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Custom Entities Use Case - Creating a custom entity to track Assets
Custom Entities Use Case - Creating a custom entity to track Assets

A step-by-step guide to a common use case for Custom Entities including how to set up and configure your new custom entity

Updated over a week ago

This article is intended for experienced Pipeliner Administrators and Pipeliner Partners with an in-depth knowledge of working with Pipeliner’s existing entities such as Accounts or Opportunities. Please read this introductory article before starting this one.


The Custom Entities module allows you to create - and then work with - a completely new type of entity in Pipeliner which you can then link to existing entities using Lookup fields to create relationships.

The example custom entity that I’m going to use in this article is named “Assets”. I’m using “Assets” as a generic name to represent records that we need to enter and track in Pipeliner and link to the Accounts who own those “Assets”. This type of custom entity would meet the following scenarios:

  • We offer parts and/or servicing for machines that our customer has purchased from another manufacturer or distributor so we need to track machine serial numbers and other details.

  • We offer warranties for a product that the customer has bought from another supplier and need to track the product details and eligibility for our services

Creating custom entities is advanced configuration and shouldn’t be undertaken without planning. The existing main entities in Pipeliner meet the business requirements of the majority of our customers so it only makes sense to create a custom entity when you have confirmed that it is absolutely necessary and an existing entity cannot be used.

Our Business Analysis

After talking to our sales and service teams, we’ve come up with the following requirements that we will meet by creating a new custom entity in Pipeliner:

  • Our sales team is using Pipeliner Opportunities to track the sales of Assets that we ourselves manufacture as well as selling parts and servicing for those Assets. However, our customers often own Assets that we have not sold them so these would not be included in our own Opportunities. We need to know what Assets our customers own so we can sell parts and servicing in the future and so our Service teams can track which Assets a service call relates to.

  • We need to be able to see the Assets owned by a company when we open up an Account record.

  • Assets will need to have service visits linked to them and we may need to upload pictures or other technical files as well as service contracts for each Asset.

  • It would be really useful to be able to choose a contact who is our main contact at the customer’s site regarding the individual Asset.

  • Our sales team has asked if it would be possible to link an Asset to an Opportunity for future parts and servicing sales.

Creating our Assets Custom Entity

From the App Switcher, choose Administration

NOTE: only Admin users will see the Administration option.

Having selected the Entities menu, we’ll then click on the “Create New” button ⤵

We’re going to select an icon to represent Assets and then add in the singular and plural names ⤵

Users are going to type in the name of the Asset when they create them so we’re going to select “Single line text”. Just like Account name for Accounts, the Asset name will be mandatory in order to create an Asset in Pipeliner ⤵

Under Custom Entities Functionalities, we’re going to leave all options selected ⤵

  • Enable Activities - we want to link service visits and other tasks to the Asset and need to be able to see these on an Activities tab when we open up the Asset.

  • Enable Documents - our users will need to upload pictures or other files that relate to the Asset and see those from a Documents tab when we open up the Asset.

  • Enable Notes - users might need to enter some background reference notes about the Asset.

  • Enable searching through Global Search - we want to be able to search for Assets by name using the Global Search.

Finally, we’ll click on “Create” to add our Assets Custom Entity ⤵

Creating Custom Fields (including Lookups)

Now we’ve created our Assets Custom Entity, we need to add additional user-defined fields to capture all the information we need to track. We’ll then need to add those fields to our Assets form.

We can access Assets from the Entities menu ⤵

Click on the Fields tab to see the default fields created for every custom entity. As well as our Asset Name field, there’s also the underlying database identifier Asset ID field and Sales Unit (this is needed for every record in Pipeliner and helps us when setting up user roles) ⤵

We need to add a Serial Number field, Date of Purchase and Lookup fields that allow us to link Assets to Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities.

Click on the “Create New” button. For Serial Number, we’re going to use a Single Line Text field (as serial numbers can include letters as well as numbers) and want to be able to search by serial number so will enable “Use in Global Search” ⤵

Date of Purchase will be a Date field.

Next we want to create a Lookup field to link our Assets to Accounts (and, subsequently, Contacts and Opportunities). We’ll name our field “Owning Account”, select Account as the entity to “lookup” and then set Filter options to limit the Accounts that we can choose from to “Customers” as these are the only type of Account that Assets are relevant to ⤵

Lastly, we’ll choose to create a tab on Accounts named “Related Assets” so when we open up an Account, we’ll be able to see a List View of all Assets owned by that Account ⤵

We’ll use similar options to create our “Main Contact for this Asset” field which will lookup Contacts and “Linked Opportunities” fields looking up Opportunities. For Opportunities, we’ll use the following Filter options to limit the Opportunities we can link our Assets to ⤵

For more information on working with Lookup fields, click here.

We’ll then see our new user-defined fields in the Field list ⤵

Setting up Field Permissions for user-defined fields

Now we have our fields created, we can set which users are going to be able to see and update the information entered into them. We’ve decided that only Account Managers and Service Users (plus Admin users) should be able to enter Serial Numbers, Date of Purchase and link Assets to Accounts and Contacts. Sales users should be able to update the Asset to reflect any related Opportunities and all users should be able to see these fields (even if they are not able to change the information).

We’ll click on Field Permissions and select the User Role that we want to update permissions for and then select our preferred options.

These are the chosen options for the "Sales User" role ⤵

For the "Service Users" role, the options would like this those below ⤵

We’ll repeat, making the required changes for all User Roles. For more information on working with Field Permissions, click here.

Updating the Form for Assets

Next, we’ll click on the Forms tab to place our new fields on the Assets form so they’re available for our users to use ⤵

NOTE: you can create multiple different forms if your custom entity needs different layouts with different fields (except Name or Number, ID and Sales Unit) on each Form.

We’re going to update the existing Asset Form by clicking on the Form name and then choosing Edit Form ⤵

We’re then going to drag and drop our fields onto the Form, adding Web Elements to hold them in our preferred layout ⤵

We can choose to make fields “required” and, for our Lookup fields, impose a limit on how many Accounts, for example, can be linked to the Asset by setting the Item Count

When we’ve finished adding all our fields, we’re going to click on Save to save our Form layout ⤵

The final step here is to Publish all of our changes to apply them to the app ⤵

More information on working with Fields and Forms is available here.

Setting access to Assets in User Roles

Now we want to make sure our User Roles are correctly set up to allow the correct levels of visibility and access to Assets to suit our business.

From the Units, Users & Roles menu, we’ll select the Roles tab and then choose our “BDR User” role and click on “Edit Role”. We’ve decided that users based on the BDR User role do not have any need to see Assets so we’re going to completely remove the option ⤵

For our Sales User role, we’ve determined that they should only see Assets in their territory but should be able to update related Opportunities (remember our Field Permissions!) on all Assets in their area. These choices are reflected in “Assigned Unit Access”, and “Write access to records”. We’ve also disallowed deleting of Assets by users based on this Sales User role ⤵

We’ll repeat this process for our other User Roles until we’re happy that security is set correctly for us.

NOTE: remember that it’s possible to change all choices and to add new options at any time.

Working with Assets in the App

Now we’ve completed the initial configuration, we can switch to the CRM app and start to work with Assets.

The Assets Menu

There’s now a brand new menu option for Assets. Clicking on it will show an empty screen until we go ahead and add our first Asset by clicking on “Create New” ⤵

We’ll need to fill in all our required fields or select from a list of records (for our Lookup fields) ⤵

Creating an Asset is just like working with any other type of record in Pipeliner. The Owner is set by default to the logged in user (but can be changed, as can the Sales Unit). We’re going to click on “Create & Open” once our fields are completed ⤵

Once the Asset is open, you can see how it works just like all the main entities your users are already familiar with.

We chose to enable Activities, Documents and Notes and so our Asset has tabs for each of those elements ⤵

These tabs all behave in the same way that your users are used to. For example, clicking on Activities allows us to schedule a Service Visit appointment linked to the Asset ⤵

Our new Asset is now visible in the Assets menu in a List View which can be modified like any other in the app ⤵

The features that we use for other entities are also available for our new Assets custom entity - these include Bulk Update, Import (see below), Export and creating a new Report from our List View as well as filtering via the Power Panel.

Importing Assets

As well as creating manually, we can also import Assets.

Data needs to be prepared just as it would be for any other import. If we want to successfully link our Assets to Accounts (or Contacts), we’ll need to make sure that our names exactly match one record that’s already in Pipeliner and that we have data for all of the fields we set as required. The importing user will also need to be based on a role that has rights to update all the fields.

Our data looks like this once we’ve prepared it and saved to csv ⤵

In our import settings, we’re going to choose “Serial Number” as our de-duplication field as this will be unique for every Asset ⤵

Map your fields by dragging and dropping from the right hand panel onto the form ⤵

And then preview your import ⤵

When you’re happy, select all rows and click on Select All to import your Assets and then review the results in the Assets menu ⤵

More information about importing can be found using this link.

Viewing Assets from related records

We created our Lookup fields so we could link our Assets to Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities and, as part of that setup, we opted to create related Tabs on the linked records. This means that if we go to an Account, for example (remembering that we filtered our Lookup field to Accounts that are Customers), we’ll see a “Related Assets” tab ⤵

We can then click on the tab to see all Assets owned by that Account in a List View which can be modified in the usual way ⤵

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I access Custom Entities?

Custom Entities is an Automation Hub module that is available to existing Unlimited Tier customers only by special arrangement via your Account Manager. Enterprise Tier customers can also request Custom Entities to be added to their subscription as a chargeable extra.

From the Automation Hub menu, scroll down to find Custom Entities and then click on “Request”. Once the request has been approved by one of our team, you’ll then have access to Custom Entities from the Entities menu (formerly Fields & Forms) ⤵

How do I get support to help with setting up custom entities?

We offer consultancy services to support those customers who wish to use Custom Entities. It’s important to note that Pipeliner Technical Support (delivered via email or live chat) only includes support for issues relating to Custom Entities for those customers who have purchased (and consumed) our Custom Entity consultancy package.

Support queries relating to Custom Entities will usually be referred to our most experienced consultants so we may take additional time to respond.

Additional consultancy time will be required for all specific advice relating to your business’ individual use cases or requirements.

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