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Sanitizing Salesforce Ecosystem

In this age of Cloud and SaaS adoption Salesforce.com has emerged as #1 in CRM domain with 150K customers (4BN per day transaction, and 10BN revenue). But not all customers have embraced Salesforce.com solution with a big bang approach or with long term strategy & roadmap. While some companies had clear vision on how respective workloads would be powered with Salesforce platform and approached accordingly, many others started their Salesforce.com journey in relatively small scale - either to experiment with the solution fitment in respective organization culture or to create Salesforce.com footprint with simple & new workloads only.

Many customers started small & tentatively to experience value of Salesforce.com offering and then gradually moved critical & bigger workloads (existing as well as new) to Salesforce.com. With three releases each year Salesforce.com also evolved over the years to offer more features and new cloud capabilities. Driven with technology advancement and improved ROI, many companies are going for enterprise wide Salesforce.com implementation.

As the initial adoption happened in not so structured way and Salesforce.com went through (and still going through) quite an evolution as product, companies are unsure if their existing Salesforce.com ecosystem is quite ready to be leveraged as the baseline. Questions customers are facing in context of transforming the existing Salesforce.com ecosystem into large scale implementation include:

  • If the as-is Salesforce.com architecture is robust enough for enterprise wide implementation
  • If the existing implementation is scalable to support additional business groups, regions or countries (as appropriate)
  • If the as-is solution is being found short in improving customer experience and adoption rate
  • If the implemented business processes can be improved/ re-engineered with new features & capabilities
  • If the existing architecture is optimized & up to date with latest Salesforce.com offerings 
  • If the existing implementation complies with best practices & industry standards
  • If the as-is security model addresses enterprise level scenarios and compliance requirements
  • If the company is facing challenges in rolling out new app/solution on the existing Salesforce.com platform
  • If there is possibility of having redundancies & unnecessary overlaps in both data, configuration and customizations
  • If there is a possibility of losing out Salesforce.com (as well as cloud computing) benefits – including reduced application TCO, reduced maintenance overhead, increased agility in IT environment etc.

With this context the technical assessment of the as-is ecosystem and addressing the critical limitations is becoming one of the prerequisites for scaled & enterprise level Salesforce.com implementation. While problem areas & assessment focus vary across customers, the ecosystem sanitization process can be categorized into three high level heads:

Organization specific analysis: This includes studying of organization level configurations cutting across all business applications, different environment administration related setup, utilization of Salesforce licenses, consolidation of orgs (if applicable) etc. Organization level assessment ensures best practices & standards are complied, better leverage of platform out-of-the-box capabilities, compliance to customer's corporate policy & standards, and improved return of Salesforce investment.

Application level review: This segment includes review of overall architecture as well as application specific design & implementation (both configurations and customization) details. Scope may vary depending on as-is landscape and respective customer objectives for this assessment. Review of data model, application specific security configurations, design best practice, integration architecture, configurations & customization implementation, adherence to coding standards & naming convention, compliance to secure coding standards,  business process improvement with new capabilities, usability & adoption, lightning readiness etc. are all included in this category.

Governance model & processes study: This covers study of processes involved in managing Salesforce.com ecosystem - applicable for both implementation and application management. Focus areas include tools & enablers being/to-be used during application life-cycle, deployment architecture, release readiness, configuration management, change management, release management etc. The as-is application management processes are also reviewed to check appropriateness in context of Salesforce.com solution.

As output of this study companies will realize respective mission readiness and improvements/upgrades to be implemented before embracing enterprise level implementation. This should also help to plan the overall journey in structured way and thereby, driving the success parameters without compromising business objectives.

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