Different software solutions represent a noble effort to standardize data within the firm to enable seamless management of business processes at every level. Some companies, however, require a degree of specialization, which exceeds the capabilities of commercially available products, and business owners are urged to explore customization options.
Although some businesses opt to force their business processes to conform to available management platforms, they do so at their peril.
Having incapable ERP software can lead to substantial losses in terms of sales and profitability because of the inefficiencies it introduces. Managers should recognize this challenge and do everything possible to find ERP Systems that properly supports their mission.
Fortunately, in cases when the customization of commercial products seems inadequate, companies have another option. Software developers can create custom software to meet the precise needs of an organization. Also known as bespoke software, this software is designed from the ground up to support a particular set of business processes and therefore an astounding degree of optimization is possible.
8.1. Custom vs. Off-the-Shelf
For the most part, no off-the-shelf solution will completely meet the requirements of any firm. In fact, the greatest degree of compliance with requirements one can expect, even when considering custom settings and options, is about 80%. Notwithstanding, the commercial software leaves an astounding one-fifth of the needs of the typical business unaddressed.
Of course, recognizing that most businesses choose a commercial solution and do their best to make it work can represent an opportunity for you. Provided that you have software that meets 100% of your operational needs, you can achieve a substantial competitive advantage in your industry.
An attractive feature of ready-packaged accounting systems is that they can be available almost instantly. On the flip side, however, configuring such accounting software and training can require much time. Custom manufacturing software can take a long time to develop but often has a shorter learning curve and fewer training requirements.
When considering the choice between custom and ERPNext software, like in many decisions, cost considerations can become relevant. Although commercial software products often sell at a relatively lower initial price when compared to custom solutions, they often require outside help from professional ERPNext consultants and trainers to make the system functional. Therefore, the cost of a package solution can be similar to that of a custom product that has a higher initial cost but can be implemented without outside talent.
A typical software package comes with a bundled set of features, which may or may not be useful to the firm. Additionally, off-the-shelf packages might lack vital features on which a business depends. On the contrary, a specially developed software platform can contain all the features needed for efficient business operations. Moreover, if new needs arise, upon request, the developer can add additional features.
Other considerations when comparing custom developed and commercially available software products include licensing. When you buy an off-the-shelf package, you buy rights to use the software according to the terms of the developer. On the other hand, if you choose to order a custom solution, you can often own the software or at least have the right to have it transferred to another developer if necessary.
In the volatile world of technology, software firms often dissolve or simply go out of business. What happens when your commercial software vendor goes bust? The answer to that question can be complicated especially if the demise of the supplier is sudden and the software is based in the cloud. After all, how can you access servers that are no longer connected to the Internet?
Although custom software developers can go out of business just like any other company, the risk to you is minimal, because you own the software and have complete access to the code. In such case, finding another developer to take over the project can preserve your investment as well as the continuity of your business.
Finally, businesses that choose custom software can enjoy personalized service and support, whereas customers of commercial packages can struggle to get the attention of a vendor, especially when larger or more lucrative clients get priority service.
Certainly, not every company can benefit from custom software development. Similarly not every business process can benefit from the precision of such a product. For example, companies that need a simple word processor would get better results from a commercial product in terms of cost and expediency when compared to a custom-developed word processor solution.
Regardless, every firm that can benefit from business software should remember to consider custom development if commercial solutions do not seem to meet its needs.