Configuration vs. Customization

Posted: 30. April 2010 in observation

Vendors offering mainly SaaS or ASP solutions do highlight more and more their software’s configuration cababilities instead of going through long lasting customization exercises.

What is the difference?

Following a statement from SuccessFactor’s blog :
“[…] if something is configurable, it means the existing software can be worked (via the standard user interface) to reflect the change.
If it requires customization it means software code has to be changed (added or moved around) so the software can do what you want it to. […]”

The following might be a two word definition:

Configuration = no coding
Customization = coding required

As nothing is black and white (except “black” and “white”), vendors offer a “customizable configuration”, which is about adding custom code to standard and configurable elements such as text boxes, workflows, etc.
Some people also call it “exits”, which indicates that this concept is not new at all.

Example: Create a workflow, which gets triggered if a status field changes from “new” to “in progress”. The workflow action could be a field update or the creation of an email, which gets send to [whoever]. If the availabe standard workflow action list does not meet your requirements, you can add an exit. This exit allows to add custom coding/logic like usage of certain fields or calculations.

At the end you get a customized solution again.

How could you avoid it? -> use standards
Can you even avoid it? –> use standards
Apparently, a provocative answer, which just triggers further thoughts and discussions … also on processes and automatisms.

Also interesting: Would you configure or customize an XML settings file?

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