I have been developing application software for over 30 years. In this time I have seen quite a few ERP systems. ERP systems all have a common set of features. With each new package, technology evolves, software gets smarter, faster and even able to learn on its own. So I ask you how is it I still have features to create?
We create software to meet the unique needs of our customers. Everyone pays bills with green money, sends invoices and has a CFO with his eye on a balance sheet, but thankfully that’s where the similarities end. Some pay commissions on a cash basis some on a sales basis. Discounts are common in invoicing systems but how they apply them and when is almost always different.
Even with all these differences, most systems have a key set of features in common. There are basic functions that a solid ERP system has to have. A strong accounting system supported by a document processing system that can compete in today’s connected world is the most important. ERP vendors know this. They create the features that makes us buy the software. When the systems don’t have a feature, we create it. If you have a unique style to your documents we accommodate that, we format documents that are custom tailored to the uniqueness of the company that’s sending it.
One such feature is the duplicate PO check. This is a customization that warns a user when they enter a customer purchase order that’s been used before for this customer. Today I finished creating the duplicate PO mod for yet another ERP system? This time its Acumatica but I have done this for NetSuite, Dynamics CRM and a few others that you probably wouldn’t even recognize. In one my previous blogs, I wrote about writing a better Duplicate PO checker but when I found myself writing it again for Acumatica, I realized the need for such a feature to be in the mainstream.
ERP system vendors need to realize that partners are the key to success. It is the partner community that’s the first into an application. We test it at the highest level. We spend hours devising ways to squeeze more water out of the rock they created. We are quite successful at it (or we wouldn’t exist). It makes sense that we have a strong voice. One that can allow me to create other meaningful customizations instead of doing the duplicate PO mod for the umpteenth time.
Start off by talking with the front-line people, give them a voice or a reasonable way to report their needs. We are the partners with the experience. I know that Netsuite has a voting system where you submit an idea and if enough people request a feature it gets added. This is a start, but you must know it exists. When work with another system it’s another way. ERP vendors need to communicate with the partners, find out what they are creating and where the application they work so hard to build is coming up short with the people who are buying it.
Come on ERP Vendors how ‘bout some attention here.
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Additional ERP Resources
6 Reasons You Shouldn’t Buy a New ERP
Understanding Value: Two Early Approaches to Evaluate ERP and CRM