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Configuration Versus Customization

22392319 - 4 3d technician with tools adjusting gear mechanismWhen it comes to PLM, many vendors discuss configuration or customization. Many believe these approaches are the same. However, is configuration different than customization, and which approach is right for you?

For example, Arena’s cloud product lifecycle management (PLM) and quality management system (QMS) solution is a product that can be easily configured without the need to do customization of coding.

On-premises PLM vendors often allow customers to customize their software code. This can result in changes that are outside of defined best practices. Arena, on the other hand, is designed to be configured and deployed fast providing teams and supply chains with a business-ready application.

Why is configuration better than customization?

Here’s a four-word answer that might surprise you: total cost of ownership (TCO).

Customers that crave customization forget to consider the total cost of ownership of their on-premise investment, including hardware, network, backup, and development systems. The TCO includes the cost of human capital, such as project management, database, server, firewall, security, backup, and help desk resources—not to mention the overtime pay for weekend work to install emergency hotfixes, hardware repairs, or security issues.

According to Graphite Systems, Arena’s cloud-based solution eliminated 90% of product errors, saved an estimated $500,000 annually by removing costly on-premise IT management, and reduced time to market by 25%.

On-premise vendors, on the other hand, promote the idea that you can customize and code your application to give you everything you ever wanted. But, they failed to point out the high costs and impact that can lead you to a dead-end when it comes time to upgrade to the latest version of the software. Arena surveyed over 20 former on-premise solution customers that had replaced their on-premises PLM solutions with our cloud solution. Only two customers had attempted to customize their applications. And the ones that did were unhappy because once they had customized the system to the point where they were locked into that version and could no longer upgrade. If they wanted the new upgrade, they would have to rip out the old software and rebuild it from scratch with the new software.

On-premises software models continue to plague customers who want to take advantage of upgrades while avoiding security and firewall issues. Many companies that believe they want the ability to customize soon realize the very real additional time, energy, and expense to make that happen for very little payoff.

The cloud makes a big difference. You’re never going to be rev-locked, in fact, you’re always going to benefit from the new features as they come. With each release, the customer gains the newest features and functionality.