Have you ever worn shoes that are too small? Or a jacket that’s two sizes larger than what you usually wear? I bet it was quite an unpleasant experience. Like shoes and jackets, solutions that doesn’t fit your needs as an organization is a waste of precious resources, and that’s where customization comes into play. Since the needs of every business differs, commercially-available solutions are usually configurable and customizable. Open source CRMs like Salesforce.com offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to customization. That means you’re not just stuck with configuration, you can also develop your own solutions to specifically target the needs of your business. To customize your Salesforce.com implementation, you would need a Salesforce.com-certified developer that creates an app based on your requirements. Getting an app designed for your business is a fantastic investment. The real question is: Do you need to customize your Salesforce Experience? We think you do, and here’s why. #1 Your needs as a business is unique Surely, there are many apps in the Salesforce App Exchange, but it would be highly unlikely that you’ll find everything that you need in one app. Your business would likely need a combination of apps to satisfy your needs. Can you imagine managing 3, 5 or even 7 apps at once? It’s also important to remember that pre-made apps are developed with a one-size-fits-all mindset in order for it to be marketable for different users. Utilizing more apps than you could manage can simply derail your implementation. Customization is your best option to tackle all your needs as a business. Try this: Log on to the Salesforce App Exchange and click on the “Popular” tab. Look for an app with a perfect 5-star rating. You would probably see some that would come close to a perfect score, but only a few (not more than 5) has a perfect 5-star rating. This is because the needs of businesses differ. A solution for one, may be a problem for the other. You simply can’t create a solution if you don’t know what the problem is. #2 No need for trial and error Your CRM implementation needs to be accessible as much as possible. Many businesses would be paralyzed if their CRM implementation goes down even for a couple of hours. That’s why testing apps you find on the Salesforce App Exchange is important. But what if you’re not satisfied with your first few test runs? You would have to undergo the rigorous process of removing, adding, and re-implementing to get your next test on the way. Not to mention the time and resources it consumes. Customizing your Salesforce implementation gives you just exactly what you are expecting, and you’d spend less time and resources when testing. Think about app testing: When you test a new app for your SFDC implementation, it’s not just about getting the app ready. Testing an app only starts with your purchase or selection at the Salesforce App Exchange. You would then need to integrate the app and train your staff to use the app. If the adaptation goes smoothly, you would need to give the app enough time to operate in order to make a conclusive evaluation. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It’s the usual way of testing apps, and you’ll need to follow the same painstaking process for each app you test. Testing a custom app is a lot simpler. All you need to do is tell your developer about what you need out of your Open Source CRM, and let your developer do their magic. #3 Save on licensing costs Let’s run a scenario. Let’s say that you have 100 employees, working in six different departments: Sales, HR, Customer Service, Accounting, Marketing, and Management. Aside from this, you also have a ladder system to delegate management responsibilities. You also have an outsourced Quality Assurance firm to assist you in evaluating your employees. Given this scenario, would you consider it to be smart to give everyone a license to access your SFDC implementation? Before we answer that question, it’s important to remember that SFDC, like many Open Source CRMs, use an SaaS pricing model that defines the cost based on the number of users. However, you wouldn’t need everyone to have the same level of access. For many users, access to data is enough. For customer service, access to consumer information may be enough. Management personnel may only need performance statistics. You wouldn’t need to purchase a license for every employee just to access data. A practical solution is to use a custom app on your Open Source CRM that exports data so that other users without a license can access it. With this simple, yet practical solution, your organization can save on costs that you would have spent for additional licenses. #4 Job-specific functions Like how employees are classified by their job responsibilities for management and productivity reasons, an effective CRM would also need to react to the role of the user in the organization. For example, your sales employees wouldn’t need access to your service data, and your customer support team wouldn’t need to have access to your sales data. An practical solution is to use a cross-cloud approach to export data from your Salesforce implementation to apps used by your employee. It’s possible for an Open Source CRM like Salesforce to work with apps outside its platform. Using this simple, practical approach, you wouldn’t need to manage account permissions for everyone in your organization. By developing apps that communicate with other apps, you are effectively saving your organization a lot of resources spent for security and accountability. #5 Better brand integration Developing an app is not just for your organization to use, it’s also for your customers to use. A customer-facing app integrated to your SFDC implementation will not just provide you with information about how you can market better to your customer, it also improves your brand image as your customer uses your application. Apps with an effective user experience design engages customers better than your biggest website banner. The best part is, you can customize your business apps for a cross-cloud integration with other apps in the Salesforce App Exchange to provide you with a better insight about your customer and how they interact with your business.