Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software plays a significant part in streamlining your business operations. You can integrate the critical forces in your company, such as product development planning, human resources management, and supply chain management, into one centralized system and view data to inform and support your decision.
Today, many off-the-shelf solutions are available that can meet your ERP needs. Brands like Microsoft, Oracle, Infor, SAP, IQMS, Sage, Epicor, Netsuite, and many others provide options. Where out-of-the-box software is perfectly satisfactory for some companies, others choose to customize their software. An off-the-shelf solution sometimes called a vanilla “solution, “is software in its original state with no additional adjustments or extensions. The term out-of-the-box software is also common in this context, but the meaning stays the same.
Companies have processes that ask for the additional adjustment of an ERP software because built-in functionalities are not enough. These adjustments could be unique to a company and its needs. In this case, the implementation partner will add new features which had not been in the original code of the software.
What is the Difference Between Customize vs Personalize?
Personalize means using the tools at your disposal to configure the ERP system to your needs. Doing so might sound easy, but there are so many options, and having advanced knowledge of the inner workings of an ERP system before configuring them to work in a certain way can help. ERP partners also have a lot of experience mapping your business requirements to your system configuration.
- Personalization requires deep product knowledge
- Configurations could be carried out identically on any instance of the same ERP software
- You can set up existing features to meet your requirements
On the other hand, customization is when you create a new piece that didn’t exist before, such as a custom report, a new form field, or even an entire business process.
- Customization requires deep technical and product knowledge
- They are often unique to your solution
- You can add new features to meet your requirements
THE CONS OF ERP CUSTOMIZATION
You Run the Risk of “Over Customizing”
Customization is great, but be careful of too much. Businesses can get so caught up in adding personalized features that the software becomes unrecognizable. The result is it no longer achieves the objectives it set out to accomplish in the first place. Over customizing could force you to discard the solution as it may no longer be relevant.
It doesn’t mean you should only rely on off-the-shelf software, but beware of going down a customization rabbit hole by establishing objectives. Then, once you’ve met these objectives, avoid the temptation of continuing to add unnecessary features.
You Could Forfeit Core Features of Off-the-Shelf Software
By being hyper-focused on customizing your product, you may neglect the core features of your existing software and mask them with unnecessary bells and whistles. Doing so can cause difficulty when installing regular updates and upgrades, which are essential to ensure the smooth functioning of the platform. Customization can also interfere with basic software functionality.
You Could Introduce Bugs
Introducing dreaded ‘bugs’ is less risky if you work with a respected, quality consultancy firm like the BHC Group. However, the more features you add to your product, the more potential for introducing defects. Unfortunately, the nature of software development is the “fancier”, and the more complicated the product is, the greater the possibility is for errors to appear.
Customization Could be Costly
Not unexpectedly, adding more features to an existing product will be more expensive than simply using the software as it came. Generally speaking, the extent to which you choose to customize the ERP software will correlate to your payment fee. If you want extensive customization and an amalgam of new features, you could be looking at a hefty price tag.
It would help if you thought long and hard when deciding to customize your ERP for these reasons. All customizations can be expensive and bear in mind that they may have extra costs in the future. By introducing custom coding into your ERP, you need to be aware of significant risks. Businesses often find the best practices designed into the products work and or are better than the practices that were normal to that business if they have enough patience to convince users to try those practices for a time.
If you’re thinking about a new ERP system, understand the amount of customization it will require—and ensure that the job of customizing is as easy and cost-effective as possible.