Should you choose functionality or flexibility?
Modification is a controversial word for many professionals in manufacturing’s IT industry. The term
“off the shelf” also has mixed connotations, as it is often associated with old generic business solutions that offered rudimentary functionality under the guise of “plug and play” simplicity.
As the needs of manufacturers have changed over the years, the software available to address them has evolved as well, leading to a lot of discussion lately around the age-old question of “to modify or not to modify.” While the issue remains complex, the pendulum seems to be swinging clearly away from heavily customized systems and toward those that can provide a large percentage of the functionality required, without significant modifications. A number of factors are driving this trend—aging systems (the acronym ERP, first used by Gartner, celebrates its 25th birthday this year), the increasing difficulty of finding workers who can support them, and changing market conditions are all on the list.
However, the growing availability of cloud-based solutions designed to meet specific industry and/or business area needs seems to be the leading driver at present. Companies no longer have to sacrifice functionality for simplicity and low total cost of ownership.
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