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Like this article? We recommend Why You Should Avoid Customizing New Software

Why You Should Avoid Customizing New Software

In most cases, you should avoid customizing ERP systems, ILS systems—any large, integrated, enterprise-wide administrative software systems—for a minimum of six months (preferably a full fiscal year) after the go-live date.

My reasoning is covered in detail in the InformIT article I mentioned previously, but essentially the purpose is to give your staff a chance to use and learn the new system's full production capacity through a complete business-processing cycle and see how it really works before changing it.

Although customization may bring gains in terms of user convenience, customizing enterprise software is expensive in the short term and presents management, maintenance, and software version-control burdens in the long term. Often, just the long-term costs associated with customizing outweigh the benefits. My specific reasons for recommending against customization are cited in the previous article; here I'll just focus on explaining a specific approach for avoiding customization.

Before approving a customization request for the library, we offered to work with the staff to identify and/or develop a cost-effective workaround that wouldn't involve customization. My firm was assisting the library through the selection and implementation process. Finding a workaround to the customization—or at least deferring a final decision about it—was important for the library because it had established a no-customization goal for its ILS implementation, due in equal parts to the potential costs for and long-term maintenance consequences involved with customization. Therefore, prior to abandoning that position, investigating all potential options was certainly warranted.

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