Ask These 5 Questions Before Making Any Cloud ERP Customizations

Ask These 5 Questions Before Making Any Cloud ERP Customizations

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 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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Steve’s been with SMB Suite since 1998 and has been involved with nearly every aspects of the Company’s business as a strategist, professional services executive, cloud solutions architect, and senior consultant. In his current role, Steve is responsible for SMB Suite’s revenue and oversees the execution of ERP, CRM and BI projects for customers across a broad range of industries. Steve combines his expertise in MS Dynamics GP, CRM and other Microsoft products with a strong foundation in accounting and business to identify gaps and streamline customers’ processes. Prior to co-founding SMB Suite, Steve was previously Corporate Controller for MEHLE Behr and, prior to that, Audit Senior for Ernst & Young. Steve holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Jeremy is responsible for SMB Suite’s technology vision, strategy and implementation and is the architect of the Company’s Dynamics Cloud Platform. Highly adept in every facet of managed services, ERP systems and e-commerce platforms, Jeremy’s expertise spans the implementation and support of business and financial software solutions, as well as the customization and integration of SMB Suite’s cloud ERP technology stack. He holds numerous Microsoft and industry-related certifications, and was primarily responsible for designing the Company’s progressive business services platform in the early days of the Cloud. Prior to SMB Suite, Jeremy served as the financial analyst, systems administrator, and information systems liaison for a $2 billion financial services corporation.

Monty is responsible for SMB Suite’s day-to-day operation and, most importantly, its customers. As a leader, motivator and mentor, Monty creates loyal high performance teams willing to “walk through walls” to accomplish their goals. Prior to SMB Suite, Monty served as President of The Bradshaw Group (TBG), a global distributor, manufacturer, and repair facility for digital printers. In this role, he was the Company’s ambassador to its most important domestic, European and Latin American customers and TBG achieved a best-in-class Net Promoter Score of 74 for its superb customer satisfaction. Prior to TBG, Monty served as the General Manager of Sam’s Clubs three highest grossing U.S. stores and was named Regional Operator of the Year in 1999. Monty holds a BBA in Marketing from Texas Tech University and is an active member of Business Navigators. He has been active in Vistage International, Executives in Action, the Dallas/Fort Worth Retail Executives Association, as well as, A.P.I.C.S., the leading professional association for supply chain and operations management. Monty also volunteers with Hunger Busters and ManeGait, a therapeutic horsemanship organization.

David is a proven financial and information technology professional with expertise in providing business accounting software and computing solutions. He began his career by starting and managing a successful independent consulting practice for several years. He then launched the local systems consulting unit of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Services Group, leading the office into the hi-tech consulting arena. After successfully developing the unit for Ernst & Young, David founded NextCorp (which became SMB Suite in 2013) to serve the business software needs of clients throughout the US. David has made SMB Suite one of the best cloud ERP providers in the industry. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur and leader, he is a software and technology specialist, holding certifications in various Microsoft and other technologies.