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man choosing to customize an app on Salesforce such as certinia psa

When to Customize an App on Salesforce

This is the second post in a four-part series that describes our approach to customizing apps on the Salesforce Platform. In the first post, we introduced how we define customization and why organizations struggle with the decision to customize.

Organizations typically choose to customize when a gap exists between their needs and the software’s capabilities. This article covers four (4) considerations when customizing an app on Salesforce. 

Product Functionality

Companies often customize when the software lacks the necessary functionality to support the business process they have or wish to adopt. For instance, suppose a client needs to send hours worked directly to their revenue recognition system. PSA (professional services automation) would typically send a billing event (a summary of amounts to bill) to the ERP system, but that might not be sufficient if the company’s revenue recognition calculation incorporates hours planned and worked.  Customizing the product to include this functionality becomes essential.

Business Process Adaptation

Sometimes, the out-of-the-box functionality of a product may not align with a company’s existing business processes. Businesses can customize their software to accommodate those processes.  For example, if a user interface doesn’t contain a key piece of information, such as displaying cost impacts when resource hours change, a simple customization can add real business value without extensive customization of the out-of-the-box product. 

IT Support and Maintenance

Before opting for customization, a business must evaluate the availability of IT support to maintain and support its customizations. Some companies may have in-house or contracted IT resources capable of handling these tasks. However, others might lack the necessary skills and resources. When an organization does not have the necessary resources to support customization, they may need to realize they don’t have the resources to support the application in general. Partnering with specialized support services like CLD Concierge Services can solve this problem. External partners can provide cost-effective and efficient support for both development and maintenance needs.

Platform Flexibility

Consider whether the chosen platform supports customizations by design. The Salesforce platform, formerly (and affectionately) referred to as Force.com, is extensible by design.  The nature of the platform allows for customizations to be done quickly to meet specific business requirements, which is not true of some ERP systems. In summary, augmenting a product on the Salesforce platform can provide real value to an organization, but such customizations should be evaluated with respect to their benefit to the organization and the effort to maintain them.  This is true of all software, of course – the advantage of the Salesforce platform is that the time and cost to customize is significantly less than on other platforms because of its inherent extensibility.

In our next post, we’ll discuss the rules for customization