Package Software Vendors
Enrich Existing Application Frameworks with Rules
One of the great challenges for developers of package applications is developing an application that can meet the individual needs of all customers within a market.
Marketing Strategy in the Global Information Age
‘Wind points out that among the most important shifts suggested by the new marketing paradigm is that which takes organizations from a mass market mentality to "segments of one". This shift is made possible by the enormous advances in database marketing and mass customization, which allow companies to reach individual consumers economically with customized messages, media and even products and services. In the era of mass customization and global markets, the focus is on breakthrough products and services designed for the target portfolio of local regional and global segments and when appropriate customized to particular customers' needs.’
Software vendors have in the past been limited in their ability to support customization, much less 'mass customization'. Widely practiced strategies include:
- Develop a superset of all customers' system requirements, and then configure each individual implementation to use specific subsets of the total capability.
- Provide source, and allow the customer to modify the code as required.
- Claim best practice, and coerce the customer to modify their business to suit the package.
These solutions incur high costs and lack flexibility. Now IDIOM can provide a cost effective and flexible alternative. Provided that the package developer builds appropriate exit points into their application framework, then IDIOM can be used to give the customer complete control over the decision making processes surrounding those exit points. In short, give the customer a remote control for their application. Some areas where exit points can be applied include:
- Data gathering and validation.
- Product and service selection or optimization, including up-selling/cross-selling.
- Derivations and calculations.
- Workflow control/routing determination.
- Document/contract construction.
IDIOM can implement any rules within the constraints of the available data, to manage the application functions listed above.
IDIOM allows the vendor to define the business rules as an externally defined and constructed component, for subsequent attachment to the framework of the application – and replacement as and when required by the customer.
Furthermore, the vendor can provide alternative sets of rules, to meet the needs of different customer segments – while still allowing individual customer override.
This separation of rules from the application allows one framework to be tailored for the specific needs of many customers, by the separate creation and attachment of the customer's own rules – a form of ‘mass customization’.