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More and more large and mid-sized companies are choosing to automate their credit management processes. The key question here is then: what is the easiest way to get the risk data of Dun & Bradstreet in my system?
In an interview, Helge Gerhard, Senior Business Consultant at Dun & Bradstreet, explains what decision-makers should always take into consideration when selecting the right software.
Mr. Gerhard, what benefits does standard software offer from your perspective
Helge Gerhard: That’s an easy one, the software is already there and available. You don’t need to develop it first. Particularly in the risk environment, there are many providers with highly sophisticated solutions in their portfolio to cover a wide range of use cases. The partners of Dun & Bradstreet in this environment include companies like Prof. Schumann, Serrala, SHS VIVEON, SAP and SOA PEOPLE AG. You know what you’re getting here. Anyone who decides to go with standard software from a provider such as this benefits from the experience of other users and can accurately assess the time and money required for introducing the respective solution. A guarantee is in place and support is provided if the customer has any questions.
That initially sounds like a highly compelling argument. So where is the catch? What should people definitely be aware of in this context?
Helge Gerhard: We need to differentiate from case to case here and always reach a decision on the basis of the specific application. The processes in credit management vary quite markedly from company to company. As such, situations can definitely be encountered in which standard software is not even considered, as it fails to adequately cater to the customer’s specific use case. From the opposite perspective, standard software can also be “too much” for the individual requirements of a company and too expensive due to its broad scope of functions. The key question that decision-makers should therefore always ask themselves is: does this standard software line up with my specific requirements in credit management, so that efficiency potential can be adequately leveraged?
What are the benefits of custom software?
Helge Gerhard: With custom software, companies develop a solution themselves that optimally matches their processes in credit management. It is a tailored solution. IT staff design the software in such a way that it perfectly covers the requirements in risk management. This allows the full potential of process optimisation to be utilised, keeping valuable know-how in the company. Dependencies on external providers are then also reduced.
In practice, we repeatedly see how companies, especially large corporations, choose to go with custom software. They have internal IT expertise and use the close exchange between credit management and the developers to their own advantage.
So what about your own experience? How long does it take to implement an automation project of this kind?
Helge Gerhard: Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer to this. Some companies manage to connect their ERP directly to our Dun & Bradstreet Data Cloud via custom software within just six weeks. Yet others need six months. There are many different factors in play here.
What kind of internal resources are available? Does the company have any in-house experience with this kind of project? How many departments are involved in the process? Alongside IT, in some cases these can also include the Master Data department, as well as the Risk department and Reporting. This obviously requires a great deal of coordination, which in turn slows down the process.
As a general rule, it is fair to say that introducing standard software is typically faster, as extensive functionalities are already in place.