It was the perfect vision for the IT vendors; develop a piece of software once and watch with joy as the system is re-used by hundreds of different customers without the need for modification.

That, at least, was the fantasy. In an era where technology must meet fast-changing business requirements, the dream of the perfect software solution for all organisations seems increasingly unrealistic.

Check the news and you will see suppliers eager to distance themselves from any talk of a “one size fits all” solution. Customers, it turns out, have individual needs and requirements. For some suppliers, this realisation – however obvious it might appear to others – is akin to a light bulb moment.

Imagine if you treated your customers as if they were all the same, ignoring their requests to have products or services provided to a particular style, timetable or version? That approach would be anathema.

So it is good to see that, from the darkness, software providers have started to realise that a firm can no longer ignore the need to tailor their solutions to fit the needs of the customers’ business. In short, one type no longer fits all.

However, it is also crucial to recognise that some suppliers have been aware of this new status quo for much longer than others. Such providers are already working to ensure flexibility, rather than complexity. It is to these suppliers that CIOs and business leaders turn.

For a long time, these suppliers have recognised that customers have a need to pick software than can be added to and modified to suit their changing business requirements. One great example is Advanced Business Solutions’ Advanced Income Management (AIM) software.

This add-on technology helps care providers deal with the complex invoicing and sales requirements of local authorities, primary care trusts and other funding bodies. Whatever the sector – and whether a care provider, retailer or health organisation – every business will have specific industry requirements, and the selected software must accommodate such differentiation.

Customers will no longer work around the solution; the solution needs to work around the organisation. So, pick your suppliers very, very carefully. Having invested a significant sum in a new IT system, you don’t then want to experience a ‘Little Britain’ moment and be told “the computer says no!”