When your company is ready for new software to support the business processes, you start your search on the software market. The question that always pops up in this selection process is:
Do we choose for customizations or a standard software solution?
If you opt for customizations, you start to look for a vendor that is prepared to develop the software for you. This usually is a long process with many hurdles and challenges, but eventually you get, apart from possible technical limitations, exactly what you want. That this also brings some disadvantages speaks for itself. To name a few:
- The software partner lacks industry knowledge and therefore it requires a lot of effort in order to achieve the desired end result.
- Knowledge of the software must be properly safeguarded, a problem which is overlooked frequently and only emerges when certain employees leave the company.
- Future developments in your industry require modifications to the software, forcing you to start long and difficult development processes over and over again.
When opting for standard software, a selection is made out of existing software solutions based on the list of demands and requirements of your organization. However, in practice this list of demands and requirements will never be a standard list. Never. These are demands and requirements based on the specific processes of this company operating in this particular industry.
It turns out that if there is a standard solution available on the market that meets 95% of your industry-specific requirements you can no longer speak of standard software. You have actually met a vendor that offers a solution to your industry-specific issues. In fact, you may find out that:
- This vendor knows your specific industry very well making it easier to discuss the system’s functionalities.
- You have found a vendor that will maintain the software and makes sure that the software continues to meet your requirements in a changing industry.
- The knowledge of the software is safeguarded at any time by the supplier.
As the software has been developed for you industry you can no longer speak of a standard product. Standard software does not exist, it is actually industry-specific customization.
Peter Gerhardt is Senior Lead Consultant Logistics at Dysel and helps customers achieve maximum results with business software.