As businesses continue to digitize their operations, Accounts Payable (AP) departments are increasingly turning to automation solutions to streamline their processes. However, with so many options available, businesses face a tough decision: should they choose an out-of-the-box (OOTB) solution or a custom solution? In this guide, we'll explore the pros and cons of each option to help businesses make an informed decision.
AP automation solutions can deliver significant benefits to businesses, including improved efficiency, reduced costs, and better control and visibility. However, choosing between an OOTB or custom solution can be a challenge. OOTB solutions offer quick setup and deployment, cost-effectiveness, and standardization, while custom solutions can deliver customized business processes, scalability, integration with existing systems, regulatory compliance, competitive advantage, efficiency across diverse processes, and better control and visibility.
Out-of-the-Box (OOTB) AP Solutions
OOTB solutions offer a quick and cost-effective way to automate AP processes. They are pre-built and ready to use, making setup and deployment fast and easy. OOTB solutions also offer standardization, ensuring that processes are consistent across the organization. However, OOTB solutions may not be customizable to meet the specific needs of the organization, and may not integrate with existing systems. Additionally, they may not deliver the same level of efficiency as custom solutions.
- Quick Setup and Deployment: OOTB solutions are designed to be implemented quickly with minimal setup. They often come with pre-set features that are ready to use from the get-go.
- Cost-Effective: With predefined functionality and minimal customization, OOTB solutions typically have lower initial costs and don't require substantial resources for implementation.
- Standardization: These solutions follow standard best practices and workflows that are common across many industries, making them a great fit for organizations that have standard AP processes.
- Simplicity: They are generally more straightforward and easier to use and understand as they do not involve complex customized features.
- Limited Customization: OOTB solutions come with a predefined set of features, limiting your ability to tailor the system to your specific needs.
- Potential Inefficiencies: If your processes don't align with the standard workflows in the OOTB solution, your team may have to adjust its ways of working, potentially leading to inefficiencies or confusion.
- Less Scalability: As your business grows and evolves, an OOTB solution may not be able to keep pace with changing needs and increased complexity.
Custom AP Solutions
Larger organizations with complex AP processes may benefit from a custom solution. Custom solutions can be tailored to the specific needs of the organization, delivering customized business processes that can improve efficiency and reduce costs. They can also be scaled as the organization grows, and can be integrated with existing systems to streamline operations. Additionally, custom solutions can help organizations comply with regulatory requirements and gain a competitive advantage. However, custom solutions can be expensive and time-consuming to develop, and may require ongoing maintenance and support.
- Highly Tailored: Custom AP solutions can be tailored to fit your specific business needs and workflows. They provide more flexibility and can be configured to align perfectly with your business processes.
- Scalability: Custom solutions can grow with your business. As your needs evolve or become more complex, your AP solution can adapt accordingly.
- Competitive Advantage: A solution that fits your unique business processes can give you a competitive advantage, as it enables more efficient and effective operations than a one-size-fits-all approach.
- Integration: Custom solutions can be designed to integrate seamlessly with your existing systems, reducing the risk of disruption and increasing overall process efficiency.
- Potentially Higher Initial Costs: Custom AP solutions typically require more resources to set up and implement. The costs of development, testing, and deployment can be higher than with OOTB solutions.
- Longer Implementation Time: It takes more time to design and implement a custom solution. This could delay the benefits of AP automation.
- Maintenance: Custom solutions may require ongoing maintenance and updates, which can add to the overall cost and complexity of the system.
- Dependency on Provider: You may become reliant on your software provider for updates, changes, and troubleshooting, as your in-house team might not have the necessary skills to handle these tasks.
Combining OOTB and custom solutions can deliver the best of both worlds. By using an OOTB solution as a foundation and customizing it to meet the specific needs of the organization, businesses can achieve scalability, cost and time effectiveness, adaptability, an integrated approach, improved user adoption, and future-proofing. This approach can also help organizations avoid the high costs and time requirements of a fully custom solution.
Choosing between an OOTB or custom solution for AP automation is a critical decision that requires careful consideration. Businesses should evaluate their specific needs, resources, and strategic goals before making a decision. OOTB solutions offer quick setup and deployment, cost-effectiveness, and standardization, while custom solutions can deliver customized business processes, scalability, integration with existing systems, regulatory compliance, competitive advantage, efficiency across diverse processes, and better control and visibility.
It's important to remember, however, that even with the advantages, organizations should carefully evaluate their specific needs, resources, and strategic goals before deciding on an AP solution. Furthermore, they should ensure they have the necessary support, either in-house or from the solution provider, to manage and implement the desired customizations.
About EZ Cloud
Combining OOTB and custom solutions can deliver the best of both worlds, achieving scalability, cost and time effectiveness, adaptability, an integrated approach, improved user adoption, and future-proofing. By taking the time to evaluate their options, businesses can choose the solution that best meets their needs and delivers the most significant benefits.
EZ Cloud offers a solution that combines the best of both worlds - OOTB functionality that is tailored to your needs (and is easy to use). To learn more, book a demo at https://ezcloud.co/demo.