Is Your Costing Software Implementation Destined to Fail?

Having led enterprise software implementations for several years, I’ve learned that the most critical implementation success factors are often those that are least discussed when planning an implementation.

Most software adoption journeys start with a question of feature matching business needs—which is, of course, a crucial question. But once a software contract has been signed, a significant lift takes place to successfully implement the software, the emphasis of which becomes hyper-focused on making it function properly and fundamentally ignores the process and cultural shift that needs to happen within an organization to maximize your software usage.

Organizations that don’t have a data-driven self-assessment of their organization’s strengths and weaknesses may be destined to fail at software implementation. That’s why the aPriori Professional Services Team developed a Cost Maturity Index (CMI).


The CMI is an assessment tool which combines decades of experience over hundreds of cost management software implementations, customer feedback, and in-depth industry research on the critical factors leading to a successful roll-out and continued success. Our tool measures an organization’s product cost management maturity across domains that directly impact success: charter, people, process and tools (each briefly described below).

Charter: Having a clearly defined charter that is supported by an executive sponsor is foundational to the success of an implementation. Best in class charters include a business case, problem statement, expected benefits, defined scope, and team roles and responsibilities.

People: Software is generally intended to increase efficiency and provide broader capability to the masses. Understanding the existing expertise within your organization and how it can be best leveraged to support a deployment is a key determinant of success and long term adoption.

Process: Business processes are key to achieving organizational objectives and ensuring consistency. Without an understanding of the existing process and a clearly defined impact plan to support a new technology churn and variation in outcomes are a certainty.

Tools: Today’s software generates and stores an unprecedented amount of data. Understanding how this data needs to be formatted, shared with the organization (or other tools) and ultimately used to drive business decisions is a key consideration and must be carefully planned.


Completing the CMI tool and analyzing the results, gives you an improved understanding of areas of strength and opportunity both in the absolute sense and in comparison to others in your industry.

When your scores are generated, you may notice that you aren’t quite where you thought you were. 

First, everyone, even the highest scoring companies, have areas for improvement. A holistic view of one company, for example, shows that they scored highest in the charter category. With a score of 5.0, ranking highest among the electronics industry, they saw tremendous success as a result of their executive level support.

Cost Maturity Index Results from a leader in electronics

What they lacked however, were the required attributes to succeed in the process category. Scoring a 2.0 in process, the CMI survey allowed them to expose an area of imperfection and realize a large margin of opportunity.


If you have a single person or small group focused on implementation, personal views and biases start to creep into your workflows. The CMI survey can be taken from an unlimited number of team members at your organization, providing you with a more holistic view of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses and removing the opportunity to skew analysis with personal viewpoints. 

A recent customer of ours had roughly 10 engineering managers across their organization complete the CMI evaluation. Once they compared all the responses, they were able to understand where there were pockets of excellence across different business areas. Later, when they were in a position to exploit these areas of excellence, they were able to benefit the enterprise as a whole.


Completing the CMI tool also facilitates a transparent and deliberate planning process for new and existing deployments.

Once the questionnaire is completed, we are available to review the results with every respondent, and work together to co-develop a plan that addresses the areas that were lower than desired.

With one customer, for example, this exercise highlighted that we didn’t have a level of executive sponsorship to fulfill their vision of a complete deployment within engineering. This customer had been very focused on creating the best technical solution for their teams, but hadn’t considered who would be required to drive the solution throughout the organization – not an uncommon oversight.

As a result of this exercise and follow up activity, they now have a very engaged executive level sponsor, are currently deployed throughout engineering, and experiencing an ROI beyond their initial target.


By understanding the maturity level within each of these categories and having clearly defined implementation objectives, one is able to create a tailored plan to not only drive technical success, but also ensure the desired long term value delivered back to the business.

If you’re interested in understanding your organization’s Cost Maturity and how you compare to your industry competitors, aPriori’s Cost Maturity index is a free tool available here.

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