Part 1: A Brief History of CPQ – What You Should Know About Configure Price Quote Software.

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Hi, I’m Tim Beck, the founder and CEO of SAASTEPS. I’ve worked for 20+ years with Configure Price Quote software. I’m interested to share some things I’ve learned about CPQ that have helped make SAASTEPS a powerful solution that can be used by any business.

Configuring Complex Solutions & Creating Quotes

I got my start at Selectica, which offered on-premise CPQ software. In those days, we put servers behind your firewall in order to use the Configurator.


Selectica’s goal was to give an Engineer a way to build custom orders and create a sales quote for a complex solution. We sold to automobile manufacturers so they could configure models of cars. And, we sold to one of the largest global IT services companies for quoting complex servers and server racks.


The solution took 18 – 36 months to deploy because of the number of configuration rules, constraints, and attributes. 36 months!


Hosting & Standard Languages

After Selectica, I went to BigMachines, which is now part of Oracle. BigMachines was different in those days because the servers were in a hosting center which helped reduce IT costs. And, we introduced BML (BigMachines Language) to help customers get up and running faster than using custom coding.


BML was supposed to be easy to use but engineers needed to learn a new coding language outside Python, C++, and JavaScript.


After a while, we added a query language called BMQL. This was to help speed up implementation. But it was still a very long time. Often it took 18 – 24 months.


At BigMachines we sold to companies with really complex solutions. Some sold to companies that offered systems of pipes & valves with many specifications. And we sold to others who made earth-moving equipment and had to configure all the parts of heavy machinery.



After BigMachines, I went to Firepond (now called FPX). FPX was doing something different too. FPX had a client-server that connected to Salesforce CRM.


The frontend user experience was 100% Salesforce but the backend was a powerful client-server. This gave FPX customers an intuitive, flexible user interface (UI) designed for salespeople and powerful backend capabilities for complex configurations that the engineers would like.


FPX solution enabled salespeople to meet with clients face to face and create quotes on the spot! This was revolutionary back then. The client-server made the process fast because it wasn’t using Salesforce’s data centers.


FPX sold to companies that made helicopters, which have many combinations and use a “BOM” or Bill of Materials for manufacturing that is linked to the SAP system.


Like other powerful configurators, FPX required engineers to write code to enable salespeople to quote. And, like BigMachines, FPX had its own coding language and query language to help speed up implementations. Deploying the solution still took 12 – 18 months.

Remember delighting every customer allows you to

Sell More And Sell Faster


Part 2: Click Here

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