Custom module builder and relationship keys

I am new to SuiteCRM. Just installed v7.10 on Windows Server 2012 running IIS and MySQL server.

Was very easy to install.

We are looking at replacing our existing Dynamics 365 CRM due high ongoing subscription cost.

I need to duplicate what we are currently doing in Dynamics 365 CRM.

We are a clinical lab and our Field Reps use CRM to keep track of customers, contacts, phone numbers, email, etc.

Also, they see their volume of tests ordered by their customers. All the data for Customers, contacts, and test orders are loaded from our Lab Information Management System.

We have a custom entity (that is what they call it in Dynamics) that holds all the customer lab orders.

In SuiteCRM, I need to create a lab order module that we can import into that will contain the:

  • lab order ID
  • Facility account number (customer)
  • ordering clinician name
  • test name
  • assigned field rep name
  • assigned field rep ID
  • lab order status
  • Date logged
  • date completed
  • date reported
  • rejection code

There might additional fields added in the future.
What I am trying to wrap my head around is how to associate the records to the customer via the account number during imports and searches.
My first impression of the building relationship to the Account (customer) is that it uses a generated internal db ID.
Can I create a one to many relationship as such:
Account.Account Number >>>> Lab Order.Account Number

Lab Order can have multiple tests within it, so not sure how to handle that either.

There will be updates to the Lab Orders during the course of a week where the Lab Order Status will change. This helps the Field Rep track the progress of the order to communicate to their customers.

Any and all input will be greatly appreciated.

Instead of getting all that done in a new custom module, if I were you I would try to use existing SuiteCRM modules that do similar things.

I’ve written an article about some of this work that you can read to get into that “mentality”:

Then the modules that might interest you more directly are some of these, perhaps

Products and Product categories
Quotes and Invoices

I appreciate the feedback and the great source of info on your blog.

I read over the post you linked to and it gives me some ideas as to how I might re-purpose the quotes and invoices, perhaps.

My biggest challenge will be importing new records and updating existing.

MS Dynamics CRM is very convoluted in that respect.

Hoping it will be much simpler in SuiteCRM.

If you have specific on that, send it my way.

Thank you!

You can import stuff directly into the database, or also via a PHP script to handle objects.

If you are a business and can get some budget for this I would advise hiring some expert services. A single developer with SuiteCRM experience could really make a difference in terms of the quality of your migration project, and it’s speed. You’re not just moving data, you’re designing your data and your company’s processes for the next 10 years.

You can contact SalesAAgility for these services, or UrdhvaTech, or any of these guys, or ask around these forums, etc.

Hi DRG Lab

Were in a similar position to you (although a training provider) and agree the rising costs of Dynamics is putting us off.

Just wondering what your experiences have been going from MS Dynamics to SuiteCRM?
Have you found any limitations as to what you could do to what you can do now?

Any help/feedback on this would be most welcome.

Burger and DRG,

I am also in a similar boat as you. Although I am still at the point of testing suitecrm to manage some of these relationships, but even to test SuiteCRM I need to have modules and more importantly the relationships setup correctly so as to visualize how suitecrm will display the info to users.

Have you talked to a consultant yet about the cost for this?

Seems we all have the same need, we should be able to hire a consultant to develop the modules and relationships that we can each use on our own suitecrm.

Let me know if you interested in sharing the cost for this.

Hi dbruinsma,

Interested. drop me an email at and we could go from there? would be intested in what you are currently using and how your working, and in what field.

Hello All that commented on this topic,

I had to put the brakes on the SuiteCRM implementation for now. Just too many gotchas when it comes to data integration.

Here is what I find pretty much across the board…that the data integration always becomes the sticking point for any system.
Whether it is MS Dynamics or any other CRM, ERP, or BPM type system. Where you get stuck…and suddenly realize that this is where it is going to cost money…usually significant money. And, there is always change that needs to be handled. We are always adding new fields, tables, and sources of data that need to be added to the mix. That is where the money pit really starts to rear its ugly head. That is where companies like Microsoft and Salesforce come in…they become the saviors of small businesses. Although, at an exorbitant price AND lock in that becomes evermore increasingly expensive. It is not uncommon to get up into $100+ a user/per month. That is insane money for a small business. Not counting the thousands of dollars a year for consultants to help out.

I have been in software implementation/support for 20+ years. And, in that time, I still don’t see business developer (or, some call it citizen developer) level bidirectional data import modules built into systems…not decent ones anyway. You always need to find some sort of bridge 3rd party plugin, cloud service, application, or developer/consultant to write code to join things together…and not usually in an affordable, reliable, consistent, supportable way.

We absolutely cannot hire a firm that outsources to people outside the US. Our data is just too sensitive. For open source, like SuiteCRM, most all the affordable developers/consultants are not in the US.

We looked at solutions such as OutSystems and Mendix for building our own applications, but that can be thousands a month. I am seeing some light at the end of the tunnel with more no-code/low code solutions maturing. The more in the mix, the more competitive the pricing will be…I hope. Microsoft Access had such promise. I have built some really good niche applications with it over the years, but Microsoft is so darn wishy-washy and keeps dropping support and changing things all the time that you just cannot rely on them anymore.

I know I am preaching to the choir on a lot of these challenges. Good luck with SuiteCRM. It is a very capable application, but just not for us…not at this time anyway.

I can relate to what you’re saying. I think it’s quite common to realise that integration is tough and costs money. It is one thing to say that SuiteCRM is free of cost, and another to say that you can implement it in your business free of cost. You probably can’t, or shouldn’t.

I think SuiteCRM does have big advantages with the model it has:

  1. The money you pour into your project becomes your capital. It is your code, your logic, your solutions, you own them and can tweak them whenever necessary.

  2. You can do these things more progressively, when you have the need, when you have the time, when you have the money, because you control your projects.

  3. You have full visibility over everything. Everything can be fixed by a developer payed by you, everything can be customized. It’s fully open-source PHP and Javascript code. This really adds to your troubleshooting power, and to your independence.

Now, the problem you mention about needing to use developers in the USA can be solved in two ways:

  1. Using consultants from the US! There are many. Remember most people who have worked with SugarCRM can pick up on SuiteCRM quickly. We might have partners in the USA, let me check since normally I don’t do Sales and consulting work, just forums and documentation. I’ll get back to you on this.

  2. Using other people abroad but keeping your data from them. They can develop over a mock database, and then you deploy in the USA with your real data.

Anyway, I think if you hire SalesAgility we’re big and solid and Scottish enough to be trusted, no? :wink: