Busting Common Implementation Myths


A flip of the switch and your new technology is ready to go, right? If only.

To successfully implement your next solution, it’s important to know what to expect. Let’s break down some common implementation myths:

Myth: Implementation is simply toggling switches on software

Reality: Implementation demands strategic planning

We can’t stress this enough: Technology only works as well as the people and process it supports. That means more than turning on a few settings.

The right implementation involves solution design and requirements gathering based on a clear understanding of the organization’s strategy and defined (or refined) business processes. It means ensuring your team is set up to get the most out of the platform at each stage of organizational maturity. An example: Is the organization seeking to significantly change or transform the way it operates with respect to engaging customers, or just replace one software tool with another? If the change is one software to another without improvement, one could argue the merits of doing the project at all. So, with the expectation of improvements, process changes requiring stakeholder role and/or skill changes are certainly likely. Are stakeholders ready for alignment and an effective change management approach?

Bypassing the strategic aspect can lead to haphazard implementation and suboptimal outcomes.


Myth: Implementation costs are predominantly software licenses

Reality: Total cost encompasses more than just software

It’s a common misconception that the bulk of the cost lies solely in software licenses. Even further clients might believe everything they need is “out of the box” (OOB). The reality is far more nuanced. While software indeed forms a part of the investment and delivers inherent or native capabilities, the total cost extends beyond licenses: encompassing external resources such as advisory consultants or system implementers, as well as internal resources like marketers, IT or project management personnel, sales staff, and even time and participation from department or executive leadership who all participate in the transformation in varying capacities. Overlooking these additional expenses can lead to significant underestimation of the true implementation cost.


Myth: Utilizing internal resources for implementation is cost-free

Reality: Internal resource utilization comes with a hidden cost

Another prevailing myth is that utilizing internal resources for implementation comes at no cost. The challenge? Relying solely on in-house team members leads to disruptions in day-to-day operations (so called “day job”) and fails to account for the specialized skills and experience required for a successful implementation. This hidden cost has a considerable impact on the budget, timeline, and outcome of the project.


Myth: Implementing all features leads to optimal results

Reality: Crawl, walk, run for quick wins

Call it “Shiny Object Syndrome”: Many organizations fall into the trap of believing that implementing all the “bells and whistles” of a given platform in a single phase will yield optimal results. The reality is that a measured approach, focused on a smaller subset of functionality to establish a solid foundation is key, allowing for a more manageable implementation process that fosters quick wins balanced with incremental growth over time. This also reduces the risks associated with adopting new technology and new processes, which so often sinks a transformation effort.


Myth: One size fits all in implementation costs

Reality: Costs vary based on organizational complexity

Finally, there’s a pervasive myth that implementation costs are one-size-fits-all or as mentioned above, everything is OOB. In reality, implementations vary significantly based on the complexity of the organization. Are the company’s products engineered requiring lengthy sales cycles, or are they off-the-shelf products or standard services? Who are the buyers and what is the buying process—direct or indirect, B2B or B2C? Company size, the number and diversity of business units or geographical locations, and the nature of products or services, number of users—these are all factors that can influence implementation cost, timing and more.


A holistic view of implementation means acknowledging the hidden expenses of internal resource utilization, adopting a selective approach to feature implementation, emphasizing strategic planning, and considering organizational complexity. With this approach, organizations can ensure better alignment among stakeholders and realistic expectations for achieving a successful implementation.


Ready for your next implementation? Contact Coffee + Dunn today.