One of the conversations that regularly comes up with clients looking to implement enterprise software is whether to go “vanilla” (out of the box), or customise to fit their existing business processes.
Vanilla usually ends up being the choice – as the technology components of the project are faster to implement and lower cost. Rapid implementation technologies and methods such as Oracle Business Accelerators (OBA) reduce the cost of technology configuration and implementation, but the change management effort for the business itself is still significant.
For many organisations, choosing vanilla will mean adapting business workflows to fit within the workflows built into the software, with the associated project planning, re-engineering, and retraining.
If the default processes within the vanilla system are Industry Best Practice, or will deliver additional business efficiencies – then the effort is probably worth it. It is wise to consider that no off-the-shelf software package is perfect. There are inevitable compromises made by the vendor – so that the software is applicable to a broad range of potential clients. So not all default workflows will meet the needs of all businesses.
To get the best out of the purchase of a major business system, it is important to do a detailed gap analysis in the planning stages of the project, to decide which workflow changes you are willing to live with, and where extension, additional configuration, or even customisation is justified.