Buy Vs. Build: Custom May Be The Only Legacy Replacement - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Software // Enterprise Applications
10:37 AM
Rick Whiting
Rick Whiting

Buy Vs. Build: Custom May Be The Only Legacy Replacement

No off-the-shelf application could provide the specific price- and promotion-management capabilities that supermarket chain Giant Eagle needed, so the company developed the apps itself.

Companies migrating off legacy systems face a timeless choice: build or buy? Supermarket chain Giant Eagle Inc. and shipping and logistics company Menlo Worldwide, unable to find what they needed in off-the-shelf applications, opted to develop their own. Utility company Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Unilever Home and Personal Care North America chose packaged software, citing advantages such as compatibility with other applications and the freedom of letting a vendor worry about keeping the software current.

Giant Eagle's philosophy is to rely on packaged software whenever possible. But no off-the-shelf application provided the specific price- and promotion-management capabilities the company needed, says CIO and VP of IS Russ Ross. The same held true for Menlo Worldwide, which couldn't find a commercial freight-forwarding application that met the company's needs for scope, scalability, and functionality. "We had to build it ourselves," senior VP Edward Feitzinger says.

Twenty-five percent of companies say they used packaged applications such as enterprise resource planning to replace their legacy systems, in a recent survey of 115 business-technology professionals for Optimize magazine. That was Unilever's decision, based in large part on the fact that SAP applications are a standard in the global company's infrastructure. So, replacing a legacy order-management system with an SAP app means the consumer-goods maker can sync up order management with the company's sales, distribution, finished-goods-inventory, and financial SAP applications, says supply-chain integration director Al Marshall. And the company was able to leverage the knowledge employees gained in past SAP projects.

Despite the scale and complexity of the customer-information-management system at PG&E, the utility company believes it found what it needs in SPL WorldGroup Inc.'s CorDaptix application. But PG&E won't know for sure until SPL WorldGroup delivers on the promise of a stream of product updates and new features that were a big part of PG&E's decision. If the vendor delivers, it will relieve PG&E staff from having to revise a custom-built system.

And then there's speed. Tracy Harizal, customer information systems director, estimates that building the application in-house would have added two years to the three-year implementation project.

Return to main story, Money Machines

Illustration by David Plunkert

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Remote Work Tops SF, NYC for Most High-Paying Job Openings
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/20/2021
Blockchain Gets Real Across Industries
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  7/22/2021
Seeking a Competitive Edge vs. Chasing Savings in the Cloud
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/19/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
Monitoring Critical Cloud Workloads Report
In this report, our experts will discuss how to advance your ability to monitor critical workloads as they move about the various cloud platforms in your company.
Flash Poll