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Do You Need to Customize Salesforce?

March 29th, 2016

How Flexible Are Your Data, Workflows, and Processes? 

Everybody loves new office space, right?

Imagine this - your company or organization is a force on the move. Things are happening – the team is growing, business is increasing, projections are looking up. Now you just need more space to take your organization to the next level. After a careful evaluation process, you’ve narrowed your search down to a handful of options.

You can spend your entire budget on a swank space. It’s already built out and configured. All you’d have to do is move in…and hope the space “works” for your team.

Maybe you’ll spend a part of your budget on a completely empty space and blow the rest building it precisely to suit your specific structure, processes and culture.

Or, you could do something in between; spend your budget on a space that is fundamentally close to what you need, but requires selective modeling to fit your needs.

Building or moving your platform to Salesforce is largely the same type of decision. When we’re talking with clients who are considering if they should move to or customize Salesforce, we ask them to explore these 3 topics:

  1. How important is it that the new platform allow you to maintain and support your current processes and workflow as is?  Do you need this platform to augment to your team’s effectiveness?
  2. Do you need additional functions which are not included within  off-the-shelf Salesforce?
  3. Will the new platform be a core component of your overall customer experience? Will your brand suffer if the experience of using it sucks?

Once our clients have really explored all answers to those questions, we have a good baseline for identifying how much or if we need to customize Salesforce.

Data, Workflow, Reporting

Salesforce is designed to work with a generic business model – just like the first of our three office space examples. As an enterprise platform, Salesforce has to be generic. If your needs are simple or you don’t yet have or need a specific dataflow, maybe the way Salesforce is structured is close enough or your processes are flexible enough to use Salesforce without customization.

However, if the generic Salesforce process, data sets, reports, validations, fields or objects don’t exactly accommodate your organization’s needs – it’s time to make Salesforce accommodate you.

That’s where you wind up looking at options 2 and 3 in our office space analogy. When you set out to customize Salesforce, it can be difficult to determine where the line is between “minor renovations” and a full build-out. When is it easier to just make the whole thing from scratch? When is it more time and cost effective to make selective changes?

Custom Features, Apps, and Functionality

Salesforce is a powerful tool; there are hundreds of features and functions that the off-the-shelf Salesforce includes. But if your workflow, data, or processes don’t quite match up, or maybe you realize you need an app to support a unique functionality, it may be time to think about building specific features to customize Salesforce.

This is where LookThink typically plugs in. We help our clients do two things: first, determine which of those office spaces work best for you. Second, we identify the best way to shape platforms beyond basic configurations. We focus on all aspects of the system to support our clients’ specific needs, whether it’s extending it to a clean mobile experience, creating custom objects, enhancing reporting, developing new functionality, or simply pulling branding through the platform to make a seamless look and feel.

Ask Yourself:

  • Do our business processes have the flexibility to work around a system?
  • What business problem is Salesforce solving for us? Is the current or generic set up solving it for us 100%?
  • Are our employees working with or around Salesforce?

In a week, we’ll take a look at the importance of the look and feel of your brand and how that may play a role in your decision to customize Salesforce.