Customization vs. Custom Software

If you are building a business today, you need systems to be able to deliver your value proposition.  You also need systems for selling, marketing, operating and servicing your customers.  Enabling this in the past was heavily manual and process oriented.  As coding became more available, we built custom software for our organizations.

Custom software involved managing a developer or set of developers on a long project cycle.  The coding of software required well defined requirements.  Unfortunately, this takes cycles as well on the front end.

Custom software development is both brittle and expensive.  It is brittle in that when a change was required, which is inevitable with business, then the systemic impacts created work across the system as well as failures if the coding was not malleable to absorb new changes.  Change created ripples in development.  This creates costs in time and money.

Customization With Salesforce.com

Ultimately, the system to run your business needs to capture and enable business process.  This has been the great contribution of Salesforce.com to today’s fast-moving marketplace.  We are able to iterate and make change quickly without the cycles inherent in custom software development.

For example, say that your customer service process needs some tweaks.  You learned this from repeated engagements with your customers and you want to be able to capture more information as well as assign tasks based on certain business rules.

Adding the appropriate database fields and creating those rules can be done with customization in Salesforce.com.  It can be reviewed, tweaked and redesigned easily.  The collaboration and feedback loop helps to drive towards perfection.  Using the system allows for continual refinement.

This same problem would have required exacting specifications in the past.  If you missed, then changing the code was a lot of effort.  You were beholden to the old platforms.

Automate Your Business

You have the opportunity to be in continual discovery and refinement today.  This allows you to get started and be imperfect.  Perfection comes from using your Salesforce.com system and percolating the required changes within a rapid customization cycle.  This allows for more latitude in clarity of requirements which saves cycles and helps to hone your business processes over time.

With such powerful capabilities, we often have to give our customers perspective.  When we build and implement custom software, it can cost tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars.  It is customized and the coding is specific to your business.  The trade-off is that the framework, requirements and build cycles take on a completely different set of costly rules.

If the goal is for automating your business and driving collaboration, sales and execution, then Salesforce.com’s platform for customization saves you massive amounts of time and money.  You can keep pace with the relentless reality of change and manage it with a flexible system that can bend to your requirements. It’s a goal we work towards with our Salesforce consulting clients all the time.

Question: How often do you find yourself changing things to get work done more efficiently?  How do you manage this change?

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