Figuring out whether to purchase or build from scratch an enterprise business application is a decision that many companies have faced. Thankfully, that decision has been made easier with the introduction of the Microsoft xRM application platform. With the xRm application platform, your company will now get to enjoy the best of both options.
When deciding which of the two approaches to proceed with, it’s important to understand the terminology and pros and cons of each strategy. Below, I’ve laid out the pros and cons of the traditional options and the unique strategy behind the xRM platform.
- Solution will promote business process reengineering
- No customization makes for easier upgrade path
- Timeline and budget won’t fluctuate dramatically due to xRM being out of the box
- Requires modification of business processes in order to meet your desired goals
- Significant initial software investment, in addition to software maintenance costs
- If the out of the box functionality doesn’t meet the evolving needs, organizations are faced with product maintenance and expensive customization to meet the requirements
COTS solutions work well for departmental applications like accounting, human resources etc. Yet, their use and effectiveness can diminish as it is spread across your entire company apparatus. Enterprise applications that utilize COTS typically will require organizations to adjust their business processes to meet the confines of the solution. Purchasing a solution with complex capabilities that your company won’t utilize will just increase your financial cost in both the near and long term.
Additionally, if the out of the box functionality isn’t up to par for your organization, you’ll have a product that will require ongoing maintenance and expensive customization. This can significantly increase the project budget and/or limit the organization’s strategic initiatives.
Companies that identify their unique characteristics often see the value in custom development. It’s meant to foster the organization’s strategic advantage and conform to the business processes, not vice versa as is required with COTS.
In theory, custom development will align your strategic objectives with your newfound technological capabilities. Unfortunately, the unpredictable nature of the timeline and budget, limited upgrade path, and reliance on specific programmers creates a level of uncertainty that few organizations are willing to undertake. Custom development has proven to be such a painful process for so many organizations that the word ’custom’ has become a four letter word.
Microsoft xRM is not a product; rather it is a strategy or concept. The ‘x’ denotes that you can utilize this strategy to develop anything-any relationship, process or data element. xRM is an application platform that offers the best of both worlds between commercial off the shelf solutions such as
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