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  • Writer's pictureJoelle Ascher

Some Customization is Critical

A software package designed specifically for an industry will never be able to meet all the requirements of every unique business in the very same industry. Why not? There is a simple rule that explains this. A software package will most likely meet 80% of your business needs, however there is the remaining 20% which tends to be overlooked or not analyzed sufficiently because it is the most detailed and complex. Yet it is also usually the most critical and important aspect of your business. It is this small percentage which makes all the difference between success and failure because it is what makes your business different from the next, and what most likely defines your competitive edge. If the software can’t handle that small yet so important aspect, then you will definitely miss the boat.

Let’s take a very simple example. A company buys and sells widgets. There are probably lots of software that can manage the purchasing and selling aspect of a product being bought and then sold by the same company. The software is sure to handle all the obvious requirements of the purchasing and sales processes and even provide adequate analysis information that is derived from those activities. Now 80% of the requirements are achieved. However, this unique company offers incentives to their customers to buy more widgets based on volumes, past performance metrics, mixed in with some custom rules depending on the type of customer, size and geographical location. This company has taken years to perfect this incentive program which has proven very successful for them. This is what sets the company apart from its competitors, and it is their winning strategy for the time being at least. The packaged off-the-shelf software does handle typical volume discounts and pricing, but not to the customized extent that this company needs. The very small but critical 20% component is missing, and as shown in this example, is an important and necessary aspect of this successful business for this very unique company in a very typical industry.

The alternative to off-the-shelf software is custom programming. With the correct approach and methodologies applied, custom systems can more than likely provide you with a software that can model your business as perfectly as is possible in the real world. But often it translates to timely, expensive projects that seem to have a beginning but no end in sight.

So how to acquire the best of both worlds. To achieve the 80/20 rule and meet 100% of all your business requirements, without the high cost and extended timeline.

Simply put it is software by design. What if a software is designed and targeted for a very specific industry and is complete and comprehensive since it has incorporated the ideas and inputs of businesses from that very industry. From that already very thorough and extensive software base, you are given the opportunity to tailor, revise, customize it in every aspect so that you render it to your exact company specifications.

In effect, you are really only working on perfecting the 20%, which takes much less time and money than starting from scratch. Definitely you have the best of both worlds, with a very high recipe for success not only in the short term, but also in the longer term as your company continues to evolve and change as every business inevitably does.

It’s true that many software companies offer software solutions that boast the words ‘customizable’, ‘configurable’, ‘flexible’ but turning indicators on and off do not achieve the real-world desired results of true customization, since these indicators are again based on the 80% typical standard features required by the normal industry. Many software vendors will offer program changes but often at an additional cost because customization is not their mainstream offering.

In today’s competitive financial services market where lenders strive for custom and flexible finance products that rival their competitors, your finance business cannot afford to overlook any of the very unique and strategic offerings that have helped make it successful in the first place.

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