Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software integrates departments in complex businesses to streamline information and tasks company-wide. Coordinating human resources, accounting, manufacturing, project management and sales on a single platform can help businesses strategize and effectively manage resources.

ERP software may call to mind a true enterprise-type business with thousands of employees, multiple geographic locations, and multinational business strategy. However, ERP systems can also be a good fit for small to midsize enterprise businesses with complex operations. Whether due to international sales or intricate supply chain considerations, small businesses are increasingly turning to ERP software to improve performance.

For small to mid-size companies, the price-range for big-name ERP suites runs the gamut from $75,000 to $750,000. For full-scale enterprise businesses, the cost can be millions. The most popular ERP providers market their software as “essential” to competing in the digital economy. There’s an argument to be made that it is essential for many businesses, but is it necessary to spend money on a legacy ERP software package? Not with the availability of custom software solutions.
Custom software development gives businesses more options and flexibility, assets that help businesses compete, whether small to midsize or enterprise. For the same cost of an outdated, modular ERP system, you can hire a team of dedicated engineers to build your custom software from the ground up.

Here are three key reasons to consider a custom solution for your business:

Custom development to meet your company’s unique needs
The top ERP packages follow a modular system. Theoretically, this allows businesses to select only the elements they need, avoiding features they don’t. If your business has complex accounting needs but isn’t in manufacturing, you can tailor the selection of features to pay for only the tools you will use. Some ERP systems are industry-specific helping with some of the selection process. Even so, with any one suite, you are limited by the features that company offers.

Most businesses will have to demo two to three systems before deciding on one. The process of deciding between market options can take months or even years. While some features from the first demo might be a good fit, you might have to opt for the second or third system based on other factors. With custom software, each application can be integrated to work seamlessly with your platform, eliminating the need to compromise functionality.

Avoid unnecessary implementation and training costs
When purchasing a legacy ERP system, companies spend valuable time and resources simply evaluating different packages. Once they have determined which system to purchase, they have to hire consultants with up to 20-30 engineers to install the modules. Consultants often stay on to oversee the system for additional months or years. At the end of this expensive, labor-intensive process, the company is tied to outdated software with limited functionality.

Well-designed applications in a custom ERP system should be intuitive enough to require no specialized training. This is not the case with most ERP packages. The cost of implementation can be twice as much as the cost of licensing. With custom ERP, you can craft the tools that are best for your business and start using them instead of sinking money into unnecessary licensing and consulting fees. On top of these hefty additional costs, many legacy ERP providers will require monthly maintenance fees. These big-name ERP providers can unexpectedly raise rates or force pricey upgrades, because their customers are chained to their current system. With custom ERP development you can know your costs ahead of time and plan for your business’s future.

Upgrade software when your business changes, not when the ERP company decides
When your business has custom software, a dedicated team of developers can revise your software to meet changing needs. Being tied to a particular suite does not allow for such flexibility. On the other hand, legacy ERP providers can force an upgrade by refusing to support an older version of the software. The migration process to the new version can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, once again requiring expensive consultants and disrupted business. Custom development keeps the software working for your business and not the other way around.

Sometimes, ERP providers will offer third-party add-ons to improve functionality, but this has drawbacks. The third-party software requires an additional licensing fee on top of the cost you’ve already invested in the ERP suite. While it’s tempting to alter code as needed, this can void the warranty of your system, nullifying one of the few benefits of going with a big name. With custom software, you can upgrade at any time or keep what works well for your company.

The bottom line when considering ERP software is meeting the needs of your unique business. Industry experts consider customization one of, if not the, most important capacities of a viable ERP system. Why tie your business to an outdated modular system with hidden costs, unexpected changes, and limited customization? Custom development can meet your business needs today and grow with you in the years ahead.  Zibtek aims to empower its readers and web visitors using informative and innovative ideas through written content.

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