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Which one to choose
by Stephan La Rocca, PITSS Migration Expert for Oracle Forms, Reports, APEX, ADF
Individual or standard Software? is a question many companies have to face in a decision making process. This subject involves an endless discussion, comprised in countless documents. Migration scenarios are not considered in one of them! We need to understand that in such scenarios, decision making criteria differ. Migration expert Stephan La Rocca examines the pros and cons regarding this topic for you.
Modernization projects have their own rules
But – you’ll also lose all your business implementation, your rules, you in readable code written understanding of the uniqueness of your company. Especially if the legacy application covers your main business.
Already in December 2010 the center of European Economic Research (ZEW) headline in a discussion paper that “the use of customized enterprise software is
related to service innovation in a positive and significant way.” “The positive impact of individual enterprise software on service innovation stays robust among different specifications.” Download of paper
There are a lot of websites out there that explain the pros and cons of Individual Software vs. off-the-shelf software, and we will cover them in a second. But none of them takes care about this decision in a situation, where an existing legacy application already covers their business. This will change the rules.
The value of the legacy application
As an important baseline for the following chain of arguments it’s necessary to know how we see and enable Modernization projects: If you stay in individual development we follow and advise the staged approach described by Gartner. That is, in a couple of iterations replacing the existing legacy application with the new solution. Integration technologies allow us to run both applications in parallel and ensure a stable and smooth move to the new application.
Availability of the solution
Influence of business
Modernising the legacy application removes this stress from business.
This is not necessary for the legacy application. All those interactions stay more or less the same. Perhaps some refactoring, if the data model change.
Lower Training Costs
Accuracy of fit
Benefit from best practices
One major task, which is very often overlooked in the replacement of a legacy application with an off-the-shelf software is the fact of running a GAP analysis. The legacy application is more or less covering the actual business, but the requirements are documented out of interviews and outdated documentation. Sometimes very time consuming code reading is used to understand the actual implementation of business rules. All this could end up in a GAP analysis, which cost intensive and failure affected.
Unfortunately we saw a couple of customers, who were getting aware of missing functionality after the Go-life, due to the fact of rare or obvious functionalities which are missed in the interviews.
Differentiation through individualisation
Individualisation enables specialisation
High accuracy of fit
More flexibility through individual software development
No manufacturer dependency
Should the off-the-shelf software guide your processes, or should the individual software support your processes?
Our advice is:
If the software treats your main business processes, those, which gave you the small advantages on the market, the reason for your company to exist, use individual software to stay agile, fast and innovative. If you like to support the second or third level processes use off-the-shelf software.
Don’t throw away all the knowledge in your legacy application!