Customization is a process that involves the alteration of an application system to match the organization’s existing business processes. It is also an activity that makes changes or additions to the functionalities already available in the standard version of the software.
Even with a myriad of software choices in the marketplace, most applications are sold in one flavor — vanilla. Software companies cannot afford to develop packages for every industry. The time needed to develop programs that accommodated all the idiosyncrasies of a specific industry would price smaller companies out of the market.
In most cases, companies turning out snack food or candies will use the same ERP software as companies building dozens of different electronics assemblies. The two types of businesses are quite different, yet their software packages are exactly the same. This is where customization comes in.
According to a recent 2014 report by Panorama Consulting (a global independent ERP research firm), only 9% of organizations implement vanilla ERP software without customization. About 35% of respondents implemented with some customizations (11-25% of program code modified) and 20% of respondents had significant customizations (26-50% of code modified). These statistics reveal that there is no “one size fits all” for ERP software or application systems.
“ERP software can remain generic or vanilla, but it is rare,” says Ray Schnulle, a technical manager for Oracle Corp. “Generally, only startup businesses can use ERP software without customization. But I have not been on an implementation in the last five years that did not have some customization, although most involved only changing the reports.”
That’s not unusual since the most common customization to ERP software concerns reports. Changing the report format, adding a column, or calculating additional fields of information, is quite common and usually the first modification made.
Some complex customizations are business requirements. Customizing a “form” or what the user sees, generally requires much more technical skills. Adding additional data fields to a database and developing a custom report to extract that data is probably the most common form of customization. Specialized processes, or reports, can be set to run “behind the scenes” automatically to update certain pieces of the software or underlying database information. Triggers, which start a custom process whenever a user enters data or accesses a specific form, are a higher-level of customization.
Narratek provides simple to extensive system customizations to tailor fit systems into our clients’ business requirements. We believe that the return on investment of a system is greatly enhanced when the functionalities of the system fits the company’s requirements.
The user experience with Narratek systems become richer as we customize menus, screens, reports, data validations and workflow. Increased productivity and accuracy are achieved as Narratek configures the system according to user requirements discussed and analyzed in business process reviews.