EDITOR’S NOTE: Many of our blog posts address “big picture” issues, such as ensuring a successful eCommerce launch, selecting an eCommerce solution, or integrating your CMS with an eCommerce solution. But it’s always fun to change things up and look at issues from new perspectives. There are lots of people here at ten24 who are responsible for making the magic happen every day. From time to time, we’re going to hand them the mic and ask them to talk about the issues that are near and dear to them. Everyone in this company has unique talents, strengths, and insights – we hope you’ll enjoy learning a little more about the topics that our team members are so passionate about.
Today’s post is based on a discussion we had with Miguel Targa, Application Developer.
When you were a kid, did you ever play the classic game “Mother May I?” at the park or in a friend’s backyard? The action revolved around everyone taking turns and asking “Mother” if they could do something. If she didn’t give you permission, then you were out of luck. Well guess what? You still need to play a grown-up version of that game when you’re building an eCommerce or Web platform. That’s what permission groups are all about.
Simply defined, permission groups allow you to set limits on what users can see and what they’re able to do – whether those users are the people who are working inside your company, or the customers and prospects who are visiting your online store or website.
So why not just let everyone have access to everything and not worry about permissions at all? Wouldn’t that be a lot less hassle for you? Now before you start nodding your head in agreement, consider the basic setup of a typical medium-sized or large company. It’s broken down into departments that might include, among other things, accounting, marketing, IT, sales, product development, web content, warehouse, and legal. The people who work in all of those departments each have vastly different roles. For instance, the folks in accounting perform tasks that are nothing like those of what the salespeople do on a day-to-day basis. And when you think about it that way, permission groups start making an awful lot of sense.
As Targa explains, “We create permission groups that divide users based on their roles, as opposed to dividing on a user by user basis. Doing this simplifies both the user interface and the user experience.”
Consider this: If you work in accounting and you’re in charge of the general ledger, you don’t personally need the ability to put blog posts up on the company site. And if you’re an HR generalist, you’ll never be setting up new client accounts or adding new products to the eCommerce platform. Setting up permission groups makes it easier for people to do their jobs.
“Being presented with lots of menu items or user interface features that have nothing to do with your specific role can be really overwhelming,” Targa notes. “It’s easy to get lost very quickly. Permission groups eliminate that problem so that people can get down to business and do what they need to do.” So, if you’re that accounting employee working on the general ledger, the only things you’re going to see on the platform are those areas that relate specifically to your work – in other words, just those menus, screens, and functions you’ve been given permission to access. You won’t even be able to see other areas if they’re unrelated to your role.
And that brings us to the process of setting up those permission groups. Targa says this is one of the most important things you’ll do when you’re working with Slatwall or any other eCommerce platform, for that matter. “In order to create permission groups, you need to ask yourself what the user roles are in your company,” he says. “You’ve got to identify, catalogue, decide on, and write down what each user has the ability to see and do, based on his or her role in a department.”
Targa says that before an implementation even begins, some of ten24’s clients will give him a document that details the levels and roles of all the users in their company. Other clients prefer Targa and his ten24 teammates to assist them with this crucial exercise. Targa performs configuration and coding to ensure that admins on the client end are able to amend permission groups as a company grows or changes structure down the road.
Whether clients tackle user roles on their own or in collaboration with ten24, the end result is always the same: clearly defined permission groups that streamline processes, protect sensitive data, and help everyone do their jobs better.
Setting up permission groups can be a time-consuming and painstaking process. But as your own mother may have said to you many times, anything worth doing is worth doing right. (Although she was probably not aware of it, Mother was actually quoting legendary gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. And that, in our opinion, adds a whole new coolness factor to moms and, by extension, to permission groups.)