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Preventing Users from Selecting Invalid Combinations of Attributes

You can select the Display Error check box in the Attribute Adjustment record to prevent users from selecting combinations of attributes that are not valid. Use this field judiciously, and not as a mechanism to enforce product configuration or other business rules. Attribute adjustments are primarily meant for pricing.

For example, if a product's large version comes in every color except green, you could use this option to display an error message if the user chooses both large and green.

If you select this option, you must create a Rule record in the attribute adjustment representing every valid combination of attributes, even if the combination has zero effect on pricing. The application displays an error message if the user selects a combination of attributes that is not represented by a rule. For example, even if gold is the only color that requires a price markup, you will have to add Rule records for all the colors that the user can select. If there are 100 combinations of other attributes, and 10 possible colors, you may have to create 1000 Rule records, even if only one color affects pricing (though you may be able to reduce the number using wildcards).

NOTE:  If your deployment does not use the Display Error option, you can remove the steps in the Dynamic Pricing Procedure that enforce the validity of the attribute combinations. These are the Invalid Combination Decision step and the Display Invalid Combination Error step. Removing these steps reduces processing time for the pricing. For more information about this pricing procedure, see Pricing Procedures and Workflow References.

To decide whether to use this option, you should weigh its benefits against its costs. There is a benefit to preventing users from choosing invalid combinations of attributes. However, the added administrative cost is high because there are many combinations of attributes that do not affect pricing.

If you select the Display Error option, you must create a pricing adjustment item representing every valid combination of attribute values, but you must not create a pricing adjustment item for any invalid combination of attribute values. To create the correct pricing adjustment items, use one of the following two features of Siebel Pricer:

  • Wildcards. If you select the Allow Any check box, you can create adjustment items with null value wildcards that accommodate many dimension domain combinations, so you can use fewer adjustment items to represent all valid combinations. Wildcards may allow you to create rules representing every valid combination of attributes without entering a separate rule for each combination of attributes. For more information, see Using Wildcards in Attribute Adjustments.
  • Generate Rules button in the Conditions view. Use this button to automatically generate a full set of records for all possible combinations of values of attributes that affect pricing. You can delete the records that do not impact pricing and those that represent an invalid combination of attributes. After Rule records are generated, you must enter the adjustments. If any combinations of attributes are invalid, you must delete those rules. For more information, see Adding Attribute Adjustment Conditions.

NOTE:  If you select the Display Error option, make sure that the default attributes for the product are a valid attribute pricing combination. If it is not a valid combination, your Siebel application will not add the product when users click the Add Item button to add this product to a quote. Users will think that the Add Item button is not working.

It may be easier to use the Adjustment Item Generator to generate all possible attribute value combinations, each in its own adjustment item, than to use null value wildcards. To help make the decision, consider the following:

  • If you use the Adjustment Item Generator, you must do the extra administrative work of entering adjustment types and adjustment values in each record. This could involve much more work than using null value wildcards, if many combinations of attributes have the same price adjustment.
  • If you use null value wildcards, you may have a difficult conceptual task of analyzing the combinations of attributes to decide where you can use wildcards.
  • If you choose the Display Error option, then you cannot use a null value wildcard for an attribute if that attribute is not always available. For example, if the extra-large size is available in all colors except gray, then you cannot create an adjustment item with the null value wildcard for both color and size (as in the previous example). If you create this adjustment value, an error message is not generated when the user chooses extra-large and gray.

Zero-Effect Adjustment Items

If you choose the Display Error option, you must create Rule records representing every valid combination of attributes, even if they have no effect on pricing. Even if you do not choose this option, you may want to create zero-effect rule records for the following reasons:

  • To make the attribute adjustments easier to maintain. If a pricing attribute is not represented in the Rules list, it can be difficult or impossible to add it later and integrate it with the rules already in the list.
  • To create a comprehensive, well-structured set of rules. If a Rules list has a structured place for everything, it can be easier to work with, even if it has items with zero effect.
Pricing Administration Guide