EHP Upgrade vs Custom Development – What to Choose and Why?

You’re sitting in your office on a cold winter day, and a big shot from the business comes in and tells you, “I need to add a new functionality to our ERP system. I would like you to upgrade to EHP7, because I heard EHP7 supports this functionality.”

The first thing you do after you clean up your spilled coffee is you try to understand what the newly requested functionality does. Then comes the tough part.

EHP7 vs Going Freestyle!
EHP7 vs Going Freestyle!

EHP7 vs Doing it Freestyle
You need to know how much of an effort the EHP7 upgrade will be vs bypassing the EHP7 upgrade and “customizing your way through the functionality”. If you are asked to add a comments field to a single screen, it can be very tempting to DIY (do it yourself). Who wants to do EHP7 for a comments field?

Going freestyle initially looks easy. You will spend a few hours customizing some code and go live.

Now let’s take a look at the EHP7 path. You will spend 1-3 months upgrading to EHP. Once you’re done, you can look forward to running ERP tests and activating the business function – another project unto itself. Sounds wonderful!

Upgrading to EHP7 is a very daunting project.

Custom Code Should Be Easy
If you are going to skip EHP7, then customizing your new business function should be quick – a week at the most. Very compelling, isn’t it? On top of that, you know that if you go with EHP7 standard functionality, it will almost never do exactly what you want. You could find yourself customizing things after the EHP7 upgrade.

On the good side, when you go with customizing without EHP, you are the solo pilot, completely in control. You know exactly what you are doing and don’t have to rely on dozens of people, you don’t have to run full regression tests. No offshore teams are involved. You just make a little tweak.

The Advantages in the EHP7 Upgrade
By going the EHP7 route, there is the investment in time and effort. But it is a long-term investment. When you create custom code, you will need to continually maintain it. When you look at it on a 5 year ROI, custom code will always come out as more expensive.

More importantly, every time you want to make a change after creating custom code, your work is harder. Every piece of custom code that you add to your ERP is another mountain to climb.

When you go with standard functionality, you let the vendor take responsibility for issues. The vendor owns his code and he needs to fix it and ensure that all of the components in his system “talk to each other”. The vendor has a fulltime team of testers.

The Best Case for EHP7 Upgrades
Need a clincher? Upgrading to EHP7 is in your interest. Why? It is in your interest to keep your ERP system current. It is easier to upgrade from EHP6 to EHP7 than from EHP1 to EHP7. Finally, by upgrading to EHP7, you will be more responsive to the business.

And that’s one of your New Year’s Resolutions!