If this article caught your eye, you may be thinking about implementing the Oracle configure-price-quote platform. Hopefully, you’re not reading this because you’re post implementation, finding issues and limitations, and feeling dissatisfied. Either way, the tested tips in this article will save you time and money. They come from 20+ years of experience implementing Oracle CPQ. These are key things to know now, so you don’t end up with problems down the road. Easily made missteps during implementation can degrade performance, cause maintenance and support headaches, and over-complicate the user experience. Unless, that is, you know the following.


1. Consider your q2c process first, then the application.

Think first in strategic business terms. Work with an expert on an analysis of your quote-to-cash business process. Define and document how you’d like to quote in the future. Identify which downstream systems and process areas will need information from quoting. This is a sensible starting point, of course. But after initial discovery, when action plans are coalescing, it’s surprisingly easy for companies and steering committees to stumble.

Due to muscle memory, comfort zones, or other invalid reasons, companies often hold onto legacy processes or feel they have to do their quoting in a particular way. They end up recreating what they had in the past with a new tool, which negates the benefits of that new tool. So, seek expert guidance and stay the course.


2. Tool, meet Process. Process, meet Tool.

Starting with the future-state process is key, but that process has to be defined with the application in mind. Defining your future business process should be tool-agnostic but not tool-ignorant. Oracle CPQ is extremely flexible. That flexibility is what makes CPQ nearly unlimited in its ability to meet varied use cases and requirements. Business drivers come first and take priority, but the application is vital and must be considered when defining the process. When you align the two, your CPQ solution will be built on a solid foundation that minimizes customization and ensures optimal performance and maintainability.

Failing to regularly look up from the weeds and envision things after go-live is another common mistake companies make. Instead, keep your eyes on the prize by focusing forward to the intended outcome. In other words, make sure that you’re designing your CPQ for where your company is going and for your future-state processes. Imagine how the CPQ that you’re building today will function in that environment ahead. Then, ensure that the development tool aligns with that vision. When you align the two, your CPQ solution will be built on data-driven architecture that ensures optimal performance and maintainability.  That means you’ll need less help and support after implementation. You’ll elevate your CPQ experience for both customers and employees. And you’ll pull friction out of the process that will free your business to accelerate. And that’s the fun part of all of this.


3. Best Practices. Best Practices. Best Practices.

Oracle CPQ is highly flexible. That’s what makes the application remarkably powerful. It’s also what makes it potentially dangerous. A poorly designed CPQ implementation runs the risk of poor performance, inadequate scalability, and ongoing maintenance challenges. It will also fail to meet business objectives because the CPQ solution won’t achieve the adoption you’re looking for or the business outcomes you’re expecting. Understanding where you can and cannot customize, what is or isn’t a best practice, and how you integrate your CPQ solution to the rest of your organization are critical to the success of Oracle CPQ implementations. So is ensuring that it will scale, perform, and support your company objectives. That brings us to our next point…


4. BML is your friend.

BML is the scripting language that is used when a requirement goes beyond the drag and drop interface capabilities of Oracle CPQ. If implemented correctly, BML is a powerful tool that can deliver a flexible, data-driven architecture with minimal on-going code maintenance. By separating the logic from the values in Oracle CPQ, data tables can be used by business users to manage changes to things like approval levels, regional variations, and discount thresholds. Make sure you implement BML in a modularized fashion to leverage components across different parts of the platform and to ensure easier debugging and maintenance.


5. Choose a specialized SI with Demonstrated expertise in Oracle CPQ.

Choose depth over breadth of expertise. Don’t assume that global SI’s are better when it comes to implementing this application. They tend to be jacks-of-all-trades and not the best suited for this business transformation. Highly specialized SI’s that are laser-focused on Oracle CPQ implementations will serve you better.

Think of your CPQ implementation in terms of heart surgery. If you needed a bypass operation, you wouldn’t go to a general practitioner that treats everything from flu symptoms to fractures. You’d go to a surgical specialist that does one thing every day—perfecting the procedure and elevating it to artform. Because you want someone that has seen every imaginable complication and developed invaluable insights. You want to ensure the best possible outcome. With both heart surgery and CPQ implementations, there’s simply no substitute for specialization.


Two other critical requirements for choosing the right CPQ implementation partner are:

Business-Outcome Focused: The right SI will start with a focus on your business processes and desired business outcomes.

Strong Point of View: The right SI will provide very clear guidance on what to do and not do with the application. Beware of SI’s that do exactly as they’re told and don’t ask why or challenge your assumptions. Those are the projects that end with  long-term performance implications and delivers a solution that will be more difficult to maintain.


Key Takeaways:

There’s no need to repeat the mistakes of others. Not when so many CPQ implementations have been done successfully before.

By the end of CPQ implementations, companies tend to understand the tool and process better. They gain the foresight they needed at the start of the process to avert problems and poor usability. Fortunately, most missteps are easily avoided. You don’t have to learn hard lessons for yourself, because you can bring the 20-20 vision of hindsight to your project. Whether you’re using Oracle or another development platform, following these five CPQ tips will make your implementation go faster and smoother and help you avoid CPQ problems. It will also ensure the highest level of functionality, performance, and maintainability after go-live.

Benefit from the experience of a specialized partner. Pierce Washington brings nearly a decade and a half of CPQ experience to bear on your implementation.

Depth of experience is what differentiates Pierce Washington. We’ve done hundreds of successful Oracle CPQ projects in the past 20+ years for some of the biggest brands in the world. And we’ve baked all of that experience into our proven and standardized pwFramework. It leverages Oracle CPQ best practices that are consistently applied across the application for exceptional integration, error processing, and data handling. Our framework includes scripts, util libraries, and CPQ data tables plus modularized components and adaptable code to accelerate timelines and make our implementations routinely go well—on time, on target, and on budget.


If you want to ensure your CPQ implementation gets started on the right foot, let’s talk.