There are a lot of do-it-yourself projects, and many we have tackled without a lot of heartache at home. Painting, and replacing light fixtures, and even installing some new appliances have become synonymous with home ownership. These are fairly simple projects that can easily be accomplished, but I would never attempt to add an additional room to my house without some professional help.
There is so much to consider when you undertake a project that affects a structure that is already in place. Building codes must be met, design of the addition, demolition to make room for the new, plumbing, electric, HVAC, and the list goes on. These are things that I may have a general knowledge of, but understand that a professional that does this kind of work everyday would be much more qualified to oversee and complete the addition on my house.
It is the same with ERP software.
In an attempt to make cost effective upgrades to their current systems, some companies have looked in house to their IT departments for homegrown solutions. These homegrown solutions can often create the need for more fixes and ultimately you end up with a fragmented system that requires additional hours of manual work every month to simply
So what are the signs that you have created system that is actually costing you more money than you saved? Do you use a lot of spreadsheets to assimilate data from multiple
databases? Does your production line require a lot of manual work? Are you constantly plagued by the same mistakes? Or are you constantly asking about inventory levels,
and whether or not you can actually deliver the product on the most recent order that your sales team has submitted?
If it is tedious to answer these basic business questions then you have ultimately created a dysfunctional system that relies heavily on manual input and is costing you more than you can see on the spreadsheets that you are using to analyze the numbers you do have.
In an effort to minimize costs we actually end up costing ourselves more over time. If building software is not what your company does, then don't strain in house resources to try and do that very thing. Often you end up with a system that only one or two people know how to update or fix. So in addition to their current responsibilities, they are now responsible for trying to keep a software program going that will be in constant need of maintenance.
Another aspect of homegrown solutions that you may not initially consider is the need for flexibility for continued growth. If you intend to continue to grow your business, then it is important to have a solution that can grow with you, or is robust enough for you to continue to grow into. Outgrowing your software's capabilities puts you in jeopardy of costly mistakes that will ultimately cost you customers.
In addition to the limitations that homegrown software can present, there is also the problem of the people building the software probably speak a different business language than your other team members. Lack of detailed knowledge about your company's processes often create huge gaps in a homegrown system, that actually require more manual man hours in order to generate the data that you need for critical business decisions.
So, if you are truly going to undertake expanding your business with new software, don't step outside of your core competency to do it. Just like an addition on your house, take the time to interview the people, find the right fit and let a professional that has already developed, tested, and streamlined their software become your partner in such a major endeavor.