Use standard software or develop it yourself?
All companies that want to introduce a new business solution, be it an ERP, a CRM or a BI system, are faced with this fundamental decision. The proponents of the customised alternative often argue that the specific processes and requirements in the organisation cannot be mapped one-to-one with pure standard software. This would especially affect companies that offer a highly specialised product or service portfolio on the market. The standard software is too rigid and inflexible, the effort and costs for individual adaptations too high in many cases, according to the concerns and criticisms of some users.
This maxim consequently led to in-house developments and a high degree of individualisation in the use of business software.
However, companies are confronted with several challenges and risks as a result: for example, they can no longer react flexibly to changing market requirements once the software has been individually adapted to certain internal processes. Often it is then the customers who push the company back 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 in a very short time. Other companies had to implement completely new business models in order to remain competitive. Companies that rely on standard software were able to react faster in this situation.
Overly customised software hinders innovation
In highly customised standard solutions, manufacturer updates can often no longer be installed without problems. Instead, they have to be individually scrutinised and partly rebuilt. This de facto hinders companies in changing and scaling their business processes, and it is difficult for innovations to find their way into their own systems.
In addition, customisations often date back many years. It is possible that a generation change has already occurred in the user companies. Developers who were involved in customising are now retired or have left the company. As a result, valuable expertise that is needed for smooth operation is lost. When using standard software, on the other hand, this loss of know-how hardly comes to bear.
Moreover, the specifics of software solutions, such as the programming code or the user interface, are subject to rapid change. And the operating model is also changing and increasingly shifting from the backbone to the cloud.
Particularly in the case of larger, internationally active 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: in order 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 systems are being individualised in a very targeted way - but only 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 created a way to introduce standardised IT systems in a short time that can be customised precisely. The heart of this solution is a modular software platform in which 80 percent of the most important standard processes are already implemented in the system and the associated business scenarios are extensively described and documented visually. Future users can therefore experience the new end-to-end processes in the system hands-on even before the project starts. Customer-specific customisations can be built on top of this in a targeted and flexible manner.
This concept not only offers a sound, standardised process and system basis. At the same time, it enables an individual set-up that precisely addresses the respective requirements and specialised processes of the user companies. As a result, they benefit from significantly more speed, efficiency and flexibility.