Features: To Buy or To Build

A familiar ERP tale.

You have an ERP package that has served you well down through the years. It’s been modified to fit your needs and tweaked to streamline your staff. Another email arrives from the software vendor that says a new release update is available .

You look at the feature list and realize you either have already have something similar, their description does not match your needs, or you just don’t need it. Now you wonder why you are continuing to pay for updates and not take advantage of them?

At some point in time it was decided that the forms did not match your needs, the processing of stock replenishment was cumbersome, and they did not have paperless picking, You got mods done to handle things “your way” and things are now smooth as silk.

If this sounds like your situation, then you are not alone. Customizing a package that fits roughly the magic “90%” of your needs is not uncommon. It also places you in a predicament where the software vendor may not be able to fully support you because there are mods sprinkled around and they only support their code.

The powers that be in your office have stated that a feature must be created to handle a new vendor that requires their version of VMI which does not fit what the software vendor sent you way back when that you never used. Either you have your staff create it or contact a reputable BP that is familiar with the package to get it done, and now you have a mod that is unique to you.

If you install a software update, mods must be re-engineered into the new release, and that costs money. Also, if there is a similar function, then research must be done to determine if it’s better than your mod or it must not be implemented.

You probably are aware of the intended feature list on the roadmap from your vendor, if not, you should request it from your rep. Pay close attention to any disclaimer that accompany it. It may state that “it is not for planning purposes, but an intent”- these words can be scary.

Features: To Buy or To Build
Cletus Robinson July 20, 2020
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