In a recent Staffing Talk article titled “A False Dichotomy: Customizable vs Configurable Software,” author Gregg Dourgarian argues that software providers and marketers often use the terms “customization” and “configuration” interchangeably. Regardless of the reasons, Dourgarian makes a relevant point: we all do it. Certainly, customers looking for software solutions want assurance that the particular solution is flexible enough to bend to their industry-specific and company-specific needs. Of course, most solutions are either customizable or configurable, but the obscure way in which vendors casually exchange one term for another can be incredibly misleading.
Though it is true that the distinction between customization and configurability has been blurred over time, the dichotomy is not a false one. On the contrary, it’s quite meaningful. To a certain point, the best recruitment software requires both configuration and customization; it’s the extent to which the software is one or the other that makes the crucial difference.
Recent times have seen a trend where software providers have begun to steer clear of customization, and the explanation is clear. Configuration is the method that true SaaS providers embrace because configurations are made to the entire software, thus making software upgrades simple and painless for clients. Configurability is an asset when it comes to providing solutions for particular industries because it’s likely that one client will benefit from an update in the software as much as the next, and these changes need only be applied once through a multi-tenant platform. Customers still have a say in the capability and functionality of the solution without having to meddle inside the software.
Customized software, on the other hand, can put businesses in a place where software updates are difficult or even impossible. Basically, every customization is a step away from the standard software, and moreover, it’s more costly and laborious for your business. Eventually, clients who choose customization over configuration fall behind the rest, and for staffers and recruiters (perhaps more than anyone else), this simply isn’t an option.
Taking all of this into consideration, it’s hard to prove that the dichotomy between configurability and customization is false. If control over business is the sought-after goal, then the solutions aren’t equal or interchangeable at all.