How Healthy Is Your Salesforce Implementation?
No matter how good, or thorough your original implementation of Salesforce was, it will from time to time need maintenance or even periodically an overhaul. The good news is because it’s a cloud-based solution, Salesforce has your hardware health monitoring and maintenance covered for you. But you are not off the hook for everything: ● Data quality, duplicates and other small errors can creep into the best designed systems. ● Depending on the original architecture significate increases in data can start to create performance issues. ● Salesforce has three upgrades a year that bring new features and subtle changes to the platform that should be reviewed. ● Your business is constantly evolving and so requirements and business processes will change. ● Incremental additions such as record types, validation rules, etc. can quickly get out of hand. It is not uncommon to want to rethink the overall architecture of your system based on changes in your business. Constant tweaks, field additions, workflows and approval process modifications added by the day to day administration for the system means the tool evolves away from its original implementation specification. Salesforce, like everything else unfortunately abides by the 2nd law of thermodynamics - everything tends toward disorder. There is perhaps a temptation to follow the adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” or let your Salesforce implementation alone unless it starts to have issues. But this would be at the risk of ignoring another law that we all have experienced at some point, Finagle’s law of dynamic negatives, also known as Finagle’s corollary to Murphy’s law - anything that can go wrong will go wrong and always at the worst or most inconvenient moment. If your business depends on Salesforce then the last thing you want is to be caught by surprise when it starts to yield anomalies or errors that prevent you from running your business. Just as you should get your car serviced, or see your doctor once a year, so too should you have a strategy in place to give your Salesforce implementation a periodic health check. Some of these checks can be in the form of well-designed audit reports that can be run at set intervals to look for early warning signs of trouble. But eventually a full system check that reviews the entire implementation is wise because of: ● The impact of increasing number of records (code that used to work can create errors later). ● Salesforce governor limits - how close are you to exceeding them? ● Salesforce release features. ● Salesforce critical update implications. ● Your organization's current structure. ● Your organization's current business process requirements. ● Security needs and it’s ever changing best practice. Some organizations may have the skill sets in-house to do such a review but many would be best served turning to specialists to complete such a task. It is the combination of skills required that makes this sort of task better suited to external help. No matter how accomplished your Salesforce internal team is, an independent and unbiased health check-up should be on your Salesforce to do list. Inaction will most assuredly lead to trouble. Proactive preventions will always be the more cost effective strategy so if you need any advice or help, give us a call.
Where is Your Salesforce Journey Taking You?
A decade ago, Salesforce was a small, disruptive player in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) space. What set them apart from their competition was that they were a Software as a service or SaaS. It was important to Marc Benioff (founder, Chairman and CEO of Salesforce) that this application be “clicks not code.” A solution that did not require infrastructure management and reduced the technical expertise that was typically required of companies to configure and set up CRM solutions. Today Salesforce accounts for over 18% of all global spend for CRM software vs around 12% for SAP, 9% for Oracle and 6% for Microsoft. With offerings that include a sales cloud, service cloud, marketing cloud, the Force platform and several other services, they’ve moved well beyond the realm of just a CRM tool. It’s now being used for HR solutions, recruiting, project management, agile management, vendor management and much, much, more. It’s hard to believe that organizations leave a lot of these new options untapped. Many companies are still using Salesforce to just run their sales, marketing or customer service centers, which is kind of like purchasing a membership to a country club. It’s REALLY expensive if you only used the club to play tennis, but it’s a great value if you utilize all of the club’s facilities such as golf, tennis, the pool and its other amenities. Likewise, if you’re paying for Salesforce licenses but only running your sales team in Salesforce then you’re not receiving your full return on investment (ROI). By carefully leveraging the variety of licenses that Salesforce offers, you can create a high-value, company-wide business management solution that, when developed correctly, easily integrates into other key systems like your ERP or back-end finance system. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to review the costs of consuming and maintaining several different licenses that could potentially be absorbed by Salesforce. Ask questions like: how is your data quality? What does adoption look like? How efficient is your licensing plan? Etc. Take the time to analyze your current situation and consider developing a consolidation and architecture plan that maximizes the potential of Salesforce as well as your other corporate sub-systems. And remember, just because the implementation consultants have left, it doesn’t mean that the project is complete. On the contrary, it needs to be proactively managed because your Salesforce journey is really just beginning.