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Customization, Configuration or Modification? A Taxonomy for Information System Specialization

Customization, Configuration or Modification? A Taxonomy for Information System Specialization
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Author(s): Marc N. Haines (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA)
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 2
Source title: Information Technology & Organizations: Trends, Issues, Challenges & Solutions
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-066-0.ch245
ISBN13: 9781616921248
EISBN13: 9781466665330


Two key characteristics of Enterprise Systems (ES) - and many other types of packaged information systems (IS) - are: (1) ES are generic systems that may be used by a large number of organizations and (2) ES usually offer multiple mechanisms to make changes to the system to adapt the generic system to the specific requirements of an organization1. It is presumed that the goal of any changes - whether appropriate and successful or not - is to satisfy requirements that are specific to the organization implementing the ES. To describe the nature of changes made to a system, practitioners and academics alike use a variety of terms. Most commonly the terms configuration, modification, and customization are used in this context. Unfortunately these terms are often used inconsistently across software vendors (i.e., SAP vs. Oracle) and articles discussing the issue. One software company (or article), for instance, may use the term customization for change activities that another software company (or article) describes as configuration. The problem is that there appears to be no commonly accepted framework that defines the terms and relates them to each other. This article first discusses the key dimensions that can be used to describe changes to a generic software system and then presents a proposal for a taxonomy that defines the key terms, and relates them to each other.

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