Yes, you can develop custom functionality within a cloud application – and in many ways it’s easier and less expensive than customizing traditional on-premises software.
However, creating custom functionality within the cloud works a little differently than developing customizations for a traditional on-premises system. This is because cloud applications are designed differently than on-premises systems and include regular automatic updates. Custom functionality needs to be compatible with the application regardless of future updates.
Luckily, cloud ERP applications such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Oracle NetSuite are built with customization and flexibility in mind. They both include architecture and tools that make it fundamentally easier to develop functionality for your specific business requirements.
There are 4 basic ways you can customize functionality within a cloud application in order to meet your unique business needs:
1. Business-specific configuration
The best cloud ERP solutions are scalable and flexible, and they allow you to extensively configure settings for your business needs. When properly implemented, many businesses find that their need for developing additional customizations is minimized or even eliminated.
Understanding the configuration options and leveraging them to get the most from your software is a key reason to work with an expert solutions provider during the implementation of a new cloud application in your business.
2. Third-party apps
As businesses increasingly rely on specialized tools to increase their success, the variety of apps that have already been developed to meet specific business needs is growing exponentially. Before you consider developing customized functionality for your cloud application, it’s worth checking to see if someone else already did the work for you.
For example, for Microsoft applications, you can purchase apps from AppSource, and for Oracle NetSuite, you can shop in SuiteApps. These apps are designed to fully integrate with your primary cloud application and typically run inside the main application. They’re guaranteed to not break when automatic updates are applied to the primary cloud application, and often include their own automatic updates as well.
2. Custom workflows
One traditional need for customizations was derived from a need to increase efficiency by automating common business processes. Cloud-based applications make it possible to do this by developing custom workflows. For example, Microsoft Flow or NetSuite SuiteFlow are both platforms that allow you to develop custom workflows within your business management system.
Common workflows might include automatic email alerts for inventory thresholds, purchase order approvals, lead nurturing, or data sharing between applications (such as your CRM and your accounting solution).
4. Custom applications and extensions
If the three previous methods don’t provide your business with the specific functionality it needs, it’s also easy to develop custom applications and extensions for your cloud solution. For example, tools within NetSuite SuiteCloud and Microsoft PowerApps make it easy to build your own apps on top of the pre-existing cloud architecture of your system.
Common examples of custom apps might include employee-facing apps, customer-facing portals to share data, or integrations between your cloud applications and on-premises tools you might use.
Want to learn more about using cloud applications to help your business thrive?
Here at OTT, Inc., we help businesses analyze their needs, find the right solutions, and implement them using our proven 5-step methodology. Contact us today to chat with one of our solutions experts about which technology solutions would best meet your unique business requirements.