With customizations to ERP software you depart from the standard solution developed by the ERP partner. The purpose of these customizations is, of course, to fully meet the specific requirements and wishes of your organization. Thus, you get exactly the functionalites in your system you are looking for. Sounds attractive, but there are also many disadvantages to customizations. Disadvantages that may outweigh the benefits offered by the customizations. Think for instance about:
1. Customizations are costly to develop
Customizations are expensive. A piece of functionality is developed specifically for your organization and this involves a lot of work. Analysis of what is required, design of the customization, development, testing, re-work, documentation, transfer to the customer with training and consultancy. Just a small customization already requires quite some time from both the ERP partner and your staff.
2. Customizations make upgrading difficult and expensive
With decisions regarding your ERP software, you should not only think about the present but also consider the future. Within the foreseeable future, you will want to upgrade the software to a new version with new features. With customizations to the software that will be quite expensive. It is very difficult to say to what extent your customizations will work properly in new releases. In many cases, development and testing is required in order to make/keep it all functioning properly.
3. Customizations are not always an improvement
The choice to go for a customization is often the result of sticking to existing processes and the possibilities you have in the system that is being replaced. This is how we do it now and we want to keep doing that. While the implementation of new ERP software is a perfect opportunity and the perfect moment to optimize your processes. Let go of the old way of working and rely on what the industry experts of your ERP partner have developed for your type of organization. That is how you can improve.
4. Customizations do not keep up with the times
Customizations might be appropriate solutions for the current way of working. But your organization changes. Just like the industry in which you operate, your people, your customers and suppliers, the technological possibilities, laws and regulations, etc. That means your software requirements will change as well. Standard software keeps up with the times, but your customizations do not. A customization that seems valuable now can be worth nothing in the future.
5. Customizations are not supported
The supplier of the standard ERP software will provide support on the standard product, often one of the reasons for choosing a standard solution. Customizations are usually not included. This means you are responsible for the support of the customizations. And that means extra work for your people.
Think carefully before choosing for customizations. Consider whether it's not better to stick to the standard solution and to adjust your business processes. Only go for customizations if you have to!
Peter Gerhardt is Senior Lead Consultant Logistics at Dysel and helps customers achieve maximum results with business software.