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During the pandemic, my house plant collection increased exponentially. Like many other people, it became important to make my home office a more inviting place to be, as I would be spending much more time there. I thought the upkeep would be easy — it’s a residence, not the botanical gardens. However, when you’ve got work to do — and clients to look after — taking care of plants can fall by the wayside. Luckily, I had a little help, but I could have easily ended up with a lot of very wilted plant life. But where am I going with this? Well, in my work for VRP’s Managed Services department, I’ve seen all kinds of organizations with different Salesforce® post-implementation needs — from the biggest enterprises with the most complex solutions to the smallest and seemingly simplest. And many of those SMEs have learned the hard way that administration — giving your solution enough care and attention — is absolutely vital. I’ll explain why.
Tending to your Salesforce investment
Every organization would rather focus their energies — and their investment — on their goals, rather than on managing the technology they use to reach them. This is where managed services show a lot of value. Rather than making costly expenditure in dedicated in-house expertise, or diverting skilled staff away from their priorities, organizations are safe in the knowledge that their Salesforce platform is always being managed, maintained, updated and enhanced for them. And that means it’s delivering all it can for their business (or their mission if they’re a nonprofit).
One aspect of this work that should not be underestimated is administration and maintenance. It can be tempting to think that after implementing Salesforce, it will just kind of run itself. Especially if you’re a smaller organization with a relatively simple solution. How hard can it be, right? But there’s matters like the following to consider:
- Adding every new user to the solution and removing ex-users
- Making tweaks to your solution when your team needs them
- Training new starters to use your solution and ensuring adoption
- Preparing for each new Salesforce release and possible impact
Even if you have someone who knows how to do all this, they may not have the time — or not enough to be on call whenever they’re urgently needed. However, needs fluctuate, and taking on another member of staff solely to handle these matters may not be cost-effective in the long-run, either. So, it’s tempting to just find someone in your company who vaguely “knows Salesforce” (or is willing to have a try) and leave it all to them, as your de-facto admin.
Stop right there. If you dismiss administration’s role in your post-implementation strategy, later down the line you may find yourself with a backlog of user requests, a lack of all the functionality currently needed, users who don’t know what they’re doing — and some who don’t even have access. To return to my house plant analogy, if your solution isn’t carefully tended, with dedication and regular maintenance, bringing it back to full health can be a real problem.
Let’s look at the story of one of our clients who had the foresight not to end up in that situation.
A lesson on the importance of good admin
An education sector organization came to us for assistance. They had a Salesforce-based online education platform, accessible to students and educators across the USA, but they didn’t have the Salesforce-specialized resources on staff to maintain it.
We already knew this education portal well — VRP’s Consulting Services implemented it for them. That’s why they knew we would be perfect to support their many and varied administrative needs. Having built their platform, we understood perfectly how it worked from the get-go, meaning we could work with it more quickly and cost-effectively than another partner, who would have to learn it all from scratch.
The client had all kinds of needs, including:
- Resolving access issues that some users faced
- Ensuring registration emails weren’t treated as spam
- Adding new users to the platform (ad-hoc and in bulk)
- Uploading data (e.g., migrating from other systems)
- Training their staff to use their solution
Using VRP Consulting’s proprietary Managed Services App, embedded within their Salesforce platform, clients like this one can easily and instantly raise a ticket when they need our team. These are then triaged and prioritized, and if it’s urgent, we can take faster action. If there’s no rush and the client would rather it was dealt with using the next month’s allowance of managed services time, that’s also fine. We find the right process for each client and each need.
Flexibility is key to our managed services philosophy, which is why we also offer a Managed Services Portal to clients who can’t use our app — for instance, if specific directives disallow outside applications in their platform. And for organizations with more complex needs, we can even adopt your own project management tools of choice, such as Jira for example, which our team is already well-versed in.
This client now no longer has to be concerned about keeping their education platform running at its best, ensuring users can access it and maintaining their staff’s technical knowledge. They can concentrate on what’s really important to them: creating and deploying great content for their users.
Filling a vital role for however long you need
If your strategy is to eventually take on in-house administrator later on, managed services can be perfect to fill the gap until then. This is especially true if your partner helped you implement your solution. Who better to guide your future administrator(s) in both general Salesforce best practices and the unique complexities of your solution?
This was the case for another client of ours, a global media company that creates and provides content for children. They needed an internally-facing solution to handle sales and opportunities. After their project roadmap had run its course, and VRP had implemented their solution, they needed additional expertise on hand until they had in-house administrators ready to take over. In this case, the VRP expert was the developer who had led their implementation — and knew it better than anyone.
VRP Managed Services assisted the clients with matters such as:
- Setting access permissions and visibility settings
- Keeping their sandbox up to date for testing
- Onboarding and training their administrators
- Integration of additional third-party applications
The help with their integrations was particularly crucial. They wanted to use not only apps from third-party vendors but also needed to integrate their own customer-facing content delivery platform. In these circumstances, VRP’s extensive experience with Salesforce integrations proved to be particularly valuable.
There was one more key area where VRP’s Managed Services also provided this client with a great deal of assistance: Tableau expertise. We had implemented Tableau for them, so that they could take advantage of its powerful data analytics capabilities, but they also needed at-hand help to use it. We gave them all the support they needed for creating dashboards and reporting, enabling their immediate needs and setting them up for a self-sufficient success with the platform.
Need help with Salesforce post-implementation administration?
As we’ve explored here, it really can be vital to place the proper importance on administration and maintenance after implementing Salesforce — even if you’re a smaller organization with a simple solution that may not seem like it needs much attention. You may not have previously considered some of these common areas where managed services can provide real value, not to mention the ones that may be directly relatable in terms of your specific organization and its needs. You may be able to think of even more examples where it would make all the difference to have the right expertise on call.
We’ve developed VRP Consulting Managed Services to provide that expertise for clients of all sizes and industries, while also providing the flexibility and cost-effectiveness needed to match your budget. Together with you, we can identify the right package, with a bucket of hours (starting as low as 20 hours a month) that can be spent as you need them and rolled over from one month to the next. We’re also able to offer 24/7, “follow-the-sun” support for those with more intensive requirements, with teams spanning many locations and time zones worldwide, all ready to respond. And should your needs go beyond managed services, we have the resources and skill sets available to expand into more complex development projects.
Whether it’s a partner for the long-term or someone to help with Salesforce post-implementation until you’ve got your own, trained in-house administrator, we’ll be there — and you’ll see the value for yourself. When Salesforce is a well-tended garden, it will bloom for your business. But if you’re still not convinced, or you’ve got some more questions or you’d just like to explore some options and possibilities — we’d be glad to talk.
Director of Managed Services
About the Author
Bruno’s background spans over 10 years managing enterprise customer support and cloud technology services. He’s currently leading the VRP Consulting Managed Services team in Krakow.