This is the sixth article in a multi-part series on Finding the Right Salesforce Partner. The entire series can be found here.
Projects can and should be a partnership between you and your service consultancy, with shared responsibility and contributions. There are various opportunities for customers to participate in the project, from the beginning at pre-discovery questionnaires to data cleansing, user testing, change management, and other areas. Partners should provide clear direction on how you can best participate and how you can be best prepared. They will provide best practices and a project timeline that will make it a positive experience.
Your participation in the partnership and project begins before the project even gets underway. As the project’s scope is being prepared in the pre-sales stage, you and the potential service partner will start collaborating. The partner should build a flow in the conversation that helps you understand what you should be considering in aligning the project scope with your business objectives (e.g., desired outcomes, budget, timeline). While other options may be uncovered during the later discovery stage of the project, you want to provide your partner with as much information as possible early to enable them to be diligent in their preparation. Thereby ensuring the proposal is as close to the final project scope as possible.
TIP: Gather and organize as much information as possible, such as process flows, lists of stakeholders to be interviewed, and pain points to be addressed. The more information provided before the project, the more accurate and complete the proposals will be and a better chance to see potential partners’ best recommendations and options.
Once the project kicks-off, you will enter the Discovery stage. This critical exercise gathers detailed information on your business operation, desired outcome, and IT environments. Using the collected data and collaboration, Use Cases will be prepared and reviewed, leading to the optimal design of the Salesforce products. Be sure to include stakeholders and subject matter experts in the discovery exercises, reducing the risk of gaps that get uncovered later after design decisions have already been made.
TIP: You will be asked to complete a pre-discovery checklist which will both speed up the overall Discovery process and provide an opportunity to think about current operations and potential changes. The more thorough your answers, the better the collaboration and design.
Two project areas that you will likely have a significant part in is Data Cleansing and User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Both important roles with a direct correlation to project performance and outcome.
Migrating to a new system is an ideal opportunity to also organize and clean your data. This exercise in itself will improve your customer and user experience, and make your interactions all the more professional. If you have the resources, you may be given the opportunity to gather the data, clean data errors or gaps, and normalize it from its current form to a Salesforce data structure for migration.
TIP: Identify your internal Salesforce resources early, how they can best participate and bring value to the project, and who are your Salesforce champions that can be put in positions to lead the project. Make sure you also have a clear understanding of the deliverables and are in sync with your partner.
Once your Salesforce system has been configured to operate as designed, you will be asked to perform User Acceptance Testing. This process will confirm the system is functioning correctly and that the flow and experience are as expected or desired. UAT is one of the last steps before taking the system live.
TIP: It is a good UAT practice to involve the departments and users who will eventually be using the system. Including them makes them owners in the system rollout, enhances adoptions, and is an excellent source of early insight into the user experience.
A Successful Go-Live
New systems and workflows can involve a significant change in operational processes and user experiences. The role of change management, or even a partial role, is often an area that companies choose to take on, using their training and creative service resources.
TIP: Reach out to potential partners and ask how they can help with change management and user adoption, providing guidance, best practices, examples of materials and training plans, and if needed, additional resources.