In today’s market with a lot of conversation about clients moving their back office systems from an on-premise system to a cloud-based system, we are not hearing much about customization and the need to give up one’s customizations in order to move to the cloud. With cloud-based systems, it is a given that there is very little, if any, customization allowed. Often the most you get is the ability to “configure” the solution to your needs, allowing you to pick from the options that the vendor has given you to choose from. That essentially means that any client who is planning to move to the cloud has to be willing to use the system as it is offered, with little to no changes, in order to take advantage of the cloud benefits. To take this pre-requisite one step further, that means that clients will have to change their business processes to match the cloud-based system and the way the cloud system supports them. This can be a huge organizational change management challenge or even a business culture change for the business users who will be required to redesign their current business processes.
As a systems integrator, we are constantly recommending that companies limit their customizations as much as possible, in order to save on production support costs. The fact is that there are very few “vanilla” systems in production today. Most clients either need to customize to address unique items in their business or prefer to do some things different from the vanilla system process that is delivered, or not delivered, by the software.
The flexibility to choose customization strategically goes away when moving from on-premise to the cloud-based systems. It is important that all of the key stakeholders know this up front. Cloud solutions certainly have their advantages; however, you have to look even closer to make sure the functionality meets your business needs, as well as understand and accept the limitations. Sometimes the excitement of a new technology or solution can overshadow the drawbacks. Go in with your eyes open.
If you have any questions regarding customization versus cloud please contact Larry. He would be happy to answer any of your questions.