Salesforce Configuration Over Customization

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Beware of over-customizing your Salesforce org

Salesforce is delivered fresh out of the box running on the very powerful Force.com platform. A business initially migrating to Salesforce may be tempted to over-customize Salesforce to minimize user clicks or to mimic the previous CRM’s look and feel. But one of the great strengths inherent in Salesforce is the power of its configuration capabilities.

Salesforce Configuration

A Salesforce Administrator can use built in Salesforce configuration tools (no coding) to accomplish most of what many businesses require.  Using configuration, the admin can control user security, modify standard objects, create and modify custom objects and fields, determine page layouts, and the capabilities go on and on.  Using the standard Salesforce user interface will also save time and money from creating and maintaining custom Visualforce pages and Apex code.

Salesforce Customization

  • Can you customize the heck out of your Salesforce Org?  ‘You betcha,’ as this little Sarah Palin would say
  • Do you want to customize when configuration will be sufficient? ‘Oh hell no,’ as Steve Harvey would say

There will be certain times when the business requirements cannot be satisfied with configuration alone, so in these cases customization will be a necessary evil. Customization requires a higher level of expertise than configuration and all customized code should be thoroughly tested with each upgrade of Salesforce. Usually, a smaller organization cannot justify the salary of a full time Salesforce Developer. Therefore, if the customization requires future modifications then outside help is usually required and this can be a costly, time consuming and frustrating effort.

Choose Your Own Adventure:

  1. Fall into the trap: Many IT departments will still be sucked into using the power of customizing over configuration. The new Salesforce users will get a taste of how customization can deliver their every desire and whim. And the vicious cycle of needy and demanding business system users coupled with IT’s eagerness to please will continue to perpetuate. This will drive up the total cost of ownership.
  2. Keep calm and configure on: One of the reasons I have been an IT consultant at the core for my entire career is to advise in situations like this, and to learn from my prior challenges. Although configuration does not quite satisfy every whim like customization does, it is much easier to maintain in the long run and is the most sustainable across the ebbs and flows of business in the fast-paced world we are in today.

How have you seen the battle between configuration and customization play out in your organization? Share your story with us on social media via the links below.

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As a life-long consultant himself, Bert founded Solving IT in 1992 with the vision of transforming IT departments within Fortune 1000 companies. Under his leadership, and with support from many valued team members along the way, the one-man shop he started is approaching 25 years of excellence in the IT solutions and recruitment industry and has employed over 800 consultants and full-time employees in its tenure. He continues to be a hands-on leader and is a key supporter of a fun and productive work environment, as well as the IT recruitment industry overall.