So you’re considering a switch to Salesforce. Most companies zero in on just two aspects of an implementation proposal: cost and time. Across industries, regardless of project size leaders seem to prioritize these criteria above all else in deciding whether to move forward with Salesforce. And of course costs and timelines are important.
But if your goal is to use Salesforce to transform your organization, you need to consider several – maybe less obvious – other factors that will determine the success of your investment.
Our team can’t go it alone. As your partner, we cannot work in a silo and build a tailor-made Salesforce that perfectly replicates your processes, reads/provides data and unlocks your opportunities. We need you to participate in the process equally. Specifically, we need your inputs in the following ways:
a. Provide requirements: As consultants, it’s our job to ask the right questions. As you run your business every day, it’s your responsibility to give us detailed answers, so that there are no surprises at go-live. If your SMEs don’t have the bandwidth to sit with us and talk through the requirements, then you’re probably not ready to embark on the project.
b. Review the scope: After discovery, we document all requirements in painstaking detail. This removes any ambiguity between the ultimate users and the developers who build out your Salesforce. Treating the requirements review as a mere formality or box to be checked can lead to gaps between expectations and the finished project. Make sure you have the time to review all requirements thoroughly.
c. Share data: Whether you’re anticipating a one-off migration or ongoing integration, you need the infrastructure and manpower to provide data in a compatible format. Many times this requires the data to be sorted. If your Salesforce implementation is heavily reliant on data yet you don’t have the means to provide it. You’re likely not ready to start such a project.
d. Manage parallel projects: Do you have parallel ongoing projects that significantly impact your Salesforce implementation? If yes, it’s important to discuss how practical it is to implement both projects simultaneously. Sometimes, one project is a bottleneck. In that case, you’ll need to decide exactly when and how Salesforce fits into your project pipeline.
e. Make decisions: Salesforce always presents multiple ways to solve a problem. Options mean trade-offs. As your consultant, we can present the options to you and make recommendations, but It’s your decision If there is no clear project owner to give direction, moving forward is impossible.
f. Offer feedback: Clients often ask us if we are agile. But are you? There’s no point in us pushing features every two weeks if you don’t have the bandwidth to review everything and sign off for production deployment. Even if we adopt a waterfall approach, we still need your SMEs to be involved in testing, providing feedback and ultimately signing off for production. If you aren’t able to test properly, users will have production issues which can translate to lost business.
While technologies are industry-agnostic, products are not. Neither are consultants. Any decent consultant can ask questions, understand your business and build a solution. However, an expert in your industry can advise you on best practices, blind spots and future scenarios that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
Broadly, a project team should include the following roles:
Not every project requires every role. Further, the time distribution required from the different roles varies depending on the project. For example, more Project Manager effort will be required the more stakeholders are on your team. Projects with greater complexity demand heavier involvement from a Business Analyst (and possibly the Technical Consultant). If you’re new to Salesforce and have a lot of questions, you should probably spend more time with a Business Analyst. Verify that the team assigned to you aligns with the nature and complexity of your project.
It’s crucial you understand and agree on the project management methodology. The right approach depends on your readiness (see #1 above). Here are some key questions to consider:
Depending on your answers, your project might be a better fit for either an agile or waterfall approach. Don’t make this decision lightly: it impacts cost, timeline and most importantly adoption.
If your business has undergone digital transformation or new technology implementations in the past, these considerations should be table stakes to you. Yet if this all sounds new -or intimidating- bounce ideas off our team. We’d love to chat about your project goals and talk you through your options.