What are Products and Assets?

A user Payel Mitra asked me interesting questions, which forced me to think and come up with an answer. The Questions were

  1. What is the difference between Sales Order and Service Order in Siebel terminology?
  2. What is the difference between an Asset and Product in Order management terminology?

As you can see it is not an objective type question and the answer depends on the perception of an particular individual answering it. That is why I thought of sharing my answer with you guys and see if you can collective explanation answering this question in a whole from Siebel perspective.

So, before jumping on to the answer. I would like to give an disclaimer that the explanation provided below are my own views and should be used at your personal risk.

The answer to the first question is relatively simple.

What is the difference between Sales Order and Service Order in Siebel terminology?

  • A Sales Order is created when you sell a product to customer. By product here we mean a tangible product such as a Laptop, Mobile Handsets, Desktops etc.
  • A Service Order on the other hand can be created in one of the two scenarios
    • If you are offering your service as a product for example in case mobile connections we purchase a pack of 50 free SMS then a service order will be created.
    • In case if a product is returned due to some reason, and you replace this with new product or service the existing product through RMA. In the this case a Service Order is created

Now comes the second and debatable question:

What is the difference between an Asset and Product in Order management terminology?

Product: Product has different meaning depending on the context in which is it used. In Siebel terminology we can that, “Something offered by company to the customers for a price is called an Product”. It can be something tangible (laptops, cameras, iPods etc) or something intangible (Service as a product for example Warranty, Maintenance etc) .

Asset: A product when shipped to the customer is converted into an Asset, not all products get converted into Assets. You can also track products as an Asset which means that you create an Asset and tie product to it (usually done when you offer Services as Products). So, in short an Asset is always tied to a product or converted from a product.

Just for reference the complete cycle that happens is

Opportunity –> Quote –> Contract (Agreement) –> Order –> Asset.

I know this is a very simple explanation but I have deliberately done that and I would like to hear your version of the answer and see if we can add something to the above explanation.

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16 Responses to What are Products and Assets?

  1. Thanks neel for the answers.They are simple and very relevant.

    Here are my next set of questions:

    1.What is the difference between roles,responsibilities and positions in Siebel terminology?
    2.What is the difference between opportunity,account and contact in Siebel terminology?

  2. Actually, depending on the complexity of what is being implemented, knowing the difference between a sales product and a service product is irrelevant. Only Service products support highly complex order management implementations. Attempting to solution complex products using the sales product architecture could be futile since the order management modules presume the use of Service Products.
    On the Product / Asset difference: Thinking in a more abstract mode, consider an Asset to be an instance of a Product. The Product represents the class of the object. The Asset, is the actual realization of the Product class. Another view: The product database only holds one representation (record) of a Ford Mustang Convertible. Customer X is a Mustang Collector. He has 14 Ford Mustang Convertible assets (records) in his garage.

    • Thats exactly… in real world you can say chassis number as a asset(which is unique) where as TATA indigo CS is a product.
      hence chasis number is nothing but the instance of TATA indigo CS.

  3. I have below examples to explain it.
    1) Maruti 800 is Product. Maruti 800 with a Vehicle# is Asset for e.g. MH12 AD222.
    2) Selling Maruti 800 is Sales Order. If there is one year paid servicing it is service order. Service Orders are bit complex in comparison to Sales Orders because it is difficult to track.

  4. VK,
    While your explanation is very logical, the actual implementation could be problematic. Now you're going to have to relate Sales Orders to Service Orders in order to see the total customer sales experience. Instead, I would bundle the sales and service products into a compound Service Product with different price points for each component. In other words, the one year paid service is a component of the Maruti 800 Compound product. You would need rules, however, to ensure that you could not purchase yearly servicing without the core product.
    This let's you create product mixes of your own choosing that you could track at the opportunity and order level. Marketing would love this kind of flexibility.

  5. Thanks Neel for the straight and comprehensive explanation.
    For Product and Asset difference, I would like to add following concept:

    Asset is something that brings revenue to the organization.

    So in that terms, Product can be thought as an item/service which is available for sale. Product does not generate any revenue.

    As the Product is sold, it becomes an Asset as it has generated revenue for the Organization and may continue to do so.

    • In Siebel Means.. Why Should i Convert a product to asset. How would i benifit when i convert product to asset. in other words.. How can i benifit when i track an asset??

  6. One more important stuff over the Sales Order & Service Order is How it is getting differentiated and stored.. Just explore into Siebel i found it to be interesting…

  7. Roles is position in SIEBEL where U can control the visibility of data to the user if a user has a responsibility to view the screen but not the position to see the data.
    User wont be able to see any records and by providing responsibility to the user
    you can control the access to the views so if you want to show certain sets of views to user exposed this views to a particular responsibility and provide it to the user.

    • So in Siebel we say :
      Position derives data and responsibility derives views – there are access mechanism facility in Siebel,hence you link these to the user(employee/er) and if the employee leaves the company then same can be linked to the other (replaced)user.

      i am trying to answer in most functional term

  8. In siebel opportunity account and contact are the business entities. and these entities have relationships for example one account has many opportunity etc. the relationships are one to one or one to many many to many

    • These are entities in Siebel, but you can assume them as small business functional area and yes which are linked to each other to service the complete business cycle.

  9. Hi…Your explanation about Sales order is correct. But I believe Service Order is related to the invoicing done when the company provides an “after sales service” to a product that has been sold. This obviously gets tied into the Agreements and the Entitlements that customer is eligible for.

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