In the world of ERP, customizations have come to be accepted as a cost of doing business. In a recent paper by Mint Jutras, the following most common reasons for ERP system customizations were identified:
- Custom reports to menus, portals, etc
- Ad hoc reports for queries quickly, on the fly and on demand
- User-defined data fields
- Tailored dashboards with drill down capabilities
- Personalized portals combining functions for individual roles
These customizations tend to fall into three categories:
- getting information into the system
- getting information out
- supporting unique business process
All are reasonable and important areas that increase the value of the system. Best practices can help, but they can only get you so far. Attaining greater fit beyond best practices has required ERP customizations. Companies would weigh benefits versus costs and most often begrudgingly customize their systems.
The problem with customizations is that ERP customers trade fit tomorrow for fit today. In essence it is like selling their soul to the devil. They create rigidity and lock in, not only the customization but the whole ERP. They make future customizations and upgrades much harder, to the point where the ERP becomes too difficult and costly to keep in sync with your business process. At that point it becomes an anchor on your business. ERP should be an enabler not an anchor.
On a Mission to Eliminate ERP System Customizations
There is a better way. At QAD we’re on a mission to eradicate customizations. All of these areas of customizations can be addressed by the QAD Enterprise Platform without customizations. Five technologies are leveraged to provide last-mile fit today and a rapid response to change to ensure fit tomorrow.
- Personalization allows users and admins to create unique reports, menus and screens tailored to the needs of individual users or roles. These items are specifically designed for maximum relevance by removing items that are not needed for the task at hand that can cause distraction, moderate efficiency and potentially lead to errors.
- Embedded analytics provides an easy yet powerful means to create custom reports/dashboards with drill down capabilities on-the-fly by those people who best know the requirements — the users. This also frees up IT’s time to focus on continuous improvement projects that support the business.
- Modularization allows components of the system to be upgraded independently. This means that the whole ERP system doesn’t need to be upgraded all at once. For example, if there are new features in the latest release within Financials that a customer wants to leverage, just that area can be upgraded.
- Extensibility supports the addition of new fields and logic to existing screens and apps. By leveraging the existing functionality, extensions allow for changes in that functionality without the need to rewrite the entire app.
- New apps empower partners and customers to easily and quickly deliver additional deep functionality without creating rigidity in the system. By leveraging Platform Services such as Mobile, Embedded Analytics, UX Personalization and Collaboration, solutions can be rapidly deployed at a reduced cost. No need to reinvent the wheel (or pay for it twice).
Adding ERP System Functionality without Intrusive Code
Existing apps can be extended and new apps created without writing code. Extensibility, new apps and modularization leverage the microservices at the core of the QAD Enterprise Platform architecture. This leads to a flexible ERP system that can be upgraded without breaking the enhancements that are made through these technologies.
The reduction in operational costs from implementing a flexible ERP solution has been shown to have more than twice that of an inflexible ERP solution. Flexibility is needed to ensure your ERP system continues to meet your needs in an ever-changing business environment.