Don’t customize your software, try to change!

12/02/2016 - Peter Gerhardt

Let’s get straight to the point; the choice for new industry-specific ERP software has a huge impact on the existing methods and procedures of your company. After all, the new software, no matter how good, will never fit perfectly with the current business processes.

Which means things need to change

Change often leads to resistance during the implementation. Users do recognize the value of the new software and are happy with the quality of the product, but changing the existing processes and methods is often considered as not such a good idea. The software solution that seemed so great and flexible during the demos is suddenly a rigid and inflexible product during the implementation and for some "impossible to work with."

We want customizations!

If these people shout out loud enough, soon the word 'customizations' comes around the corner. For processes that cannot be handled perfectly in the standard solution, company-specific changes in the software need to be developed. The many downsides of customized ERP software are not taken into consideration, while these often outweigh the original problem.

Customizations are expensive

It takes a lot of time to develop company-specific functionalities for what, at first sight, seem to be easy issues. Mapping the requirements, coming up with a solution, developing and testing this solution, documenting the customizations, instruct the users; a small piece of custom software can quickly become very expensive.

Customizations are not future-proof

The next problem is the continued development of the software solution by the supplier. Developments in industry-specific ERP software are initiated by experiences of companies in this particular industry. But in the development process, any company-specific functionalities some customers might have, are obviously not take into account. Therefore, upgrading to a new version of the ERP software costs in case of customizations much more money, pain and effort.

Customizations are difficult to support

The support department of the software supplier will have a tough time too. For incoming support requests of customers with company-specific customizations it may not be easy to provide adequate support. Because yes, maybe the problem lies in the software customizations of which the support employee does not have sufficient knowledge.

Don’t customize your software, try to change!

My conclusion: the original benefits of a standard software solution will be partly offset if you subsequently opt for customizations within the standard product. Customizations make you happy on short-term. That’s not what you should want. Dare to change.

Peter Gerhardt is Senior Lead Consultant Logistics at Dysel and witnesses the impact of new ERP software on organizations, people and processes in day-to-day practices.

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