Traditionally, during enterprise software development and implementation, companies found they needed to accomplish multiple customizations in order to ensure that the software would fit company requirements and processes. Many customizations meant that it was not unusual for development efforts to take years before launch was possible. It also meant that by the time of launch, the client sometimes decided that the original requirements had in the meantime changed. Budget numbers were also very large.
Fortunately, today there is a better way. Over-customization is being eliminated with cloud-based, low code “Out-of the Box” (OOTB) software.
In years past, the development process would have followed a specific sequence of steps:
- Collect requirements from the client in great detail;
- Perform a “gap fit analysis,” to determine the differences or “gaps” between what the client is requesting and what the software already has;
- Use configuration, customization or both to narrow the gap as much as possible;
- Perform testing and launch.
It seemed a straightforward approach: identify client needs and meet them. Unfortunately, this approach also came with consequences:
- Implementation took a large amount of time and effort. It was not unusual to take several years and 50 or so programmers.
- As a result, budgets were enormous.
- And because the client was asked for requirements without any guidelines in place, the client often compiled a large wish list, usually resulting in over-customization.
Over the past 10 years or so, however, OOTB Implementation has become a much more popular method, especially in the Customer Service Management (CSM) arena. Cloud-based systems in particular tend to be simpler and quicker to implement due to their readiness out of the box. Often times, proper configuration is all that is needed.
The overall process has become greatly simplified. To begin, don’t ask the client for a list of requirements. With feature-rich out-of-the-box solutions having proliferated so much over the past decade, the client should be aware of which features a chosen solution already contains.
Next, train the client staff on the Out-of-the-Box solution and launch immediately.
Customization and configuration are both very easy while the solution is in service, so after perhaps 1-3 months, ask the client to specify which changes are needed and how those changes should be prioritized.
Following the process known as Out-of-the-Box Implementation yields great savings of both budget dollars and time:
- The number of requirements drastically decreases;
- Because you launch immediately, time-to-market is practically nil;
- Budgets are much smaller;
- No over-customization occurs.
Use of OOTB Implementation has increased dramatically in the past decade or so. The fact that it eliminates over-customization will no doubt remain a major reason for its continued growth.