There’s something to be said for not messing around with something that works. When corporate technology expert Andy Ziegele told Profit Magazine in 2009 that companies should stick to “vanilla” implementations of their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems as much as possible, it was at the tail end of a string of high-profile and costly ERP implementation disasters spanning the past decade. Companies, Ziegele argued, are not as different as they think, and often their desire for customization is driven more by politics than by a business process so unique that an off-the-shelf ERP can’t handle it.
In many ways, spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel are the backbone of the business world. With a little ingenuity, they handle everything from project management to employee expenses -- the ideal tool for companies that may not be ready to commit to a full-blown ERP system.