How much administrative vs. coded customization should you use with your CRM

In today’s tech-savvy world of automation, CRMs like SugarCRM and are so powerful that they can help meet your business’ needs without the cost of hiring a programmer at $200+/hour.

When a business requires specific functionality, such as custom fields, home screen layouts, or automatic notifications based on workflow triggers, a certified Administrator of Sugar or can use administrative tools to accomplish the job. Most custom business needs can be accomplished without a programmer having to modify code.

In addition, code-level changes that are made by programmers are not always upgrade-safe. Depending on the platform and deployment, the software is usually updated automatically every 3-6 months, and at some point that custom coding may break and no longer work the same way anymore. Returning to a working solution would require more custom development. Whereas, administrative changes are almost always upgrade-safe.

However, there are some changes that cannot be made within the administrative tools in a CRM, and in these cases custom coding may be your only option. For example, we have a client who wanted to integrate their CRM with an outside software that did not have an existing plug-in integration. Connecting the CRM required a 3rd party developer to program the API connection and sync data between the systems. Another example might be changing the behavior of certain built-in fields. For instance, taking a highly specialized field that is built to only accept one selection at a time and changing it to a field that can select multiple values.

You may ask, “Can an internal IT person manage my CRM?” Well, it is unlikely that internal IT staff would know how to efficiently customize the CRM to meet their needs, as CRM software is very specialized and IT professionals are not experts at every type of software.

Hiring a certified CRM Administrator is an option for companies to consider. A certified CRM administrator knows the power and complex capabilities of your CRM and will be well versed in navigating and making customizations within it. Administrators can create workflows and integrate 3rd party plug-ins right out-of-the-box, and can help businesses understand the types of customizations that require special coding and those that do not.

If you think your business could benefit from CRM customizations, get in touch with Pacific Street for a consultation.