant information such as configurations, characteristics and pricing conditions. When knowledge base synchronization is executed, products flagged as SAP products are converted into configurable or parent/child products. The models are available in the product catalog and can be configured and added to the quote. When these products are configured on the user side, rules and constraints are triggered from the SAP Variant Configuration and Pricing configuration endpoint.

SAP Variant Configuration and Pricing is the service providing this integration. It provides SAP CPQ with knowledge bases, the configuration result and the pricing result.

When SAP CPQ is integrated with Variant Configuration, the Quote-First Approach is used. The reason for that is the fact that the market and other fields need to be selected for SAP Variant Configuration and Pricing to use reference characteristics and pricing attributes in order to provide SAP CPQ with the correct configuration.

An example of a reference characteristic is customer country – if this value is specified in SAP CPQ, the characteristic provides SAP Variant Configuration and Pricing with the context that is necessary for it to retrieve the correct response from the pricing table.

For technical details about the integration flow, see Variant Configuration Integration Overview.

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