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I was reading some articles about the pros and cons of customization of an ERP system. As a customer, when you buy an ERP system, you want it to „do everything” for you. However, ERP systems, although they have a great range of features and integrated modules, can not fit 100% of all business processes in a company. There is an increased demand nowadays of having ERP to suit an organization and its requirements, as companies want to concentrate on the productive work and bring all their departments to work as a single unit. As ERPs become vital, customization is the key element that brings tremendous growth by adapting the solution to all your needs with a great positive impact on your daily processes. However, the challenges faced are often represented by additional costs and extension of implementation period.

Usually, as a customer, you may end up falling in one of two categories:

  1. Either you don’t buy customizations at all due to a series of disadvantages and significat investment (e.g.  costs, scalability, changes of company policies, effect on other areas etc.);
  2. Or you buy the customizations at a high price, while the duration of the implementation project is extended.

However, there are ERP systems that are extremely flexible and adaptable to changes in the business environment. Therefore, when choosing an ERP system, you should take into consideration how it can be adapted and especially whether your IT department or your supplier can adapt it with the lowest possible time & money efforts. You can do that by asking yourself the next questions:

  1. Can I add new options or change existing ones (fields, tables, buttons, alerts, process flows, etc) anywhere in the application? For example, in the client information, or in an invoice, either in the header or in each line? Think about a scenario where you need to store more information that is strictly related to some particular customers or suppliers. 
  2. Can the documents sent to customers and suppliers (purchase order, invoices) be easily modified to contain essential information? If the system does not provide all the reports I need, does it have an integrated module for generating any report I want? How easy it is to create my own reports and have the flexibility to modify them for each department, manager or employee?
  3. If the ERP system does not have a module that I need, for example: Project Management, Document Manager or CRM, is this available on the market and do I have information on where can I get it from? Is it a different supplier, does it have to be created specifically for my business etc.? 
  4. Can I easily upgrade the system if I make the changes above and how will the system adapt to my continuous change and growth as an organization?
  5. Does the ERP system have a software development package that my IT staff can use for further module development?
  6. Can I easily integrate external applications, like Outlook, Excel, eCommerce?

 

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