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Need your accreditation management software to be more flexible? Choose configuration over customization.

A growing number of accreditation and certification bodies are switching from the customized software solutions that have served them well in the past, to more modern, configurable, and flexible solutions and products. Here are some of the reasons why, along with some context around how ARMATURE has adapted our approach over the last two decades.

When ARMATURE first opened our doors in 2000, we provided customized software solutions to the accreditation and certification community – specifically those organizations responsible for the accreditation of institutions, organizations, programs, sites, facilities, equipment, and products. As we learned more about the broad and diverse needs of these clients, we realized we could build a software product to meet many, if not most, of their needs. In principle, we wanted to build a solution that favored configuration over customization.

While customized solutions are built to meet an organization’s specific requirements, configurable solutions are designed to accommodate multiple use cases and can provide the opportunity to add smart customizations if and where required. As an example, a configurable accreditation management software product may be designed to support the management of an end-to-end accreditation workflow, but it may require customization in cases where complex scoring algorithms are used within assessment reviews.

While both approaches can work, there are distinct benefits to choosing software configuration over customization. Here are some of the advantages.

Advantages of Configuration Over Customization

Maintainability & Sustainability

Usually, configuration entails setting up options or parameters within the software. This tends to be easier to maintain compared to managing customizations which often involve modifying source code. In terms of applying updates or patches, configured programs offer less resistance because they do not conflict with any personal code.


Usually configured software is more compatible with updates and new versions than customized software is. Customized programs may need extensive modification, especially when adapting them to newer releases, leading to higher costs and longer implementation times (most commonly realized during regression testing, which helps identify any issues when deploying a new software version).


Configuring software is typically less expensive than customizing it because default features and settings are utilized instead of writing new code.

Customization can be expensive not only during initial development but also during the ongoing maintenance phase.

Compliance & Security

A decision about configuration and customization is made according to the unique needs and constraints of an accreditation or certification management project. In certain circumstances, customization may be necessary to meet specific requirements that cannot be met by configuration alone. Nevertheless, whenever it is viable, prioritizing configuration rather than customization might result in software that is more stable, maintainable, and cost-effective.


Usually, configured software is more scalable, allowing organizations to easily add users, features, or modules without extensive modification. Customized programs may have scaling problems, especially when the custom code is not designed for future growth.

Reduced Complexity

Configured software has fewer complexities compared to customized software and is easier to understand, maintain, and troubleshoot. Customizations tend to increase complexity, which increases the chances of bugs being present while making the program difficult to maintain.

Faster Implementation

Generally, configuration takes less time to implement than customization as it uses existing features and options in the software.

In some cases, customization may require significant development time, testing, and debugging.

Vendor Support

Software vendors may provide more support for configured software since configurations are based on the intended use of it.

Customizations may void warranties or support agreements provided by vendors.

ARMATURE Fabric – the World’s Most Configurable Accreditation Management Software

As we transitioned our solution from custom to configurable, we knew we had to include an extensive range of features to support a wide range of accreditation and certification workflows and methodologies across a broad range of disciplines – from institutional and programmatic accreditation (think of those accreditation bodies who assess the quality of university degrees) to more complex use cases in hospital or laboratory accreditation.

What ARMATURE Fabric does is allow for the configuration of multiple elements to support the vast majority of accreditation use cases. This includes:

Need your accreditation management software to be more flexible Choose configuration over customization, configuration vs customization, system confiuration or system customization

Process/workflow configuration:

Setting up your exact processes, so your staff can initiate work items that need to be scheduled and completed. A typical process might include an application, self-evaluation, review, site visit, committee meeting, and decision.

Data collection instruments (tools):

The tools you use to capture information and evidence from your clients, including narrative, documentation, and images/video. These could include questionnaires, self-studies, reviews, forms, audits, and/or surveys.


Board or committee meetings, site visits, collaborative reviews

Notifications and Publications:

Artifacts that you use throughout your accreditation process, such as email templates, certificates, and site visit reports.


To help drive task management and productivity


So you can see who is accredited, who has applied, contacts, and other key information required to support an accreditation process

Track Issues:

So you can track items of non-compliance through to resolution

Public Directory:

Which you can brand in line with your current website (for example) and publish details of the entities you accredit.

Does Artificial Intelligence Play a Role in Accreditation?

Many accreditation bodies and software vendors have high expectations about the promise of AI (and they probably should). While it is still an evolving area, it will, in time, help organizations identify compliance trends and drive continuous quality improvement. ARMATURE is currently working with our software partners to understand how we can best leverage the power of AI within ARMATURE Fabric to benefit the accreditation process. This is the subject of a future blog post.

As accreditation and certification bodies consider new technology approaches, configurable accreditation management software products should feature prominently on their lists of items to review. These solutions have and will continue to evolve rapidly, and the promise of incorporating powerful AI tools within the software is getting close.

Contact us to learn more or to experience a free guided tour.

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We regularly publish articles in the fields of Accreditation, Certification, Auditing, Continuous Quality Improvement, and Integrated Risk Management (IRM).

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