Closing the Gap: Out-of-the-Box and Custom Software  - Lancaster Chamber of Commerce
Closing the Gap: Out-of-the-Box and Custom Software 
Digital Article Series, Thriving

By Esther Angell – A feature piece from our Fall-Winter 2023 issue of the Lancaster Thriving Publication

Buying business software is like buying a house—it comes with features you love at a basic level, but it’s bound to lack a few specific things you want. The logical course of action is to flesh out what you’ve purchased and make it work for your unique needs.  

In the case of business software, users often start by investing in out-of-the-box products. These solutions can be purchased, downloaded, and used immediately with minimal or no customizations. Out-of-the-box systems are ready-made to address common business needs, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for sales and marketing processes, or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for operations and inventory management.  

For many businesses, out-of-the-box software will cover the majority of their needs. But companies in unique industries like manufacturing and distribution or organizations with special workflows may find out-of-the-box software too rigid. To close the gap between what the software covers and what it doesn’t, these companies can invest in custom projects.  

Customizations—like add-ons and modules—build upon the out-of-the-box framework to meet business requirements, automate routine tasks, and integrate seamlessly with other solutions in a company’s tech stack. A custom project might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to mean a huge project with a huge investment—it can be as straightforward as enhancing the systems you already have. 

As a trusted software partner for solutions from Microsoft, Sage, Salesforce, and HubSpot, Cargas knows just how incredible out-of-the-box solutions are—but we also recognize that no solution is one-size-fits all. That’s why we’ve helped many of our customers tailor their software. Here are some of the ways our customers have enhanced their out-of-the-box software with custom solutions by Cargas. 

Small-Scale Changes, Big-Time Savings 

The manufacturing nonprofit MANTEC was a loyal Salesforce customer for many years, using the CRM for customer-centric projects. But for all of the ease Salesforce brought to MANTEC, there was one small hiccup—the software lacked out-of-the-box reporting capabilities that aligned with manufacturing logistics. 

Cargas helped MANTEC restructure Salesforce for more streamlined project contact reports. And because of this small change, MANTEC’s use of Salesforce has evolved. 

“That one simple change was a game-changer for our reporting capabilities and tracking the history of contacts for a project,” said Becky Shearer, MANTEC’s director of finance. “It takes less time to gather data.” 

Accessibility Customizations 

When VisionCorps, a nonprofit supporting the visually impaired, adopted Microsoft Business Central, they faced a learning curve. The out-of-the-box software presented challenges for team members who relied on accessibility tools like screen readers. ERP pop-ups and visual elements were not accessible. 

To address these issues, VisionCorps turned to Cargas for sight-related enhancements. Cargas customized the software to meet the individual preferences and needs of visually impaired users, ensuring a more accessible and user-friendly experience. 

VisionCorps CIO and VP of Technology Chuck Blair appreciated that the customizations were built on a user-level to accommodate a variety of accessibility needs: 

“Inherently, there weren’t a lot of accessibility features in the solution. Cargas sat down with our visually impaired users and configured their screens to their individual preferences.” 

Proprietary Fuel Delivery Software 

Legacy technology—such as software built several decades ago—can hinder business growth. In the world of residential fuel delivery, where technological development is slower than average, software limitations can be especially detrimental. 

That’s why when Wilson Oil & Propane needed new software for fuel delivery efficiency and forecasting, the team knew it was time to invest in a custom solution. At the time, existing fuel delivery solutions lacked wireless capabilities and predictive analytics, which Wilson Oil needed to accommodate customers. 

Wilson Oil came to Cargas for help, and although Cargas didn’t have an existing energy solution, the team had dedicated software developers to custom-build mobile-friendly fuel delivery software. 

As Cargas developers worked on this project, they realized that Wilson Oil’s needs reflected the larger needs of the industry—countless other fuel delivery companies needed mobile delivery, forecasting, and automation to continue serving customers across the United States. This custom solution became its own proprietary software—Cargas Energy—and has been one of the top fuel delivery solutions in the energy industry for almost two decades. 

Customization—A Transformative Investment 

When companies invest in customizations, they’re investing in enhanced productivity and future cost savings. Custom software eliminates inefficiencies and fosters innovation, making it a strategic choice for organizations looking to thrive in a competitive landscape. While out-of-the-box software has its place, customizations provide the flexibility and tailored performance to close the 10% gap between good-fit software and a best-fit solution. 

About Cargas 

Cargas is an employee-owned software company with almost 200 employees offering ERP and CRM software from Microsoft, Sage, Salesforce, and HubSpot as well as custom-developed solutions. Cargas sells the software, sets it up, teaches customers how to use it, and helps them adapt it as their needs change over time. Cargas’ products streamline processes in accounting, supply chain management, and sales and marketing so customers can focus on what’s most important—growing and running their businesses. 

Through its unique employee-owned culture, Cargas fosters a commitment to excellence, a dedication to teamwork, and a high level of customer care. Established in 1988, Cargas has continuously been recognized as a Best Place to Work. 

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