CAS Merlin help portal
Direct help for your application
You are looking for quick help concerning a specific topic or want to inform yourself more about a certain function of our CPQ solution? You have come to the right place.
On our help portal, you can find the online help for users and administrators, helpful tutorials, and current release notes.
Do you have any topic or improvement suggestions, or are you looking for a direct link to a contact person? Don't hesitate to contact us.
CAS Configurator Merlin video tutorials
Click. Learn. Configure.
In our video tutorials, we are explaining various functions of our CPQ solution. You can also browse our Youtube playlist and discover the versatile functions of CAS Configurator Merlin.
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Highlights of the current version
Each new version includes modifications, extensions, and/or new functions. Stay informed and discover highlights as well as detailed release notes of the current CAS Configurator Merlin version.
Highlights of the new LTS version - Merlin 10.0
Introduction of the new M.Model file type for visualization configuration (.vis)
The new vis-files allows multiple 3D views in the product gallery of M.Sales and M.Customer and one snapshot per view in the printed document to show e.g. different 3D views for the interior and exterior of a car. The new file type also allows to model different views for different languages and aggregates the visualization for a better overview.
New Merlin setting for text field length
The default setting for every text field is 1300 signs for an Oracle database and 3600 for all other databases. If this is not enough, previously it was necessary to manually modify the database but now can easily be adapted via the new Merlin setting "merlin_global_max_textfield_length=<value>".
CRM parameters also respect this new setting.
Further M.Model improvements
- The print performance for workspaces with lots of or larger documents has been improved.
- A new standard placeholder for the Merlin ID is now available.
- There is a new setting to define quote parameter as optional or mandatory.
- In the new genesisWorld interface new filter possibilities were introduced. The user can define filter according to his or her requirements.
Available conditions are: "Equal", "Not equal", "Set"and "Not set". All conditions are linked with a logical AND.
Screen readable end-user configurator and adapted DSGVO information for the end-user
M.Customer is now screen readable and can be controlled via the keyboard.- The user gets enriched DSGVO information in M.Customer which has to be accepted before a new offer request can be sent.
Highlights in M.Sales
- Some minor adaptions have been made to gain a more compact M.Sales with more space and less scrolling.
- Mandatory CRM parameter are now marked with an asterix and printing is disabled if there are missing mandatory CRM parameters providing a hint text for the user.
- The initial focus is set on input fields in dialogs.
- Fill print-placeholder from M.Sales or M.Customer
- For printing it can now be specified if the M.Sales or the M.Customer value should be taken. Additionally there is a new permission for restricting it.
Highlights - the version of go-lives
Go-live of the new Multi Criteria Optimization
Using the new optimizer leads to the following changed workflow while configuring with Merlin:
The sales person will enter the basic requirements based on the customer needs. After all important selections were made the configuration will by completed by using the new optimizer for one specific product of your basket. The product is optimal for the criteria that matter to the customer. After the optimizer completed the configuration the sales person will fine-tune the configuration and saves a lot of time and can send out the offer way faster than previously. The optimizer works in the following way:
- In M.Model relevant criteria for the optimizer needs to be modeled as price-types.
- The optimizer can be started in M.Sales in the basket for each product.
- In a new dialog the sales person can choose which criteria to optimized by using a slider for each price-type.
- All unfilled mandatory features will by filled.
- Pinned features are fixed and won't change.
- The optimizer will try to hold features that are filled but not pinned. if any filled feature will change a change or alternative dialog will pop-up.
- Variables will not be filled by the optimizer.
Go-live of the Rebrush in M.Variety
The following goals were achieved:
- Simplify the application and focus on the important information.
- Make the analysis tab more intuitive, more clear and easier to understand.
- Have a better and more modern design.
There was a complete overhaul for the overall application. The headers, text-fonts and sizes, used element and icons changes in general.
Additionally on the analysis tab the following things changed and were achieved:
- The amount of information was reduced enormously to focus on the attribute nodes and the different variant paths.
- Less colours are used - the colours are now only used to highlight and focus the user to special buttons and important information.
- The nodes in the tree appear in a really new design. Not coloured and really simplified and only having the attribute name inside the node. Thus, the needed space for the whole tree was reduced.
- Between the nodes there are line which can be highlighted by the new path highlighting options to show the cheapest or most expensive path in the tree or the low- and the highrunner,
- A new detail dialog appears clicking on any node providing the information which previously appeared on the node itself. The dialog is split into two parts to separate all information for the attribute itself and the information regarding the total path (combination of attributes which were selected before the attribute the user clicked on). The following information is provided:
- Marketing text and image
- Prices for the selected price-types
- Path completion state and details about the amount of selected mandatory and optional attributes within that path.
Go-live of the Flexible interfaces
The new flexible interfaces give the possibility for an easy import and export of product structure into Merlin and the other way around as well as an import and export from and to Excel files.
- The product import from genesisWorld needs a mandatory identifier to recognize elements. There is a special currency handling for the price / selling price. Moving of elements is only possible if the parent has an import identifier.
- For the Excel product structure import there is not special handling of prices.
- For the quote saving into genesisWorld the quote-/completion state is not translated.
Further minor changes in M.Sales
- M.Sales shows now a hint if a configuration is in a dirty state, means there are unsaved changes.
- Via a new checkbox you can remember the tenant selection to not choose a tenant after every upload.
- 3D imaged are now persisted and can be printed in the document.
- It is now possible to mix different output formats for different documents.
- The notification area became even smarter and only show the latest relevant notifications and hides old irrelevant entries.
- A new tooltip shows the completion state for each product in the basket of M.Sales to better understand how many features are missing in the configuration to get the "checkmark" in the basket which indicates, that a product configuration was completed.
New options in the end-user configurator M.Customer
- In the template of the e-mail which will be sent to the sales person when an customer requests an offer via M.Customer a link to open the quote directly in M.Sales can now be added. Therefor the following new placeholder was introduced:
- <a href="%%STANDARD_EXT_Sales_Quote_URL%%">link</a>
- To be able to share a link to your M.Customer application via facebook with a nice defined preview there is now a new configuration possibility in the configuration file in M.Model by defining the URL and setting the preview image which needs to be either in *.jpg or *.png format.
- Hint texts can now be added to folders, features, attributes and variables in M.Customer. Previously the hint texts were only be available in M.Sales. Now, when modelling a hint text there is an option to select the visibility for M.Sales and M.Customer. Thereby you have the option to model different hint texts for the different applications or to use the same text for both modules. The translation can also be added in the translation table.
- When searching for a specific feature or attribute in the feature selector of M.Variety all matching search results ewill be highlited in the selector to better see the matching results. If the result is an attribute the respective feature will automatically be expanded.
- When opening the feature selector in an already existing and expanded column the selected feature will be on top of the selector and automatically expanded.
News from M.Sales
- To work even faster in M.Sales it is now possibly to toggle or untoggle all price columns at once by a new checkbox.
- If an element was discounted the discounted price will be shown on top and the original price will now be displayed striked-through to better recognize the already discounted elements.
- If there are file variables in the configuration form of M.Sales there will be a new checkbox 'Include files from quote' to check or uncheck whether uploaded files of these variables shall also be downloaded when creating a new quote document. In the metadata of these variables in M.Model it can be defined whether the files of these variables shall be part of that new option or not.
- In the product description of M.Sales excel charts can now also be added and displayed being calculated by every configuration step, changing the chart live during the configuration.
- If a sales person entered all relevant user wishes in M.Sales there is a new option to auto-complete the quote by multiple criteria. All pricetypes will be listed in the new dialog and by using a slider the sales person can set different weights to all relevant price types to define by which criteria the quote shall by optimized. The optimization can only be used once for a quote.
M.Customer - Release of the application design overhaul
We are really glad to announce the release of the whole rebrush of the end-user configurator M.Customer.
The following list contains a summary of the changed parts of the application:
- New design elements, fonts, text sizes and button styles are introduced on every page.
- The new product catalog has three different views which can be selected by the end-used.
- The product start page, before the user starts with the actual configuration is more emotional, the description in in a transparent background placed before the big emotional product image gallery. - The summary page shows up in a complete new even more emotional design. The used space for the configuration information is reduced and the focus is again on the emotional presentation of the configured product(s).
- The handling of sub-products in the whole application was improved and extended. The amount of sub-products can now be changed directly in the navigation panel. The configuration details of the sub-products even with all price information is now also summarized in the summary page.
- A more intuitive and more emotional alternative dialog shows easy understandable the different alternatives the user can select.
News from M.Model and M.Doc
Placeholders for summary row for all price aspects
- Previously it was only possible to print aspects from the summary row for the chosen primary pricetype. Now it is possible to select the pricetype in the placeholder. E.g.: "%%STANDARD_Rabatt_Absolut%%” or “%%STANDARD_PrTb_myPriceType_Rabatt_Absolut”.
This allows to print independent from the primary pricetype and also it is possible to print the aspects for multiple pricetypes. Additionally a new placeholder for the linked discount was added too so that now all price aspects can be printed.
Price placeholders for option changes
- There are new price placeholders for combined tables which output the price change in option items which are always signed with + or -. This works by taking the price value either from the option for added items or from the parent for removed items, multiplied by -1.
More possibilities in the regression tests in M.Model
- In the past there was only one root product possible when loading quotes in regression tests. Thus that one was always selected as initial context. Now multiple top-level products can be selected. To stay backwards-compatible the single top-level product will be selected as default. If there are multiple top-level products the user has to change that himself. That allows to leave the initial context just by ending the perform_in block and starting a new one.
Summary of some smaller features
- Variables were removed from the translation tables to reduce the data of the table.
- Label image for attributes are added in the translation table to define a visual indication which will be placed next to the attribute in the configuration form of M.Sales.
- The heading of the product description was removed and the subheading was renamed to subtitle.
New features in M.Sales
- It is now possible to also switch to a newer quote version and not only to load an older version of the selected quote.
- For options also attribute discounts can now be given.
- For the new „Green configurator“ price aspect names can now be translated to be used to display not only prices but e.g. „eco friendly points“. The new attribute label images in the translation table can also be used for the „Green configurator“ for a visual indication of the eco-friendliest choice in the configuration form (see also the new demo on our homepage: https://www.green-configuration.de)
- Old product structure names are displayed in read-only mode.
Editable dashboard in M.Variety
- The dashboard in M.Variety is now editable. The layout for the whole dashboard can be chosen out of a list and the displayed charts can be reordered in the dashboard by drag & drop, tiles can be removed and added again.
New possibilities in M.Sales
- It is now possible to upload files in the .sudesc for each product which will be displayed in the product description of M.Sales and can be downloaded by the user.
- For long lists in dropdowns of M.Sales, there is now the possibility to navigate through arrows and confirm a selection by pressing enter.
- The possibilities in the inbox of M.Hub are constantly improved. A new filter is now available for date columns to define a time range to reduce the quotes listed in the inbox.
- Some minor adaptions have been implemented to improve the design when using M.Sales on tablets. New tab icons have been introduced, filters and search fields got a new design and the needed space has been reduced by showing only one price type in the configuration form.
- The smart assistant Vivi is now also available in M.Sales. Vivi provides AI based recommendations based on what was chosen for specific elements. The way recommendations are shown can be configured in three different ways:
- The highlight mode shows only a banner on the recommended attribute.
- For recommended attributes with the passive notification mode, Vivi indicates to have new recommendations but without showing it immediately.
- For recommended elements configured in the active notification mode, Vivi opens directly a pop-up showing the recommendation.
Further tools and new features in M.Model
- The new operator "set invisible" can be used by defining a complex logical expression on the left-hand side with a respective feature, attribute or folder on the right-hand side. If the condition on the left occurs in the configuration form, the element on the right side of the rule will be hidden in the configuration. These elements will only be hidden in the configuration form but not in the summary or when printing documents.
- Additionally it is now possible when using the operator "set cardinality" to define a complex condition on the left side of the rule. These complex conditions can also be debugged an are part of the new contradiction report.
- Modelling the global workflow for the M.Hub require now a priority which needs to be set on the workflow feature from 1 to 10. The priorities are evaluated in the following way:
- The global workflow state is derived from the whole quote.
- The global workflow is derived from each quote entry individually.
- The quote entry with the highest prioritized workflow defined the total global workflow.
These priorities are needed to be able to override a quote state by the global state of another quote. The global workflow state can still be used for user selection, which has the priority "5". It is impossible to trigger a conflict with a user selection.
- New group rights are available for offer parameters to have the ability to hide offer (CRM) parameters for a specific group. E.g. the anonymous group can be used to hide offer parameters from M.Customer. The default state is that all parameters are visible, they need to be unchecked manually to hide them.
- By the implementation of some memory optimizations the product structure can now be loaded very fast even from old rulesets without big memory spike. Only the requested ruletrees and auxiliary files will be loaded.
M.Customer design adaptions
- For a more easy and intuitive usage it is now possible to delete or change the amount of added sub products in a configuration of M.Customer via the navigation panel.
- Cells of the new big alternative dialog with the same entry are merged, for a more easy understanding of the differences between alternatives.
- Marketing texts of features or attributes are now displayed in a new dialog.
- For a better navigation possibility on each page of the configuration form a back and next button is placed to easily jump to the next or previous page.
New setting for the definition of maximum numbers
- To avoid database problems and issues with the precision during price calculations there are new settings introduced to define the maximum allowed number for the all Merlin applications. The default maximum number for prices, variable values, quantities and offer parameters is +/-10^9.
- If numbers exceed the defined maximum the configuration will not be valid anymore and the user will get a notification and the exceeded numbers are highlighted in the configuration for a visual indication fo the causing values.
New rights management for all Merlin applications
- Introduction of the new concept of setting quote access rights. For each quote you can now define different user groups or specific users as owners of this quote instead of the previously used definition to set a quote to private or public visibility. This can be set when saving a quote or via the new button "set owners" in the menu of M.Sales to change the owners of the quote after the initial saving dialog.
New possibilities in M.Hub
- In the inbox of M.Hub further filter possibilities are added to be able to filter for specific values like specific workflow states in a dropdown listing all available different states.
- The size of each column of the inbox can be changed to see the full content.
Smaller adaptions in M.Sales
- For a better overview when using more than one price type in M.Sales only the abbreviations will be shown instead of the full name. If only one price type is selected, the full name will be visible.
- As genesisWorld can right now not handle one quote containing different currencies the user will get a notification to be informed about this issue when trying to save a quote using multiple currencies. The dialog can be checked not be displayed every time to not annoy the user.
Enrichments in M.Model
- The operator "defines (changeable or unchangeable)" can now be used with complex conditions. Previously it was only possible to have a feature, a variable or an attribute on the left side of a defines operator. Now it is allowed to define a complex condition on the left side as well. When defining a new condition that is already fulfilled in an existing quote the "defines (changeable)" rule will never be triggered during a repair and the "defines (unchangeable)" rule will always be triggered.
- The activation of the recommender fo M.Sales or M.Customer has to be defined in M.Model. The model for the recommender was built by a nightly running job in the database, This can now be triggered to run immediately by an new option in the configuration menu of M.Model by the option "Recommendation model calculation". Within that dialog the user can also choose the tenant for which the recommendation model shall be built as well as the source tenant for the model.
- Fast loading of product structure from old rulesets without big memory spike is now possible. Less memory is used by loading only required files and further cache optimizations.
The first features of the new Siemens Teamcenter importer are available
- The new importer allows the user to select an MS Excel sheet containing the product structure and optional rules. An html generated report shows which and how many elements have been successfully imported, which were skipped and which failed. For the failed elements further details about the concrete failure reason are available.
Overhaul of M.Customer
During an ongoing redesign phase the whole M.Customer look and feel will be improved to be even more emotional and stylish for the end-users:
- The area of the technical data below the product image gallery was redesigned. The information will be presented in a better overview with more space to easier focus on the relevant data.
- The change and the alternative were completely redesigned. In the new design it is more intuitive to understand which elements were built-in and built-out based on the last configuration step. The alternative dialog is enriched by many images for the attributes on the one hand and the combined product images on top of the alternatives.
- The summary page in the end-user configurator got also a complete rebrush. The focus is an emotional huge image in the background of the configured product. A new panel with the configuration content can be free configured in it's position, the size of the content is reduced and the fonts, text-sizes and buttons were redesigned as well. The background image can be defined in M.Model as default the first
- Merlin CPQ version 10.12 is compiled and running with Java 17 which needs to be installed.
Improvements in M.Sales
- In the price details dialog conditional price operations will now be displayed with further details information. It shows the description of the operations and explanations about which conditions were met and how the price than was calculated.
- Price precisions has been updated: In M.Model the price precision can be defined. This setting will be considered in M.Sales and all price input field will be validated based on the precision definition. The precision of percentage values can not be defined and is fixed to two decimals.
New features for the new module M.Hub
- In the inbox of M.Hub in which all quotes are listed with their meta data like date of creation, status and total prices, it is now not only possible to assign an assignee but also to assign a sales person.
- The global state of a quote can now not only be set via rules but also by user selection. For any change about the status the M.Sales user will be informed about tha status change during the configuration,
- The design of the quote view was improved.
Adaptions for the definition of default values in the attributes of the variables in M.Model
- Previously default values were set when the product was built in. But therefor variable with default values had to be activated at the time of build in of the product. With the adaptions the default values can now be set as soon as the variable is activated. Variables with default values do no longer have to be activated by te product, but can now also be activated later during the configuration. And existing default values still work and do not have to be updated.
Reducing complexity and increasing performance
- Impossible elements can be precalculated. The new precalculation feature in M.Model detects whether element of the product structure are impossible even though it is not directly implied by the user selection. By reducing the amount of possible elements for the whole configuration we gain increased performance by reducing the calculation complexity.
New features in the end-user configurator M.Customer
- The smart assistance Vivi got animations. Whenever Vivi has new information the user can recognize it via the animations inside of the face of Vivi.
- The colors used for Vivi, the recommender banner and the recommender panel (on the left side of the application) can now be configured in M.Model.
- The default size of the gallery on the configuration forms of M.Customer can also be configured in M.Model. The configuration possibilities are: "big gallery", "narrow gallery" or "closed gallery".
But it is still possible to change the size inside of M.Customer, the setting defines only the default size when starting M.Customer.
Highlights of the new LTS - Merlin CPQ 10.10
Merlin grows - we are glad to introduce our new module M.Hub
With the new M.Hub module, we enable you to create a more effective order process. This especially refers to the apparently concurrent but still important processes, such as meetings, releases, internal checks and feedback loops with the customers. M.Hub functions as a collaborative module for quick and direct exchanges during the entire order process.
Here you can learn more about the module M.Hub: https://www.cas-merlin.de/aktuelles/faq-mhub/
Even more emotional - with the new possibility of embedding external videos in M.Sales and M.Customer
- M.Sales: External videos can be displayed in M.Sales as part of the product gallery. All images and videos can now be opened maximized.
- M.Customer: The added videos will automatically be played on the product cover page after choosing a product from the catalog in M.Customer. The video will also be part of the product gallery in the configuration form.
Further highlights of our sales configurator
- Showing recommendations in the configuration form: Recommended attributes will be highlighted green in the configuration form. The not recommended attributes are shown in light red color.
- Redesign of the price explanation: The design of the details about the price calculations was redesigned to get better and more intuitive overview of the calculated single prices and further price aspects for each attribute price.
- It is now possible to show quote parameters read only.
- For a more easy way to use, dates (also calendar weeks) can now be entered manually without using the calendar widget.
- Having a long list of different attributes within one feature the user has now possibility to use a filter in the dropdown of the attributes.
- Embedded M.Doc Live in qupte page: An M.Doc Live document can be opened as before in a separate tab but now also directly on the quote tab showing every change of the configuration form live in the generated document.
Improvements for M.Doc
- Marketing text and images can be printed everywhere in the document by introducing the following new placeholders:
- To insert a product image in a quotation table you can now use "%%ELEMENT_IMG_Product+TAB_<XYZ>%%". To print the marketing text for an attribute use "%%ELEMENT_Marketing+TAB_<XYZ>%%".
- To be able to print images in a detail table use the placeholder "%%ELEMENT_IMG_Marketing+TAB<XYZ>%%".
- Within a combined table use the placeholder "%%ELEMENT_IMG%%" to print images.
- Within free text sections use "%%STANDARD_IMG_Product%%" for product images and "%%STANDARD_Marketing%%" to print marketing text.
- Previously when running Merlin in Docker the side effect was that MS system fonts like Segoe UI are not available the print took some available fonts that often did not match the original. Now it is possible to define fallback fonts.
E.g. Segoe UI will be replaced with Selawik which is quite similar and the fallback rules can be extended.
New right in M.Model to consider the completeness factor in the configurators
- A new setting is available to define whether invisible mandatory features (which are no visible by rights) must be filled for a complete configuration or not.
Extensions for the Merlins variant management M.Variety
- It is now possible to select a specific tetant for M.Variety. After login to M.Variety you get an overview of all available tenants in which the desired one can be selected.
- In M.Variety a specific path can now be saved as a new quote and existing quotes can be loaded into M.Variety for further analytics.
- One single variant of the variant tree in M.Variety can be saved with all additional information like variable inputs, empty selections or not activated note as private or public quote.
- The saved quote can be loaded through all Merlin applications.
- Existing quotes of other applications can also be loaded in M.Variety. But one specific product must be selected in case the loaded quote contains multiple products or sub-products.
- Additionally in M.Variety the so called product impossibles are now filtered out. Which means all features and attributes from the product structure which are never possible to select for the chosen product by rules will be filtered out from the product structure and the attribute selector to simplify and reduce the possible selections for the user of M.Variety.
Improvements and changes in the core of Merlin
- All prices are now stored in a numeric representation in the database. The default configuration for prices is set to the maximum price of 10^9 and the default precision is set to two decimal places (example with default max. price and max. precision): 999,999,999.99). But the maximum price as well as the maximum allowed precision can be configured in the merlin settings. This new setting will lead to a failed saving when trying to save a quote containing a price greater than the defined range, If the quote contains a precision which is greater than the defined allowed maximum precision the decimal places are rounded.
New tool for contradiction analysis:
- A new concept is introduced to visualize which rule(s) leads to a contradiction. Using this tool you will get better support for debugging numeric rules, debugging of activation errors and debugging default rules and leads to better understanding of the involved constraints from the product structure.
The report directly links to references rules and the affected parts of the product structure. E.g.: rule A together with rule B leads to value C or build-in of attribute D.
The supported rule files which will be checked within the contradiction analysis are: Ruletrees, Bundles, Rule templates, Massrule files and Product tables.
- Overview of quote history in loading dialog
Each quote listed in the loading dialog in M.Sales can now be unfolded to check the quote history and to view and load a previous version of the quote
- Overhaul of the alternative dialog
The alternative dialog was redesigned to get a better and more intuitive overview about the differences of the selectable configuration options. In the header the different product result will be displayed via the combination image and in the detail table below the attribute images will be displayed if available.
- 3D models are displayed in the product description
The configured 3D models from M.Model will now be displayed in product description field in M.Sales and the user has the possibility to take screenshots from it.
Improvements in M.Customer
- To enrich the user experience in the end user configurator M.Customer some more explaining hints will be displayed if a user wants to send an offer request and mandatory data is missing.
- On the summary page prices are now also available for sub-products.
For your information - with Merlin version 10.9 the infrastructure changed and tomcat 9 was updated to tomcat 10.
Overhaul of translation table in M.Model
The goal of the overhaul of the M.Model translation table was to improve the reuse between the applications especially between M.Customer and M.Sales by adding the same approach for all elements and inheritance. The former pstlocales offered a separation for some elements in M.Customer and M.Sales but not all and no reuse. A basis foundation for additional language-dependent resource types in the future was created and an improved way of maintaining the different resource types in different files. The pstlocale files became more cluttered with each type added and required translating everything for one element in one file whereas the new translation table a flexible translation strategy for the modelers offers.
The following use-cases are now possible within the new translation tables:
- One product per file - all translation types can be defined in one pst-file, but separate pst-files can be created for each product.
- One resource type per file - all products or product series can be used in one file, but one for images, one for texts etc.
- Cross-functional approach - translating the same element in different files for different languages.
Further benefits are at the one hand the easier update mechanism. The former pstlocale required manually dragging the added elements into the pstlocale but now the translation bound to a combination of file, translation type and language and updates to files are directly reflected. At the other hand the maintainability got improved by limiting the file content to what the customer actually needs to translate instead of listing all meta data per translated element. Additionally the file sizes got reduced, the performance was improved and the convenient M.Model editor can be used.
New file format for 3D content in M.Model
The former .obj, .mtl and .tex files are replaced by the new .gltf file which combines and includes all these information. The usage of 3D feature is simplified and much more easy for modelers and provides the possibility for further features in the future.
The 3D information from metadata of characteristics in M.Model was removed and these information is now kept in the new 3D visualization file.
Improved workflow to finish, save and print quotes as well as the loading process in M.Sales
- A new button "Print and save" opens a dialog to choose printing and saving options at once.
- The options in the menu for saving and loading was revised, instead of the former big loading dialog the menu itself got more clear intuitive entries. There is now a clearer difference between a quote (context of a current sales opportunity) and a template (basis for creating new quotes). The following new menu entries are now available:
- Save: Save a quote with private or public visibility - in the context of a current sales opportunity when using genesisWorld.
- Create a copy: Save as another quote with copied content.
- File as template: Put the current quote aside as a template to reuse it for future quotes and continue where the user left off.
- Export as quote file: Export a .merx file.
- Load: Load a quote and replace the current configuration.
- Insert from template: Keep the current configuration and insert / merge a chosen template.
- Insert from saved quote: Keep the current configuration and insert / merge a chosen quote.
- Insert inquiry from M.Customer: Keep the current configuration and insert / merge a quote from M.Customer.
- Insert from quote file: Import a .merx file.
Memory improvements in the core of Merlin
In the backend of the application lot of memory improvements have been achieved by
- reducing the overhead for calculation of prices and impossible elements
- improvements during changes in the product structure
- reduced overall "layer overhead".
Performance optimizations at the heart of Merlin - making the configurator even faster and more efficient
- Many changes have been made in the core of Merlin to make the configurator even faster like multimodule configuration speedup and reduced overhead for calculation of prices and impossible elements.
Further optimizations are planned for the next releases.
- Huge performance speedup was also done for translation table containing lots of translations which can now be loaded and opened ways faster than previously.
Highlights in M.Sales
- There is a new nice and emotional start page with certain options to chose how to start the application. The user can directly choose to
- create a new quote,
- load from a saved quote or to
- import from a file.
- If multiple document types are available for the download in M.Sales the user can select multiple documents at the same time which will be downloaded in a .zip file. Which document types are available can be easier controlled by the new feature to activate or deactivate single document types based on rules regarding the current configuration.
- A new option discount all subproducts on the price tab is available to be able to set a percentage discount not only to one product or the whole basket but to one product and all if its children.
- According to the motto better process-oriented behavior in M.Sales the saving and loading has been optimized. The user can now decide to save a quote as specific quote of template and differ between private and public quotes or templates. When loading a saved quote or template there is also the option to choose whether this quote or template shall be integrated into the existing configuration or replace the current configuration.
- The new repair dialog shows an overview of all changed data of the configuration.
- To fasten up finding the product in the catalog the user is looking for there is a new search field in the catalog available.
New price rounding behavior
Previous prices were calculated with decimal precision of 4 digits but the clients showed only 2 decimals and did some rounding themselves which could lead to missing or additional cents when summing up. As the database only saved 3 decimals by default for prices this could lead to precision loss during saving or loading.
Example: The user selects an attribute three times which costs 0.3333€. In the backend the sum is 0.9999€ but due to the rounding of the client in M.Sales the sum is shown as 1.00€.
Therefor the rounding behavior has changed so that rounding will be done after every visible calculation step on the client side so that in the mentioned example above also in M.Sales the sum will also be 0.99€ and no precision loss will result.
In M.Doc some values need to be recalculated because of the way M.Doc tables allow filtering. Due to rounding precision loss percentage discounts can be different in M.Docs summary row than shown in M.Sales.
Show prices of different price types in the end-user configurator M.Customer
For each price type, which is available in M.Customer, the prices are now available in all over the application. On every tile in the configuration form as well as on the summary page.
To keep it simple for the end-user only one price will be shown at the same time and the total price will be displayed on the bottom of each page. If multiple price types are available for M.Customer the user can switch the price type by pressing on the button of the total price on each configuration page or the summary page. To indicate a price range to the end-user before starting a new configuration, the modeler can define a start price for each product which will be displayed on the product tile on the product catalog.
Better M.Doc - New possibilities in the way of modeling offer documents
- Improvements in section and paragraph handling
When using one template there will not be any section break between pages.
- Controllable paragraph change for rule insertions
The new possibilities allow the modeler to define not to have a paragraph before, behind or before and behind the defined rule.
- Flexible doctype sorting
Via the new definable index in the display order option the modeler is able to flexible sort different doctypes.
- The doctype with smallest number appears above a doctype with a higher number.
- If the same index is defined multiple time, the doctypes will be shown in the alphabetical order.
- All doctypes without a defined index are shown above the ones with an index.
- New convenience functions in placeholder checker
A new info dialog is shown, if no problems were found via the new checker. Placeholders with warnings and errors can be directly copied from report by the option in the context menu.
- New combines table structures
Using combined tables there are three options to define the structure:
- Show products and attributes: Leads to the classic appearance
- Show products with bundles: Attributes will be grouped by their bundles
- Show products only: Only products and sub products are listed, but no attributes.
- Marketing images in detail tables
Marketing images assigned to an attribute can be printed now. Therefor only ELEMENT placeholders are available and the placeholder supports the WIDTH-syntax:
- +WIDTH_100 means 100% of the available cell width is used for printing the image.
- The default value is 50%
New options in M.Sales
- Total discount % smoothening
It is now possible to edit not only single discounts but also to edit the total percentage discount having the option to choose to
- reset underlying discounts
- keep underlying discounts or
- to distribute the discount to underlying discounts, which considers the defined maximum discount values and distributes the entered value accordingly to all underlying products.
- In the catalog the whole product description will be shown. When hovering the product automatically a scrollbar appears to read through the whole description instead of the previous "show more" button.
- Expand configuration folders by new setting in M.Model
Out of three options it can be defined whether all folders shall be collapsed, expanded or overwritten by setting in the folder configuration.
- Elements which are marked as invisible in the configuration form can be set as visible footer element to be able to show the user extra information in the footer section and the summary page based on the configured options.
- Using the recommender option via the assistant Vivi the modeler can define how important a recommendation for certain elements is.
- If the M.Customer user gets a new recommendation marked as active notification Vivi opens automatically the recommendation and the user can accept or dismiss the new recommendation.
- A recommendation which is marked as passive notification will also be shown in the Vivi panel but only if the user opens the panel and wants to check the available recommendations.
- A recommendation which is marked as only highlighting will not be shown in Vivis panel but only flagged by the recommender banner in the tile of the attribute.
- Show prices in M.Customer
The new highlight in M.Customer is the option to show the user price information for the configuration. The modeler can define which pricetype shall be available in M.Customer and set the order priority. On each configuration form and the summary page a new button shows the total price of the whole configuration and the price type can be switched by clicking in that button.
More options will follow in the next release.
New possibilities in M.Sales
- Below the print dialog on the quote tab in M.Sales there is a new button to open a list of all print placeholders. The list is detailed structured to see the global placeholders, like offer parameters, the placeholders of the product structure as well as table placeholders. For each placeholder its name is shown and the value based on the current configuration. There is a text search on the dialog to be able to find a specific placeholder more fast and an option to hide empty placeholders.
- When loading a quote in M.Sales, there is now the option via a new checkbox in the load dialog to be able to "replace the current configuration" not. By unchecking the option to not replace the current configuration the loaded quote will be merged into the current configuration and the current basket.
Further price options and discount setting possibilities
- For each price type in M.Model the discountability and further price aspects for discounting can be set and defined. The level for which prices and discounts can be changed and set will be defined in M.Model. It can be activated on attribute level, product level or for the total quote or any combination.
The calculated discounts are visible on the price tab as well as on the price overview of the configuration itself. New options can be chosen how editable discounts will be calculated and distributed.
- Reset underlying discount: Activating this option will override all calculated and defined discounts on sub levels of the level the sales people edits the discounts.
- Distribute to underlying discount: When choosing this option a new entered discount will be distributed to all sub levels.
- Keep underlying discount: All discounts will remain unchanged and the edited discount will only be changed on the level of change.
- The following price aspects can be chosen to be calculated and shown in M.Sales:
- Unit / total price are the undiscounted prices
- Discount-% is always applied to the total price and granted by the user.
- Discount is the product of the total price and discount-%.
- Total discount is the sum of the discount and all discounts below.
- Discounted price is the total price subtracted by the total discount.
- Margin is the discounted price subtracted by the discounted base price. The previous price operation margin is deprecated.
- M.Doc tables can now be filtered for "set" / "not set (empty)" values.
- Standard placeholder can new be validated via new toolbar icon in M.Model. The new placeholder report view contains warnings and error.
Get recommendations in M.Customer via new smart assistant Vivi
- For better supporting the end-customer in there configuration in M.Customer the modeler can now activate to show the user recommendations based on the current configuration selections and the choice of other users in saved quotes. To activate the recommender there is a new file "recommendation settings" in M.Model. For each product and its features it can be defined whether and how recommendations shall be shown.
- only highlighting: Via that option the recommended attributes will be shown with a recommender label in the configuration form. For more important features the modeler can choose to show
- passive or active notifications. These recommendations will be shown in the new panel of the smart assistant Vivi. Whenever Vivi gets a new recommendation the eyes are open and the recommendation icon is activated. By clicking on the assistant Vivi provides a list showing all recommendations of the current configuration tab. By clicking on one recommendation the user will get detailed information for the recommended attribute and can directly accept and select the attribute. In the passive mode Vivi will show the recommendations when opening the new Vivi panel, for recommended attributes in the active mode, the Vivi panel will automatically pop-up.
- To meet exactly the level of accuracy which shall be provided, certain settings can be changed and defined.
- the minimum configuration count, where the amount of saved quotes which must be available in the database can be defined.
- the maximum quote age which defined the oldest considered saved quote for the recommendations.
- Further adjustments in M.Customer is on the one hand the possibility to revert adopted configuration alternatives and on the other hand to be able to configure variable product names.
Simplification of modelling default values and user inputs
- Both operators „Default=„ and „User input“ will be removed from M.Model in future. Existing rules defining default values and user inputs can also be removed and will be replaced by new settings within the definition of the variables. In the feature structure of a variable there is a new checkbox for the definition of the user input, which will be checked automatically when creating a new variable. Default values can also be set directly in the properties of the variable.
- A new operator „set as user input“ can be used for the case that more complex conditions are needed to define the user input. For complex conditions which must be fulfilled for default values, the operator „implies as default“ can be used.
Hint: The old operators are still working. When uploading the workspace the user will get a message that they will be dropped soon and warnings for all used outdated operators in the workspace to be able to change them.
For modelling documents it is now possible to define a template for each text module and not only to define one standard template. Thereby you can use different text modules with different formats within one document like e.g. portrait and landscape format or to have different header and footer formats.
Simplifications in M.Customer
- All selected elements of a configuration will be collected on the summary page of M.Customer. If a selection shall be changed, the user can click on the edit icon besides every element to jump directly to that element in the configuration form to be able to change it here.
- Using the date picker in the configuration form is now also simplified in the usage. Not only the already chosen date will be highlighted but also the current date will be highlighted in the shown calendar.
Internationalization in Merlins variant management
The whole application M.Variety is now also available in German. The product structure can show any modelled language.
Extensions in M.Sales Neo and go live of the live document generation M.Doc Live
- Prices of an element in the configuration form can now be defined in M.Model as „override manually“. Initially the price will be shown in M.Sales Neo as 0.00€ (or any defined unit), by clicking on the price this can be overwritten directly in the form.
- The user can now change the name of an element directly in the configuration form via the option „Name in M.Sales editable“ in the properties of the feature structure. Both the original names as well as the changed name of the element can be used in the new text search on top of the form.
- Products can be marked as optional in the price overview of M.Sales Neo by using the new checkbox. The price for these optional products will be overwritten afterwards.
- Documents can not only be generated in M.Sales Neo as before, but now via M.Doc Live they will be generated and changed immediately. M.Doc Live opens the document in a new tab and each change in the configuration form or e.g. changing the language selection will immediately be shown in that document.
Extensions for M.Sales Neo
- To optimize supporting the user during the configuration it is now possible in M.Sales Neo to add and show hint texts on elements in the configuration form. These hints can also be part of complex rules.
- The introduction of new file variables allows the user to upload files to the configuration form. These files will be saved along with the quote and be downloaded and checked at any time again. To also enable the upload of multiple files at once file variables can be defined both as single- and multi-selection.
Design optimizations in M.Customer
The new quantity variables for attributes are shown in the configuration form of M.Customer in a new tile size design. The entered values will be validated immediately and the allowed ranges and input types are shown in a hint box.
New features in Merlin variant management - M.Variety
- The attributes of single selection features are now part of the dropdown menu to reduce the tree selection to certain elements and enrich the search possibilities.
- The analyzer information about the occurrence is also part of the status flag of each displayed path. The percentage value indicates how many saved quotes of all Merlin modules contain exactly the same combination of element as the chosen variant in M.Variety.
Further new options to remove bundles from a configuration
Bundles are a set of attributes which can be build in at once in a configuration.
Previously, when a bundle was removed from the configuration, the corresponding attributes were not removed as well. The "Smart Bundle Removal" now also removes the corresponding attributes when a bundle is removed. All attributes that are part of the bundle are removed. Attributes of optional features however are only removed if they are neither pinned nor part of another bundle that is still part of the configuration.
New possibilities in document modeling
M.Doc: Alternative attribute names
There is a new M.Doc placeholder as alternative name for all attributes introduced and managed in the translations table. The placeholder can be printed by ‘element name” added by the suffix ‘_Name_MDoc’.
M.Doc: Table filter enhancement
New filter options are available to specify simple and complex rules to define which elements shall be visible and invisible in M.Doc tables.
Optimized Ressource Caching
To optimize the cache when using files, the caching is changed to only cache a preprocessed form of the files.
Design improvements and feature extension in the end-user configurator
- Design simplifications for chosen attributes in the configuration form. New checkboxes and radio buttons will be added for the current selections.
- Quantity variables are shown on the defined level after the user made a selection.
- To be able to distinguish the presentation of elements in the configuration form of M.Sales Neo and M.Customer of the same workspace, the element presentation tab can be duplicated to make separate settings for each clients.
New unit options in M.Model
- For many users it becomes more and more important to not only show prices for the configured elements but also other units like weight or carbon dioxode emission. Therefor the new possibility is available in the price configuration to override the unit manually to enter any free unit which will be shown as pricetype in the clients.
Further possibilities enabled for sales person in M.Sales Neo
- There is a new option to be able to import and export quotes in M.Sales Neo.
- Within the price page it is now possible to reorder the items in the basket.
Changed directed operators
There are two new definition possibilities for calculating sums or multiplications: You can define an operator as bi-directional or uni-directional.
- Good for variables that are used across many formulas (rules)
- When you want to use the transformations (a=b+c; b=a-c;...)
- When variables are not heavily linked to other variables and/or rules
- Aggregations from several operands into the result which is then used for few simple rules
- Missing values are skipped: (e.g. a=b+c --> a is shown as 0,00 even if b and/or c are not yet set)
Updates and extensions in M.Sales Neo
- Within the new Notification Area all notifications will be added and shown in historical order. The dialog can be opened at any time during the configuration. Icons indicate whether a new notifications appeared.
- The so far static quote parameters can now be opened and edited in a separate dialog.
- Choosing a bundle is now possible in M.Sales Neo. By selecting a bundle, multiple attributes will be selected at once, as defined in M.Model. These attributes can be a fix part of the bundle but also can be defined as an option of the bundle. If the user selected a bundle having options, a dialog will be shown where the user needs do decide which option to choose. The total price for a bundle can also overwrite the single prices of the attributes of that bundle.
- For elements of type date, time or date-time a new calendar is shown to easier choose the date and / or time.
New configuration area for sub products in M.Customer
Sub products, which are not placed on a specific tab for the end-user configurator M.Customer, automatically will be added on the tab "sub products" at the end of the configuration.
Extended feature scope in M.Sales Neo
- A new process indicator shows the overall progress of a configuration.
- Discounts can now be set on quote level
- It is now possible to filter for a specific price type within the price detail tables, to be able to understand the calculation of the displayed prices.
- The read-only mode is now available in M.Sales Neo.
New analyzer KPIs in the variant tree
The new analyzer of M.Variety shows certain KPIs based on all saved quotes in the variant tree. Thereby high- and low performing variants can be made visible quickly.
The analyzer shows different KPIs which can be switched-on for each single element build in the variant tree.
The following KPIs are now available in M.Variety:
- Total Occurrence:
- How many configurations contain a certain attribute, independent of the previous selected combination of attributes in the unfolded path?
- Conditional Occurrence:
- (Absolute) How many configurations contain a certain attribute within the exact given combination of attributes of the unfolded path?
- (Relative) How do the percentages distribute among the attributes of one selected feature of all configurations containing the exact given combination of attributes in the unfolded path?
The new cockpit of M.Variety contains graphs to see:
- how many new configurations have been saved,
- which products were configured how often
- and which attributes were selected how many times for one chosen product.
New configurable action buttons in M.Customer
In M.Model a possibility was added to configure up to two additional action buttons for the navigation panel in M.Customer.
An individual URL can be set as destination address together with an individual symbol and name for these buttons.
These new buttons can also be added in the translation table, to set different destination addresses and names for each defined language.