No one wants or likes ERP customizations. As a matter of
fact, most executives and ERP vendors start from that premise during their
solution evaluation and planning process. Research, however, has shown that
majority of ERP implementations have some sort of customizations involved in
the process. The idealistic view of using an off the shelf software to address
our needs and cure all our ills, although sounds great on the surface, seems to
be an illusion for most companies.
Although no or minimal customizations sound great, in
reality, a generic system will not be able to provide a number of process
capabilities that have acted as a source of competitive advantage for the organization.
Granted, a minority of organizations out there can live with an off the shelf
software system, but the fact is that most successful firms have come up with
innovative process approaches that have created a source of competitive advantage
for their organization over the years.
The question is therefore, given that most organizations
have a number of unique process requirements in key areas, how to go about deciding
which customizations are truly strategic in nature and then how customization development
efforts should be managed not only to address the short term needs but also fit
with minimal pain within the longer term solution upgrade roadmap.
One final note that for the customizations that are not
deemed as strategic, management should be working hard on devising effective
organizational change management strategies to take advantage of ERP software’s
generic features and capabilities rather than wasting precious resources on low
value development efforts.