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Workflow Automation

With the exception of sales lead and case routing,'s workflow capabilities are available only in the Enterprise and Unlimited editions.’s workflow processes are rules based. This means that based on the occurrence of events within the software a series of rules-based actions can be triggered.

Sample workflow rules cited by include the following:

  • Tasks: Assign a new task to a user, role, or record owner.
  • E-mail Alerts: Send an e-mail to one or more recipients.
  • Update the value of a field on a record.

Each rule-based workflow routine consists of the following constructs:

  • Events which cause a workflow rule to be triggered, and/or
  • Events that execute immediately or time delayed actions that execute according to time-based triggers.

A limitation of the standard workflow construct is that fact that the qualifying criteria must be combined using AND statements. There is also no ability to trigger a workflow based on a deletion event.

The event-based actions supported include: New task; New email; New field update; New outbound message.

There are also AppExchange programs for workflow processing such as SNAP – a Workflow Optimizer that claims to allow business process automation that extends beyond the limitations of’s inherent workflow builder. Other tools in this category may be used for specific business workflows such as proposal creation, product pricing or contract management. Again, the objective of these AppExchange offerings (priced and supported independently of may be to enhance the base level functionality.

Business Intelligence (BI) provides an excellent library of packaged reports. The standard reports encompass all of the major CRM software modules within the system including, accounts, contacts, opportunities, sales, leads, support cases and marketing campaigns. The company also offers a flexible report writer that uses a wizard based approach to lead users through the creation of new (simple) reports. Depending on the user’s technical proficiency the wizard may be either loathed or loved. Some respondents commented on issues of inaccessible data elements and certain data in reports being delayed by up to 24 hours. We were unable to substantiate these issues in our own testing as thus it may be an issue specific to certain customers, systems or possibly related to data volumes. also provides an array of digital dashboards to display data at a summary level typically in charts or gauges. The dashboards are managed and edited by individual users. The only issue noted here by respondents is that the security structures established are not automatically applied to the data presented in the dashboards. Each dashboard must specify the name of a “User” (the running user). This is not automatically inferred by the user accessing the dashboard but instead security is derived from the “running user” associated with the dashboard. Thus it is quite possible that even if the security environment prohibits a user from seeing certain information, the denied information could still be visible through a dashboard. offers some workarounds to solve this in their help materials:

“Because dashboards are assigned a Running User, if you want to have a personalized dashboard for each user in a group of people you need to create a separate dashboard for each user in the group. You can do this by creating a dashboard for one user in the group and then cloning that dashboard for each other user, setting the Running User appropriately for each dashboard.

If you want to create individual dashboards for each user and have them only visible to those users, you will need to create groups containing only those users and then create a separate folder that is shared to just those user groups. Within each dashboard folder you can then create dashboards with the running users as the users you shared them with.”

Whether these proposed workarounds are secure or maintainable within a specific implementation will require evaluation and is likely to depend on the number of users and/or dashboards desired.

Customization and Integration customization options vary according to which CRM software Edition you purchase. Each Edition also imposes specific limitations on the number of software customizations that can be created. In our opinion, the allowances are adequate for most SMB companies.

The software customization toolkit provided is comprehensive, if not a bit cumbersome. supports customization across the customer relationship management software application including the following: page layout; tabs; lists within fields and default setting; calculated fields or creating validation business rules. We made the comment “cumbersome” as in many cases it was not at all intuitive to determine how to achieve the desired result. For example when attempting to create a validation rule we discovered accessing the fields we wanted was not possible. As a test case we wanted to create a validation rule to ensure that the Due Date for a task was not set in a prior period. After accessing task validation rules however, the Due Date field was not available for selection as an available field. Also, the validation rules were defined by creating syntactical constructs akin to a programming language.

The nature of the user interface places the software customization tool beyond the reach of the average user and depending on technical acumen potentially beyond many system administrators.

For enterprise users, has extended the software customization tool kit to also allow interaction with Apex (’s on demand programming language). The interface at this level is, as expected, at a code level.

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