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Custom Global Changes in Blackbaud CRM™

Customization is a scary word when you are implementing or newly-live with Blackbaud CRM™. For a lot of organizations, anything “custom” means a lengthy development process, and incremental cost. We do our best to marry the software functionality with our business processes, but sometimes we do need to build something from scratch to make the process really work.

A Global Change process in CRM is one area where customization does not require a lengthy development timeline or a lot of expense. CRM comes equipped with a number of out-of-box Global Changes, but not everything is covered. Further, we can employ Global Changes to manipulate other business processes throughout the system. They can be scheduled to run automatically, placed within a queue, or run in conjunction with another process - “set it and forget it!”

Here are some examples of custom Global Changes:

  • Name Format - provides the ability to assign, update or remove a Name Format from a selection of constituents. This means you can globally apply the “Board Salutation” to anyone affiliated with the Board of Directors based upon a query. This is a free global change provided by BrightVine. If you'd like this global, please contact us today.

  • Constituent Address Region Code - provides the ability to assign a region code or geocode to an address based on the address parts (city, state, zip code)

  • Delete/Update Plan Steps - provides the ability to globally cancel or delete incomplete Plan Steps when a prospect passes away or ends solicitation conversation

  • Mark Prospect Plans Historical - provides the ability to globally historicize a selection of Prospect Plans; useful at the culmination of a fiscal cycle or campaign

The effort to create these is very low, especially in comparison to a custom report or other customizations. Usually 6-8 hours is enough for development and testing, and it’s very easy to build within SDK. The result is an upgrade-proof, sustainable customization that fits your business process.

There are two paths to consider when developing a custom global change. You can take the easier route with a a SQL Stored Procedure. Or, you could take the road less traveled with a CLR based approach. While both Global Change methods use parameters they each have their own approach on updating the data.

  • SQL Stored Procedure - Executed using T-SQL which is the structured query language that Microsoft SQL Server uses to interact with relational databases. You will want to use this approach if your Global Change doesn’t require any complex processing logic and is doing simple data updates via the parameter set defined.

  • CLR - or Common Language Runtime, is another way of saying that your Global Change will run as compiled code using either VB.Net or C# code. The CLR approach is helpful if your logic is more complex and requires any sort of dynamic code, such as using attributes.

Although a technical solution, custom global changes can enhance your organization’s ability to process and maintain your data. Not all customizations are major, and a small investment now can help users avoid headaches later. If you'd like to learn more about global changes, or other customizations please let us know.

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