Use standard software or develop your applications yourself?
All companies wanting to introduce a new business solution, be it an ERP, a CRM or a BI system, are faced with this decision. The proponents of developing in-house often argue that the specific processes and requirements in the organisation cannot be mapped one-to-one to those of a pure standard software. This would especially affect companies that offer a highly specialised product or service portfolio on the market. The standard software is considered too rigid and inflexible, the effort and costs for individual customisation too high in many cases is the concern and criticism.
This thinking consequently led to in-house developments and a high degree of individualisation in the use of business software. As a result, companies are confronted with quite a few challenges and risks: they can, for example, no longer react flexibly enough to changing market requirements once the software has been customised to certain internal processes. In quite a few cases, it is then the consumers requirements and expectations who push back the company to standard software.
The Corona pandemic in particular has shown how quickly the needs of the market can change. Retailers, for example, had to be able to implement e-commerce processes almost over night. Others had to implement completely new business models in order to remain competitive or to remain in the market at all. Companies relying on standard software were able to react faster in this situation.
Overly customised software hinders innovation
In highly customised software, manufacturers updates can often no longer be installed without running into problems. Instead, they have to be individually scrutinised and then partly built in-house. This prevents companies from adapting and scaling their business processes, and innovations do not always find their way into the company's systems.
Also, individualisations of the software often date back many years and often enough change of generation of employees has occurred: Developers who were involved in customising are now retired or have left the company. As a result, valuable expertise needed for smooth operations is no longer available. When using standard software, this hardly happens.
The specifics of software solutions, such as the programming code or user interfaces, are subject to rapid change. Also, the operating model is changing and increasingly shifting from on premise to the cloud.
Particularly for larger, internationally operating companies, problems can arise due to an excessive degree of customisation: If, for example, the portfolio is expanded as part of an expansion strategy and a new company is acquired, different software solutions must be harmonised. The more these are standardised, the easier it is to harmonise not only the systems but also the processes. This goes hand in hand with less manpower and lower costs that have to be spent on the process and a much faster and more successful integration of new business units.
Targeted customisation of standard software
Because of these challenges, the use of standard software has been gaining in importance again for several years. As a result, companies are also using the best practices of the underlying standard processes and a clear trend can be seen here: to be able to react flexibly to the demands of the market, companies are indeed increasingly using standard solutions and building their processes on this basis - for example, there are very good standards for workflows such as warehouse management, accounting, order management or invoicing that can be used - but the software is also being individualised in a very targeted way, where it really makes sense, generates real added value and a tangible USP. The company is thus able to use standard software and still distinguish itself from the competition.
80 percent of standard processes can be called up immediately
KPS has reacted to the changing demands of the market and offers a new approach to introduce standardised IT systems that can be customised to a very precise point in a short time. The composable SAP S/4HANA platform – called KPS Instant Platform – comes with 80 percent of processes implemented ready to go in the standard. Processes can be visualised in a comprehensive use case library, where they are being described at a very detailed level. Companies don’t start at ground zero but at 80 percent. This jumpstart enables IT to onboard future users in a new way: they can experience their future processes directly in the system, hands-on. On that foundation customer-specific customisations are added in a very focused and flexible manner.
This approach not only offers a great standardised process and system landscape: It also allows an individual setup, tailored to the requirements and specific competencies of the company. This results in higher speed, increased efficiency and maximum possible speed.