Top Best Practices for SuiteCRM Customization
By Katy Robinson
We have already discussed some of the SuiteCRM development pitfalls. These are issues that add substantial hurdles to the development process of SuiteCRM. If not dealt with properly, they can render your SuiteCRM unsuitable for your business processes. One way to avoid such a situation is by following some best practices. Best practices are a set of instructions and procedures that dictate how certain processes are to be carried out. These practices or instructions are noted down through careful evaluation and realized from experience. Let’s go through some of the most important CRM best practices when customizing or developing SuiteCRM.
Know What It Will Be Used For
One cannot start the development or customization of the SuiteCRM instance without any knowledge as to the CRM’s use. Once the developer is aware of the aims and objectives that the CRM has to fulfill, he can plan the customization of the SuiteCRM instance accordingly. The developer will, hence, execute SuiteCRM workflows as well as create custom modules, and their relationships, according to the high-level use cases of the CRM. Thus, this step will help in making an optimal solution for an organization’s CRM needs.
Maintaining Different Instances for Development and Tests
During the SuiteCRM customization stage, mistakes or any requisite changes to the instance are inevitable. Directly customizing the live instance is, however, not recommended. Therefore, making use of test instances in order to fully check and test the customization before pushing it to the live version should be the way to go.
Keeping Backup for the Code
Use of version control systems is another major consideration associated with the development of a customized SuiteCRM solution. This helps in tracking changes made to the code base of the CRM. Furthermore, changes can also be rolled back if such a need ever arises. On top of that, version controls, such as Git, are also used to push changes to test or live instances.
Choose the Modules to Be Displayed
Not all the modules in your SuiteCRM will be used, not all the time at least. Hence, hiding some chosen modules will make things easier for CRM users. Since, by default, most of the modules of SuiteCRM will be displayed, it is best to hide the least wanted ones in an effort to reduce the clutter from the CRM, leaving more room for the more important ones.
During the customization of SuiteCRM, don’t hold back in the addition of automation capabilities. At first, various automated workflows might not seem necessary. However, the efficiency gains of such customization are worth it. After all, efficiency gains are one of the goals of a particular CRM implementation.
Add Data Mining Capabilities
Another major objective of SuiteCRM implementation would be the useful customer insights gained. SuiteCRM can provide comprehensive insights into the customers of a business through the integration of analytics and data tools. Therefore, a developer should, without a shadow of a doubt, integrate such tools with the CRM, substantially increasing the reserves in the information bank of their client businesses.
Testing and Checking at Regular Intervals
According to this, the Agile method of software development should be used in this process, especially for extensive projects. Therefore, regular checks and tests should be carried out for the instance in order to make sure that the instance is compliant to the needs of the client business. Conversely, according to the Waterfall methodology, only after the project has been completed would the final product be checked to see if it aligns with the requirements of the client or not. However, since this is suited to smaller projects, most developers should aim to stick with the Agile methodology.
CRM customization and development, like any other development project, entails a lot of difficulties. However, SuiteCRM developers can avoid most of these difficulties by following a set of best practices and standard procedures. Some of the most prominent of those best practices have been outlined here and adopting them could definitely improve your SuiteCRM development process.
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