Both Continuous Software Enhancements and Customizations Must be Addressed
Most small companies do not have the resources to develop and maintain all of the features their growing businesses demand. The old legacy softwaredoes not allow the customizations and integrations they need and they do not want to get caught into a future legacy problem.
However, It makes little sense for an owner of a smaller business to invest in a new Cloud ERP if the new software won’t provide the answers needed that are so sorely wanted from the present elementary system. To spend more money to be in the same vacuum of information is simply a waste of money, even though it might interface with salesforce.com. Yes, there might be some improvements but not enough to force a solid payback on the new ERP.
The same holds true for larger concerns. With the supply chain now being global, additional importance is placed on certain features of ERP, such as multi-plant inventory, planning and tracking offreight and other shipment logistics, plus having to track consigned inventory and sub-contract expenditures. Increased machine automation in some industries means that they require more analysis regarding the cost of materials versus the cost of labor. Meanwhile, there are a whole host of manufacturing corporations that are making changes to the businesses to create a competitive edge with their engineering and services. They are looking for new ERP system features which provide better information and analytics in those areas as compared to tracking detail on the shop floor.
Thus, from a “features/functions” standpoint, these differences mean next-generation systems need to be more functional in different business areas than their predecessors. To be competitive, they must be able to rely on their ERP software vendor to continue to provide additional features and extensions. Likewise, they need to assume that, as their own business and industry evolves, they themselves will want to define some modest extensions to their ERP softwareto help themselves, and only themselves, thrive.
So, the bottom line becomes – why switch out the old, dated on-premise system if the wanted solutions can’t be provided.
As a result, both smaller and larger prospects may hold out purchasing, hoping against hope that some vendor will add what they need to their old legacy ERP package.While continuous software enhancements to the new ERP system are an absolute requirement, there is always at least one occurrence where a company wants a feature not requested by other prospects. Here is a very simple example of what a customer wanted that won’t be found in an ERP package.
“Being in the precious metals business, prices fluctuate constantly and it is imperative to our customers that the quotes they get are literally right on the money,” Wilshire Coin’s Scott advances. “As a result, (we need) a pricing tool that will constantly update prices, assuring our customers that the quote they get is at present market pricing.”
The new contemporary CLOUD ERP software must address how these customizations are easier to provide than that which was done in the old legacy On Premise ERP software of the past. This means that a customization can be done to a Cloud ERP system without losing the benefits of receiving the continuum of future upgrades (which typically happen on a regular weekly or monthly basis). This also means that these customizations can be done in such a manner as to not impact other customers that are using the same ERP system but don’t want or need this feature. It additionally can be done in such a manner that they don’t add overhead, making the standard ERP system costly to maintain because the customizations were made within the core ERP code versus “seamless integrated bolt-ons.” And lastly, the Cloud platform where the ERP system resides, as well as the ERP system itself, must be architected in such a manner that both are conducive to accepting customizations that can be done on the platform but “outside” the core ERP engine.
Be on the look out for Part 4 Next week!