Customization is a very broad topic.  One thing that our predecessors working on MBF Customization did was create a Modification Taxonomy.  This taxonomy helps to break down the topic and gives us some vocabulary for discussion.

Here are the key elements of the Modification Taxonomy and a short definition for each.

  • Personalize – An end user changes layout, views, and actions.
  • Configure – A business manager or Value Added Reseller (VAR) changes behavior in predefined areas using built-in mechanisms.
  • Customize – A VAR or Independent Software Vendor (ISV) changes or adds behavior outside of predefined change points.
  • Extend – A VAR or ISV makes a boxed product bigger by extending the scope of the application.  This typically requires a redistributable install and licensing.
  • Embed – A Large Development Team creates a new user experience on top of core application business logic.  Changes are radical in nature.
  • Integrate – An IT group or VAR shares data or processes with another system.

While there is a fair amount of gray area between these elements, I’ve found the descriptions to be helpful.  If you have experience customizing ERP or other applications, does this taxonomy sound about right?