Do you ever wish you could sit down with someone who’s been through a Salesforce implementation and ask tough questions? When facing a decision on a big sales or service transformation there is a lot to consider. Of course you need to ensure your ROI but you also need to plan for project and organizational change success! You need to ensure you have a strong implementation success strategy that includes training, change management and a plan in place to manage your technology investment thereafter. Change is hard, whether you are new to enterprise software implementations or you’re a seasoned pro!
Salesforce customer success and Bolt Data teamed up for an exclusive live webinar, Honest Conversations on Preparing for Salesforce Transformations. We were also joined by recent Bolt Data customer, Alex Lane from BusPatrol, for a discussion on what makes a Salesforce implementation successful. Our panel of experts explored the good, the bad, and the ugly of implementations and answered questions we are asked most often:
- What does a great implementation strategy look like?
- Setting expectations for implementation partner engagement; who, when, why, how?
- How do I manage the change across people and process to ensure ROI?
- How do I, as a leader, ensure my organization is ready?
- Lessons learned around successful Go Lives and Beyond
Watch the Webinar
Christina Rampone: All right. What do you say, everyone? Should we go ahead and kick it off?
Allan Alexopulos: I think so.
Christina Rampone: All right awesome. Well, welcome everybody to the Salesforce and Bolt Data webinar. Today, we’re gonna be talking a little bit about implementation success. Let me go ahead and introduce myself and introduce you to our panelists.
Christina Rampone: My name is Christina, and I’m the Director of Partner Sales here at Salesforce within our customer success operating unit.
Christina Rampone: I’ve been with Salesforce for 5 years, and I’m going to be moderating the panel. Something near dear to my heart is making sure we’ve got an implementation success plan set up early. When we are talking about what it’s going to take to make this successful early on, it’s actually in the deal cycle. So that is my role. And I also see what happens on the implementation side working alongside our partners that are our strategic advisors helping our customers.
Christina Rampone: So I’m going to go ahead and turn it over first to Allan to introduce yourself.
Allan Alexopulos: Good morning, everybody. I’m the Managing Director here at Bolt Data. I’ve got a background in project management and large scale program governance. I’m looking forward to speaking with you guys today.
Christina Rampone: And we have an amazing customer with us today. He’s gonna help to share his story as well, and offer some lessons, learned and insights along the way. Alex, do you want to introduce yourself?
Alex Lane: I’m Alex Lane and I’m the Senior Vice President of Global Field Operations at a company called BusPatrol. We’re a bus safety company and I oversee all of the field operations supervising the installation and maintenance of over 15,000 buses as well as the project management component for our programs.
Christina Rampone: Fantastic. And last, but certainly not least, my partner in crime here at Salesforce: Bonnie. Do you want to introduce yourself?
Bonnie Royal: Absolutely. Good morning, everybody. I’m Bonnie Royal. I run our customer success team here for our consumer and business services operating unit. I’ve been with Salesforce about 6 years, but before that I was a Salesforce client for over 12, and have spent the last better part of 25 years doing CRM implementations or advising clients on CRM implementation so I’m looking forward to talking with everyone today.
Christina Rampone: Fantastic. Let’s move into today’s agenda.
Christina Rampone: We are talking today about implementation success and everything included in that. What is it? What’s the level of effort? What is the lift from my team required? We’ll also discuss change management along with all those important topics.
Christina Rampone: And so Allan, why don’t you tell us a little bit about Bolt Data as we kick off this conversation?
Allan Alexopulos: As a Salesforce implementation partner for over 10 years, we have a team of people that are specialists in sales and service and we’ve also launched recently a product that sits on the Salesforce platform that does IoT and connected field service. So we’re really happy to be here to talk with Alex, Christina and Bonnie about best practices for your successful implementation.
Christina Rampone: Great – thank you for that. And one of the things that we wanted to make sure that we do today is make sure that we’re focusing on and tailoring this discussion for the audience on the line. So what I’d love to do is post a quick poll so we can understand what you guys would love to learn about today and what you’re hoping to walk away with from today’s session.
Christina Rampone: All right. We’re going to wrap up the polls. Everyone submitted their answers.
Christina Rampone: And then, Alex, you can show us what the results are.
Christina Rampone: Awesome. Project governance good, the bad. We want to know all of the things. That’s great. Well, what we’re planning to discuss and also what skills and and are needed from your internal teams as well as where. What are some of the risks? And, how to how to manage those risks which I think go right along with Project Governance. So that’s great. We’ll go ahead and close the poll.
Christina Rampone: So right along those lines, right and what everyone’s interested in talking about. I want to turn it over to Bonnie to set us up around, maybe the 3 main keys to successful partner implementations as we view it here at Salesforce.
Bonnie Royal: Thanks, Christina. So yeah, before we jump in and really talk about what an implementation looks like. I want to share what I’ve seen our most successful customers do, and the way to go into these projects with the right mindframe. So first is to really think about this as you own the project, so that ownership mentality.
Bonnie Royal: You are hiring a partner, doing the project with a partner. But it’s a true partnership. You’re not outsourcing it. You’re not setting it and forgetting it. You really own the project and the partner is there to help and support you along the way. So you go into it thinking that you’re going to be able to just outsource it to them. And then, when they’re done, it’s all gonna magically happen. That’s not a great way to go into it. So you really own this project.
Bonnie Royal: The second is, learn Salesforce. Really be able to speak the same language as the partner. That way, you can get knowledge transfer as you go, as opposed to those more of an out outsourcing model where the partner does everything, and then at the end you do a one or 2 day knowledge transfer. Never see that go well.
Bonnie Royal: It works much better if you invest the time in learning Salesforce and doing knowledge, transfer as you go, and are really involved in it. And then also really think about what life looks like after the first implementation after the partner’s SOW is done? How self sufficient do we want to be as a client?
Bonnie Royal: And start working towards that from the beginning. Don’t get to the end of the project and then start thinking about it. How are we supporting this platform going forward? If you really think about that from the beginning you’ll be a lot better off. So definitely invest in learning Salesforce and then to support you in doing that, use the success resources that come as part of your premier success plan or your success plan. We have a ton of resources to help you learn Salesforce, but also do expert coaching. So take advantage of our expert coaching. We have hundreds of Webinars videos, one on one sessions, every video or webinar you take, you can request the one on one with a specialist. Use that. Don’t leave just your partner to assume that they’re going to train you as you go. Really use the success resources from Salesforce, jump on the ask an expert office hour sessions we have running daily. We have hundreds of them every month.
Bonnie Royal: Learn how to really, get advice from Salesforce, and then also from the trailblazer community. So Salesforce has a huge ecosystem. The Trailblazer community is where you can go to ask questions from clients and partners who are doing exactly what you have just done. So really, if you, if you invest the time and learn Salesforce and learn about the resources that are already there, and you take ownership of the project, and don’t treat it as you know, ‘set it, and forget it’, you’ll be off to a really good start.
Christina Rampone: This is great – thank you, Bonnie. And then maybe just to add in this from the alliance side of the org. But I don’t know if everybody on the line might realize that at Salesforce, we go to market through our partners. More than 90% of our customers have relied on a partner at one time or another, or whether it be an SI or an ISP to help make them successful. So it’s really great as you talk about success resources that we do have within Salesforce and how our partners and customer success work together for the greater good. So that’s awesome, very helpful.
Christina Rampone: We can do a little bit more of a deep dive around this topic. How do I, as a leader, ensure my organization is ready? That’s what we want to talk about here.
Allan Alexopulos: Bonnie’s slide sets this up perfectly right. You guys want to hear about governance – good and bad. We worked with BusPatrol on a project that probably took a total of 6 months. But really, BusPatrol did an especially good job at governance and really tightly controlled the scope with clear success metrics.
Allan Alexopulos: Alex, can you talk a little bit about how you approach that and what you think made this a successful project?
Alex Lane: Yeah, sure. So before we started to even find a partner for this, we wanted to find what we were looking for. What was the system? We created a matrix of needs essentially with must have, nice to have and icing on the cake kind of things. Then, we partnered with Salesforce and Bolt Data. We went through that matrix in detail.
Alex Lane: Then we really talked through it. This is how Salesforce can deliver this task and this feature, so that we had an understanding of what we could be expecting, and we were all on the same page as we were entering into the design of the product. And then the other thing we did was work with Bolt Data and Salesforce resources to show how we did business and we brought them to our academy. Actually made them watch us put equipment on buses. Show them the systems we were using, talking through the pain points that we went through, and got on the same page as well as far as what we needed to have a positive outcome.
Alex Lane: And then through the entire process. We met regularly.
Alex Lane: We talked about where are we for the MVP release? Where are we at for planning for the next sprint? How are we on hours? How many hours do we have left for this sprint? Can we do a trade off here and there? And it allowed us to really stay on target to goal and launch on time.
Allan Alexopulos: So, I’d like to add that Alex was really, really good at staying engaged all the way through the process. If you want to know about a bad governance situation, sometimes leaders come in and they are active sponsors. They sign the checks, they make sure that things are going well – and then the interest dies off. They have other priorities, right?
Allan Alexopulos: Alex was there all the way through the process. He did a fantastic job of managing his team’s expectations, even as new things came up. Alex, once you talked a little bit about the shields that you had to put up for managing everybody coming out of the woodwork and talking about their favorite feature that they needed.
Alex Lane: Yeah, so one of the reasons we stayed so engaged is because this was going to be our system. We were going to own it from the start to the end, and if it didn’t deliver on time, it really it’s on us right. So there were no excuses. Well, it was another team that implemented it incorrectly. No, we set the standards and, as a result, we brought in key players that would be engaged, and report on status because they had to. They had to own it. Really.
Allan Alexopulos: That’s great. And Bonnie, you’ve seen hundreds of projects, what other examples of either good or bad, governance have you seen?
Bonnie Royal: Yeah, I love what Alex just said, because I always think about governance. It’s really the way to keep an eye on the prize. Why did you decide to invest in Salesforce? Tie everything you do back to that, if you can’t tie it back to that really question yourself why you’re doing it. He also mentioned the MVP – the minimum viable product.
Bonnie Royal: As a phase one, I always like to say, phase one is getting you onto the platform.Then innovate from there. If you try to get every benefit out of that that you expect to get out of Salesforce in that minimum viable product, you will never go live.
Bonnie Royal: So I think, being really disciplined about what do we need to do to just get on the platform, and then, once you’re on the platform, then you can innovate so much more quickly.
Alex Lane: I’m gonna add on that real quick is, after you do enough projects to realize, you’re never going to get everything you want in the first iteration. So when we went into this product we said, we have reserved a certain number of hours at the end of the project, because I know something’s gonna come up. We know there’s gonna be customizations because somebody needs to interpret something differently. So we speed. We stayed really strict on using ours upfront because we knew we’re gonna have to bring things forward to just tweak things differently. And I suggest that for really any project. Don’t try to plan out every hour you have.
Allan Alexopulos: And in terms of project, you know where you spend your hard earned dollars on is implementations. Alex is 100% right. Get some experience with it in our experience. Sometimes things that people think they need up front, they find later on that it was not a good investment that they find that their priorities have shifted once they get experience with that MVP and so they make better and different decisions about what to add later on. So, when you look at your overall cost of ownership, and where you invested your dollars, it is much more efficient and impactful.
Alex Lane: I mean, in our example, we had this. One of our must haves was around vendor integration and using tools to help us manage our own vendors. But as we engaged in this project, we started realizing that’s not a model we want to use. We didn’t want to use vendors anymore. So our own staff we’re still performing so well. So we’re able to re-purpose those end of the bucket hours for inventory management, which, as a result, has had a few huge financial benefits for us, and we weren’t even really planning on that to start.
Christina Rampone: That’s an excellent outcome, Alex. I would say that we have what we call red accounts here at Salesforce. When an implementation goes a little bit south, or customers are unhappy with where we are, we escalate them. And we call that a red account internally. And I think that, a huge percentage of what we see in that process is always around governance, so I would just encourage you all to take heat off of the information that we’re sharing with you, but moreover make sure that you’re using the Q&A feature. Feel free to enter any questions because we were going to get to all of them at the end. So if something pops into your mind, and this is a hot topic, you can go ahead and ask them at any time.
Christina Rampone: Okay, so we can probably move on. You teed us up pretty pretty well here, Alex. We want to talk about what a great implementation strategy really does look like. We want to set up a good process. There are these basic elements, right? Plan architect, construct, validate, deploy. I think we all know what the basic elements are, but Salesforce implementations are very agile, and they’re very iterative. There’s going to be milestones and checkpoints along the way. So, we want to go through what a good example is because, as you’re going through the process of maybe evaluating your partners or maybe just kicking off the project, this is going to be really impactful to the organization to understand. So, what to expect as you proceed to the next to the next steps?
Christina Rampone: Allan, maybe you can dive into some greater detail around this. On the next slide, we dive into a little bit more detail on this.
Allan Alexopulos: Yeah, one of the key points here are the confirmation checkpoints along the way. So, right up front, we just work with you. We look at your current processes, as Alex said, and we do discovery. We look at what’s working, what’s not working, and then we start to build. But, before we get too far, we need to do a checkpoint. During these checkpoints, we document what it is exactly that came out of the last session of discovery. As you move to the next phase, which is this iterative building process, oftentimes things will pop up in that process. Those things can be very disruptive at the overall planning, because we are all being held accountable for the timeline, the project, timeline, and the scope, and if we haven’t done a good job of identifying those requirements upfront and getting everybody to sign off on them, it can become just very fuzzy about what’s in what’s out. And then the build phase is less focused and less impactful in terms of delivering against those requirements. And it’s amazing what happens when you ask somebody to approve something. All of a sudden their attention is there, and they’re very focused on making sure that it’s correct.
Allan Alexopulos: Alex, what did you find your experience was like during this process with your project?
Alex Lane: It was really a great experience because especially Allan’s team, they were really engaged with us. So we were building towards the MVP and we had our requirements. We were trying to hit, and then, as we were building through it, we had people from my team that were so engaged in the product they were using the product, testing in a like an Alpha stage, even finding things and saying, ‘hey I forgot about this’, and then, when those come up, we had a regularly scheduled prioritization meeting internally to say, Bob forgot about this feature, so this is gonna cost us? How does this stack up against the other features we want to have launched? And then we internally decided, okay, this is our rank order we wanted to deliver, and then we would go back to Allan’s team.
Alex Lane: They would review, and we would lock it in, have an approval process, and then by doing that, everyone was able to stay on the same page. The other thing we did is and we’ll talk about this later if we would have points. We bring in the whole team, my whole internal team, all the key stakeholders. Say, hey, guys, this is the decision we’re making. This is how it’s going to impact you in a tool. Is everybody good? Yes? Okay. Then, we go back to Bolt Data and work with them.
Allan Alexopulos: Excellent! So moving on, you know we get a question. How much time is required from your team? I think Alex gave a great example of bringing his whole team together. We all often see the dynamic where you know everybody’s got their day job and then they’ve got this project right? So it can be challenging to support the needs of this project, if it is not from the top down, identified as a strong priority by Alex’s leadership. The entire team knew that it was important to Alex, and therefore they showed up. They were engaged, and they put in the time to do it wasn’t that it wasn’t a challenge, because it almost always is. But you should expect early on in the project during this discovery and design phase to spend upwards of 40% of your key, stakeholders or subject matter experts time to make sure that we get that right.
Allan Alexopulos: Our work and our design is only as good as the information that you provide, and our ability to follow up on that really shake the requirements and make sure that we’ve got them all. And then, as we move through the project, right, we are off of building coming back to you and looking for that feedback. Did we get it all? What did we miss? Did we design something that wasn’t quite that you expected, and then we iterate on that till we get that stuff right.
Allan Alexopulos: And then the validation phase is when we talk about bad governance. This is an area that you know, especially for less mature organizations who don’t have experience testing software. It’s not something that we often do and so we really work hard to nurture you and provide you the tools to do it. But you know, Bonnie talked about ownership upfront. This is when we see if you are owning this thing or not, because if you take testing seriously, if you’ve written the test scripts, and you’ve exacerbated the execution of those. Well, you almost always find something which is fine. That’s why you test. But when we see bad governance. It’s because people did not take the testing seriously. And most project delays occur during this phase when they get there and say, this is not what I expected. Well, why perhaps you work paying attention during the iteration reviews. Maybe you were, you know, multitasking and just sort of watching the demo going by and not giving great feedback, and that is an example of where we really see when ownership has not, you know, really been accepted and driven within the organization
Allan Alexopulos: Alex or Bonnie. Other anecdotes on that, either good or bad?
Bonnie Royal: So I’ll say, if there’s one thing you take away from this, and I always use the analogy of is that Salesforce is like a gym membership. You get in. You get out of it what you put into it right. So paying for it – it’s not enough. So really make sure you’re putting in the effort. That’s going to determine how much you get out of it, and you can get amazing results out of Salesforce. That’s why I’m here, right. I spent 20 plus years in it, managing all kinds of systems, and fell in love with Salesforce because of how quickly you could deliver business change. Changing technology to people to really help the business. And if we take the time to learn it, and you put in the effort – the sky’s the limit.
Alex Lane: Yeah, one one of the things that we did right off the bat. And then I mentioned this earlier on ownership. You know I brought in my VP that would be owning this tool going forward. And I said, okay, you’re running this project. It’s going to be your tool, and you’re going to be responsible for moving this forward and keeping everyone informed. Additionally, we brought in somebody right off the bat. So you’re going to be the Salesforce admin going forward. So start, you know, start learning the tools, partnering up with Allen’s team, learning as much as you can from Tyler. and by doing that it allowed us to, you know. Move forward, keep everyone in line, and then also learn. So when both teams said, hey, this tool, this is how this tool works. We have people on the call that are like, oh, yeah, that clicks. I understand from a technical aspect how that works. And then they could make suggestions back. Well, if it works this way, can we do this? And it really minimized a lot of the the time needed to make changes on the fly.
Alex Lane: I would also recommend using the Trailblazer community learning as much from the tools to free tools in many cases there’s a lot of resources out there, and Paul has just really just become amazing at Salesforce in the year that we’ve been using it now, just because of that so much that he’s actually training to other people to use the tool and dispatch work, and and they’re both a very excited about using this and adding this to their resume right, because it’s a great skill to have. So, you know it was not their full daytime job, but they were able to do this on the side without impacting too much of their regular scheduled work, and as a result we had a successful launch.
Christina Rampone: I love what you said there, Alex, because when I am in a sales cycle, and when I’m talking to customers a lot of the time. I’m hearing, how many folks on my team do I have to allocate to the project? Can I appoint someone on the team? How many different roles do I need? And Allan, you talked a lot about the level of effort there. but it’s a tough ecosystem to hire in right now, right now we do have a couple of staffing partners and folks that we can recommend to our customers. Your Salesforce AE should be able to do that, but you should be able to. They’re just likely someone within your or that can own some of these roles, and depending on the size and scale of your project, or how many things are you spending at once? Right you now we’ll determine how many people and how many roles they need to be allocated. So, it’s a question we get a lot, but it’s also a fairly open-ended one.
Christina Rampone: Anything to add there, Alex or Bonnie?
Bonnie Royal: I think it goes back to that idea of thinking about how self-sufficient you want to be after you’re done working with your partner, or if you’re ever done working with your partner right? We have clients that keep partners on forever, and we have other folks that after the initial implementation are completely self-sufficient, and want to do it themselves. So, thinking that through and having an idea of what you want that to look like for you going in will help answer, how many people do I need?
Christina Rampone: Alex, when you were training your folks internally to take on this role. I believe you said their name is Paul, did you start to get into the Trailhead trainings and things before kick off to ensure you all are in the same language?
Alex Lane: Yeah, as soon as we had access, I think all of us dived in and started trying to learn just how it works, what we could expect and and to get on the same page to speak the same language, because it really helps when you are trying to diagnose problems. And then the other thing is, we tried to share as many visuals of the tool with the stakeholders as well so they would when they saw the tool. It wouldn’t be a surprise to them.
Alex Lane: One thing I wanted to mention just on the UAT [user acceptance] test scripts. Doing this for a while, I always find that in the initial planning if we know we’re going to have to do testing. So what we did is we actually informed the people who we’re going to do testing. In X months, you’re going to be doing testing. It’s your responsibility. You’re going to have to find these things to start planning time and your schedule now. And adjusting the workload, because that’s going to be a responsibility, because I cannot tell you how many projects I’ve implemented where it gets down to the tester and like I don’t have time for this. I’m too busy. Well, let’s do it right. So by doing it right, it prevents hiccups later.
Christina Rampone: Alex and Allen, you know it sounds like Bus Patrol did a really good job setting these expectations and and responsibilities, aligning the responsibilities internally. But if you had to select, something that you could have done better reflecting back, what would that be?
Alex Lane: There’s 2 things that really come up. One is planning for business as usual right so Salesforce is an ever-evolving tool. Sometimes they come out with new features, new requirements, changes to how they operate. You need to factor that in sometimes, and you know that may take some work, and you know I think there was the MFA launch in the middle of our launch. So it just took us adjusting how we did some things, so I wouldn’t have read that design a little differently. But you know that’s just what happens for any product anywhere. And then the other one, which is really a larger issue that we had to face, is, you know, cleaning up your data early and often, I say, because once people have access to the tool, they’re going to start entering information in it. And if you don’t have governance around how they enter, that could be quickly become a mess.
Alex Lane: That’s one thing to jump on right away, instead of allowing free text and some fields, we locked it down to options because when I started putting in free text, or having the ability to select whatever they wanted, they created dirty data. We didn’t focus on that nearly as much as we wanted initially. Now we’re in a situation where we’ve resolved it mostly. But there’s some cleaning up of older products, older data elements that are just taking some time, but it’s a huge difference from what it used to be.
Christina Rampone: That is very insightful. Allan, did you have anything that you would like to add on that topic?
Allan Alexopulos: Yeah, in the interest of time, I think change management is probably the next thing, because I think Alex has a couple of nuggets that we can talk about related to that. But you know you’ve really heart sort of harped on the importance of change management.
Bonnie Royal: Yeah, I mean, change management really makes it or breaks it right? So the way I look at it is, it’s really got to be a 2 prong approach. Leadership has to be completely bought into this. There’s no putting your toe in the water. You know this is how we’re gonna be running our business going forward like that message coming from leadership along with the context of what we call them here at Salesforce. So what’s in it for me? Leadership needs to be totally bought in. This is what we’re doing. But here’s the why and how it’s going to make your life better. Why are we doing this as a company? So really having that message be consistent and clear. I could tell you users are resistant to change. We all know that right, and if they see it. If they see a crack in that armor that leadership doesn’t isn’t quite get in all the way, or we think we’re just gonna try this out.
Bonnie Royal: Your lives are much more difficult, like you have got to be 1,000 percent committed and give them the context of what’s in it for them.
Allan Alexopulos: BusPatrol executed all the way through the project. We got to adoption. A zillion different reasons why things may not go as planned once you’re live could be. We missed a process, and that’s why, we typically have a hyper-care process to catch anything that might have slipped through all that, no matter how good your testing was, we really need to pay attention, because that has a direct relationship to the users’ desire and ability to adopt the solution. And even if you get all that right, you know you’re still dealing with people. As Bonnie said, people have some levels of resistance to change some more than others. Alex ran into a really interesting situation with his installers of these camera systems on buses, and came up with a pretty innovative way to address it.
Alex Lane: Yeah, first when we launched the MVP, we launched it as first we did it with our trainers. Got the feedback there. Then we rolled it out to one of our programs that we were launching and got feedback there, but when we started launching it to a wider audience.
Alex Lane: We first said Salesforce is a way we’re going. We’re not using the old tool ever again. Forget about it. To make that clear, we created a game of it. So basically we gave all of the technicians points per action that they took in the system. So every bus they installed. It was 10 points. Every servicing item was 1 point and based, and they had to work as teams, too. They’re organized in teams of 3, and so we tally all the points every week and announce who had the top points of the week, creating a little bit of competition.
Alex Lane: All the same time we were seeing how they were using the tool collecting data, seeing where we were able to capture data points and not capture data points. We made adjustments to the tool that we saw. Like I’d mentioned the bad data in what we saw. Like the free text fields were causing problems. We were able to make changes on the go. and so it really was a great way to motivate. The technicians to do do the work in the right system, forcing them to really learn the system, take the time to adopt it, and collect data on how to
Alex Lane: to make it even better. And then at the end we responded to them, saying, hey, we got all of your feedback on this. You know the past month of using this we’re going to use that for our final spread to customize and make it more easy to use for you, and they loved it. And as a result, there are no grumblings any more. Oh, I have to use Salesforce like that’s the tool we use, and it works, and we’re continuing to leverage it for more and more.
Allan Alexopulos: You know. There’s a couple of themes in there that I love. We’re not going back, guys. Burn that bridge. You’re here right? And there’s no looking back. I think that’s an important message from leadership, the gamification play and the data. And just as importantly taking that feedback and pushing it back around, I thought it was key, because they see that their feedback actually resulted in changes. So now there is a stronger sense of ownership.
Allan Alexopulos: So, Alex, if you had to net out your lessons, learned around your successful go live, you know. What would they be?
Alex Lane: Overall I’d say, planning is everything. Doing as much planning upfront will lead to a better outcome, and allow you to adjust quickly. Engagement of the key stakeholders brings them in and lets them know that it’s equally their decision as yours. Right? Yeah, I might have a final say. The users have to be the ones to tell me that’s the one they’re gonna use, that’s what they want to do and how they want to do it really plan out how you’re gonna roll this out because it’s a new tool, right? It’s, and not everybody has the same aptitude for picking up tools. So think about the training. Think about how you want to do that. You know we created videos and PDFs, and onsite training. That was the audience we’re working with. You have to really know your audience and how you’re going to design your training.
Alex Lane: Some other things is, you know, really get on top of your reporting early. Salesforce is amazing. With the amount of tools and data elements it can provide you. But only you really know what you need. And so sometimes some work and custom development needed to present the data in the way that you want to see it. You know, I like it. I wanted to know how many hours it took to install a bus from start to finish. But then I said, Well, but I want to know the type of bus.
Alex Lane: Well, they had that they just got to connect the dots right. So if you, if you set those expectations early, and really think about what kind of reporting you’re going to need, and what your KPIs at the end of it you could start building them right away, and by the end of the time when we were complete we had dashboard, showing us all the data we needed to to which I use for regular reporting today.
Alex Lane: And at any moment I can ask Doug, hey? I need to know how many servicing elements, or how many servicing appointments did we do yesterday? It’s a key and boom! It’s there, right? So that’s all because of the keep, the planning we did, and the focus on. What are the outcomes we’re going to have to achieve at the end?
Alex Lane: By doing this, and having those prioritization meetings like I mentioned. You’re really able to get what you want out of the product, and my one example was where we shifted that not midway. But we knew for the last spread. We really wanted to focus on inventory management because we had a problem. We didn’t realize we had more than vendor management, and so we prioritized that. But by doing that it really helped us in our year-end audit and what used to be a process that would take, you know, almost a month of just painstakingly going through inventory. We’re now able to recon on a weekly basis for hopefully.
Alex Lane: And that’s it. That’s a game changer, right? And that’s because of Salesforce.
Christina Rampone: Thank you, Alex. I love this story. We did get a couple of questions that came in. If anybody else has any questions, feel free to put them in the Q and A below. Bonnie answered a few of them already.
Christina Rampone: One I’d like to focus on if we can take just 2 minutes here, and then maybe we’ll have time to answer a second. How important is it to have a formal change management process? How much time and energy does this take if it’s done correctly?
Allan Alexopulos: That may correlate pretty strongly to the level of complexity in your processes, the scale of your organization and the geographic span right? So a global deployment of Salesforce change management is so important because there are so many moving parts. With a smaller organization, you can still employ these concepts, but you don’t have to have a full time change management person. I think leadership is also key. You know a leader who understands the concepts and the importance of change management can immediately set the tone but if you have somebody who does sort of a set it and forget it kind of approach, it just leaves the project manager to sort of drive this, and he’s got, you know, managers above him, or you know key stakeholders who have their own agendas. That’s tough.
Allan Alexopulos: So I think you need to assess your organization’s level of complexity, and then and then invest in the kind of structure that maps to that. So if you’ve got. But if you’re herding ducks as far as the managers that are, participating in this project where you’d probably need strong change management if you’ve got a good, strong, cohesive management team. That is all on the same page with regards to the goals of the project and how to get it done. Then you’re probably going to need less.
Allan Alexopulos: Alex, Bonnie?
Alex Lane: I totally agree. You really have to know who your end user is going to be as well to define your change management. In my case my users feel technicians right? They don’t sit behind a computer all day. They’re working on their cell phone or tablet in the cold weather, right? So when we designed it, and how we and how we decided to roll it out.
Alex Lane: We had to really think about that. We could just put a webinar out there because they don’t have the time to go. Look at it. We literally sent our technicians who were trained, and we trained our trainers to train them, how to install, to go out in the field and say, okay, let’s do it right now.
Alex Lane: Right, let’s walk through it. And that was intentional, and after enough iterations using the totally, they end up getting it right. So, but you know, if I was deploying this on a you know an organization where everybody is sitting by the screen. Different story right. You could create webinars and track. Who’s watching them? Who’s not take tests, you know. It just depends.
Christina Rampone: So we have 1 min left. Maybe we can really quickly touch on one other question?
Alex Lane: I can answer. So okay, so as far as integrating into accounting, we didn’t integrate it directly into our accounting tools. What we do yet is use NetSuite. We’re able to move data back and forth between Salesforce and that we, using a tool called Boomi. So, we were able to do that, and our accounting team is able to reconcile and manage the inventory and depreciation because of that. So yes, we can do that. And then, as far as having the both teams onsite – absolutely. Because if they’re the ones that they’re the painters right. They gotta see what they’re painting.
Alex Lane: So having them on site, you know, putting a drill in their hand in some cases and saying, this is this is what they do. When they were when they went back to start developing it, they had that in their mind. Okay, hey? I gotta work for a person who’s using a cell phone to do this work to these inputs. So I hope that answers both questions.
Christina Rampone: Thank you, Alex, and to add to the inter integration piece, there are a lot of tools out there on the market. You can find them on our Salesforce AppExchange. A lot of partners have created tool, such as Mulesoft, which is a fantastic integration tool as well to help scale your business.
Christina Rampone: I want to thank everybody for their time today. If you have any additional questions, we can please feel free to reach out to myself or Bonnie or Allan, and the team will be sure to send you a follow up email with our contact information. We hope this is really helpful. Thank you again.
Allan Alexopulos: Thanks everybody!