Functionality vs technology is the one of the common battles. You do need solution to cover your processes and most of the functions within the business. Sometimes this need becomes obsession to make specific system that ‘one and only’. No system or solution is going to cover all your activities 100%! Industry specific vertical solution may come close as 80-90%, if you are lucky. By my standards that is even very high. Please, do drop this vision of using your inventory management system as e-mail server. Look at this from a bit higher perspective. Any piece of software is just the tool meant for specific purpose. Some are more flexible than others. They all are as good as they ‘play’ well together. There is no magic “all in one” solution! Do not be afraid to change 2 systems not with 1 but with 2 or even 3 again. Make sure that they will be doing what they are intended for. Make sure they fit your purposes. Typically there will be integrations and customizations to bridge (hopefully) minor gaps – specific screen or two, reports, mobile apps and extension, import or export scripts, workflows etc. It is important that you have technology that is easy to develop on and is easy to maintain. Good example would be SAP. There you get vertical solution with industry best practice that does come close as 90% (again if you are lucky). Even this percent comes at the price – “SAP way or the highway”. To do modifications and perform maintenance for them afterwards is very pricey exercise. Other extreme can be some custom .net or Java solution where technology is flexible but functionality has to be started from scratch. If you do have the luxury to spend time designing it all – be my guest. Supporting such application technically may be quite easy, though functionally support will be limited to very few people who were involved in the project and piles of outdated documentation (practice dictates that there is usually none). Balance or if to call it a trade-off between functionality and technology is always there. Consider all the angles of your decision carefully. Do think platform first and then solution and application. Do consider how this change will play with your current tools and technologies that are there to stay. Example – if you choose something from Microsoft Dynamics suite, bear in mind that all promoted bells and whistles do work best when they are surrounded and supported by other Microsoft products like Exchange server, SQL, Sharepoint and etc. Otherwise prepare yourself for compromise.
As readers we do often come to question ‘why’ this particular article or post has been written, ’why’ service or company exist, ‘why’ do we care. Fun as ‘why’ is good enough reason at times. This time fun is so-called side effect. Main reason is mystery. It does surround technology consulting. Lots of acronyms, smart talks, huge piles of methodologies, smart books with best practices, ugly-looking solutions, poor customer experience and people lost in translation, unrealistic expectations on both sides, and many other good things. Main ‘why’ here is to convert complicated things into simple while keeping it fun.