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Custom ERP; How customizable are global ERP systems such as SAP or Oracle?

Custom ERPWhen using a single ERP system globally how difficult is it to port customized parts (regarding Revenue Recognition items) into next releases i.e. SAP or Oracle? Is custom ERP possible?

This question was asked by an attendee during the Proformative webinar "Taming Revenue Recognition: Best Practices to Ensure Compliance" held on March 12, 2013. Join the discussion and add your insights below.

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Answers

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

I have had different businesses across different geographies. These have had revenue models that were very different. One was a software company, while another business unit shipped products. This was on SAP. I don't remember any problems and this was over six years ago. I am sure it has improved.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

I think you may mean "configuration" not "customization." My answer assume that.
If you have really "customized" the package, then depending on how that was done technically, you may lose the features, or you will have to re-do your customization.

A single ERP system does not necessarily mean a single set of rules or configurations that must apply; it really depends on how you design and implement your configuration. For example, if you have different rev rec practices in different countries (e.g. US GAAP and IFRS), you could configure the rev rec module to segregate US and EU transactions (which would likely be specific to each subsidiary anyway).
The same is true with having to use a local chart of accounts (e.g. France) which then maps to the corporate chart.

If these are configuration settings, they normally pass through upgrades (unless something significant changes). The way to prepare for this is to obtain the upgrade release notes, read them and develop questions about issues to look for before executing the upgrade. And, of course, run the upgrade in test mode with real test cases to prove it works (user acceptance testing).

By the way, this should apply whether you are using a "big " ERP system or a SaaS package though with SaaS, these changes may often be automatic because the vendor has already tested them. But ask anyway.

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