Benefits of Calculating Dropdown Fields, a new feature in Q1 2023 (12.3.0)

Calculated fields have excited me since my first day working at SugarCRM. I still get excited with every new release that contains an advancement to calculated fields, and so I couldn't help but cheer when I learned that calculating dropdown fields was a part of the Q1 2023 (12.3.0) release.

As a support director, my team's focus is typically break/fix analysis and helping customers face the challenges they present to us. From that perspective, we don't always have in mind all the great benefits a feature offers, so I hoped to discuss this new feature here and see what benefits you have in mind that I might be missing.

When I choose a field type, I usually consider what type of filter operators I get with that field in ListView and Reports. When I know a field is going to have a finite number of possible values, which is often the case with calculated fields, I prefer dropdown fields because they come with the "is one of" and "is not one of" filter operators.

Until this Q1 2023 release, we couldn't calculate dropdown fields, so I felt I had to settle for a field type that could not take advantage of these desired filter operators. Now that I can calculate dropdown fields, I feel like I get the best of both worlds: the power of calculating, and the filter operators I want!

Note: Those with self-hosted instances or on an annual release schedule will get access to this feature with Q2 2023 (13.0.0).

What are some benefits you see in using the new calculated dropdown feature?

Patrick McQueen
Director, SugarCRM Support

  • Like you, Patrick, I've loved SugarLogic ever since it came out, and this has definitely been one of those "most requested ever" features. Anywhere that you use SugarLogic as a calculated value, it is now worth considering "should this field be a dropdown".

    For example, the Contacts module has a date of birth field. Many orgs create a calculated integer field called "Age" to go with this. But how useful is it to have a wide range of Ages in the system? Obviously, you can create filters/reports that group those folks... or alternatively, we can now have a dropdown field called "Age Range" with values like: <18, 19-35, 36-50, 51+ etc.. allowing segmentation by age to be a bit more useful.

    Another scenario I run into is where something like the opportunity status field should be controlled by other fields.. e.g. when you've filled out all the 'qualification' fields, the sales stage moves to the next one. Although this sounds simple, implementing this via BPM is tricky due to the variety of edge cases - e.g. what happens when a field is unset, what happens when you want to skip a step, etc.. whereas using SugarLogic to cater for that ensures that if data is later changed, the deal could in fact go back to an earlier stage.

  • Thank you for the additional scenarios you run into while helping your customers, Adam.

    When you are deciding whether to implement a SugarBPM process or a calculated field, does read-only play into your decision-making?

    I find that I choose BPM/workflow/logic hooks when I need the field to remain editable as well, and I choose calculated fields only when I want the field to be entirely handled by automation.

  • I have found calculated dropdowns helpful in the scenario where you want to pull the value of a parent record dropdown into the child record so you can see this value in list view and filter on it.  For example, if you wanted to pull the "Industry" value that sits on the Account into the related Contacts so you can filter your Contacts by industry.  

    In the past, I've had to use the "getDrodownValue" function, which would only pull in the text of the dropdown from the parent record.  So, when you wanted to filter on it in the Contact list view, you were filtering on a text field instead of being able to pick from the list and use the "is one of" filter option.  

    By using a calculated dropdown, this is a much better experience, both in list view and in reports!