Should I Customize Sage 100?
If you have an ERP system in your business, you already know that it can be a valuable way to automate your systems across multiple departments.
But instead of using an off the shelf solution, what if you opted for a customized ERP system? Some businesses swear by the additional benefits they garner by customizing their ERP system. Others rue the cost and complexity the step involved for them.
Here we look at the pros and cons of customizing your Sage 100.
Speed of roll out
If you buy an off the shelf system, you should be able to have it up and running within a day or two. It may take time to fine tune it to your organizational needs, but the initial rollout will be rapid, and you can ramp it up fast if you need to have a large number of users.
For a customized system, it takes time to agree on your requirements, get a vendor to quote on them and then build out the system even with minimal testing. The exact timeline will vary by requirements and resource, but you’ll be looking at months not weeks as a minimum.
So, if your needs are urgent, the timeline for customization might not work in the first phase of your implementation. That doesn’t mean it’s out though: you could always customize off a basic system once it is installed.
Figure out your specific requirements – if any
Every business thinks that there are things that only they do. But in general, most organizations operate from a fairly small number of playbooks even if they think they are unique. That is why software sellers are able to sell standard software programs even to enterprise businesses. If you take a look at Sage 100, it is designed to fit a wide variety of needs efficiently and accurately.
In assessing how specific your requirements are, you’ll want to consider questions such as these:
- Are you in a sector which has business processes that are not common to other industries?
- Does your industry operate under specific regulatory requirements?
- Does your company have specific policies on using publicly available software or cloud-based services?
- Do you gather information about clients and prospects in a non-standard way?
- Do you have a proprietary sales process?
As you look at the answers, you will start to see whether a standard ERP system is likely to deliver what you need, or a customized one may be better.
Cost now and in the future
One of the biggest drivers in deciding whether to go with a standard ERP system or customize one is the cost. ERP systems are priced in different ways.
If you customize a system or even build one from scratch, although there may be a high startup cost, you should be able to use it for a long time or roll it out to as many people as you want without incurring significant monthly costs.
On the other hand, an out of the box solution should be updated by your designated software partner. For instance, some companies send out all updates automatically – no muss, no fuss. If you customize a system you not only need to consider the initial cost but also the potential for future costs to update it when other parts of your operating network change like a Windows update.
In either case, the initial cost for installation may only be part of the much bigger long-term cost.
Integration with your network
In most companies, an ERP solution will only be one part of your software solution. To get its benefit, it needs to be integrated with lots of other parts, such as:
- CRM (cloud-based) – The SugarCRM Integration with Sage 100 brings your Sage 100 data to the cloud.
- EDI Integration – You’ll need a way to simply and affordably comply with your customer’s EDI requirements.
- Inventory Advisor Integration – This helps you extract added value from the numbers already being generated across your organization.
- Alerts and Workflow – Alerts & Workflow monitor your Sage applications for any business conditions that are critical to the success of your organization.
- Document Management – Track and access documents wherever they are. Manage their data better with an effective and holistic management solution that works with you every step of the way.
This should be possible whether you use a turnkey solution or customize one. Nonetheless, the complexity and cost involved may vary. Even large, sophisticated financial institutions have struggled with this conundrum. If you need your ERP system to connect to a wide, complex set of tools then it will need a significant resource to keep it up to date.
Flexibility for your business objectives
It can be difficult when you first decide on an ERP system to know how your company will end up using it. As they use it, staff may shift their opinions on how best it can add value to their activities.
If you expect a fairly standard use with basic functionality, the standard Sage 100 option will perform quite well. On the other hand, if you want to maintain flexibility to change how you use the system in years to come, you must consider more customization with multiple integrations of your choice.
Your Sage Partner can also add some custom features. In that case, you could consider the fuller flexibility which comes from customizing the ERP system to your own design.
An ERP system is an important tool, in terms of integrating information and providing more flexibility. It is also a significant investment for the long term whether it is customized or not. Understanding your needs, and getting industry-specific perspective, can help you decide what suits your requirements and resources best.
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