“I’d have expected this is a standard feature!”
If I had received one Euro every time I heard the statement „but I’d have expected this is a standard feature!“, I probably needn’t write this article. A few years back, I, too, used to think “Hey, this is so obvious, why the hell doesn’t Odoo provide this feature?!?”
Time to take a closer look at the word „standard“. In doing so, we’ll discover that it involves quite a few different aspects:
1) Admittedly, I have asked myself quite often, how one decides what does actually constitute a standard and what does not. The first thing I noticed was that the majority of people who like to say this have also worked in certain businesses or perhaps in exactly the same company all their working lives. We may now argue that since such a business requires typical functionalities that are, consequently, perceived as standard. This argument is, however, contradicted by the fact that there are certain business-specific calculations or particular legal provisions that are anything but standard.
So this does not help to clarify matters. Specific features are, of course, always the easiest to identify, since they are apparent all the time. Anything around the average is not so easy to recognize, since it has become so normal that there is no need to discuss its details. There is simply nothing to compare it with, and one’s own world remains the sole yardstick.
2) Quite often, the assessment of one’s own processes is too superficial or missing objective consideration. As a managing director once told me: „I do not understand what is so complicated about our company. After all, we are only selling what we have bought.”
Well, this may be true, but then this argumentation also applies to any other company. Ultimately, such a generalization will fit every business, every company, everything. The best candidate for such a point of view is probably Amazon. Following this managing director’s argumentation, things shouldn’t be all too complicated there, either.
Of course, starting from such a position, it is quite easy to make comparisons, to explore whether there are any differences at all to other companies and to conclude that everything in one’s own world has to be standard.
3) The last aspect worth mentioning here is that many processes are running without IT support. Here, too, everything is possible: every sequence, every value, and every status. It is, therefore, nearly impossible to understand what may fit the standard form.
After all these years of experience in software implementation and a sound understanding of commercial requirements, we are able to say with certainty that Odoo’s approach of providing a basic platform for the most fundamental business and planning features, with specific modules that are not pre-configured but need to be tailored to a customer’s needs, is not only the best one, but also the most consistent.
The question why less is actually more in this case will be explained in Part 2 of this blog series.