Buying any business software product always involves a degree of compromise.
The extent to which that compromise impedes productivity and effective use of the system, while still allowing you to run the business the way you want, is the difference between success and failure in your choice of PSA.
Minimising these compromises depends on how configurable the solution is. How easy it is to add custom data and functionality without requiring code changes the vendor is unlikely to want to deliver just for you.
This aspect of the selection criteria for choosing business software frequently does not gain the attention it should, hence this blog drawing attention to the topic. Plus it’s a great excuse to include a custom car picture on the blog.
Overall, user customisation capability in business software can be described with a form of maturity model where the highest level of maturity will secure the greatest flexibility and so the fewest compromises to effective use.
The list below describes a 7-stage maturity model that you should score alternative systems against as part of your selection criteria:
- Adding custom data elements; the ability to add data elements to transactional objects in the system so that you can store information of relevance to your operating model that is not supported out of the box by the software
- Adding custom relationships; the ability to create behavioural references to other objects in the system. For example, creating specific customer contact roles
- Including custom data in reports; being able to include your own custom fields/attribute data in report views
- Building reporting views using rules driven by custom data elements; driving views and report content using queries that invoke custom data elements
- Building your own notifications from custom rules; writing system notifications based on rules that are not supported by the standard notifications in the software.
- Driving your own notifications from custom data; doing #5 but with rules that are invoked by custom data elements. This level of maturity allows you to drive workflows from custom data, a very powerful capability in improving automation
- Using your own notifications to call webhooks that call APIs; at the highest level of maturity, having the ability to create a notification, driven by your own data fields that can then in turn drive create/update/close actions in the system. This level of maturity allows you to truly break free of the limitations imposed by the designers of the software who simply did not understand your particular use case or requirements.
Harmony’s custom field, reporting and notifications framework is at level 7 of this maturity model. In addition, we provide universal custom capability across the entire system with 60 fields per object, each with separate read and write security permissions. We even support advanced custom field behaviours such as hierarchic selectors and multi-select field types.
Plus, we allow you to design your own PDF documents that can embed custom field data and web-forms, enabling your users and customers to create and edit those fields.
This allows us to claim that Harmony will provide you with a solution that minimises the level of compromise and maximises your automation opportunities. When selecting other software, make sure you consider this vital aspect of the platform you are buying.
Read more about Harmony's Configuration and Automation options
About the Author: Harmony Business Systems Ltd (HBS) is the company behind HarmonyPSA, the most complete cloud PSA software on the market. Developed with functionality to cater for even the most complex needs of MSPs, VARs, ISVs and Professional Services organisations, HarmonyPSA truly is the next generation of PSA systems. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter, LinkedIn or Website