Are you unable to upgrade Microsoft Dynamics ERP due to too many customizations?

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On average, organizations spend 6.5% of their annual revenues on their ERP projects (2016 ERP Report, Panorama Consulting). This is a significant investment for any organization. As a result, focus should be given to driving the highest possible returns on these investments. However, for one very common reason, many organizations are unable to enjoy these returns since they are unable to upgrade to the latest version of their ERP software.


The reason …


Customizations to ERP solutions are preventing organizations from upgrading.


Why would organizations choose to constrain themselves with such customizations?


Some organizations need to build new work flows due to limitations in their base ERP implementation; while others choose to customize in order to differentiate themselves from their competition. For example, 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. (Customer Experience: Is It The Chicken or the Egg?, Forbes). If customizing your ERP solution can deliver improved customer service, then it’s good for your bottom line, and you would do it!


However, is this the best, or only way, to deliver this

Do you have too many customizations?
Do you have too many customizations?

differentiation? It’s critical to weigh how customizations could help you against value you would gain if you were using the latest version of the software. Technology companies, like Microsoft, are investing millions of dollars into R&D, continually improving business functions and workloads. You could be missing out on these investments if you choose to stay on an older release.



If your company has made significant customizations over the lifetime of your current ERP solution, have you considered the possibility of retiring some of them to give you an easier pathway to staying up-to-date on the latest releases?


‘Conducting a functional review of the latest software will highlight areas of your customization that could be replaced with out-of-the-box functionality.’ says Katherine Turner-Lawrence

VP Sales & Marketing, Western Computer. ‘In many cases, customers have opted to customize as a path of least resistance when end-users are reluctant to change. Users request the system to function ‘the way it did in the old system’. Less consideration is given to the potential benefits of improved processes which are now built into the new versions of their ERP system’.


After completing the functional review of your current implementation, the next opportunity is to consider the rich application market that ISVs have created for Dynamics with apps and add-on’s. The application market in Microsoft AppSource gives organizations significant alternatives to delivering differentiated services to their customers. Have you reviewed the available apps in your industry? These applications could potentially replace some of your customizations, giving you the option of leaving software development and maintenance to the ‘experts’ and giving you the opportunity to focus on your core business strengths.


So yes, this all sounds great in theory, but we all know the reality is that some level of customization is inevitable. While we strive to keep the level of customization to a minimum, focus should be given to ensure that it is done in the least intrusive manner. Consideration should be given to ensuring that you have an implementation partner who has maintained their skills to ensure the latest technical and development technologies can be leveraged. Katherine share’s another insightful example ‘technology like extension packages and eventing will ensure that customizations are created outside of the database, making future upgrades much easier and less costly.’


Don’t get left behind your competitors. The age of Digital Transformation means that technology adoption will be a significant competitive advantage. As Microsoft releases continued functionality, make sure you have a plan in place to take advantage of these investments.


Contact our team of Microsoft Dynamics experts at Western Computer. We can help you build a path beyond your current customized implementation.

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