Configuration versus Customization

Often when implementing business processes within your Vision installation do you find yourself saying, “My old system did it that way” or “It would be really great if Vision did X”.  You are not alone, but take a moment to think about how to implement your business process.  All too often these processes fall short of a planned process and it ends up being a “run and gun” approach with some fairly hefty customizations.  Don’t be fooled at the short term gain from the customization without weighing out the affects to your business due to the long term cost of ownership.

I often have customers that approach me about writing a customization that can be accomplished by using the configuration tools available right at your fingertips in the flexibility of the Vision Configuration menu.  This often requires a creative thought process around a couple of different ways to provide a solution to the business process.  It may not be the case that the original designed approach is the best one, challenge your internal design team to come up with pros and cons of at least three different solutions and their impact to the system.  Through the use of Vision’s API (VisionXtend), Workflow, Web Services and User-Defined Components there is rarely a need to customize the core application code anymore.

One solution that I can share with you is a project I worked on for a customer that instead of creating a custom report that had to be managed over time we were able to configure Vision through the use of workflow to make this happen.  The customer’s challenge was that they had a custom unbilled calculation that was different from the Vision default.  The original solution proposed from the customer was that they would create a custom version of the Office Earnings report with an additional column added to report their custom unbilled calculation.  We were able to create a user-defined field in the Project Info Center that held the unbilled calculation result and was able to be pulled into the standard report as are all user-defined fields.  This was accomplished by creating a scheduled workflow that executed a stored procedure in the database that is easily updated by their in house development staff or a contracted resource that only required database knowledge and not report writing knowledge.  This solution not only avoided the need for a custom report, but gave the customer access to this calculation in Vision without having to run a report at all.

Join the trend of customers moving from customizations to configurations and reinvest that savings back into your business.  If you have questions about how to integrate your business processes in to your implementation of Vision, let our Professional Services group guide you through that process.

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About Brent Johnson

Brent started with Deltek in May of 2010 as a Senior Designer for Vision. Prior to Deltek, he was an accountant in the A/E industry for 10 years.
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