The Best and Worst Thing About Salesforce

Anyone who has spent any meaningful amount of time researching or using Salesforce truly understands the power of the platform. It is incredibly capable and configurable, backed by a tremendous offering of add-on applications, and on top of that, it’s a coding platform where you can build virtually anything. Those aspects are what make up the core value of Salesforce. Given this, it is incredible how often we come across companies who turn this valuable proposition into a hindrance.

At 4Convergence, we seek to take full advantage of every function and feature that Salesforce provides. Our central value in this is to help companies thrive by custom-fitting their platform to the challenges and needs of their particular business. We provide top-notch Salesforce consulting services, as well as organizational assessment and planning, turnkey solutions, and much more for numerous businesses throughout Richmond, VA. Below, we discuss a few ways Salesforce can be used well, as well as incorrectly, and how you can avoid making such errors:

Technology Solves All Problems

The incredible capabilities of Salesforce lead many business-owners to believe that it is the answer to every problem they may have in their organization. However, no amount of technology can make bad business processes good, nor make poor management effective.

When looking at the problems that your organization has, you should  question what business processes are in place. Do they drive the results that your business needs? If not, is it because they are fundamentally poor in their design? Once you ensure that your target processes are correctly adjusted for your business, then you should look at the extensive array of capabilities that Salesforce has to offer.

Salesforce can help identify business processes, as well as management and personnel shortcomings. It can provide improved control and visibility while employees and customers are executing processes within your organization. However, only truly effective management can maintain a high standard of performance and behavior in your workforce.

Configuration Madness

Any administrator will tell you that there are many changes that can be made with Salesforce in minutes or, at worst, hours. This ease of configuration frequently leads to a continuous process of change without concern of the implications on your business. If nothing else, excessive configuration often leads to a more confusing User Experience, the need for additional training, and broken or disjointed business processes.

For example, let’s say that Bill is approached by his boss, who asks about getting more information on escalated cases. Bill then asks Anne, an administrator, to add a field so that his team can type in more details for the escalated cases. Anne, being a good technology partner, goes ahead and adds the field. Sounds like a great idea, but is it?

After that, Bill sends an email to his team asking them to fill out this new field. Weeks pass and Bill’s boss comes back for a follow-up and asks for more information on a certain case. Bill pulls a report from Salesforce and finds that it takes him hours to sort through the information and still struggles to get a good answer for his boss. Reluctantly, Bill moves on to the next crisis in his job before giving the appropriate information to his boss.

We have worked in many organizations where these events happen on a weekly basis. It often leads to additional work and confusion for users, as well as clutter in the User Interface. All of this occurs because of a supposed solution that never solved the problem it was made for. Consider the one example we described above and multiply it by how often these requests are made. We have had organizations call us in to “press the reset button” on their Salesforce because of this Configuration Madness.

So what can you do about it? Firstly, take your time before implementing any changes into your Salesforce configuration. Understand the purposes and objectives behind the functionality you are trying to add, and do not take a “just do it” mindset before answering a few questions:

  • What is your business’s goal or outcome for this change? For example, adding a field is NOT the goal, but the means to achieve something else. Be sure that you have a clear understanding of what that is.
  • How does this change or new configuration fit into the big picture? Take a look at existing business processes and technology solutions, then determine the best way to implement the solution.
  • Does the goal seem ‘bigger’ than the solution you intend to use for it? Take some time to understand Salesforce’s capabilities and best practices for solving business problems like the one you are facing, then look to implement a sound solution.

Coder’s Delight

This may sound silly, but the relative ease of coding on the Salesforce platform encourages coders to write more code. This flies in the face of the primary value proposition of the Salesforce platform, which is to deliver numerous capabilities without the need to add more code!

Some users say that additional coding is needed to bridge the gaps between their business’  requirements and Salesforce configuration capabilities. That is occasionally true, but more often than not, we find situations like coders using Apex coding to send an email from Salesforce or code an integration while there is already a free app that addresses it.

To put things into perspective, we had a recent engagement where our client, a Fortune 500 health insurance company, brought us in to rebuild and improve one of its primary Salesforce instances. This work included: an expensive process build; UI improvements, including a migration to Lightning; a data model rebuild; and a large number of productivity improvements. The rule was that we would leverage the existing Salesforce capabilities, or in clearer terms, no additional coding was expected. We delivered all of these benefits to the business within 4 months and only had one very specific situation where Apex code was required. So, we reduced the tech debt by eliminating a large amount of code and replacing it with configured Salesforce solutions.

In contrast, ‘Coders Delight’ happens when:

  • Business and technology leaders do not take the time to invest in learning the full extent of configurations that the Salesforce platform is capable of; they set the expectation that the platform should be configured, not coded, whenever possible.
  • Business designs the technology solution (typically something that looks exactly like what Salesforce is replacing) versus having a dialogue about the problem they are looking for Salesforce to solve. This causes a Salesforce team to create a coded solution instead of identifying which “out of the box” capabilities Salesforce has that have also solved similar problems thousands of times in other companies.
  • The organization does not train their employees or set viable expectations. One expectation should be to minimize technical debt for the organization in the form of Apex code and Visualforce pages. In order to reduce this debt, all solutions using Apex or Visualforce should be required to go through a technical review to confirm whether or not the solution cannot be met with configured Salesforce capabilities.

4Convergence: Effective Salesforce Consulting Service in Richmond, VA

Salesforce is an incredibly powerful platform, but can only reach its highest potential in assisting your business when you are careful to avoid these issues when  implementing solutions.

If you’re too careful to avoid the issues of implementing Salesforce solutions, you may prevent yourself from reaching your highest potential for your business. For an implementation that is smooth, efficient, and provides long-term benefits for your business’ various processes, consider hiring a high-quality Salesforce consulting service like 4Convergence. Our team of experts have helped companies adjust their Salesforce platform to improve sales and operations, along with assessment, planning, and execution strategies that help companies progress in the right direction. Contact us at 804-426-4366 for more information and inquire about our services.

Learn How 4Convergence Can Help You Meet Your Salesforce Goals