Stages of Salesforce implementation in your company. Part 3: Implementing SFDC in your company.
The period associated with implementing a new system in your company may require appropriate and thoughtful steps. Each step involved in the process is equally important, so don't put it all on one scale. If you've already created your ideal plan for implementing a new tool, prepared your organization internally and found the right partner, it's time for implementation. Let us introduce you to how we would do it if you became our client.
And what does it look like in practice?
It is impossible to start cooperation without getting to know each other, agreeing on the principle of communication and how to present the progress of the project - we do this at the very beginning. Together we discuss your vision and requirements, create an implementation plan and prioritize among important functionalities. The first tasks to be completed appear in the backlog - we add their detailed guidelines. At this stage, the analyst and the lead developer play the most important role. If there is a tester in the project, he too should take part in the process from the beginning.
Each day you should set aside 2 or 3 hours for meetings - it is very important that you are available to us. This is when we will determine the next areas of the system and refine the terms according to business and technical constraints. In addition to the discussions, we will also prepare for development. We will configure the necessary tools, and the data model is also being developed at this stage.
It's time for the development stage - this is when the rest of the team joins. At the outset, it is given tasks to complete, because we want to use the skills of specialists in the best possible way without wasting time. This is the longest phase, and everything depends on the number of modifications to be implemented and how complex the system is. The whole process can last from a few days to even a few months, during which we periodically present the developed solutions at set intervals. The role of the analyst changes slightly - in addition to gathering requirements for the next processes, he solves any errors noticed during implementation. He also starts working on accurate user instructions and documentation.
The scope of the project may also include integration with internal or external systems. Be sure to inform those responsible for the systems in advance of the planned changes. Ensure the availability of internal teams and/or your representative during discussions with external vendors.
The development phase is followed by the acceptance testing phase. Here, too, proper preparation is important. Remember to ensure the availability of UAT (User Acceptance Testing) users. Choose people from among those who will use the system most often. Testing can be done with the help of a scenario prepared by the tester or by themselves, using live business examples.
Do not be afraid of errors at this stage, because such errors may occur. Not everything will work properly yet. More users are also more likely to find errors. They will affect both the technical and business side -- this is natural at this stage.
Don't be afraid to report changes. Moving a planned release to production will be more beneficial than releasing a system that does not meet expectations.
If the whole process is successful, then with the end of the acceptance testing phase, we can prepare for the so-called release. At this stage, we will take the target group of users through training, make a presentation to stakeholders and prepare appropriate communication within the organization. After all, we have something to brag about.
What are some of the issues you may face when implementing Salesforce?
Implementing a CRM system does not always involve a straight path to your goal. You may encounter challenges along the way, which often relate to misunderstood needs. This is due to the implementation team's lack of knowledge of your business. It also works on the other side - the business representatives do not know the technical realities because they are not required to do so. It is worth noting that a partner's experience in implementations with a similar business profile helps reduce the scale of the above problems, but will not remove them completely.
This is why partnerships and the presence of people familiar with the two worlds on the team are important. The times of sizable amounts of documentation with specific requirements, of teams locking themselves in the proverbial basement for months at a time are long behind us, and for good reason. Stay in constant communication with your team preferably in near real time, and you will maximize the likelihood of a smooth implementation while staying within the set budget. Consult with your implementation team for any concerns. That's why you chose a trusted partner, so that you don't doubt its good intentions and faith in the common goal. Don't disregard his comments, as they can help reduce additional work and costs.
The next common problem is that the system is created by people who will not use it in the future. The result will be that instead of helping users work, CRM will be the next area where they will enter data. It becomes even more crucial to add significant users into the process and allow them to become familiar with the systems during the next implementation stages. The feedback that will come from them may prove to be the most valuable you can get.
Such a solution offsets the problems associated with so-called user adoption, or adaptation. There may be users who find it harder to adapt to new changes. Involving them in the process from the beginning will allow them to become more familiar with the new system. More time to get used to the news is also a better chance of faster adaptation. If there are differing opinions among stakeholders, there may be discrepancies for the team in the form of different requirements. Consistency of vision is also an important issue. The absence of mediators of the whole incident will result in many changes, leading to a waste of valuable time. Take care of such roles in the team as project manager or product owner.
Don't forget about the costs associated with the work of internal resources. The teams responsible for maintaining the service we will integrate with have their own goals and tasks to fulfill. Testing a new tool is not one of the main responsibilities of the end users - they have their own work to do and cannot be passed on to the next one. The process should be planned properly and users should be informed in advance.
Taking care of the testing issue in this way will not be a large cost compared to how much can be saved. There is often an inclination among developers to test software as intended. Testers, moreover, are taught to detect and check boundary conditions or simulate user behavior. Finding bugs faster will help reduce costs associated with repairs and subsequent maintenance.
When developing a new CRM tool, new requirements, innovative ideas for improvements may arise. Put them in the backlog, create an MVP and encourage users to work with the CRM. Only at this stage continue to develop the improvement. A system created a long time ago, which quickly deviated from the initial assumptions, you don't need. Its level of sophistication will already be so high that including users in it may become problematic. Also remember the limitations of CRM - such a system cannot be used for everything.
Don't hold back from revealing your new ideas to the entire team. It may just be that these improvements can be implemented faster with less cost. If not, the team will be aware of future needs and will prepare a suitable environment during the current software development.
Data quality is an important issue, so don't make concessions in this regard. Introduce hard rules and validations. You don't need erroneous assurances from users who declare that they will fill in missing data at a later date. A CRM with incomplete or bad data will be useless, and no reports or charts will change that.
Striving to mirror your business processes exactly can be a misstep unless they work perfectly. It can be helpful to treat a CRM implementation as an opportunity to redefine them and better align them with the current and future needs of your business. Don't forget about your customers' expectations - incorporate them as well.
Implementation is a process that cannot be described in one simple manual. It should be tailored to the needs of the organization and have a series of steps to be followed. Good communication between the company and the IT partner can significantly increase the efficiency of the project. The development phase is the longest phase - do not waste time and try to take advantage of all the capabilities of IT specialists. Implementation may also include integration with internal or external systems. Don't forget to inform the people who handle these tools in advance. The acceptance testing stage also requires adequate preparation. The appearance of errors at this stage is normal - don't be afraid of them. Delaying the release of the system will be a more favorable step than a system that does not meet your requirements. Don't be afraid to propose your changes. The above advice will help you maximize a smooth implementation and advance preparation and planning of the entire process will ensure that you go through it without any major obstacles.