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Make customer portal less application-like and more easily embeddable into existing websites

Status: Under Consideration
by Bronze Super Contributor on ‎12-22-2009 07:10 PM

I don't care at all for the existing customer portal implementation. It never seems to be what my customers want. Instead of it being this separate application, they want it to be more "embeddable" into other existing customer websites they already have.


Having clear defined integration points for the customer portal and embeddable parts that could be used in other websites could make the customer portal far more attractive to support organizations. At minimum, having the base customer portal use themes or skins that could easily change it's look & feel would make it easier to at least look like the existing customer websites even if they are two separate websites. It would really be cool to even have the screens that make up the customer portal be reusable UserControls (or simple pages that one could load into frames).


Having the customer portal look like "SalesLogix" just isn't something that most companies want.

by Gold Super Contributor
on ‎12-23-2009 11:03 AM

Adding Themes and Skins capability to the Customer Portal would go along way to making it more acceptable. This would be especially true IF we also had an editor that would enable doing this at both the "deployed" level as well as at the "pre-deployed" (source) level.


Having it available in "embeddable" pieces would be nice but not a top requirement.


Being able to EASILY extensible via the AA IS a number 1 requirement. 

by Bronze Super Contributor
‎12-23-2009 11:44 AM - edited ‎12-23-2009 11:45 AM

"Having it available in "embeddable" pieces would be nice but not a top requirement."

I think this is a top requirement. SalesLogix is not typically a front end/customer facing solution - it is employee facing. SalesLogix customers have their own marketing sites, tech support sites, intranet sites, etc. SalesLogix plays the secondary/embedable role in these cases. In my experience (which may vary from yours) CRM comes into the picture after these other pieces are already in place. Sage cant expect SalesLogix to uproot these existing solutions - rather SalesLogix should extend/increase the power of the existing solutions. IMO that is the path of least resistance and greater adoption.


BTW I do agree that SalesLogix should be "skinnable" but I think that is a different topic altogether.

Message Edited by tagersea on 12-23-2009 11:45 AM
by Gold Super Contributor
on ‎12-23-2009 02:50 PM

I did not say it was not a requirement... ;-)


None of our clients have a "customer portal". They do have a web site and being able to add easily features the SalesLogix Customer Portal as well as give it the look of their site(s) (theme/skin) would go a long way.. it's lower hanging fruit... 

by Employee
on ‎12-28-2009 05:28 PM

Hopefully I don't pull Ryan's idea off to a tangent too much... but I think it is relevant.


Ideally, I'd like the ability to use AA to work with Customer Service and other special purpose Portals in a manner that does not use the standard Technology Stack that SlxClient, PorcessHost, and SData portals use - instead they would only rely upon SData for authentication(optionally) and for all data access (CRUD), entity method calls, etc.


As SData continues to be enhanced, all needed SData facilities should become available for this vision. A portal could be created in any language and tool capable of calling SData of course, so the question for my idea would be - what value add might AA provide for aiding in the creation and maintenance of this kind of a Portal?




by Bronze Super Contributor
on ‎12-28-2009 08:39 PM

OK Todd. You hit it right on the money. IMO that is the perfect solution.


Scrap the "portal" framework and have the customer portal just be a set of web pages or user controls that use SData. None of the portal framework itself, just some independent and plain (e.g. lack of any style or SLX look & feel) pages that use SData to communicate with SLX. These pages/user controls could be dropped anywhere and then just change the config to point to the SData portal location.


by Gold Super Contributor
on ‎12-29-2009 06:47 AM
It sure sounds like low hanging fruit to me. However, having a fully functional OOTB Customer Portal is still very valuable.
by Bronze Super Contributor
on ‎12-29-2009 10:33 AM
What do you mean by "low hanging fruit"? Are you saying that you think Todd's suggestion is easilly acheivable and you agree it is important?
by Gold Super Contributor
on ‎12-30-2009 08:30 AM

As you probably know, Low Hanging Fruit is an old sales term. High return w/least effort.


Not saying the actual dev work is quick and easy.. just that from a Marketing/Sales point of view it might be something we can sell very easily and bundle a significant amount of services with it.

by Bronze Elite Contributor
‎12-31-2009 05:05 AM - edited ‎12-31-2009 05:06 AM

Execellent suggestion. The portal has never worked for my customers and it's never been able to provide support for companies with distribution channels either.


Something else that might be a little off topic is the ability to integrate these "pieces" with existing best of breed social suites like Helpstream so companies can integrate with their CRM suite but also empower customers to engage/solve problems in different, yet measureable ways. 


Example: Do any of your customers know how many support issues are resolved in the community, versus by FAQs or documentation, versus the support desk? Do you know how effective your published doucmentation is? Oh, our portal doesn't support communities....


The customer portal tech may be cool, but I don't see a business person's perspective in the design, and that's who we sell to (personally, I don't sell to IT people). If you have a service oriented company these social offerings are looming larger and someone needs to address it; either Sage or a BP with a lot of time on their hands Smiley Happy  It would seem to be a snap with the service portal, but I'm not sure that addresses the suggestion that Ryan has rightly made.

Message Edited by mboysen on 12-31-2009 07:06 AM
on ‎01-13-2010 12:08 PM

To start google (with the quotes) "Sage Saleslogix Customer Portal"


It seems to me that the Sage Saleslogix Customer Portal should be 'My Company' 'Whatever I call my Customer Portal'. There should be two resource data values for company name and portal name. My customers might be confused when they are on the Sage Saleslogix Customer Portal when they were looking for Video Corporation of America's Power of More Support Site. The Sage branding is everywhere in my customer facing portal. Even the help file starts with Welcome to Sage Saleslogix and mentions Sage Saleslogix at least 15 times. This should be something set once in one global resource file for the customer portal. These our your customer's customers and not your customers.


Tweaking the look and feel to match other branding would be nice but getting the name right is critical.

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