Many companies have processes that are unique to their
business. When these companies look
for a computer system, they feel that there is no software package that will
meet their needs. Yet, there are
times when a package designed for a different industry can meet these needs.
Sometimes a requirement is so unique that no package has that capability.
But, a slight modification to a package may be all that is required.
By thinking out of the box, companies can find a software package that
meets their needs, with little modification, instead of spending hundreds of
thousands or even millions of extra dollars on a custom developed
is a perfect example.
An insurance division of a bank insured that a company would
receive payment for its sales. Its
competitors looked for insurance packages that could automate its process.
The competitors could not find an insurance package that came close
to meeting their needs. Therefore
the Bank felt
they had no choice but to spent millions of dollars to develop a custom system. When the I looked at the insurance divisionís process (reviewing
the credit worthiness of the buyers and then creating policy) it
resembles a loan system (determining the credit worthiness of
the borrower and then creating a loan document.)
The first loan software
packages we reviewed were commercial loan packages, but they could not keep
track of the insured and their customers. Modifying
a commercial loan software package would have taken considerable effort.
The bank when looked at Trade Finance packages.
We found that they where an almost perfect fit!
Instead of spending millions of dollars developing
custom computer systems like its competitors, the bank was able to spend a few
hundred thousand dollars implementing a package in less than half the time.
is another example. A utility company was looking for a new software package to
replace its aging homegrown Fixed Asset system. It did not feel that any package would meet its unique
requirements because of the way it is required to deprecate assets.
(Utilities are required to depreciate an asset for as long as it is in use
even if it is depreciated for more than its cost.
This is unlawful for most other companies because it usually means those companies
are over stating their cost, and it does not conform to General Accepted
Accounting Principles (GAAP). On an aggregate level the assets
were not over depreciated. And, for the
accountants out there, the assets were pooled and depreciated a
percentage determined by the regulatory agency. Since some assets were taken out of service before they
where fully depreciated with no write-down taken, the pool balanced .)
One software vendor refused to bid on the project because
that vendor did not want its software package to be involved with an accounting
process that did not conform to GAAP; they felt was illegal.
Evan after it was explained that the government regulating body
The other vendors did not feel their packages could meet this
highly unusual requirement and would require extensive modifications.
When the vendors performed their scripted demonstration the problem became
apparent their packages stopped depreciating an asset
once the asset had been fully depreciated.
As part of the discussion during the scripted demonstration it was
determined that they system stopped depreciating an asset once its accumulated
depreciation reached the cost of the asset.
However, if a simple program was written to set the accumulated
depreciation to zero, the package would work.
(The only problem would be to remember to run the program every five years.
If you are looking for a software package and have major
processes that are not met by any of the packages you reviewed, first, determine if
simple modifications can be made the package to meet those requirements.
Then look for other industries that need the same type of functionality
and see if their packages will meet your needs.
And, if those two fail then you will need to determine if modifying a
package or custom development is the best alternative.
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