We have often been asked by candidates what do our clients think is the best approach and our answer is usually that neither is right nor wrong. Each method has its own benefits and characteristics.
Configuration can often be the quickest and cheapest way of providing a quick fix solution, although the down side is that whilst it gets the ball rolling (so to speak) it might not always do everything that you want it to. Configuration, if done well is a good place to start and can offer a good level of functionality, but if not carefully designed at the outset could lead to issues when trying to expand functionality or processes at a later date.
Coding a solution on the other hand, provides a ‘blank canvas’ approach making ‘anything’ possible, but it can lead to a lengthy and much more costly solution. Whilst development of a solution using an ‘Agile’ approach can help towards mitigating the size of development projects and in turn cost, ongoing enhancements usually require more resources and budget then configuration.
In essence your assessment of whether to opt for either the ‘coding’ or ‘configuration route’, should clearly take into account all factors, such as required functionality versus budget versus time frames versus short, mid or long term future evolution. And key to getting it right is to ensure that time is taken over requirements gathering and design of the businesses processes, before making your decision.