CRM customization from salesforce.com

When you think about everything that’s unique about your company—your vision, processes, and business model, plus the singular advantages of your products and services—it’s obvious why CRM customization is essential to your success. You need a solution you can easily adapt to work the way you do. That’s why Salesforce CRM—and the cloud-based Force.com platform it’s built on—come with tools that let you perform CRM customizations, custom application development, and CRM integration with minimal effort and maximum speed.

Typically, custom application development projects are lengthy, resource intensive, and difficult to upgrade. As a result, IT organizations must often forego important CRM customizations in favor of limited tinkering around the edges. Or worse, users must make do with mismatched, off-the-shelf functionality that impairs productivity and processes.

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The Force.com platform takes the compromise out of CRM customization. It provides simple point-and-click configuration as well as a full developer toolkit for more complex custom application development and CRM integration.

This functionality, plus our trusted enterprise API, makes it easy to connect Salesforce CRM to your back-end business systems. And perhaps best of all, our cloud platform provides automatic, easy upgrades that preserve all your existing CRM customizations.

Custom application development with just points and clicks

Your experienced staff members know your processes inside out—typically, they have the best ideas for CRM customizations that can streamline and support those processes. However, in conventional software environments, CRM customization requests go into a long queue of IT assignments, after which it’s “hurry up and wait”—often for months or more—until developers can get around to them.

Salesforce.com ends these familiar CRM customization and CRM integration bottlenecks. Force.com’s builder is so easy to work with that power users and administrators can create a wide range of CRM customizations themselves, without programming. With no more than simple points and clicks, users can configure the attributes—known as metadata—associated with the application’s objects. This application “blueprint” is rendered in the user interface whenever an end user interacts with the application. To ensure that CRM customizations don’t affect application integrity, users can’t modify core code; instead, they work within the application’s metadata framework.

CRM integration made easy

In survey after survey, application integration ranks as the most important IT priority for C-level executives. In particular, CRM integration is a necessity in today’s multivendor environments, with their proliferation of heterogeneous systems for strategic functions like ERP, HR, Financials, and Inventory Management. Customization and CRM integration also enable business advantage by more closely aligning IT with overall enterprise goals.

According to estimates by a leading industry analyst, integration accounts for nearly 35 percent of the total cost of design and ownership of typical enterprise applications. But now, cloud-based technologies are simplifying, speeding, and reducing the cost of CRM integration, CRM customization, and custom application development.

CRM customization to help users work smarter

  • More CRM customizations in less time. Although other vendors’ systems can be modified through metadata, salesforce.com stands alone in terms of the power of CRM customization with clicks instead of code. In many cases, Salesforce CRM administrators can make modifications on their own that would require full-blown custom application development with other systems. This ability to customize on the fly is especially true for business processes and workflows as well as the user interface through which people manage them.
  • Workflows that work for your business. CRM customization is not just a matter of adapting application functionality to your company’s existing processes and workflows. It’s also about improving them so they become more efficient and effective. Project management is a prime example.
    Do your users use email threads to manage projects? What happens to schedules and coordination when communication problems arise? Do you have a window into progress and a way to monitor who’s doing what, when?
    CRM customization can address all these challenges, and Force.com’s builder is designed to make it easy. In concert with Salesforce CRM’s built-in workflow functionality, the builder lets you automate and modify your processes to reduce overhead, avoid delays, enhance accountability, and speed response times.

One popular and especially helpful CRM customization strategy is designing workflow rules to be triggered by various business events and stages in the sales and customer care cycles. Once you specify a trigger, you can create appropriate tasks for automatic assignment to team members when the alert is set off. Plus, you can define these tasks in templates that are automatically populated with relevant data such as status, priority, and deadlines.

Just like your business itself, CRM customization is a dynamic process with salesforce.com: As your needs change, you can easily modify workflow rules to keep up.

Custom application development: CRM customization at the coding level

Force.com’s point-and-click configuration lets administrators and power users quickly perform a wide array of CRM customizations on their own—without consuming IT resources or even wait for them to become available. For complex custom application development and CRM integrations that do require coding, salesforce.com provides toolkits for most popular programming languages, including Java, VB.NET, C++, C#, .NET, and open-source IDEs such as Eclipse.

  • Unlimited native CRM customization. Developers can also use salesforce.com’s own programming language to perform CRM customization and custom application development. Any Java developer will find the Java-like Force.com code, also known as Apex, immediately familiar. Because CRM customizations created with Apex run natively on salesforce.com’s servers, developers are freed from managing and maintaining customized client-side functionality. Moreover, any CRM customizations created with Force.com code can be made available as Web services and deployed via SOAP and XML protocols.
  • All cloud-based services are not created equal.Most vendors that promote themselves as “hosted services,” “software as a service,” or “cloud providers” simply charge customers to install, configure, and maintain their software as separate customer instances on the vendor’s servers at its data center. As with traditional software, application upgrades by such vendors involve major customer expense and often disruption as well because existing CRM customizations are lost and the application has to be redeployed for each customer. In contrast, Force.com is a true multitenant cloud platform: It carries all CRM customizations and CRM integrations forward during upgrades, without customer effort, intervention, or inconvenience.

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