Customisation: why this isn’t software's dirty C-word (but which one is?)

Customisation: why this isn’t software's dirty C-word (but which one is?)

With the mere mention of what most consider to be enterprise software’s dirty C-word, many business owners instantly get the willies. That’s because Customisation carries with it the negative connotations of costs. Not only costs to do the customisation itself at implementation time, but also the ongoing costs which can arise with upgrades to non-standard software.

But here’s the thing. There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution on the planet. Not when it comes to enterprise business systems. And that, right there, is why customisation remains an essential part of the conversation when putting in business systems. An 80 percent fit is pretty good. To make it 100 percent, there’s no escaping customisation.

Unless the ‘real’ dirty C-word is introduced. Compromise. While there may be valid concerns around ongoing costs and potential added complexity when upgrading, compromise is something that you will have to live with every single day. If that means a loss of efficiency, or reduced throughput, or even irritated workers, chances are it isn’t worth it.

So, what’s the answer? There is one. Choose a system which tolerates customisation well. Many do, MYOB Greentree among them.

In fact, we’ve customised many Greentree implementations after making precisely these sorts of assessments. Out the box, Greentree is a highly capable product. It will come close to a perfect fit for many companies – we’ve seen it and done it in Transport and Logistics, Wholesale and Distribution, Aged Care, Forestry, Agriculture, the not-for-profit sector, FMCG.

What we’ve also seen across multiple customers in these and other vertical markets is that ‘close to a perfect fit’ isn’t the same thing as ‘a perfect fit’. That’s why we routinely customise different things for different companies in the same vertical. Not every business is the same, even if they are doing similar things.

Note, too, that customisation is not the same thing as configuration. Many issues can be addressed through configuration – using features, variables and options available within the core software to meet the customer’s needs.

Customisation, on the other hand, can mean anything from modifying the software code to create new or change existing functionality, to developing a separate system that runs alongside the core software.

Mid-size businesses usually end up seeking a compromise solution – getting as much as they can from configuration, then spending what they can afford on customisation, and devising new processes or workarounds to deal with anything else.

With Greentree, compromise isn’t necessary. The framework within which it is designed allows customisations to be embedded in the core software, rather than running in parallel (making customisations cheaper and avoiding the problem with upgrades). That’s a biggie.

There’s another factor worth considering. Sure, we have plenty of experience in customisation, but what happens if you decide you want support from elsewhere (we love our customers, but we don’t tie anyone down!) Owing to the flexibility of the software, there is a whole ecosystem of Greentree partners which have years of experience in customisations. That’s a guarantee of ongoing support, without the risk of being locked in a single-partner relationship.

Among our customers which have custom Greentree implementations are Ryman Healthcare and global not-for-profit GS1.

Ryman is recognised as a leader in aged care and a leader in the innovative use of technology. For this forward-looking company, the ability to customise modules to meet exact business requirements is key. They have completed several customisations with Verde, allowing information and options to be adapted to the specific day to day needs of its employees.

And at GS1, we added a complex online member registration system to Greentree, which operates in real-time over the web for billing and transaction purposes, as well as a web-accessible supporter registry. The Greentree system was also modified to support accreditation programmes, barcode testing and exotic functions like delivering postscript barcode graphics on demand.

Peter Stevens, GS1 CE noted that customisations of other software platforms can be very expensive. The advantage with Greentree is that its modules are so adaptable, which generally means less work and lower costs.

There’s just one final thing when considering customisation – and this one doesn’t begin with a C. It’s accreditation. On top of a proven track record, you do need to be sure that your partner has the capability for customisation, which is why we are a Value Added Developer for both MYOB Greentree and Jade. That way, you can avoid the real C-word, and do business the way you want to.

Andrew Finn

Andrew Finn

With over 20 years experience in ERP software development, Andrew is a Development Manager who is passionate about solutions that enable businesses and people to get the most out of their software. As obsessed as he is with ERP, he is even more obsessed with the weather and when he is not making someone’s life easier by working magic at his desk, he works his magic with his own weather station!

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