Written By

Kyle Jansens and Jon Vinsko



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July 22, 2020

Walk Before You Run: Develop a Catalog CET Extension Before Working on a PGC Extension

Walk Before You Run

Manufacturers who want their products in the CET marketplace often get stuck deciding whether they should build a catalog extension or a parametric graphical configuration (PGC) extension.

What we hear from designers, and what you probably hear too, is that a CET catalog extension can be difficult to design with, and PGC is the way to go! But many organizations underestimate the amount of time and resources they will need to invest in a PGC extension.

If your business is trying to get an extension in the CET marketplace for the first time, you’ll likely get the most ROI starting with a catalog extension. Why? The answer is in your data.

The Foundation of Your CET Extension Is Your Data

The cornerstone of a great CET extension is your data. And the comprehensiveness of your models, options and materials will determine how users engage with your extension.

Models are the graphical representation of the product you are offering. The user will see this product in CET Designer. Materials include the different fabrics, finishes and paints that can be applied to your models. Options include the different configuration options for the product. Examples include handles on pedestals, door types for overhead storage or a stiffener bar for a long tabletop.

Users and designers interact with your products and their options via a catalog extension. And all of that is based on your data and specifications. The end goal of a catalog extension is that everything can be specified by a user, but this can be especially hard to do if the data supporting your catalog extension is incomplete or unstructured.

Without good data, any extension will struggle to succeed — catalog, hybrid or PGC. By creating accurate and high-quality data, you can present your product in the best light with a catalog extension. Plus, your investment in clean, comprehensive data will pay significant dividends if you want to ultimately build a PGC extension down the road.

Go to Market Faster by Developing a Catalog Extension

Developing a CET extension of any kind takes time. How much time? That depends on the number and complexity of your products as well as how well your data is structured. In general, though, creating a catalog extension generally takes less time than building a PGC extension. And a well-built catalog (think data!) will definitely reduce the time of delivering a PGC extension.

Building and releasing a catalog extension will also help you set up team members (like a dedicated product owner) and processes to ensure the continued success of the extension. New product lines are introduced, and existing products change over time. Having strong support infrastructure on your team will help your organization plan for these updates and efficiently roll them into the extension development pipeline. With a CET catalog extension, you control your data (or we can manage the catalog data for you), and you can make changes or updates in real-time.

Build a Revenue Stream to Fund Your CET Extension Development

With a faster time to market for a catalog extension, you can build a revenue stream for your business that will help support your ongoing extension development. How does this work?

Sometimes, the estimated total time of building a catalog extension and PGC extension is the same amount of time required to create a PGC extension from the start. For example, developing a PGC extension may take 9 months from start to finish. On the other hand, building a catalog extension may take 3 months, and it could reduce the time to create a PGC extension to 6 months. In this scenario, you can launch your catalog extension at month 3 and receive orders from CET Designer for the next 6 months of PGC extension development.

Another key benefit of this approach is that you can gain user feedback and market insights from your catalog extension that can inform the development of your PGC extension. By delivering what users want, you can increase engagement with (and revenue from) your CET extension.

Focus on Users to Improve ROI

Once your catalog extension is released, users can begin specifying and ordering your products. As designers work with your extension in CET, you will be able to gather user feedback and see what is great about your extension and what product(s) could be easier to specify. With knowledge of what your specific user base wants, you can begin to improve and move new high-value products to CET. With an optimized extension and the infrastructure to continuously improve, users will become ever more likely to specify and sell your product.

OST: CET Extension Developers and Designers

The end goal of your development project should be to run with a full, data-driven PGC extension. But there are many different ways to get there. Approaching this journey with an incremental, agile mindset will help you achieve positive outcomes:

  • Improve your chances of launching successful CET extensions.
  • Go to market faster.
  • Start seeing ROI early and persistently.
  • Ensure a quality user experience.

As a Configura Implementation Partner, our team has the expertise to help you at any stage of CET extension development, from planning and creating your first CET extension to managing your ever-growing product catalog. Want help with your CET extensions? Learn more about our CET extension services and contact OST.



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About the Author

Kyle Jansens is a configuration services consultant at OST with nearly a decade of professional experience and a BS in Mathematics from Aquinas College. With every project he works on, Kyle brings a broad understanding of programming and deep experience with Configura’s proprietary CM language. When he’s not building CET extensions and guiding clients through the development process, he enjoys playing pool, spending time with friends and family and all things hockey (go Wings!).

Jon Vinsko is a configuration services consultant at OST with experience in project management, software development, electrical engineering and machine learning. He achieved a BS in Computer Engineering and an MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Grand Valley State University. He leverages his in-depth knowledge and skills to help clients create and manage CET extensions and leverage user insights. Outside of work, Jon loves to Ski, go to the beach, work out, game and build computers.