The costs of implementing a new configure, price and quote (CPQ) solution can be a huge investment for any business. The cost of choosing the wrong CPQ solution can often be too much for a small-to-medium business (SMB) to handle. As a leader in cloud applications, Oracle has seen too many SMBs select a CPQ vendor based on the lowest licensing cost while failing to fully understand the value of selecting a vendor that truly understands your business. All too often, choosing the wrong vendor results in wasted budget, time, and staff. At its worst, it means you have to abandon the CPQ project entirely to search for a vendor to do it right.
Walking away from a failed CPQ project can be an emotional, politically charged decision. Often, problems only seem to arise after the vendor provisions the software and your staff logs in to the platform. But while it may be easy to be distracted by a low price tag and a quick deployment, it’s quite likely there were red flags throughout the sales process.
Here are some of the most common signs that there is trouble on the horizon for your CPQ implementation:
- Support, Not Solutions – Top cloud vendors focus on benefits, not features. Many vendors only promote the fixed software capabilities of their CPQ solution, but off-the-shelf solutions rarely meet the needs of every SMB. CPQ solutions should be transformational, but that’s impossible if your vendor doesn’t tailor an application to solve your specific challenges.
- Proof of Concepts – Many vendors will offer a small-scale pilot project of their tool for you to test their platform to solve one or two small challenges. This allows you to get your hands dirty on a new CPQ platform, but it rarely results in a comprehensive view of a final product. But since POCs still require you invest time and capital in a pilot test, vendors rely on the fact that you’re increasingly invested in the platform while you test and will wind up signing any agreement because you’ve sunk too much time in the platform to move on.
- Extended Roadmap – Many vendors promise critical features are on their product roadmap to be launched soon. While this might indicate a willingness to augment their roadmap for your needs, it more likely means the platform lacks a full feature set or the vendor doesn’t know how to support your CPQ needs. And your vendor has likely promised specific functionality to many clients, which makes it unlikely you’ll get the exact functionality you need to solve your business challenges. If you have to rely on promises of future functionality, this should raise a red flag in your vendor search.
- Shifting Project Scope – With any software deployment, it’s commonly accepted you can only control two of the following variables: time, scope, and cost. During a CPQ deployment, it’s not uncommon for vendors to encounter project obstacles. Rather than overcoming those challenges, many vendors will say it’s time to change the scope of the project’s features list. If a vendor pushes to move away from your original, agreed-upon scope, it’s almost certainly time to move on.
- Flashy Vendors – The CPQ marketplace is full of energetic startups and tenuous partnerships. Young vendors make exciting promises and have slick marketing, but they offer no tested track record of success. In the rapidly shifting CPQ ecosystem, it’s always best to trust your gut if you have any doubts about a vendor’s ability to deliver or maintain support for your business.
Unlike many of the upstarts in the CPQ marketplace, Oracle has proven ourselves a trusted partner to our customers.
We also provide the tools to discover exactly what your business needs from a CPQ application, so we can tailor a solution directly to your SMB’s challenges. It starts with a two-day Breakthrough Opportunity Analysis (BOA) workshop, designed to map out the entirety of your business process flows, from quote to cash. We’ll work with you and your stakeholders to identify strengths and growth opportunity, providing a holistic view of the entire sales process.
After hundreds of BOA workshops with businesses of all sizes, we know how to build solutions ready to transform your business, not any business. A BOA is especially useful when trying to move on from a failed CPQ project, as we deliver a clear path forward based on best practices and years of Oracle expertise and experience.
More than 600 top companies and their 600,000 employees use Oracle CPQ Cloud every day to improve their business processes and deliver value to their customers. Let us help you get back on the right path with a BOA workshop.