For many businesses and their customers, ordering a complex product — one with lots of variable, customizable components — is a huge pain.

Whether custom-crafting furniture, computers, or home security solutions, made-to-order products can be synonymous with long, resource-sucking sales cycles, errors, and lots of human intervention.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

That pain is what IBM set out to solve when it acquired Sterling Configurator, which is set to re-release as Commerce Configurator (more on that in a bit.)

Put simply, Sterling Configurator automates complex product configuration, transforming what was a long, troublesome process into an instant, error-free one.

The benefits should be obvious, but we’ll spell them out anyway, because they’re pretty powerful:

  • Faster time to cash.
  • Reduced or eliminated errors.
  • Minimal human intervention.
  • Consistent buyer experience.
  • Freed up time and resources for sales reps to pursue more prospects.

Who wouldn’t want some of that?

Recognizing this opportunity, BlueSky was the first to sell the IBM WebSphere Commerce + Configurator combo. We’ve since found our vote of confidence was very well placed.

Our first client to adopt Sterling Configurator was a prominent manufacturer of memorialization products (think tombstones, plaques, and statues).

A sales process that took them weeks is now completed within an hour, including cross- and upsell capabilities.

Order errors, which used to be a huge expense and customer service issue, were virtually eliminated, with minimal human intervention. (This customer called this their “Perfect Order” initiative, which inspired the title of this post.)

Our second client was a major office furniture manufacturer.

Day in and day out, their customers placed custom orders like black-frame, roller feet, camel-colored, leather-top, reclining office chairs (we made that up, by the way). The process of ensuring buyers received exactly what they ordered was a bear, and support was about to end for their legacy solution. Yikes.

Since implementing Sterling Configurator, they’ve been able to automate self-service dealer administration so partners can instantly configure and place orders, without anyone holding their hands.

As an IBM offering, Configurator naturally plays well with IBM eCommerce products, making integration a no-brainer for IBM customers.

And yet, Commerce Configurator is about to hit the market with new enhancements and wider integration capabilities.

(Those enhancements are still under wraps but we’ll keep you posted. Or, you can contact us and we’ll spill the beans.)

Troublesome product configuration and fulfillment went from being a necessary evil to, frankly, a choice. With IBM Commerce Configurator, it’s a choice that’s proven to pay off in big ways — for businesses and buyers.

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