Channels


Channels help you manage groups of users – such as resellers, distributors, and other sales partners – and what those groups see.  By giving them just the right information without distractions, they can focus on helping you sell the right products to the right customers.

Build your configurator once, then present that one configurator with different styling, pricing, and even options based on which of your partners is helping you sell it.



Channel licenses are an optional feature. If you do not see this "Channels" option in the "Users and Roles" administrative menu, contact us to learn more about activating this feature.


Understanding Channels

Your customers expect you to provide them with a list of your products that are appropriate for their needs.  They also trust you to securely share their proprietary information – such as the quotes they submit and the custom products they configure – so only the right people see that information.  Epicor CPQ has three levels of user licenses to help:

  1. Internal users
    Employees who work for your company.  They can see all the product categories you want them to, and all customer quotes.
  2. Channel users
    Resellers, distributors, or other business partners who help your company sell to customers.  They can see only the product categories that are appropriate to their work, and only the customer quotes that are made through their efforts.
  3. External users
    Customers who buy your products. They usually can see only the product categories appropriate to them, and the quotes they submit.

This is a simplified overview. A separate how-to document outlines the full capabilities of the Epicor CPQ security system.  


Creating and modifying channels

In the Administrative Interface, click Users and Roles → Channels to see the channels list. Add or delete channels using the buttons at the bottom of the list.  As with other lists, click the column headers to sort by that column; enter simple text or text with *wildcards to narrow your search. Click on a channel's name to see its details.

Typically, you would create a channel for each distributor or reseller organization you work with.


Channel properties 

Basic Properties

Name

Mandatory. The channel's name appears in all lists and references. It must be unique.
ThemeOptional.  If you set a theme, then users who are a member of that Channel will see that theme applied to the UI. 
LogoOptional.  Upload a logo image to brand the UI when seen by members of that Channel.  For those users, it will replace the default compay logo defined under General Settings.





Implementing channels, step-by-step

To implement channels in your organization, follow these steps:

  1. Activate the feature.
    Ensure you can see Channels in the administrative interface.  Request this feature if necessary through our EpicCare support desk.
  2. Create a channel.
    Create the channel as described above.
  3. Style your channel, if necessary.
    Optionally add a logo to the channel, and associate it with a theme.  Providing these visual cues not only helps with branding, but can aid you with troubleshooting.
  4. Associate the right product categories to the channel.
    Edit your product categories, adding the channel's role to each category you want those channel users to see.

  5.  Associate the right users to the channel.
    Create or edit the users who should visit your org through this new channel, and add the channel role to their user record.
  6. Create channel administrators, if necessary.
    Optionally delegate responsibility for maintaining the channel users to one or more members of that channel.  Edit the users who should be channel administrators, and add the "Channel Administrator" role to their user record.  They can now create users, delete users, and update user information (including freezing users, releasing inactivity timeouts, or resetting passwords) within that channel.  They cannot see or update users outside the channel.
  7. Add channel-specific logic to your configurators, if necessary.
    Your configurators may need to behave differently for channel users.  Consider your current sales process and update your Snap code accordingly. The Snap block "user has role" can be used during your configurator's rule cycle
    to customize the behavior of your running configurator. Change icons, hide or show pages and fields, adjust pricing.
  8. Add channel-specific logic to your quotes and workflows, if necessary.
    By default, quotes created by a channel user are visible only to that channel user and any channel administrators.  The page on common workflow scenarios has some information for building other options.  A useful technique: since quotes and workflows run 
    after a user interacts with a configurator, the Snap block "user has role" may not be available in some contexts.  For these cases, simply create a hidden field on the configurator in which you store their roles through a loaded or submit rule.  Then refer to that field in your downstream process, rather than the "user has role" block itself.
  9. Review field-level security on pricing.
    The price object allows you to control the visibility of pricing columns by role.  Ensure the right pricing data is visible to the right users.  For example, you may want to let one distributor see the labor cost of an item along with the price, but let another distributor only see the price of that same item.
  10. Test the experience as a user of the new channel.
    Before adding new "real" users to the channel, create a test user (associate it with another email address you have access to), so you can log in not only as yourself, but also as a user of that channel.  As that test user, confirm the results of each of the previous setup steps, so you know the channel is styled correctly, shows the right products and the right price information, and configurators have any channel-specific behavior you may have added.
  11. Deploy your updates.
    Use the deployment page to move your updates into the test environment.  Create test users there, and get sign-off from your colleagues before deploying again to the production environment.



See also

Channels interact with other administrative features: