During the sales process, you may hear:
“We recommend using the vanilla version of our product.”
“Our out of box solution will work for you.”
“We recommend not customising the solution. Instead, follow the best practice, change your business processes according to the software.”
The message that the Sales team is giving you is:
Adopt the standard product. Make minimum customisations to minimise implementation costs. For example, change the business processes instead of significant changes in the software.
This message is valid within reason. Once you have selected the right Enterprise software (ERP/CRM) product, use its strengths to your advantage.
However, you should never assume:
Vanilla will satisfy everyone
The standard out of box solution (vanilla version) will fulfil all the business needs. However, you need a budget to customise the user interface, workflows and automate manual processes. Further, you need a budget for reports, integrations, stationary/outputs (Invoice, PO).
Customisations are bad
If the customisations are improving efficiency (fewer clicks, automation), then encourage them. But do not fundamentally change the software.
The Software Vendor’s assumptions are correct
To keep the initial software implementation quote low, the vendors take many assumptions. They assume the standard product will meet your needs. Your team will learn the software and right and design all the reports, outputs. Further, they allow a limited budget for data migration, change management and User Acceptance Testing. During the implementation, you will experience change requests (extra budget requests) slipping in.
These assumptions are pretty common and misleading. So, be careful and test these assumptions with your team.
Encourage your team to learn and adapt to the new enterprise solution. First, look at the solution with an open mind. Then, change the way you do things where appropriate.
However, do not assume that a standard out of the box solution will satisfy all the business needs. You will need to customise the system to improve efficiency and automate processes. Hence, you need to allocate enough budget to customise the system to suit your needs.
If you buy a Home and Land package, it is not wise to assume that all standard inclusions will satisfy your needs. For example, you will have additional requirements (premium windows, artificial grass). Further, the standard package does not always cover all basic needs (painting, paving). So, you must allow a budget for it.
Remember, no one goes to Baskin Robbins and ask for Vanilla ice cream. We want to top it up with chocolate, caramel and nuts. It cost more, so carry enough cash. You will need it near the cash counter!