The problem with core components in packaged software

 
 

Software packages are made up of ‘line of business’ functions and core or facilitating components such as:

  • Querying/Reporting
  • Word/Excel Integration
  • Permissions
  • Auditing
  • Document Management
  • Relationship Management
  • Workflow

These core components are key to the usability of a computer system; however in a package selection exercise which focuses on the ‘line of business’ functions they are often assumed to be present and competent and their evaluation is overlooked. This oversight can have a huge impact on the implementation as costly workarounds and configurations are required to use ‘line of business’ functionality.

So why do most software packages have problems with this core set of components?
It’s partly due to the way in which software packages are developed. They start with the building of ‘line of business’ functions for early adopter customers. As the number of customers grows there are requests for different utilities such as “it’s great product, but it would really help us if all changes were audited”, or “in order for us to follow our business process we need a workflow process”.

There are three problems with this pattern of package development:

  1. The core components (such as auditing or querying) are not part of the original architecture of the system. They are often a “sticky-plaster” solution with incomplete capability which adds significantly to the implementation work.
  2. The initial customer requested core component functionality may be for a sub-set of the features and further development is required to provide ‘enterprise’ capability. This results in layer upon layer of code rising from incomplete foundations with endless compromises and work around’s needed during implementation.
  3. The software vendor has good knowledge of the ‘line of business’ the software package was developed for, however they may not have the expertise to design and develop best practice core components such as querying/reporting, auditing, workflow, permissions, etc.

The typical scenario is that over the two to four years of software package development some of these core components are built; however of the seven core components, you’re lucky if all  of them are added to the product, and even luckier again if any of them have been built to best practice standards! The lack of capability of these components is responsible for poor usability and the high implementation costs associated with many software packages.

The development of WhiteSky Studio has followed a completely different approach. Over the last 10 years the WhiteSky team has worked on the design and development of a number of large software packages and has built several versions of the core components. This experience, and considerable research into best practice, has been distilled to enable WhiteSky Studio to provide all of the core components as part of the initial architecture. The core components support the ‘line of business’ functionality providing efficient capability for users and reducing the implementation time and effort.

Download your free trial of WhiteSky Studio today, and see for yourself.