Configuration vs customisation

What’s the difference, and why does it matter?

If you have specific, maybe unique, requirements, then naturally you want your new Dynamics 365 system to function the way you want it to. The trick is, how to achieve this? There are two options: configuration, and customisation

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Configuration

  • Leverages the full functionality of Dynamics 365
  • Stays true to Dynamics 365 technical design
  • Adheres to Dynamics 365 UX design
  • Is quick and simple to do, if you know how
  • Aligns with Microsoft’s vision and product roadmap
  • Guarantees your upgrade path
  • Automatically incorporates newly released features
  • Rapidly emerging as best practice

Customisation

  • Involves writing new code or changing existing code
  • Strays outside Dynamics 365 technical design
  • Difficult to maintain consistency of user interface
  • Can be expensive
  • Risks misalignment with Dynamics 365 roadmap
  • Potentially compromises your upgrade path
  • Costly rework frequently required with every upgrade

Configuration vs customisation?

In our minds, the answer is clear: configuration is the way to go. Developing new code or attempting to change the way Dynamics 365 is designed to work risks your project by introducing unsupported features, and may prevent you taking advantage of future upgrades. Configuration – a low-code, lower cost approach leveraging Microsoft’s ongoing investment in Dynamics 365 – preserves Dynamics 365 design standards, avoids problems with upgrades, and protects against supplier lock in.

Does this mean there is never a place for customisation? Not necessarily: sometimes, we accept, customisation is the only short term alternative. In these circumstances, we develop with the intent to re-align with the Dynamics 365 roadmap as soon as Microsoft bring the same or better functionality to the product.

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Stay true to the Dynamics 365 design paradigm whilst keeping it simple

Take advantage of Dynamics 365’s modern, responsive, mobile-aware interface

Configure solutions to meet customers’ specific requirements; encourage customers to accept that whilst configuration might not deliver exactly what they want, close enough is often the far better option

Develop custom code only when configuration is not an option, and only then in a way that allows us to re-align with the Dynamics 365 roadmap when Microsoft catches up