How to Determine if Your ERP Software Needs Customization

Businesses rely on enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to build a strong operational foundation for their business. Designed to streamline processes and increase day-to-day efficiency, ERP software can provide businesses with everything they need to run a smooth operation. An off-the-shelf solution typically contains all of the features and capabilities needed for basic (and even advanced) ERP needs. Today’s modern solutions, such as Sage 100 ERP (formerly Sage ERP MAS 90 and Sage ERP MAS 200), come loaded with the best accounting and operational management tools around so businesses can focus their attention on more important tasks.

Even with the recent advances in ERP technology, however, some businesses still require extra features, functionality and support that off-the-shelf solutions do not contain. Businesses vary in the way they carry out their operations, and – in some cases – they will need more advanced features in their business solutions. Rather than purchasing a more advanced (and expensive) solution that contains features they may not need, many businesses opt to customize their ERP software to expand its capabilities.

Customizing your ERP software is a smart way to ensure the platform truly meets the needs of your company; however, not all businesses need to fork over the cash to customize their system. There are benefits and downsides to ERP customizations that you may overlook in the rush to obtain the “perfect” solution. Heavily customized ERP solutions often utilize many patches and add-ons, which can increase the likelihood of a system crash. Customizations can also be more costly up-front and can require a considerable amount of IT and vendor support in comparison to their out-of-the-box counterparts. For this reason, many companies implement out-of-the-box solutions, as they are seen as less of a risk.

On the other hand, ERP software with no customizations at all may not meet 100 percent of your company’s needs, leaving you with inefficiencies and workarounds to the system. To help you decide whether or not your company should go the ERP customization route, we’ve created a quick list of things to consider before making your final ERP decision:

1. If you are thinking about customization even a little, find a well-reputable ERP vendor who understands your industry. We’ve stressed the importance of choosing an ERP vendor many times on our blog, and we’ll stress it again. Choosing an ERP vendor who is not only knowledgeable about the system they sell and support but who is also knowledgeable about your industry is crucial. They will be able to offer recommendations on customization options to mitigate costs and the risk of system overload. Do your research and find a vendor who will assist you throughout the customization and implementation process.

2. Choose the ERP software that best meets your list of ERP needs. While your business may require customizations no matter the system, choosing the ERP software that best meets your needs out-of-the-box is a wise choice. It will require fewer customizations, allowing you to save time and money in the process. Plus, if you choose the right ERP software to meet your needs, you may not even need customization.

3. Decide who will make customization decisions. You won’t be able to grant everyone’s wish when it comes to customizations, so decide before you even begin the process who will make the final decision regarding customizations. Create a team of top managers and IT personnel and decide which customizations are absolutely necessary or just nice to have. Controlling customization prevents over complication and can help contain costs.

While some customization is likely, it is important to not go overboard. Work with your ERP software vendor to make sure changes are made effectively. If your business is considering ERP software customization, give us a call at 803-252-6154 or send us an email today. Our team of ERP experts will listen to your ERP needs and offer advice on the best route to take, whether it be implementing an out-of-the-box solution, adding a few extra features and modules, or heavily customizing the system to meet your business’ unique needs.