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No Modifications: Avoiding Cost and Complication in Your Software Implementation

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No Modifications: Avoiding Cost and Complication in Your Software Implementation

December 1, 2020

No Modifications: Avoiding Cost and Complication in Your Software Implementation

You don’t have to complete more than 900 supply chain software implementations to figure out that modifications can add significant time, cost, and trouble to a software deployment or upgrade. Open Sky Group knows. We’ve done over 900 implementations since our founding, and our “No Modifications” software implementation approach has become our best practice, resulting from this rich body of experience.

What do we mean by “modification?”

When you change software to behave differently from the way it was designed to function, you have to change the software’s basic code. As soon as you do that, all sorts of consequences follow. Certainly, the software may do the one thing you wanted it to do differently. But from that point on, other linkages in the software become unrecognizable to the system. Support personnel may not be able to maintain it. Your warranty could be nullified. And in the long-term, new upgrades and integrations may not “take” as they should, because the base code has been fundamentally changed. Any time you introduce even a small modification to your software, the entire ecosystem potentially changes. These changes can trigger a host of cascading effects that can create a minefield of issues for your IT department.

How does the “no modifications” software implementation approach work?

At Open Sky Group, we enter every project with the understanding that there will be no software modifications performed during the implementation process. This level sets our engagement from the get-go, setting upfront expectations that no basic code will be changed. Instead, we rely on the inherent extensibility of the software to accommodate any unusual user requirements. Most software companies are aware that there is no one-size-fits-all way to design a software product. Extensions are intentionally built in to achieve the necessary rightsizing. For instance, a dashboard can be flexibly arranged to provide a unique user view. Or, different functionality can be featured on a screen to accommodate a particular departmental workflow. These changes can be made without modifying the base code allowing the software to better “fit” the company while not rendering the software unsupportable long-term.

Three ways to prepare for a “no modifications” implementation

Our advice to anyone seeking to avoid modifications in software implementations is as follows:

1. Establish ground rules

Come to an agreement within your organization regarding what you will and will not accept in terms of software changes upfront. View your implementation as an “event.” Everyone should be aware that something new is about to take place and now is the time to make any necessary changes. Bring your operations and IT people together, get them to communicate their needs, wants, and desires. Help them to understand that a little flexibility on either side may be all that it takes to circumvent a costly, complicated software modification. Then, nominate a leader to enforce the rules throughout the duration of the project and hold everyone accountable.

2. Put gatekeepers in place

Building on the above, identify those on your team who will have the final say over any product changes that come up during the implementation. This may be a small steering committee of capable leaders with the vision and power to review requests, weigh costs and formulate reasonable compromises. The goal is to ensure that no unwarranted changes proceed without the proper vetting.

3. Remain open-minded

Understand what makes your business unique. Most software today is designed to perform within industry best practices. So, if you feel you need to change it in some way, make sure you are not drifting backward into “the way we’ve always done things.” Stay flexible. Indeed, if you are not doing something according to best practices, ask yourself why? It may be that you have a unique business advantage to preserve. Or, it may be driven by an underlying reluctance to evolve as an organization. Be honest. A frank answer can save you a lot of time and trouble when it comes to software modifications.

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Jeremy Hudson

Vice President of Client Services

Jeremy’s focus is on the products and services clients need to stay competitive. Open Sky Group’s mission is to deliver technology-enabled solutions that allow our customers to achieve more while having the flexibility to adapt to change. Jeremy lives the core values and mission by bringing the best experience possible to our clients. He is an essential member of implementation teams, working alongside clients, and encouraging them to use innovation and best practices instead of customizations for success.

Jason Yantiss

Vice President of Client Services

Jason provides leadership to a variety of teams focused on implementation and integration. With 27+ years of experience holding operational and technical management roles in transportation, billing, and warehousing across a vast array of industry verticals, Jason is adept at driving multiple complex projects, understanding customer needs at all levels of the operation and providing viable solutions. Jason’s resume of 150+ implementation projects include Warehouse, Labor, Transportation, Yard Management and multiple AR/AP Freight Pay and Customer Billing systems. 

Eric McPherson

Vice President of Client Services

Mac works to oversee implementation and integration projects. A former Marine officer and military police officer, he brings over 27 years of supply chain experience, including 11 years at Blue Yonder in both delivery and service sales. Mac is a dedicated, team-oriented professional with a background in business management, professional services, customer service, and supply chain technology. His specialties include sales support, supply chain execution systems, project management, fulfillment operations, distribution operations, and GSA contracts.

Shannon Caflisch

Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Shannon is responsible for the strategy and management of all sales, business development, and marketing programs. With over 25 years of sales experience and 15 years focused in the supply chain space, Shannon focuses on building strong relationships with clients and partners and strives to deliver the right software solutions to help conquer supply chain challenges. Shannon believes in learning by listening to understand clients’ goals, struggles, and what is important to their business to build lasting, successful relationships.

Alan Prillaman

Senior Vice President of Client Services

As Senior VP of Client Services, Alan oversees all consulting services and account management at Open Sky Group. Possessing over 30 years of combined industry and consulting experience, Alan leverages his unique background in IT, logistics, quality management systems, manufacturing and distribution operations, and facility and strategic account management to provide clients with creative resolutions to complex challenges. His core philosophy and passion are to deliver tangible value for and establish long-term trusted partnerships with our clients.

Mike Noble

Senior Vice President of Technology

As Senior Vice President of Technology, Mike leads Open Sky Group’s Managed Services, Software Services, Infrastructure Services, and Information Technology teams bringing 35+ years of experience in Supply Chain Execution and Information Technology. Mike and his teams ensure we maintain the highest levels of customer service in a secure and reliable environment, constantly reviewing and evaluating new technologies, their appropriateness and applicability so we can safely and securely transact our own business – and help our clients accomplish the same.

Chad Kramlich

CEO

Joining Open Sky Group in 2015, Chad, served as Chief Revenue Officer for three years prior to his appointment to CEO in 2022. With over 25 years of experience delivering results for high-growth software and consulting organizations, Chad is leveraging his background in building efficient and effective implementation teams, establishing high-impact services operations, achieving revenue growth, and deepening executive-level client relations to help propel Open Sky Group into a very successful future.