ERP Customizability or Configurability – Which one’s better?
‘One Size DOES NOT Fit All’.This statement is as true for ERP Solutions as it is for garments. An ERP Software cannot even cater to two companies belonging to the same industry, let alone catering to two different industries. Every organization has its own set of processes and requirements which are unique to that organization. It is impossible to cover all the requirements in a standard ERP System and hence vendors customize the ERP Solution to fulfil the demands of the user organization. But customization of an ERP System has always been a somewhat controversial and expensive affair due to which vendors have started developing configurable ERP Solutions in recent time that can be configured according to the requirements of the user organization and one standard ERP Version can cater to multiple organizations and industries. But this facility should be taken with a pinch of salt since there are certain processes which can only be addressed with customization.
According to a research only 23% of the firms implement vanilla ERP Systems with no customization whatsoever. Customization to the ERP Solution is something which becomes a cause of friction between the vendor and the customer organization. The latter aims to get everything customized according to their processes but always undermines the amount of effort it will take for the vendor. This misunderstanding causes friction on the cost involved in demanded ERP customizations.
To address this chronic issue, vendors have started developing fully configurable ERP Solutions that can be customized to the minutest level to mould the ERP Solution to gel with the implementing organization. Configurable ERPs have various advantages over customizable ERPs, the first being fast deployment. Configurable ERP Systems are fast and simple to implement and do not require big ERP implementation teams. It simply works on “Check-the-Checkbox” mechanism to include functionalities which are required and discard the ones which are not.
But some organizations do not relate to the idea of configurability and opt for customized ERP Systems. Indeed, customized ERP Systems are any day better than configured systems since they map the processes of the organization better than configured systems. But every ERP customization beyond allowed limit comes for a cost. Customizations take a huge toll on vendor organization as it requires manpower, coding effort and time. On the other hand, the client organization perceives ERP customizations as a trivial task and tries to get them done for free.
From the above it is easy to conclude that although configurability saves both time and money but customization benefits are worth the cost involved. With continuous innovation in coding methodologies, we can hope that the ERP Systems will become even more configurable and efficient, and at the same time will gradually reduce the need for customizing the systems.