If you are like most people, you might shrug your shoulders when a software company says they are flexible. You have your process, and you just need software that supports it. But have you thought about what your pricing solution is going to look like a year after implementation? How about 2 years? Is your team thinking about how your pricing solution will be able to change over time and adapt to the evolving needs of your organization? That is where flexibility matters.
In fact, it’s essential. With so many concurrent economic, health, and political upsets around the world impacting the price of raw materials, the stream of supply, the cost and duration of transportation, and the purchasing behavior of customers, you need the flexibility to adapt your solution so that you can continue to make updates to your prices and strategies quickly and efficiently.
Price management tools come in all shapes and sizes with varying degrees of sophistication. As you whittle down your shortlist, you will likely find each vendor touting flexibility as a key benefit of their offering. But what does that mean? What about their solution, capabilities, or technology makes their offering flexible? How does their flexibility compare to the next vendor’s? And how does that flexibility translate into a benefit for you?
At Pricefx, we’ve spent the last ten years using our technology to help our customers achieve the pricing sophistication and flexibility they require to keep up with the fast-changing market. In this article we’ll explore Pricefx flexibility and what that actually means for you.
Pricefx Values: Inherent Flexibility
Our platform is built to encourage self-sustainability and self-reliance to adapt your solution to the evolving needs of your organization. The customized configurability of our platform empowers you to own your own pricing management system—to design it and implement it according to your own unique set of business circumstances, and to configure it to meet your specific business demands and desired outcomes.
The data used in the software comes from you and, by taking a ‘data-first’ approach, it is collated and ingested to create your pricing model quickly. New pricing ideas, strategies and business requirements can be implemented at great speed and business visions can be transformed as you go.
As your pricing solution is designed from your needs up (rather than prescriptively from us down), Pricefx flexibility is built in.
Something that sets Pricefx flexibility apart is in the way we architect our price building modules. Let’s explore how our solution enables flexible price setting and how that compares to other offerings on the market:
Mass Price Edits: Most vendor price lists / cost files are sent as Excel files. Whereas a lot of price management solutions do not allow manual mass price edits from these files, Pricefx makes mass edits available across all price elements. Our customers can use our Excel client to upload directly into our tool and quickly make price adjustments. You can even adjust the mapping to only update a segment of the prices that are relevant for that particular cost upload; something that would require a lot of manual work in other solutions.
Multiple Price Strategies at once: Pricefx allows for multiple pricing strategies to be executed at once and presents the result of each one for the user to choose from, e.g., Strategy A = Price 1, Strategy B = Price 2, Strategy C = Price 3. That is unique and very flexible. It is not uncommon for other price management tools to allow for just one pricing method or strategy at a time; you must pick a strategy and wait until it calculates the prices.
Inline KPIs and Analytics: Whereas many solutions do not provide analytics within their price setting module and can only provide some validation via texts, Pricefx’s fully customizable KPIs (including traffic lights to help you quickly and visually identify products requiring attention), allow integration of analytics such as scatter plots, pie charts, etc. within your Price List (including sales and market data).
Price List Documentation:Many solutions will not allow you to add comments on price lists that help you document decision making. Pricefx allows you to capture notes to document why you implemented a strategy or executed an override.
While most vendors provide products, Pricefx provides a platform. This sets us apart in terms of our flexibility, as does the fact that our solution leverages machine learning and AI. Here is how Pricefx flexibility is embedded in our price optimization tools::
Ease Of Configuration: Oftentimes, unless the configuration already exists, it’s not possible to make changes in your optimization tool. You either have to get used to being limited by what it was intended to do or pay in time and money for vendor customization. Because Pricefx APIs (Application Program Interfaces) and SDKs (Software Development Kits) allow you to build your own pricing tool according to your actual needs, configuration decisions are enforced deep into your tech stack. And because they are so powerful, you will always find a way of reconfiguring the solution without having to change the core product. One of our customers actually set up their own Center of Excellence (CoE) for configuration and customization of our product and never needs to involve us or our partners. Only Pricefx offers this unique approach where our customers are empowered to dictate what the solution will do.
More Options for Segmentation: Some solutions are inflexible on the segments they let you create. Their segmentation process is mathematically based on historical data, and they let the math create the segments. While we, too, can apply rigorous mathematical-based segmentation, there can be flaws to predictive models based on historical data. If, for example, one customer consistently receives rigorously lower prices, they could be assigned to a different segment to the one they should be in. So, with mathematical segmentation, you run the risk of entrenching unwanted pricing strategy into the future. A real benefit for Pricefx customers is that we’re really flexible when it comes tosegmentation. In fact, we welcomed a customer from a competitor because their old solution was simply not flexible enough to consider what they wanted to do in pricing… only what they had done in the past.
Make Changes on the Fly: Few other vendors can say that you can make changes to your segmentation model on the fly. Pricefx flexibility allows you to simply drag one attribute out and re-segment it. So, if for instance, you want to set the new rule: ‘No price increases above 5%’, the ability to do so is embedded in the guidance calculation process. In fact, the way we do guidance inside of a segment is also very flexible as our solution applies multiple different methods (statistical, detailed science-based methods, as well as science algorithms), all of which can be changed on the fly. If you want to change your target price in a segment to the 50th percentile from the 60th, you can go ahead and do so. With most other platforms, you would have to bring in (expensive) scientists to re-analyze your data, poke around a bit, perform some segmentation offline, and then load it into the system.
Bring Your Own Science: We are finding that increasingly more of our pricing-mature customers want to bring their own science because they want to be able to respond quicker to the market. Not all solutions allow you to do this. In fact, this was the main reason one of our customers left a competitor to move to Pricefx: they had four data scientists working for two years on a problem that their old solution was unable to absorb and work with—Pricefx could.
Availability of Price Guidance: With some price optimization tools, you may find yourself limited to deals and might not get price guidance for price lists. These are available throughout the entire suite of Pricefx modules.
Understandable by Sales: The black box approach of most pricing solutions makes it impossible for your sales and pricing teams to understand how the algorithm works, which hinders them in making the required changes to get the appropriate result. The Pricefx clear box model is transparent, visible, and highly configurable.
Modelling Scenarios: Due to what is often considerable time wasted in trial-and-error, scenario testing is rarely possible with a lot of pricing solutions. Thanks to Pricefx’s fast iteration approach, you’re able to test many different scenarios in a matter of hours. This gives you tremendous flexibility by allowing many scenarios to be evaluated and giving your team the ability to adjust to changes in business conditions much more quickly.
Multiple Models Available: Many solutions only provide one model for guidance, which makes it extremely hard to make any adjustments without significant involvement from the vendor. This leads to “one model fits almost none” because the uniqueness of each business unit is removed to give way to a single model that is generic enough for the entire organization. With Pricefx, there is no limit to how many models you can have, nor to their configuration. In fact, more advanced users can adjust models themselves. This allows your team to tailor models to the needs of each business unit without sacrificing the speed to iterate and deploy these models in the real world.
Flexibility of Business Rules & Multiple Data Sources: With other solutions, analysis tools are usually only available for sales data. Pricefx allows you to perform analytics via dashboards and custom charts on any data source, including sales and market intelligence data, and to configure highly complex scenarios thanks to the complete flexibility of business rules.
Multi-Level Pricing: Not all vendors provide multi-level pricing, like volume breaks. Pricefx not only provides volume breaks and customer-segment specific pricing without limitations, but also allows for price linking across products.
User Interface + Personalization
Pricefx flexibility also extends to the personalization of UI dashboards and analytics.
A user with no coding experience can:
Create data sources, data marts, calculated fields
Generate reports and charts and add portlets to dashboards
Change UI layouts of quotes, price lists, dashboards, etc.
Change workflow thresholds and approvers
Perform visual mapping of data sources for integration
A more advanced user can:
Make simple additions or changes to logic
Create a new simple/ medium dashboard
Add a field to quoting
Add a portlet to a price list
Change configuration logic in the CPQ (Cost-Price-Quote system)
A technical user could:
Add new embedded analysis to quote or price lists
Create complex dashboards
Create new optimization models
Make complex logic changes to quotes, price lists, and rebates
Add completely new data sources and build analytics on top
Integration is another area that Pricefx flexibility stands out, and here’s why:
SAP Data Integration: Some other solutions only integrate with SAP via batch files and don’t support API calls. Pricefx comes with full API-level integration with SAP (S4/HANA) as well as the ability to consume web services. PFX Bidirectional communication between Pricefx and SAP ensures price changes are confirmed and that logs are available to ensure communication is correct.
Integrates With Any System: Pricefx allows click-and-deploy system integration and even allows you to maintain, modify, add, and review data mapping with your ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), or legacy system. In most cases with other solutions, integration requirements or changes must be fully set up and managed by the vendor.
Anywhere Analytics: In Pricefx, you can access your analytics data within your quoting or price list building tools via little analytics plug that shows a chart relevant to what you’re currently working on. This is unique to our platform and demonstrates well how the integration of all our modules makes us super flexible.
ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) Capabilities: Few other vendors offer extract, transform and load capabilities (ETL) within their solution; all data transformation must be done prior to sending the data and any additional data will impact previously loaded data. Pricefx’s full transformation capabilities allow you to integrate multiple data sources with no impact to current data.
Flexible Data Model: Often, with other solutions, once you’ve flexibly built a data model, you’re pretty much stuck with it, as it would take an act of Congress to put any more data into it. So, while it is flexible up front, it’s not flexible once you’ve got it. Pricefx has much more flexible data marts that enable you to add columns, data, and datasets on the fly.
Another way Pricefx flexibility equates to tangible customer benefits is in our agile approach to handling your project, as it accommodates the fact that your business does not stop just because you have an upcoming pricing project, and that your priorities may change during the course of the project. An agile approach is one of the easiest ways to support flexibility, as well as to ensure an on-time go live.
Your agile project is broken down into smaller time-boxed sprints, so after every given number of days, we deliver working software to you. Following each sprint, your project core team tests the software and then work begins on the next sprint. That way, you see the software and your future pricing process coming together in real time and have control over your pricing solution from start to finish.
A Cut Above in Flexibility
So, when it comes to pricing software flexibility… there’s flexibility and there’s Pricefx flexibility. And it’s not something we’re going to be coy about, because we work hard to ensure you have as many options as possible and that you can be self-reliant in designing and growing your pricing success.
When choosing a vendor, it’s important that you know where their flexibility strengths lie and how those translate into benefits for you. With Pricefx, it’s built into every inch of the platform and its implementation to ensure that your pricing solution is as ready as you are to take your next steps, wherever they may lead you.
Doug Fuehne has over two decades of experience consulting with manufacturers, distributors, and retailers on pricing and supply chain strategy, including over a decade working in pricing software. Doug leads Pricefx's Impact team, helping customers understand how they can drive value in their business with pricing software across their entire lifecycle. Before Pricefx, Doug led AWS' Global Supply Chain practice, led Amazon Business' Customer Success and implementation teams, led presales and professional services at a competitor to Pricefx, and built ecommerce businesses at Deloitte and Enron. Doug enjoys playing guitar, coaching youth sports, hiking the Pacific Northwest and traveling.
Jose Paez is a Solution Strategist at Pricefx with 14 years of experience as a pricing practitioner. In his career, he has led in every aspect of pricing from analysis and optimization to pricing strategy definition and execution. His experience in driving and implementing initiatives in digital transformation has given him insight into the typical roadblocks organizations face and the best paths to release the untapped potential of pricing organizations.