ERP Packages

A LARGE number of players are currently in the market today in the ERP segment. Though some of these ERP solutions are tailor-made for certain industry segments only, most solutions are designed to cover a range of industry segments.

The extent of customization/configuration and modification of these packages mostly depend on the particular ERP solution shortlisted for implementation and its applicability for a particular organization, as well as the extent to which the organization is willing to change its business process.

ERP systems do not neatly fit the traditional distinction between custom-built software and the 'off-the-shelf' packages in several aspects. First, the ERP packages are much broader than that of early enterprise solutions. ERP packages integrate many formerly discrete applications around a common database. They enable the adapters to integrate data and process through the organization and thy support nearly all functions

This means that they are much more complex than traditional packages requiring more knowledge, effort and skill to adapt them to the characteristics of a particular organization. Second, ERP packages allow for a great deal more flexibility in the way of a company operates than traditional packages do.

In traditional packages, business processes and procedures are hard-coded making them inflexible. Adapting them to the unique business procedures of a particular organization usually requires modifications in the package code. It should be noted that modifying ERP packages is often strongly discouraged.

Mostly, the vendors may refuse to make changes themselves, claiming high development and maintenance costs and low market demand. Even when vendors allow access to the source code by the adopter or a third party, they may refuse to provide future support for the package. In additional, the risk involved in making modification to the software code is much greater.

However, because of the way ERP packages are developed, some customization/modification is always required to get them up and running. But the extent of the above customization/modification may vary from one organization to the other.

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