Customization is the job of fitting the ERP software to meet the demands of a particular organization. This would mean the mapping of the organizational structures, processes & environment of the organization into the corresponding model of the organization that is embedded in the ERP software. In other words, it is a mapping of the real world into the model world of the particular ERP software. The structure and processes represent one part of customization; the creation of master data, input-output forms, validations, reports, queries, formats, authorization, backup / restore procedures, data administration procedures, disaster recovery processes etc., represent the full gamut of customization.
Customization is the process of fitting the chosen ERP software to the needs of a specific organization. Whenever the processes represented in the ERP software differ significantly from the processes used by the firm one has two options. First is to build the organizational process into the ERP software through customization. The second one is to change the practice followed by the firm to suit the process native to the ERP software. Traditional common sense would force people to customize the software to suit the individual demands of the organization. This leads to two problems. The first one arises out of the fact that any customization done locally is outside the core ERP software. Accordingly, the next release of the ERP software would not support local customization. They have to be re-done by the end user for the new release. Second the very purpose of ERP is to take advantage of the best practices in industry that come embedded with the ERP software. By over customizing the implementers would deprive the benefit of world – class practice to the organization that is implementing ERP.
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With Open Source ERP systems you will have the source code with you. There are advantages of having source code with you even if it is commercial ERP software. Major advantages are :
- Data Imports — Bringing in data from older systems or integrating to data from yourVendors and Customers is the basis of ecommerce. With source you can always scrub,transform and import data based on your requirements and not existing importfunctionality.
- Future Changes — Your business requirements will change, can your system be simplyaltered to meet these new requirements?
- Modifications to Support your Critical Competitive Differentiators — Manyapplications allow superficial modifications like adding user defined fields. But what aboutthat core business logic changes that has to go deep in the system? Like creating a twoway link between the system and your AutoCAD drawing files?
- Integration — Next few years, you might want to integrate to the latest FedEx Shippingsoftware. Or push data out to your field technicians PDA’s in real time. With source codethe answer is always yes.
- Performance and System Issues — With source you can find the problem and if it’s inour code, we’ll fix it. Compatibility issues with other programs or the operating systems,security setups or hardware issues can be pinned down to a single line of code. Thisbenefits you and the software vendor because when a problem comes we can quicklywork together to solve it.
- Customized Reporting — What if you need more data on a report? A piece of calculateddata that isn’t even there yet? Report logic truly requires professional development. Withsource you can write routines to create this data and have it available everywhere so youcan get the exact reports you require.
- Survivability — No one wants to think about their software provider disappearing orgetting acquired. If you have source you have alternatives available. If the source is in acommon language, like Microsoft Visual Studio you can change it yourself or hire othersto change it.
- Third party support — Everyone has great third party programs. How tightly can a thirdparty product be integrated when you can only write to the API where they give youpermission? To have really tight integration you must have source code. The availabilityof source is the single greatest factor encouraging the development of third partyproducts that extend your system capabilities.
- Protection from Technical Obsolescence – If you have source code in Java or .NETyou are using development platforms that have a combined market share of over 90%.This ensures you are investing in a platform with a long future and a lower cost to you.
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