Turnkey vs. DIY Software Implementation: The Pros and Cons

Turnkey vs. DIY Software Implementation: The Pros and Cons

Most businesses go through a rigorous evaluation and selection process when purchasing software. After all, it’s important to verify whether the software meets the company’s requirements and that the vendor has a proven track record of success. Nevertheless, the true benefits of software are only reaped through implementation. A well planned, managed, and executed software implementation project can achieve optimal results, including an enhancement of business procedures and greater customer satisfaction.

There are two common strategies or approaches for implementing software: DIY and turnkey. The following is an explanation of each.

DIY: In the DIY approach, the company that purchases the software takes on the full responsibility of implementing the software.

Turnkey: In the turnkey approach, the company that purchases the software turns over all implementation responsibilities to an outside implementation services provider. The company’s staff has little involvement in the implementation.

Let’s review the pros and cons of each of these approaches.


Pros of DIY Approach:

• Direct control of planning and scheduling your internal resources
• Save on implementation costs
• Promotes “ownership” of the new software by the company
• Your company has the best understanding of its own business and processes


Cons of DIY Approach:

• The workload can be burdensome
• Self-directed training isn’t as effective as training led by an external consultant
• The full benefits of the new software may never be realized due to a lack of understanding of the software and insufficient training
• Opportunities to improve business processes are limited since the software is configured according to existing processes
• Implementation can be complex and time-consuming due to a lack of expertise


Pros of Turnkey Implementation:

• Internal resources spend minimal time on the implementation, so they can go about their usual daily tasks
• The implementation timeline is faster
• The implementation team has solid experience with and knowledge of the software
• The implementation services provider will be dedicated to creating an implementation plan, managing its execution, and coordinating resources
• An ongoing relationship with the implementation services provider ensures that effective support will be received going forward
• An effective training program will be delivered, giving users greater insight into how the software will improve the business 


Cons of Turnkey Implementation:

• The company incurs more costs by having the turnkey solution provider execute all implementation tasks
• The company is often dependent on the service provider for ongoing system maintenance and future enhancements
• Less internal team participation

Evaluating and selecting the most appropriate software implementation strategy that fits your business is crucial. Implementing software requires a thorough plan and dedicated resources. Overall, working with a turnkey provider that provides you with all the required systems and services, thorough training, and ongoing support is the most beneficial because it will result in business improvements and a quicker ROI.

Taking the DIY approach increases the likelihood of software implementation failure. A company that takes the DIY approach when implementing new software is likely to end up reverting to previous systems and procedures due to an unsuccessful implementation. Your core business activities are where your expertise lies, and for implementation services providers, their core business activity is software implementation, so it goes without saying that they can do it better than you can in on your own. Turnkey solution providers are implementation experts and you can benefit from their prior experiences. The real challenge of any software implementation is expecting the unexpected. An implementation services provider is aware of and experienced at dealing with hidden challenges.

This is not to say that as a company, you shouldn’t be involved in a software implementation project. The more information about your business that you share with the implementation services provider, the better. The initial implementation of the software is just the beginning. You also have to continually review and suggest enhancements to the system to ensure that it provides benefits to your company, but meanwhile, it’s best to leave the implementation to the experts.

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