Our contact with a customer often starts with the following question: “How much, roughly, does Salesforce implementation cost?” This is a very relevant and understandable inquiry, nevertheless, it is like asking “How much is a car?” Both queries receive a similar response, “It depends.” It is subject to many factors, and the most significant one is what the client really needs.

Business Process Modelling – let’s start with goals

For some, the ideal car would be a small, swift vehicle, which can squeeze in every corner of the parking lot and does not require frequent show ups at the gas station. For others – this would be a huge pick-up truck with a roomy loading space and off-road tires, still for others – a sports cabrio with the Formula 1 performance.

Salesforce implementations include a similar approach in selecting prerequisites. Maybe not literally but with a lot of analogies.

In this maybe slightly lengthy introduction, I meant to say that the implementation price, duration time, and the number of necessary resources that need to be invested (not just financial ones) depend on the SCOPE, in other words – system requirements. Obviously, they directly result from the business goals set for the project by the customer.

 

Do you know the goals? Describe them in RFP

In the ideal world, they are clearly defined, similar to the situation description in the client’s company or the preliminary action plan – usually in the form of RFI (request for information) or RFP (request for proposal) and offering process elements related to them.

The ideal world, that is, ideal RFP, happens sporadically and makes everyone be in over the moon. Usually, business goals are vaguely defined or just outlined. Thus, we need to start from scratch. This includes setting detailed requirements and the scope of the project that are adequate to the mentioned business goals.

Luckily, we understand that preparing RFP is not an easy matter. That is why we are not discouraged by not very accurately posed questions. In such a situation –as well as in reply to the “how much is a car” question –we encourage the customers to participate in workshops.

 

If not RFP, then maybe… workshops?

Our workshops, called pre-implementation workshops, are not an obligatory requirement to work with us. This is an opportunity to – regardless of content-based agreements – get to know one another better and to set the grounds for further decision making.

During workshops, together with business representatives, we focus on business goals (the latter subsequently appear in the text not because the author uses frequent repetitions but because it is key to the implementation success 😉). We try to understand processes that already exist or – thanks to the tools that are planned to be implemented – will be realized and will help achieve our favorite goals.

“The company does not operate to serve business purposes only.” To paraphrase a classic, I would like to emphasize that technical department employees such as architects, developers, or people responsible for broadly defined IT infrastructure in client’s company are also the key participants of such workshops. Their help is crucial to better fit the “Salesforce” puzzle into the net of systems that already exist in the company. (The way to select the proper puzzle piece and how to build IT solutions on the Salesforce CRM was described in the article entitled: “Blocks instead of lines. A tale of fast ROI in IT projects.”).

We also encourage end-users who are acquainted with processes’ nuances, (which may be unknown not only to the President of the company but also to his/her assistant) to take part in the workshops.

 

After the workshops – Business Process Model and Notation, summary and further steps

What is the result of such a meeting? First and foremost, post-workshop documentation.  It usually includes the following elements:

  • business process (steps, actors) in the form of graphic BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation);
  • organizational structure;
  • user stories describing functionality acceptance criteria, actors, and business requirements;
  • solution architecture:
    • data model,
    • utilized functionalities,
    • necessary customizations;
  • integration contracts;
  • preliminary concept/solution proposal with MVP (Minimum Viable Product) pricing and its schedule.

This way, the customers receive a full information package – they already know what and in what way we can achieve together. The important thing is what investments it will concern (when it comes to money and time), and also what they will specifically receive in return.

Workshops provide us – as a partner – with knowledge about what solution to deliver, and we take full responsibility for it. The business value of the future system and business goals (the latter will stick with us till the end of this article) remain in the center of our attention – their swift realization is one of our primary interests.

 

Business Process Model and Notation in practice

There is no doubt that the customer’s involvement during the implementation scope preparation is key. However, how long will this assistance be required? Is it feasible to close the matter in one or several days? We do remember that “the company does not just revolve around a new system,” and the employees who were delegated to realize the implementation, have their own ongoing tasks.

Hence, similarly, when asked about the cost, the answer is: “It depends”, particularly, on the project size. If the project is bigger, more complex, realized in the extensive IT infrastructure – then the analysis stage lasts a bit longer, just like the implementation itself. However, even then, we are trying to divide the cake into smaller, bite-size pieces. (The willingness to implement a new system as a single release is one of the implementation traps – you can find more information about the typical examples of the traps in the article entitled “Six traps you may fall into while implementing an IT system”.

When the stage of mutual work is completed, we move on to the design thinking that is the adjustment trial (wherever it is possible) of boxed solutions according to the client’s needs. As a result, such prototyping usually leads to presenting the demo end solution result – as another element that is delivered after the workshops.

Are you curious what it is about? I will describe the insights of what happens after workshops in my next article.

Author

  • Marek Ceglarz
  • Salesforce CRM Consultant | Marketing Cloud Team Leader
  • Salesforce CRM specialist. Initially associated with the hotel industry, from which he went to IT (JAVA and Salesforce technology). He cooperates with domestic and international clients. He began his adventure with Salesforce in the Craftware sales department; currently, he is a Salesforce CRM consultant. His work focuses on finding the value of implementation for new customers, working with them on building its scope and pricing. He is also responsible for system configuration and deployments. In addition to his daily work at Craftware, Marek is an ALK lecturer at post-graduate studies in CRM and Marketing Automation. He is an avid motorcyclist. He owns a Salesforce Accredited Sales Professional certificate.

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