How many times have you thought: “If only I could change that one thing…” Whether it’s about your boss or your spouse (those in-laws…) or even your favorite navigation app, we all have small tweaks we know will answer all our needs.
In most cases, customization comes with a price.
This is also true when it comes to enterprise software. Software you can customize is a dream come true for many businesses. But when it’s time to come down from the clouds, you might find it isn’t so easy to get everything you want.
Here are a few things to consider before choosing a highly-customizable software:
1. Mistake propagation: Change one functionality, and another functionality may behave differently. You have to test custom features thoroughly to ensure they don’t cause other features to work improperly. And if your programmer or consultant doesn’t find such a mistake, your end users will after the software is in use, and this can cause major headaches.
2. Rollouts take longer: The more customization you do, the longer before the software can be deployed to your workforce.
3. Reduced software vendor support: When you ask for help from your vendor, they’re going to want to know right off the bat if the problem is repeatable in the standard software package. If it isn’t, you’re out of luck, because they aren’t going to fix a problem caused by your custom solution.
4. Upgrades are harder: The more customization you do, the harder redeploying an upgrade will be. Upgrades may in fact require total redevelopment of your customized functionality.
5. Sometimes, your knowledge walks out the door: Ever try to upgrade or fix software that was customized by someone who was laid off or who took a job elsewhere? When they left, the knowledge of how the customization was written left with them, and someone else will have to essentially reverse-engineer it to find out exactly what was done.
Don’t get me wrong, adapting a software to your needs is really great, and customization comes in handy in those cases when a company has really specific needs. The hard thing is striking a balance between the effort and cost that customization can entail versus how much reward you’re reaping. So if it’s absolutely necessary for your company to have some super unique feature, then go for it. Otherwise, you’re better off with a standard software or app.