To Build or Not to Build: Weighing the Pros and Cons of Custom Development in Your ERP System

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As a senior technology leader in a Small and Medium Business (SMB), one of the key challenges you may face is determining whether to build custom functionality within our enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. On the one hand, custom development can help you meet specific business requirements and streamline processes. On the other hand, it can be expensive, time-consuming, and may not integrate well with the rest of the ERP system. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of doing custom development in an ERP system.

Pros of Custom Development in an ERP System

  1. Tailored Functionality

One of the biggest advantages of custom development is the ability to tailor functionality to meet specific business requirements. This means that businesses can develop features and capabilities that are uniquely suited to their needs, rather than being constrained by the out-of-the-box features of the ERP system. Custom development can also help businesses to automate complex and time-consuming processes, freeing up staff time to focus on more value-added activities.

  1. Competitive Advantage

Custom development can also provide a competitive advantage, allowing businesses to differentiate themselves in the market. By developing unique capabilities that are not available in standard ERP systems, businesses can provide a better customer experience, streamline processes, and reduce costs. In addition, custom development can help businesses to respond quickly to changing market conditions, giving them a greater degree of flexibility and agility.

  1. Integration Possibilities

Custom development provides opportunities for seamless integration with other systems and applications. By building integrations, you can ensure smooth data flow between your ERP and other critical systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM), e-commerce platforms, or specialized industry software. This integration capability can streamline operations and improve overall business efficiency.

Cons of Custom Development in an ERP System

  1. Cost

One of the biggest drawbacks of custom development is cost. Custom development can be expensive, requiring significant investments in time, resources, and expertise. Businesses must also factor in ongoing maintenance costs, which can add up over time. In addition, custom development may require the purchase of additional hardware or software, further increasing costs.

  1. Upgrade Challenges

Upgrading your ERP can pose challenges when customizations are involved. New releases or updates may require modifications to the custom functionality, potentially leading to compatibility issues and additional development efforts. It is crucial to have a well-defined upgrade strategy and engage experienced professionals to ensure a smooth transition during upgrades.

  1. Long Term Support

Custom development within ERP requires ongoing support and maintenance. As the system evolves and updates are released, support may be more difficult, as custom functionality may not be well-documented or may require specialized knowledge to maintain. Organizations should consider the availability of skilled resources and the long-term supportability of customizations before deciding to build.


Custom development in an ERP system can be a double-edged sword. While it offers the potential for tailored functionality and competitive advantage, it can also be expensive, time-consuming, and may not integrate well with the rest of the ERP system. As a senior technology leader, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of custom development, and to consider the long-term implications of such decisions.

Before embarking on any custom development project, it is essential to conduct a thorough analysis of business requirements, assess the feasibility of different options, and determine the potential return on investment. It is also important to involve key stakeholders throughout the process, including end-users, to ensure that the resulting functionality meets their needs and expectations.

In conclusion, custom development in an ERP system can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to gain a competitive advantage, automate processes, and meet specific business requirements. However, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of custom development and to consider the long-term implications of such decisions. With careful planning, analysis, and stakeholder engagement, businesses can successfully implement custom functionality within their ERP system and reap the benefits it provides.

The team at DSWi understands the importance of making informed decisions when it comes to custom development in your ERP system.  We have helped over 100 clients from coast-to-coast grow, cut costs and become more profitable since we started in 2006. Yesterday, today and always, our business has one goal: Helping your business grow.

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