Some would say there is no difference between the two. I would disagree as there are many differences. Every company starting an engagement process for new software or new technology has heard one or more of the following phrases:
- Out of the box solutions: Sure, you can use the software right out of the box. However, what they don’t tell you is the only way you can use it is to change one or more of the following: Your corporate go to market strategy, policies, procedures or processes to use the software.
- Customizable software: Core functionally is in the software that then is customized to your company. The catch here is that customizable leads to costlier. You must pay for every change big or little that is added to the software for your company. While you could end up with software that would work for your company today, changes needed in the future will always cost you more.
- Completely configurable software: Take “out of the box” and “customizable,” mix them up over many years and clients and you end up with configurable software. This is software that solves issues and allows your company to configure the way you want to use it to meet your goals.
There are good reasons for why a company might select any of the software types above since every software company can sell one or all 3 types of software. In my experience, if you use out of the box software you often won’t use more than 15 percent of the software purchased. That percentage increases to around 25 percent with customizable software. The usage percent could increase higher, but the customization is so costly companies often run over budget. The highest percentage of usage is with the configurable software. Companies can get as high as 50 percent usage until they become overwhelmed with configurations. Why are most companies not even using 50 percent of the software they purchase? That’s a good question and each company will offer different reasons.
So, what are the benefits of selecting a software solution partner you ask? To start, in my experiences, a company’s utilization of the software they purchase can get as high as 90 percent. How is that possible? Software solutions providers work with your company to find the best fit of their offerings to merge/integrate with your current software. They allow you to continue capturing benefits from your current software investments while enhancing your capabilities with new software. While the solutions company’s road map contains many modules, some may be redundant to what your company is happy using, you have the option to purchase just the modules that fill your gaps. That’s what happens with out of the box solutions; you end up with redundant unused software.
Another benefit of having a solutions partner is they will ask what your company’s desired outcome is. What problem are you trying to solve with software? They work with your company to develop a road map of current and new software. They build integrations and develop new functionalities that will help your company to reach the desired results. Partners work as a team with a single goal and that is achieving your company’s desired results. As partners they work with your company though configurations and implementation while closing any gaps uncovered. You won’t hear “Us versus Them,” but instead, “How can we do it?.” They provide training, coaching and experience to your company. They transfer their knowledge to help you reach your goal with continued support.
You always want to find the right software solutions partner as working together makes it easier to reach your company’s goals.