So one of the best ways we can make NetSuite easier to use, is by customizing the forms that we use to enter data into the system. And in this chapter we’re going to talk about how to customize entry forms, and specifically entity forms.
First let’s talk about entry forms are. Now, entry forms are anywhere you would enter data into the system. So if I go to Transactions, Sales and then choose Enter Sales Order; this is an entry form, and in this case it’s a transaction entry form. Now, there’s also the concept of entity forms, and entity forms are used enter records such as the Customer, Prospect, Vendor, Contact, those types of things. So if I go to Lists, then come down to Relationships, choose Customers and then click on new, we’re dropped at the new customer form, and this is also an entry form. But in this case it’s an entity entry form. So I just want to make sure those two terms, entity forms, and entry forms, aren’t confusing. So again entry forms are anywhere that we can enter data into the system. Entity forms are those specific forms there used to enter non-transactional data, or entity information, such as customers and prospects and those types of records.
So there are a lot of common reasons why you might want to customize these. Some of the most common include removing unneeded fields and data from a form, making it easier to use. So if you never use this web address, you might want to go ahead and remove it. And as we look through this form, we might see a lot of fields that we never actually use, and those would be contenders to be removed.
Another reason you might want to customize these forms is so they match your business process. So if we had a call center where we received inbound calls, and were selling something, we may have a specific order in which we gather information from new customers. This might include getting their name first, and then their phone number, and some other information. And if that were the case, what we might want to do is set up a form for those call-center employees, so that when they received that call, the order in which the enter data on the form is the same order in which they would be gathering data, based on their call script. Now, that’s just one example, there are a lot of others, but basically what that means is that we can use forms to mirror our processes in our business.
Another reason we might want to customize the forms are for specific roles, or departments, or job functions. So it’s entirely possible that at a large company we have dozens, or hundreds, of people who interact with customers. And these different departments may want to look at the data in a different order, or they may want to look at different data altogether. So for web customers, we may not need a sales rep for, whereas large value customers that called in on a normal basis, they might have a sales rep. So we could customize and create multiple copies of the form, so that only those individuals who need to see the sales rep actually saw it.
Now, one of the themes that you probably recognized in making these changes for these different situations, is that they really all revolve around making the system simpler to use. Now, there are a lot of ways you can go about customizing these forms, however I’ll go ahead and share some of what I found to be best practices around customizing them.
So one of the things that I have done, and this is especially true when I’m doing a new implementation or creating new forms altogether, is to print out the standard form, mark it up, and then make changes from that marked up copy. And so the way that you would do this is, you’d actually start by scrolling down and choosing the expanded, or unrolled, view. So we’ll go ahead and click on this, and this is important because otherwise you won’t actually get everything that’s in the tabs. So now if we scroll down the next thing we’ll want to do, is expand everyplace where you see this kind of little gray triangle that’s pointing downward. So I’ll go ahead and expand these. Now, that are a few more at the bottom, but I think you get the idea. And just so you know, you don’t want to click this expand all, up here, because this doesn’t actually expand everything. It expands just one subtab level down, so if you have things that are hidden below that, it won’t actually expand them and then you won’t actually get everything in the print out.
From here, you’d go up to your browser’s option to print, and choose from the ellipses, and choose print. And you can choose your printer, and then it will load a preview, and it essentially looks like this. So you could print this, and then you could mark this up. I’m going to go ahead and cancel this now.
But what this looks like we were done, I’ve got one here we can take a look at, and it essentially looks something like this. So you might cross out sales rep, and partner category, default priority and say well, we’re not going to have those. You might draw arrows to move things around. Decide where you’re going to remove categories and tabs. You might decide you’re going to remove subtabs, or remove information all together. So this can actually help quite a bit in figuring out how you want a form to work.
This is especially good if you have a form that’s used by quite a few people, or different departments, or when it’s used by different stakeholders. The reason this works really well is, you can then pass this paper around and ask for feedback, and this allows you to come up with the ideas of what you want to change, before you actually make the changes. So that’s one way to do it.
Now there are a few other ways. One of the most common ways they see used, especially in instances where it’s a form that already exists and you want to make just a few changes, is to make the changes iteratively. So you might figure out that you don’t use this web address at all, and so you might remove that first. And then a day or two later, you might figure out you don’t use the comments, so you might remove that. And doing it in this iterative process has some real advantages, just because people get a chance to kind of gradually get used to it.
Now, when you’re doing customization one of the things you might come up with, is a question of, I don’t know which fields are, and are not, used. So for customers, if we wanted to find out which fields were and were not used, what we could actually do is go to Lists, Relationships, Customers, and I could have also clicked the list up in the upper right hand corner, but I’ll go ahead and right click on this, and open it in a new tab. And on my list of customers, I can customize the view.
So from this customized view, I can add any field I want to. So if I wanted to look at web address, I could start typing that in, and add that. I’ll go ahead and choose add down here, and I’ll choose save. And it’s actually over to the right, but I can scroll over. And I could start looking, and say well, which customers have web addresses listed? And in my case I don’t really have too many; there’s a few. As we scroll down we can see some of them, however in reality there’s not very many of them. So if I see that there’s not many, or I see that it’s not really a used field, maybe there’s nothing in there all, that would be a good contender to remove. So I’m going to go ahead and close this tab because we don’t need it, and were back to our customer form.
There is another alternate method that I sometimes use for customization, and that’s to kind of print things out, but then cut and paste the fields onto a new sheet of paper. It’s kind of a fun exercise, but to be honest I use this more for printed forms than I do for anything else, and were actually going to take a look at it, when we get to that chapter about printed forms, however you can use it for this. But again most of the time, I use that for printed forms, not for entry forms, or screen forms as there sometimes called. So in the rest of this chapter, we’re going to take a look at pretty much all the options for customizing this form, and that’ll include things like moving fields around, or changing subtabs, and categorization.
So stick around