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Should You Customize Your ERP?

It has always been a million dollar question for enterprises, whether to go for customizing an ERP software or make changes to their business processes to align with the standards of the software. It is a tough call to make as their core processes are instrumental in giving them a competitive edge. So, they may end up giving away that edge by modifying their processes, instead of customizing the software itself.  On the other hand, the business processes which are embedded in an ERP software have the reputation of comprising top-notch standards. An enterprise may miss out on a range of world’s best practices if it opts for the software customization. Also, there is tremendous hype surrounding cloud-based ERP Systems for everyone to witness, and it’s well known that cloud-based ERP Systems aren’t very receptive to customizations. This is also a potential reason for enterprises to not get over enthusiastic about customization, especially if they are looking at a Cloud model.

So what should be the way forward? Before jumping to any conclusion, enterprises need to get their facts right about configuring and customizing an ERP Software. Configuration involves the setting up of parameters, fields, and workflows. Customization is a different ball game altogether and involves changes done to the basic structure of the ERP Software itself. Needless to say, the latter requires a more technically refined workforce and is a potential source of errors along with time delays. The truth, however, is that most of the business requirements and objectives can generally be met easily by configuring an ERP software which is a faster and more stable option

The further downside of customization is that it makes the software upgrading process a lot more complex, time taking and expensive. Due to this very reason, companies are unable to carry out the upgrading process as the software is already customized significantly. Catching up with the Technology and software obsolescence leaves them with no other option but to replace their existing ERP System, to set themselves free from the vicious cycle of Version-Lock.

Now the question remains is why do companies still persist with customizing an ERP software? Well, being over cautious, bowing to user-group pressures and a hurried decision-making on the inclusiveness of the software can be the possible reasons. They simply feel the need to add more functions, just to be absolutely assured. The adherence to customization also indicates that companies do not have enough gumption to go for newer business processes and software functionalities and that they are apprehensive about an organizational change.  Mostly, it is the resistance to change which prompts the desire of tweaking the new software to reach the stage of the previous software/processes. As a result, the Stakeholders are not able to derive any value out of a new system as it doesn’t give them anything more than what their previous system was giving, making them wonder why they ever invested in a new system.

Still, there are no right and wrong answers to how much to change the existing processes and how much to change the ERP Software. However, one thing which is clear from the success of ERP implementations worldwide is that the less you customize the better is the implementation thereby delivering much better value to the stakeholders.

About the Author:

Ashutosh has done his B.Tech in Electronics and Communication. He started his career with a Digital Marketing company. To refine his writing style and blend it with other niche markets, he joined ESS’ Marketing Communication Team to come up with savvy and engaging content for ESS’ flagship product: ebizframe ERP. Apart from his professional calling, he loves penning down his abstract reflections whenever the urge is overwhelming.

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