Customize vs. Configure: What’s in a Name?

When we buy goods or services we have certain expectations based on the research we’ve done, the price we’re paying, and the way those goods and services have been sold to us. Will we get everything that’s promised? Will the product work as expected? If the product is software, or software as a service, the stakes are high to find something that works well. Because when it works well, even after paying a large amount initially, the idea is for the investment to pay itself off ten-fold or more. The time it saves you translates to dollars. A more efficient operation is very important whether you are a bank, a restaurant, or the facilities department at a university or healthcare network.

In order to achieve efficiency, to save money, sometimes software is customized or configured to fit the needs of a certain client or business. Not everyone works the same way, why should the software be the same? Business practices differ and some work environments have more requirements and regulations that they must follow. When your software can be custom-tailored, all the better. You are choosing to be more efficient and the software that is helping you manage your facility is not tripping you up. So far so good. As with most other things technology related, there is more behind these customizations or configurations than meets the eye.

The difference between the two is their connotation. A development platform like FileMaker allows for customizations to software that other platforms don’t allow. This development asset means that things like auto-approval routing, creating and running reports for analysis and other ‘data-out’ functionalities that make business run so smoothly are things that have been developed behind the scenes that take work to develop. Whether it is a customization or a configuration the business benefits can easily be quantified in time saved, and thereby money saved.