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When You SHOULDN'T Customize Salesforce

April 26th, 2016

Over the past few weeks, we’ve talked about general reasons your organization may need to customize Salesforce; we’ve covered how neglecting your branding on Salesforce may be doing more harm than you think. In the coming weeks, we’ll cover some of the more specific considerations for customizing Salesforce, including financial planning, design, information architecture, technology and development.

However, this week, we’re going to explore signs when you need to hit the pause button on either customizing Salesforce or building a custom force.com app. In some cases, an off-the-shelf, out-of-the-box iteration of Salesforce will be perfectly suitable to meet all of your business goals and support your current processes.

The Waiting Game

Perhaps you are a new organization or maybe your company is in transition – acquiring or being acquired. Maybe you’ve opened a new product line or are radically changing your processes. If you’re unsure of how your organization will eventually use or integrate Salesforce with your current (or to-be) IT infrastructure, we recommend taking a step back and letting the dust settle before making the investment.

That custom report that seemed like the best way to measure success may suddenly not be necessary. Your processes might have recently changed to accommodate your new customers’ expectations or an improvement in your organization. At this point, a planned VisualForce or Lightning app may not be the right investment.  

If you can’t yet nail down a business process due to a major change within your organization – first focus on the business goals you have, and  think about how existing technology infrastructure can best serve those goals and avoid redundant efforts.

Cost Benefit Analysis

Customizing Salesforce can be accomplished through small, one-off configurations, it may require a serious investment, or anything in between. Determining and assessing the organizational value of the customization effort to your organization against the cost is a critical step. We often work with clients to calculate that value - whether it’s increased process efficiency, aggregated time savings or increased customer retention. But if it turns out that small changes to your business processes can accommodate the need, we recommend holding off  on a customization effort. Keep things as simple as you can for as long as you can.

But that said, don’t stop asking “what if.” Remember - every organization is constantly changing and improving both to keep up with their industry and continue to support their customers. In light of that, we recommend keeping a log of changes you wish to make to Salesforce. Talk to your people - they are often the best sources for ideas on how your systems could be better - and in our opinion, enhancements that originate from the user community are categorically more likely to gain adoption. At some point, your organization may hit a tipping point where the value of the changes and the cost are better in balance - the ROI will be clear.

This Build is Juuuuust Right (Or, it will be)

Sometimes, what you need and what Salesforce provides match up perfectly – and that’s great! We’re big fans of not fixing what ain’t broke.

You may also be in a situation where the features or changes you are looking for are scheduled to be released in a forthcoming update. If that’s the case, ask yourself if you can wait, or modify your business processes temporarily to bridge the gap.

If you’re not sure if Salesforce is planning a release that includes your needs, let us know. We keep our finger on the pulse of Salesforce to keep our clients and partners up-to-date.

Ask yourself:

  • Are your business processes and goals static or are you in the middle of large organizational changes?
  • What is the value of the change you want to make to Salesforce? Is it greater than the cost of the customization?
  • In a perfect world, how else can Salesforce accommodate us?
  • Can we bridge the gap between what we have now and what Salesforce is releasing in the future?

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