Traditionally, customized solutions had a very negative connotation. Historically, they were equated to projects that had enormous budgets, lengthy timeframes and were fraught with problems, overruns and other challenges. That does not need to be the case with the tools and technology available today. Customized solutions are available in ALL price ranges and are the most effective and, in a large number of cases, the ONLY way to truly capture business information and processes that are unique.
The technology available today enables us to build solutions to address these unique processes in an affordable and timely manner. In addition, these solutions can be built on top of existing technology and use pre-existing building blocks that enable us to re-use a large amount of code and focus on the unique aspects without having to build an application from the ground up. Furthermore, customizations are well-documented, tracked and capable of migrating and integrating into existing ERP solutions and products such as Microsoft Dynamics.
We are able to build solutions within Dynamics that are native to the interface and are preserved throughout the upgrade process. They can be developed using the tools within the Dynamics product so the look, feel and workflow are native and natural for the end user. In many cases, the end users don't even know the features are customized!
Our development approach has evolved over the years to strike the balance between effectiveness and efficiency in an optimal manner. We are able to capture the requirements and specifications and document these without spending numerous days/weeks/months having meetings and discussions. By utilizing our Rapid Application Development approach either within Dynamics or in a stand-alone capacity, we are able to show results in such a quick fashion that users stay encouraged and involved throughout the process. In addition, by moving the project along quickly (even if that means breaking it down into phases), we are able to return meaningful value to the organization in a fraction of the time compared to traditional development methods.
One of the key elements to this approach is the concept of "rapid prototyping." This concept enables us to get elements of the solution in front of the end users very quickly (possibly a matter of a few days!!) to get immediate feedback on the design and workflow feasibility. By doing this, we are able to involve the team in the entire project and get better buy-in from end users. This also enables us to identify potential red flags and holes much quicker than working from strict narratives and flow charts. By enabling people to see the screens and interact with the application very quickly, we are able to uncover workflow issues and potential bugs much sooner than with traditional development methods.
The bottom line is that if your organization is a leader in the market, technology or processes, then you should consider preserving these processes in an efficient and effective manner. If you thought a customized solution was too difficult to maintain, too expensive to develop or not within reach for an organization of your size, then you need to reconsider. Today's tools make sophisticated and unique solutions affordable and available to all companies who have a need for them.