If you were to go to any pricing software vendor and ask, “how long does it take to implement pricing software?”, you would get as many answers as there are vendors. That’s because the llength of an implementation project depends on a variety of factors, including what you want to achieve, the complexity of your business process, the number of people involved, your dedication to meeting milestones, and supplying feedback.
But generally speaking, we’ve seen it take as little as 6 weeks to as long at 7 months to implement pricing software. This depends on the infrastructure of the solution you want to implement – a non cloud-native solution, can take as long as 2 years or in some cases more.
We’ve implemented hundreds of pricing software projects and can usually tell how long pricing software will take to implement based on a few factors. In this article, you’ll get a clear understanding of how long it will take you to successfully finish a new pricing software project and what factors to watch out for so that you’re closer to the end goal.
3 Variables That Affect the Length of Software Implementation
The number of goals you want to achieve: Most successful projects start with a clear definition of success, which means generally no more than three or four key objectives. A project can take anywhere from three to six months, but that is dependent on your priorities. If everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.
We recommend starting by defining what your objectives are before even beginning a pricing software implementation project.
How you’re currently managing pricing: There are several challenges to overcome in any pricing software implementation project. However, if you plan to migrate from another pricing software, then you need to plan for that change. Most users will already be familiar with the previous solution, and you’ll need to manage that shift.
Going from a manual system like spreadsheets and email requires a deep understanding of your existing process and then being able to address this and have a clear vision of your desired future process. This is usually a longer haul because of the data readiness process that needs to take place.
Which pricing process you want to start with: We recommend kicking off with pricing analytics because that’s the foundation of any pricing system and will show you your data in a new and actionable way. Then, using the price waterfall, you can identify the biggest areas of margin leakage or operational challenges and zero in on what areas of your pricing journey you want to start working on.
As a prospective software buyer, you also need to be considering your target user group and assessing how ready they are to use a new application. Introducing a new quoting tool to hundreds of sales representatives is very different to improving price setting practices with five to six pricing managers.
4 Things You Need to Complete a Software Project on Time
In general, there are four variables you need to be aware of. Sometimes, depending on how large your company or complex your pricing is, you might not be able to influence them too much. However, you can work on getting the following so that you finish in a suitable timeframe while still focusing on the goals you set out to achieve.
Executive Sponsorship: This comes from someone who understands just how important the project is to the organization and will help to galvanize resources to make sure the project is a success. If you don’t have an executive sponsor, then it’s almost guaranteed that the project will take longer than needed. That’s because without them it’ll be hard to get a consensus on the project being a priority.
A Dedicated Team: You also need a team that understands they will have to dedicate several hours per week to describing their requirements, providing feedback, testing and preparing for general roll-out right up to the point when the project is complete. A dedicated team will make each sprint in the implementation process faster and easier.
Consumable Data: You need to ensure the three main types of data – transactional, customer and product – are clean. This means that there are no duplicates, the formats are consistent, and it is the single source of truth for future pricing-dependent transactions.
There may be other data you want to see in your pricing software, so identifying that up front, having an idea of how you want to use it and where, and when and how it should be displayed are good to establish early in the project
Definition of Success: Having a project lead who understands your pricing needs and can then translate those needs into Key Performance Indicators (“KPIs”) that the project team and your organization can work towards is essential.
We’ve seen several projects that have been challenging because as soon as the team starts a project, they begin asking themselves the question, “what should we do?”. It’s a great question but it is better to have answered it before you get too deep into a project. This does not mean that it’s not possible or even necessary to change priorities but getting as close to the right answer from the start will save you time.
Without all of these key elements in place, a pricing project that should take six weeks to six months can take up to a year or more.
Setting Yourself Up for Success
Implementing a pricing project can be a huge task because of the number of complex factors you have to consider. (We know from experience!) Having a closer idea of how long a project could take sets you up for success. But having a good idea of how long a project will take is only one step, that’s why we’ve written this article so you can know which pitfalls to avoid, if you want your project to be a success.
Chris Keenan has over 3 decades of experience in pricing, software implementation, and operations management. In addition to leading software delivery for the past twelve (12) years, he’s worked for Global 1000 companies improving their pricing practices to be able to achieve greater win rates and implement price increases in fast-changing commodity pricing environments. Before Pricefx, Chris led pricing and operations for a multi-store retail chain in the architectural paints industry.