If you, as a customer, opt for an industry-specific ERP system, you usually do so because of the following reasons:
- These are proven successful solutions, tailored to your industry.
- The supplier guarantees it works properly and provides support.
- Upgrades are handled by the supplier, the software keeps improving.
- And important: you do not want customizations anymore.
Despite the above reasons, you will find out during the implementation that there is something you miss in the software. Something you cannot do without. Something that can not be solved by changing the process. Something that has not been acknowledged throughout the entire project. Something that has to be developed. In other words; customizations.
Is that bad? It depends. Customizations not necessarily cause trouble. Provided that you take the following aspects into your decision making.
Make a good judgment of the impact of your desired customization. What is the impact on existing standard processes? Does it address existing financial booking processes or logistics processes? Does it touch the heart of the application? Or is it more on the edges of the software? Is it a solution solely to limit a large number of manual actions? Is it possible to solve it with reports?
When the impact on the standard software solution is too big, the supplier will always recommend not to go for customizations or even refuse to develop the customizations. Should the supplier still advise a custom solution, you will need to write down the specifications.
Set up the specifications in close consultation with a software vendor's adviser. He or she will be much better able to estimate the impact of the desired changes. In addition, he or she can help in creating solutions to your problems, thereby providing a better integrated piece of customization.
3. The test
Customizations are costly and important, otherwise it would not be developed. So you need to carefully test the customizations. Depending on the situation, you might need to test a complete process to determine if the customization does not affect the standard functionalities.
4. Support and documentation
The software vendor will not be able to nor willing to provide support on the customizations. And in upgrades of the standard software, you will also want to include the customizations. Therefore, accurate documentation is of significant importance.
Customizations; you should not opt for it easily. If you come to the conclusion that you have no choice, keep the above aspects in mind.
Peter Gerhardt is Senior Lead Consultant Logistics at Dysel and helps customers achieve maximum results with business software.