Now that you have a fresh CRM system, you are getting ready to add many new fields to customize for your business. Before getting started take a few minutes to plan your implementation using these tips:
1. Define the use of the field – What kind of data will this be used for? Do you want to trigger any workflows or other automation from this field? How will data be entered? After a field is created you can change the field name and size (in the case of text fields), but you cannot change the field type.
2. Think about current and future reporting needs – text fields are very difficult to report on. If this may be used in a report, think about using an Option Set instead. If necessary, you can have an Option Set with an additional “notes” fields to capture other data.
3. Option Set vs Lookup field – When using an Option Set, determine how often the options may change? Who will be notified when they change? How often and how quickly may they need to change? Depending on the answers to these questions, you may want to consider using a Lookup instead. In this model, you would create another simple entity and users would select from the list of all records in that entity. This allows you to deactivate and add new options quickly. You can also store additional data for each option if necessary.
4. Make Required if possible – Ensure users will enter data in the new field by making it required. If it cannot be required all the time, consider if you can use a business rule to make it required in certain circumstances.
5. Use a Sandbox environment – any customizations should always be created in a sandbox or development environment and moved to production with a solution. This is important so it can be tested and reviewed before it starts being used. This allows time to ensure you choose the correct field type or delete and re-create if necessary. Once users are entering data in the field, if the field type needs to change you will need to create a new field and migrate the data from the old field. Additionally, you want to ensure your sandbox environment is as close as possible to production so that you do not potentially overwrite changes in a future solution (for example, this field was created directly in production then two weeks later a solution with the same entity causes that field to be removed from the form).
For more information on creating fields and different field types, check out the CRM Customer Center.
What other tips or warnings do you have for new Administrators?