Baxter Manufacturing Company (BMC) has embraced the use of computer technology and software to enhance their competitive advantage and customer relationships. In the past they have tried to implement Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) solutions with no success. The current MIS manager, Don Collins, has found some success in developing custom solutions in house to meet the organization’s needs. However Mr. Collin’s team cannot handle all the requests and currently has a backlog of about 2 years. The VP of Manufacturing is proposing another COTS system speed up the implementation that he feels will cover their needs and is estimated to come under the budget that Mr. Collin’s is proposing for the custom solution. Background
The challenges presented in this case study circle around the decision to continue developing custom solutions, attempt another COTS solution or find another option. A steering committee has been established to deal with all the requests for new systems and to prioritize the projects. Things that need to be considered in making the decision include items like costs, training needs, implementation time and compatibility with existing systems. Discussion
First, acquisition and deployment of COTS software is usually cheaper than development and deployment of equivalent custom software. You have to invest the time and personnel in maintaining and updating your custom software, where COTS software will usually be maintained by the vendor or partner.
Second, COTS software package, even customized, is probably less suited to your company’s specific needs and challenges than a custom program designed and developed from scratch. So, if your company needs to gather and monitor data from a complex industrial process in order to control other equipment, you may have a hard time finding a COTS package that can do what you need without a lot of customization. Even then, it might...