Customizing ERP Software: Pros and Cons

Going Beyond Off-The-Shelf ERP Software

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software plays a central role in streamlining your business’ operations. From product development planning to human resources management to supply chain management, you can integrate the key forces in your company into one centralized system and view data to inform and support your decision.

Today, there are plenty of off-the-shelf solutions available to meet your ERP needs from brands like Oracle, Microsoft, Infor, SAP, IQMS, Sage, Epicor, Netsuite, and many others. For some companies, the software that comes out of the box is perfectly satisfactory. Others, however, elect to have their software customized by a specialized development company such as BairesDev.

Custom-built or customized ERP software is sometimes capable of solving issues off-the-shelf software can’t, given the particularities of each organization. You can incorporate features unique to your business and how it operates.

Customization is the answer for some organizations but not to all. Wondering if it’s right for you? Here are some important pros and cons to consider.

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The Pros of Customizing Your ERP

Let’s take a look at the bright side first.

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    You have absolute control over your product

    The very purpose of ERP software is to meet the needs of your business. One-size-fits-all software may not actually align with your requirements. But when you have BairesDev or a similar software development company customize your platform, you have maximum control over what it does and what it provides. You can ask the developer to configure a solution that’s tailored to your specifications — exactly how you want it to be.

    Some off-the-shelf software may have features you don’t need and not enough of the ones you do. Customization can address this, leveraging only the features that are important to your organization and industry and how it functions. You’ll be able to survey your leadership team and departments to determine the best components to maximize the success of the entire enterprise.

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    You’ll achieve flexibility

    In this day and age, flexibility is paramount. When you partner with a custom ERP software development team, they will work with you to build software that can be adjusted to what you want. If your company changes, your developer can adjust the software to accommodate new demands and different times. This is more difficult with standard software.

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    You’ll gain a competitive advantage

    Because no standard ERP system can address all of your organization’s challenges in full, customizing your software is often the answer. After all, the end goal is to achieve a competitive advantage in your industry, and if you don’t strive to create a system that will allow you to see a clear, bigger picture and see all the data surrounding your processes, then you’ll be missing out.

    Meanwhile, if your competitors are using ERP software that capitalizes on their potential and helps them meet their goals, you could be left behind.

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    You can scale and change your ERP system when your needs change

    Companies grow all the time. As you bring on new employees and implement new processes and procedures in your organization, you need an enterprise-wide system that will grow with you. If you use a customized approach, you can rest assured that your software development team will scale the solutions to meet you and your team where you are, adjusting the software accordingly to accommodate new users, services, and demands.

    Even the design and infrastructure can be altered to change the ERP system as your needs increase and evolve.

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    You’ll own your software

    When you use routine, off-the-shelf software, the license belongs to the software company. If you’re using a SaaS model, for example, you'll most likely be paying a subscription fee to utilize the ERP system. But when you have a platform custom-created just for you, the software and its license will belong to you. You won’t have to continually pay for the service of using it within your organization.

    This also means that you’ll be able to keep adjusting and adding new features to further personalize the software.

The Cons of ERP Customization

The other side of the coin.

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    There’s a risk of “over-customizing”

    Customization is all well and good, but there is such a thing as too much. Sometimes, businesses get so caught up in adding personalized features that the software becomes unrecognizable and no longer achieves the objectives they set out to accomplish in the first place. This could force you to scrap the solution completely since it might no longer serve its purpose.

    That doesn’t mean you should only rely on off-the-shelf software, but it does mean you need to be careful about going down a customization rabbit hole. Establish objectives, and once you’ve met them, avoid the temptation of continuing to add unnecessary features.

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    You could miss out on core features of off-the-shelf software

    To the same end, if you’re so focused on customizing your product, you might overlook core features of your existing software and obscure them with unnecessary bells and whistles. It can also become difficult to install regular upgrades and updates, which are often necessary for keeping the platform functioning smoothly. This could interfere with the basic functionality of the software.

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    You could introduce bugs

    This is less of a risk if you’re working with a respected, quality development company like BairesDev, but the more features you introduce into your product, the greater the potential is for introducing defects. This is simply the nature of software development: the “fancier” and more involved the product is, the greater the likelihood is for errors to surface.

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    It may be costly

    It stands to reason that 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 the fee you pay. That means that if you want extensive customization and an amalgam of new features, you could be looking at a hefty price tag.

    Of course, a developer worth its salt will work with the business to ensure they’re getting what they pay for.

    ERP software could be the system you need to bring your business to the next level. Whether customizing that software is the answer depends on what you’re looking for in your platform and how you intend to use it. Consider these advantages and disadvantages as you devise your ERP software strategy.

    Don’t forget to contact BairesDev to learn how we can help you customize your ERP software and tailor the product to your business!

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