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New system? Go configure it out!

Selecting a new solution is never an easy task, and among the trickier wickets to be navigated are those related to the need to either configure or customize it so that it operates properly in your environment.

To be sure, the work associated with these tasks is as painstaking as it is important. But as bubbled up during a recent AIIM ECM course it was my privilege to teach, even discerning whether or how much of this work is actually necessary can be quite challenging as well.

The issue at hand here has to do with the common tendency of product providers to minimize the amount of configuration or customization that you will have to perform. This isn’t to say that every system requires loads of heavy lifting, but chances are all but the most simplistic will involve at least some tweaking for it to run the way you want it to.

To avoid any unpleasant surprises, the first question you want to ask is what the provider means by “configuration” or “customization.” For me, the former connotes an activity that is far less onerous than the latter, perhaps utilizing checkboxes or pulldown menus to achieve the proper setup rather than require scripting or coding. But as is the case in so many ends of the information management world, the same words mean different things to different people, so you will want to get clarity on this as early as you can.

The second question to ask has to do with who will be performing this work. If it is centered on configuration as I define it, then like as not you will be the best suited to take it on. But if it appears it will be more complicated than that, then you want to be clear whether you are doing it or the vendor is – and if it is the vendor, be sure you understand whether you will pay for that separately or it is included in the solution price you were quoted.

If you are caught in a tangle of details like this, drop us a line so that we can help. That’s what we’re here for!

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