Packaged Software: The Challenge of Saying No

Asia Yavorskyy/N SPRO, News & Announcements0 Comments

Packaged Software: The Challenge of Saying No

It’s an echo from a bygone era: just say no.  It’s become part of pop culture and in certain respects has taken on an irreverent mocking tone.  Nevertheless, the underlying sentiment is well intentioned: don’t do things that you know are destructive – in the world of package software this is also true.  When faced with a decision about whether to customize the software instead of changing something else to fit the capabilities of the software it seems like an easy choice, say yes to the customization and keep moving forward.  However – to trot out another cliché – the road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Saying yes in the short term seems like the right thing to do and feels good, but in the long run can be a poor choice. Why it is hard to say NO The obvious answer is that saying yes is easy.  After all, saying yes gives people what they want and rapidly sets a direction.  Yes is water flowing downhill, it is the path of least resistance, although water doesn’t care whether it fills the reservoir or floods the town. You’ve probably heard stories about how saying yes to everything a child asks for leads to an unhealthy sense of entitlement later in life, let alone the immediate tantrums when you try to say no.  On top of this, not everything that they ask for may not be in their best interests. It takes fortitude, will power and frankly some stubbornness to say no when a child is having a meltdown in public. On some level this is what happens when a client who has bought package software insists on making modifications or customizations.  They are asking for something that in the long run is going to have an undesirable outcome. Now, I implore you, dear reader, to cut me some slack here.  I am not saying clients are like small children with poor impulse control.  What I am saying is that those impulses can lead to a bad place and it is our collective responsibility on a project to manage those desires and make sure any modifications and customizations are done for the right reasons. Assume the Answer is NO and Proceed from There My colleague Cehunt Duong wrote about the value of staying within the confines of standard software capabilities and described many impacts from deviating from delivered functionality. Intellectually these reasons make sense, but getting a project to buy into a standard solution can be a challenging task.  Here are some of the obstacles I’ve encountered and potential solutions.  As you read these it is worth remembering that the solutions are not necessarily meant to be easy. Challenge: If we use standard delivered functionality we become just like everyone else who runs SAP Response: companies are usually the same only at the most superficial level in that they provide goods and/or services, but once you get under the covers no two companies are the same. Each has its […]

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