5 Best Practices For Customizing Your ERP

Changing More Than Your Configuration

To get the most out of their ERP system, many companies look at the configuration and settings to produce the desired results. When configuration alone isn’t enough, you may need to go the route of customization in order to fully support specific business needs. 

While adjusting the configuration for your ERP is one thing, customization is a different story, and can be quite involved – there are a number of various factors that need to be taken into consideration before, during, and even after the process to ensure the project success. For example, you wouldn’t want your customizations to trigger a negative response or failure in other areas of your system.

If your organization is looking at customization options for your current ERP system or you’re considering implementing a new ERP in the future, you’ll want to consider these five best practices when it comes to ERP customization.

1. Choose The Right ERP

While there are a growing number of ERP systems on the market today, they all vary greatly in functionality. Choosing the right ERP is one of the biggest decisions your organization will have to make. A good ERP system should do at least 90 percent of what you need it to do. The system should also allow for some level of customization, especially for users looking to enhance its functionality. If you don’t think you can find an off-the-shelf solution that fits your business needs, working with an experienced partner is a good way to understand your options.

2. Understand Your Business Objectives

Are you looking at ERPs to make your day-to-day processes more efficient? Or are you a vendor who wants to expand your portfolio? Knowing your objectives from day one will help you shape every aspect of your ERP customization project, which includes properly planning the amount of time and money you want to invest. 

Determining your objectives early also helps you understand if there are any specific capabilities you need to request from your vendors. For example, if you’re an IT manager at a manufacturing company and would like to improve inventory management capabilities, you should make sure that your vendor understands that objective so he can prepare for it upfront. This will help avoid delays and ensure both parties understand exactly what needs to be done. 

3. Focus On Priorities

If you’re an experienced developer, your company probably has no shortage of projects to keep you busy. But you always want to prioritize any business-critical ERP customizations before you take on any new projects. Otherwise, your attention may end up split between multiple tasks, and all of them will suffer as a result. 

It’s important to remember that every new customization may need several iterations before they work perfectly with your existing systems and processes. These customizations will require testing before being deployed, and most deployments can take a while to implement. 

4. Define Clear Business Rules

Before you begin customizing your ERP system, it’s important to understand exactly what rules you plan to implement. These rules should not only be clear but also well-understood and readily enforceable. Make sure that all of your users have a full understanding of these business rules as well; many times, businesses assume that their staff is already familiar with these rules when they aren’t.

Once you’ve defined these rules, make sure that they are clear to all users. In many cases, businesses assume that their staff understands these rules when they don’t. It’s important to do a quick training session or revisit documentation. To ensure that everyone is on board with your business objectives. This will save you time and money down the road as employees who have been misinformed can be dangerous to an organization. The clearer these rules are, and more of them there are. The easier it will be for your company to function successfully.

5. Involve All Key Stakeholders

Since every business and industry is different, it’s important to involve all key stakeholders in customization decisions. If you don’t, you could easily miss out on crucial information that could make or break your system. For example, if one department is heavily reliant on a certain feature. And won’t be able to function without it, you’ll need to know about it. Getting all stakeholders on board as early as possible helps ensure buy-in and prevent any misunderstandings. 

If you’re going to be outsourcing some customizations or bringing in consultants, you’ll want to get them on board from the get-go. Otherwise, your team may end up with a system that doesn’t meet their needs because of a feature they didn’t have time to customize or implement correctly. Involving key stakeholders early will also help with training and implementation later on. This can save both time and money when it comes to a successful deployment.

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