The holy grail of standardization
When a typical company buys a typical software package, something typical happens: A conflict. It’s sort of standard that what’s standard doesn’t meet the company’s standard. So, let me present the boxed solution on how to get out of the out-of-the-box solutions. Yet still remain in the box.
If you ask the IT department about the main criteria when it comes to new software, they probably say it should be out-of-the-box. To the business, this is not an obvious choice. Because if somebody makes something out-of-the-box, the business needs to think outside-the-box to continue working. This poses both a threat and an opportunity.
To standardize or customize: Is that the right question?
To implement something out-of-the-box, you’ll probably need to make some changes to your current processes. Or to put it differently – it’s very unlikely that the out-of-the-box functionality is based on your current processes. As a natural consequence, the way you work must change. This is normally painful to everyone involved but also presents an opportunity to get rid of some chronic pain the organization suffers from on a daily basis.
When we implement an out-of-the-box solution, let me explain what this typically entails. It means compromising and adapting to a standard way of solving standard problems. This is normally a good way of addressing some not-so-unique challenges and standardizing some standard things. This will most likely eliminate some of the laborious processes that currently require heavy painkillers.
But from a change management perspective, you should respect the alterations of your current processes. This can make or break the organization when it comes to out-of-the-box adaptation. Some parts of a CPQ solution tend to be highly standard, but some parts are truly unique. That’s why an out-of-the-box solution often has got to be shaped to support reality.
Back to reality
So, what do we need to remember? Make sure you don’t put your sales force on a strict diet just to get into the new suit. Respect that processes come in many different shapes and sizes. When you get an out-of-the-box solution, make sure there are ways to tailor the final result. Keep this in mind as you continue to seek the holy grail of standardization.