Ihave attended a number of customer forums lately and a new and consistent theme is emerging in terms of feedback on existing application deployments. It is simply that software ‘customization’ in the long run is not a good thing.
The reasons are becoming obvious. It is harder to support, requires continual investment to deal with transitions and upgrades and presents an ongoing risk in terms of keeping knowledgeable people in place.
Now, that is not to say that these same customers don’t want to have highly unique and differentiated business processes, information management methodologies and even some unique capabilities. As a point of fact, they absolutely do. They are just saying that writing custom code, while it may appear to be an inexpensive initial investment, is very costly in the long run.
So, if you’re in that situation, here are a few tips that could save you lots in the long run.
Tip 1: Use Configurations not Customizations
Many times you can configure a product to get to 80% or 90% of what you want for a lot less expense.
Tip 2: Get it in the Base Product
While unique things are difficult for vendors to consider, some basic feature additions may have enough general use that the vendor will simply add the feature into the base product.
Tip 3: Use the Workflow
Often times, unique capabilities can be delivered through simple scripting within the workflow systems incorporated in almost every major SW product.
Tip 4: Go with Web Services
When you do need to customize, use Web Services to connect your SW components, if at all possible. This will simplify the interface, interaction and ongoing testing.
While deploying unique capabilities is often critical for competitive reasons, it doesn’t have to break the bank to do it.