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According to a study conducted by techconsult, 74 percent of respondents believe that their company’s success is based on the use of custom software. An interesting study, even if it does not illuminate the large gray area of customized standard software.

On February 3, 2022, the research and analyst firm techconsult in Kassel announced the results of a study, which was conducted in 2021 on behalf of Dr. Eckhardt + Partner, in a press release. Not least because of the experience with the pandemic, according to the study, numerous companies see individual solutions as an important means for innovative leaps and competitive advantages over the competition. But a whole series of other strategic considerations also speak in favor of individual software in many companies. (Graphic 1, techconsult)

Graphik 1, techconsult

For the published study “Status quo – Use of individual software in German companies”, a total of 201 IT and software decision-makers from German companies were surveyed on the use and reasons for using individual software solutions. Among them, industrial companies formed the largest group with 30 percent, followed by services (18%), telecommunications (11%), public administration (10%), trade (10%) and others.

Although industry was the largest subgroup, the questions were not specific to industry. This can be seen if you break down the data on individual points by total and industry, that techconsult was kind enough to provide me with, for example in the use of software for supply chain management. Whereas only just less than 50% of the general respondants use standard software for this purpose, the figure for industry is almost two-thirds. And this will not change in the future compared to the current status. (see Graphic 2)

Graphic 2, Ulrich Sendler based on data from techconsult

The difference becomes even clearer when it comes to production planning, one of the central fields of industry. In the future, the use of standard software, which is already weak, will fall in general, while it will rise in the industry. Conversely, the use of customized software will grow in the future in the overall economy, but will decline in industry. (see Graphic 3)

 Graphic 3, Ulrich Sendler based on data from techconsult

Other industrial application fields of software such as product design, system development, production engineering or simulation with digital twins were not included in the questionnaire.

In the core processes of industry, numerous standard software systems are generally in use, which are very seldom used in their original functional scope. In most cases, they are cutomized, expanded, and individually modified to meet specific company needs. This is precisely where industry’s greatest challenge lies in its further digitalization. The trend toward cloud and software as a service, which is also increasing in the industry, makes the question of how the combination of standard software and in-house development will succeed in the future even more burning.

For this purpose, a study that exclusively examines companies in the manufacturing industry seems to make sense.