“Vanilla” is not always good when it comes to Dynamics 365

“Vanilla” is not always good when it comes to Dynamics 365

One of the most common questions among entrepreneurs is whether to buy an off-the-shelf system or get one custom Dynamics 365 ERP solution for your company. Today, we’ll tell you why “Vanilla” is not always good when it comes to Dynamics 365.

Whenever I hear a client tell me, “we just want a vanilla, out-of-the-box solution,” my heart sinks. I know now, my unenviable task is gently persuading the client that the term doesn’t exist.  Moreover, it is an ERP industry hoax, just like “accelerators” and “standard process models.

Some clients get it; some don’t. Therefore, I figured I’d jot down some thoughts on the subject; from there, you can make your judgment.

Here’s what we are going to be talking about:
  • What is Custom Dynamics ERP?
  • What is “Vanilla” ERP Software?
  • Vanilla ERP Software vs. Dynamics 365 Custom ERP Software
  • Which is right for your business?
  • The In-depth Comparison
  • Features to fit User Requirements
  • Tips for doing Custom Software Right

What Is Custom Dynamics 365 ERP?

Indeed, a popular choice these days in most places; a Customized Dynamics ERP solution. We specially design and develop these for a particular organizational set of needs—including organizational requirements, preferences, and boundaries. ERP architecture considers all the attributes of organizational flows, management, strategies, and operations. With mobility being the modern mantra today, it is the world of ERP solutions. Therefore, enterprises have to adopt mobility to stay ahead of the curve.

What is “Vanilla” Dynamics 365 ERP software?

Opposite to customization, these packaged systems are built in advance, and maintenance runs on the organization. As such, it caters to the modern needs of enterprise resource management. Of course, they have their own set of flexible points, limited, nonetheless. Its design gives equal attention to all significant business activities. Thus, it includes all major departmental activities and inter-module integrations. Off-the-shelf ERP comes with pre-loaded features, extensively tested and verified before releasing the software into the market.

The idea; if you took a packaged solution doing the minimal customization possible, you would make the implementation and the upgrade path cheaper and faster. The trouble; this philosophy was—and honestly, still is—rubbish. Dreamed up by marketing in large systems integrators and software vendors to make clients feel more comfortable. Of course, when they signed up for their multi-million-dollar implementations.

Vanilla vs. Custom Dynamics 365 ERP Software

Which is Right for Your Business?

Deciding between the two is not easy, as everything comes down to the needs of your business. It would be best if you reminded yourself how your company operates. Dynamics 365 considers all the pitfalls with a custom solution, and it’s pretty capable of managing any business process. From sales and operations to accounting and HR. It focuses on real things that matter for your business by empowering your employees, engaging customers, and transforming your business processes. However, before you dive into software that will play a central role in streamlining your business operations, you should understand what these two options represent to your company.

On the one hand, you have off-the-shelf ERP solutions that come with default elements, which you might or not need. On the other hand, you have ERP solutions you can customize and adapt to your every need. Understandably, both of these solutions have their own set of strengths and drawbacks. Each solution has a broad user base considering specific business needs, functionality, budget, and ROI. With their own set of strengths and weaknesses, known internally, based on the set of parameters below, it can become a customizable solution if it’s better. Otherwise, if it’s advisable, you can select a standardized ERP solution.

Dynamics 365 ERP Software customized

Let’s discuss some factors in detail for both solutions:

The In-Depth Comparison

Budgeted Cost Factor

We develop Dynamics 365 Custom ERP systems based on real-time needs. More precisely, we can design specifically for your organization, and therefore, it provides an accurate and effective solution to your problems. Moreover, whenever you want to change, modify, or add functionality, you can do so without any hassle. Dynamics 365 Custom ERP software can give you a competitive edge because it’s built with a unique approach specific to your organization. No other organization can have the same software you own.

Furthermore, whom you choose as your custom Software Development Partner makes a lot of difference. Consider that, when it comes to a custom ERP solution—as its name suggests—it gives you the advantage of complete flexibility. By itself, that feature invites many people to acquire it. Talking about the cost factor, custom ERP costs you less than the packaged system. How? It’s built only with the required functionalities. It doesn’t add unnecessary modules and functions for an extra cost. Therefore, it is cost-effective and a widely adopted type of system.

Off-the-Shelf ERP

These systems have their own set of attached costs to each module, which includes various parameters. Licensing fees, customization charges, implementation cost, etc. Yes, the initial cost of requirement analysis and design is a significant reduction in overall expenditure.


Dynamics 365 Custom ERP

The architecture of these flexible yet steady solutions proves to be highly robust and scalable for businesses. Therefore, we can build these systems with great accuracy and a clear understanding of its vision and mission.

Off-the-Shelf ERP

Since everything is almost complete and prepared before the understanding phase, it could be a strict and complex architectural setup. Therefore, it may create a problem later, during the implementation phase. These packaged ERP systems are less suitable whenever we want any change in work pattern or flow.

Features to Suit User Requirements with Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 Custom ERP            

Dynamics 365 Custom ERP provides a user experience a notch higher than the canned ERP. Furthermore, because their mapping with each bit of user requirement happens during the inception phase itself, there is a high flexibility level. The solution will be able to meet the user’s expectations.

Off-The-Shelf ERP

Sometimes, off-the-shelf ERP may not fit as per the organization’s structure and workflow. Although it offers a small amount of flexibility, in some cases, it’s not enough. For instance, when changing an entire module or adding a new function, pre-built ERP isn’t the most favorable choice.

Business Processes

Dynamics 365 Custom ERP            

Indeed, Custom ERP tends to accomplish business objectives more precisely than off-the-shelf ERP systems. The result: well-built functions, accurate business logic, customized modules, managed workflows, and appealing user experience as precise as anticipated. The organizational processes themselves are the light to the entire path. Therefore, there’s not much change in the actual procedures. Hence why the whole solution indeed is a reflection of the actual process execution.

Off-The-Shelf ERP

Presently, several enhanced off-the-shelf ERP systems available will offer a perfect solution to your problem. They are easy to use, quick-to-install, and loaded with support packages. However, the concern here would be inaccuracy to meet your business goals, as the client didn’t specify the requirements during the development phase.

Integration with External Systems

Dynamics 365 Custom ERP            

In custom ERP, we identify, verify and analyze the requirements before their development. Moreover, starting the project includes the analysis and inclusion of an external system, which the organization could use in the future. These customized solutions have their scopes and challenges identified and defined. That makes integration with external systems easier.

Off-The-Shelf ERP

Third-party integration is doable, although it turns out to be highly expensive and has many licensing and data management issues, which you have to resolve. However, various third-party plugins available enrichen and make these solutions more advanced.

Timelines for Execution

Dynamics 365 Custom ERP

Although the specifications adapt to the organizational needs, it does take a little time to set up the entire requirements set, even more for further planning. As developers map the solution to fit user’s needs exactly, they leverage all the features. However, it isn’t an offer about faster time-to-market, and it takes more time in development and execution.

Off-The-Shelf ERP

In this case, since all functionalities are predefined, the starting phase is quicker. The time consumption arises from training the employees and implementing the ERP since the modules and their functionalities are not made as per the user requirements. That’s why businesses need to train their employees.

Tips for Doing Custom Software Right

Now that we’ve clarified some common misconceptions and debunked a couple myths, to recap, here are a few tips to keep in mind when looking for a good custom software team:

  • Find a custom team that exhibits a desire to understand your business and its processes.
  • Try to find a software team that tends to specialize in certain industry areas, rather than a one-stop shop of all kinds of solutions.
  • Look for companies that are capable of or open to iterative software developments, so you can test your custom solution as it is developed.
  • Find a company that shows you a plan for the different steps of a project, how they will provide maintenance, and how they plan to deploy your application for you.
  • Look for a company that’s established and reputable, and larger than just a few people.

As a senior architect for Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain for several years, working with a team of talented developers, my expertise is in configuring complex business management solutions specifically for my clients.

How customize your D365 ERP software right

I highly recommend building a Custom Dynamics 365 ERP Solution and hopefully after reading this blog, you would be on the same page too. If you want to know more about our consulting services for your company, visit our website, and also find out about our catalog of courses and what we have to help you boost your business.

And as always, if you need any help, connect with us or or via email: help@instructorbrandon.com We can do that with our customized version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP Solution that can give you a competitive edge because it is uniquely built for your organization, no other organization can have the exact same Dynamics ERP software you own. See you next time!


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