Is a Custom ERP Really Worth It?
It makes sense that ERP (enterprise resource planning) software that is custom-built to your business is preferable to an "out-of-the-box" alternative, which isn't designed with your needs in mind. Custom-built ERP solutions, however, are often more expensive, and it's worth considering the pros and cons of both approaches.
The benefits of out-of-the-box (OotB) ERP
The main advantage of an OotB ERP package is that it typically costs less to purchase. Developers don't need to adapt the software: it comes as is, with very few alterations available at a functional level. If an off the shelf solution does what you need it to do, then great. If not, all you can do is try and integrate it with extra programs and software from elsewhere that can become confusing, not to mention increase costs.
An OotB ERP is ready to launch. There may be some tweaks to get it working with your data, but these can usually be done in-house and shouldn't require additional programming. A free trial gets you acquainted with the software, and once you're ready to buy, the checkout process is minimal and the software is downloaded onto the system immediately, ready to launch.
Creating a custom ERP system is much more time-intensive, involving meetings with the team, allowing the software time to be developed, and finally adapting the program to any changes you might want to make it once it's been trialled.
3. No knowledge necessary
To build an ERP from scratch, you need to crearly define your requirements. It can be daunting to consider precisely what applications you might need, either now or in the future, and so choosing a "one size fits all" approach increases the odds of a software being suitable.
After all, if it's working for thousands of other businesses, then it should work for yours, right? However, these applications are often broadly applied so as not to be exclusionary, and we know that however similar two businesses are they will never be identical – so why should their software be?
4. Quick fix
Some companies consider an off-the-shelf ERP to be the first stepping stone in integrating a fully customized ERP: get the OtS software in place for a lesser fee and then worry about building to fully customized later. However, this is counter-intuitive: employees become accustomed to using one piece of software, making it difficult to start using another, even if it functions better.
The benefits of custom ERP
The start-up cost of custom ERP might be higher than ready-made software, but you know that it has been tailor-made to your requirements, and your expected growth. With "boxed" ERP program, once the licensed subscription is no longer working for your business then there is little you can do but move on to something different and more appropriate: like a short term fix, it provides the immediate gratification but fails to deliver in the long run.
Since OotB software tries to appeal to as broad a range of customers as possible, it's likely that you would be bogged down with features that sound great in theory but turn out to be worthless in your own business – or, worse, clogging up your network and confusing employees over whether it should be utilized or not.
With entirely customized ERP software, there are no floating extras or add-ons that you might "possibly" want: instead there are the applications and functions that you need, ready to work precisely how you want them to.
The cost of integrating the ERP into the business
OotB programs are pretty inflexible, and so if its approach is incompatible with how the business is currently running, it will be the business that has to adapt to the new methods of working. With custom ERP, however, the software is being shaped to fit the business, not the other way around.
1. Adapts with you
As your business needs change, it's inevitable that the features you were using are no longer hitting the mark. When you have sourced custom ERP, you know that any support you need in the future is specifically tailored to your needs as an individual business rather than the needs of a vast range of users. If you buy ERP software, you have less flexibility and tuning capabilities.
It's one thing for an application to choose which role has access to which functions, but in reality, this is probably something you'll want to do yourself. With custom-built software, you can choose for every role within the company, such as what a business developer has access to, which screens a sales rep can see, and how much information a HR manager can view from employees' records.
Choosing an ERP
There are many aspects to consider when deciding which ERP is best for you and your business. If your immediate funds are limited, it may be worth choosing an out-of-the-box ERP to tide you over. But if you have enough resources to create your own ERP software, it will pay off in the future with personalization, flexibility, and fully-tailored support.
Need a professional advice on how to make ERP software for streamlining your business operations? Anadea has deep expertise in custom ERP development. Let us guide your through the process, from initial requirements analysis and cost estimation to implementation and maintenance. Contact us today to discuss your project!