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5 Questions To Ask Before Making Cloud ERP Customizations

Posted by Matt Woodward

Apr 17, 2014

476968537In the early 1900s, Henry Ford sponsored a way to mass-produce cars using an assembly line. For the first time in the history of the world, regular people could afford their own set of wheels.

Likewise, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) must take advantage of cost-saving techniques available today. If something can be made or delivered without costly customizations, it’s going to be cheaper to buy.

The same idea applies to cloud ERP systems. If SMBs are able to successfully use these tools without paying a vendor to customize the offering — or, completely rebuild the system — they’re going to save lots of money. Embracing an out-of-the-box solution is absolutely ideal from a cost standpoint.


This is why SMBs must find a vendor offering an affordable cloud ERP system that has built-in workflows, integrates with your current systems, performs all of the necessary functions and moves the business forward. Here are five questions to ask before going forward with any ERP customizations.


  1. Why are customizations more expensive? Customization usually requires a more expensive hosted environment (techies call it a “dedicated cloud”). Customizations also complicate other areas for the provider around servicing and maintenance for that environment. What costs them more is going to cost you more.

  2. Are all customizations a bad idea? The short answer is “no.” Sometimes a tweak here and there isn’t a bad idea if your business circumstances are particularly unique. Don’t get discouraged; there are cloud ERP providers that offer ways to give you the best of both worlds — the simplicity and affordability of cloud ERP, and the flexibility of being able to make minor customizations.

  3. What should I do if I’m SURE I’ll need lots of customized work? Work with your provider to determine if these adjustments are truly needed. If they are necessary, make sure these requests do not greatly increase your cost, or change how the system is going to be deployed. Work with the cloud ERP provider to fully examine your business requirements against the capabilities of the new solution. There could be many instances where a customization you think you need is not necessary thanks to a feature provided in the new system or a best practice that you couldn’t take advantage of previously due to a subpar or dated technology.

  4. How does customization differ between on-premises and cloud solutions? It’s just as easy to customize and configure your cloud ERP solution as it is if you deployed an on-premises system.

  5. How do I find a vendor that’s able to help me avoid unnecessary customizations? Choose a vendor with industry-specific knowledge. The vendor should tailor the solution to your industry, resulting in little need to change or customize anything. That helps to save you time and money.

At the end of the day, it’s important to find the right vendor for your business. Always take the time to do more research than you think you’ll need. It’s best to deploy a solution that truly fits your businesses requirements, no matter how unique they may be.

Sometimes, cloud ERP solution offerings are designed with a predetermined set of functional areas and deliverables that everyone gets or leaves. This is the “take it or leave it” approach. Search for providers that don’t shackle you this way, but also don’t increase the costs drastically to accommodate your business requirements. With the right solution, you’ll get all the simplicity and cost benefits of the cloud, with the flexibility of an on-premises system. That’s the “best of both worlds” scenario you should be seeking in your ERP system.

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Topics: cloud ERP