Names, positions, or competencies?

Sometimes, customers get used to particular names, marginalizing the quality of the service – it is a fact that vendors have to deal with, including us. The vendor usually has many customers. It is not rare that someone wants to take a particular employee from another team at the company, at the customer’s request who asks for a specific person. The customer’s favorite becomes a star of the service and its face. Of course, there are talents among such celebrities, competent and hard-working people who can do more and better. But what if the commitment to a given person and level of service overshadows the customer’s perspective on optimization and service improvements?

That is why from the beginning of our cooperation with customers, we emphasize the scope and quality, meaning what we do and how. From experience, we know that this topic returns sooner or later; therefore, we explain it is the service quality that is significant, not the composition of the team that provides the service.

The essence of Managed Service in Salesforce is not ensuring customers with a permanent team but ensuring the service’s continuity. And that is a huge difference. For the customer, it should not matter which names are a part of the team (although sometimes it does matter), but which areas of expertise because the specialties guarantee the service continuity and the implementation of the agreement’s scope.


How many employees will the Managed Service team in Salesforce consist of?

It is up to a specific service, and the number of people is not the key factor that results in the service’s efficient design. The Managed Service team in Salesforce does not have to be large – because that is what customers often ask about, associating the extended team with higher service costs.

The agreement usually focuses on the service result, not on the number of people; it is all about the before-mentioned scope. Clearly, it is established individually during negotiations. However, I have noticed that the customer’s willingness to clarify the size of the team often delays the cooperation. In such cases, we explain it is difficult, especially at the beginning of our partnership, to determine such specifics; firstly, we must get to know the system and which elements of the Salesforce platform have been implemented, and later – set what is to be done. Until that, the next step may be information on the team size.

As for the scope, there are various practices of determining and billing it. For example, based on the number of tickets. There is no standardized scope for every situation or service. That is why both sides need to figure out its consistent definition (which allows the vendor to assess whether the time limit of tickets has been exceeded).

I have also seen agreements in which roles were enlisted as crucial for the system. Not the number of participating employees, not particular persons and names, but job titles. Names of the job positions that – from the point of competencies view – play an essential role in a given Managed Service in Salesforce.


What roles are needed/are typical?

It also depends on a specific service, including such information as which Salesforce cloud does it concern; what are the needs and plans for the service. The team may consist of Salesforce developers (both frontend and backend), testers, analytics, support specialists.

The Salesforce platform assistance is often an area that is forwarded to outsourcing. The service may concern three different support lines, and which ones – it is up to the customer.

The third line is most commonly on the vendor’s side and the first on the customer’s. But some companies would like to pass to the external service provider both the easiest tasks, meaning the first line, as well as the most complex, meaning the third line of support. The customer needs to be aware of the differences between those support lines and their functioning as well as in handling them (difficulty level, the input of work and skills).

In general, the most advanced is, obviously, the third line of support: requests that require analysis, expert knowledge, understanding dependencies, and configuring customer’s Salesforce instances. But in big organizations, the first line of support also may need advanced knowledge, which is why it is necessary to forward this line of support to Managed Service. Sometimes, at the beginning of cooperation with the customer, the vision of the future support needs to be established from scratch. Does the company require the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd line of support? What tasks will be performed by particular lines? How the support system is or is supposed to be arranged, as well as the cooperation between various lines of support?


Who will manage the service on the vendor’s side?

I mentioned above the key or typical roles in Managed Service in Salesforce. Not all of them must be included in the project. However, there is a single one that is crucial for every service – and that is a Service Manager/Coordinator.

A Service Manager is responsible for customer relations and building customer’s trust with the team. A person in such a position is a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) to the customer in every matter related to the service.

Service Managers are the ones who gather it all; they are familiar with the agreement details and stay up to date about the project. They know what should be done and which competencies are required to fulfill the customer’s requirements. A Service Manager watches over team rotations and ensures that any competency gaps are filled when someone leaves the team or when a cyclic, seasonal need or activity arises. A person in this position is also responsible for ensuring that the team members carry out their tasks properly and in line with determined processes as well as requirements.

While the customer does not need to know rotations in the team, they should be notified about a Service Manager change in sufficient advance. This is essential to maintain the communication continuity between the project sides and, as a result – maintaining the operational continuity of Managed Service, which is the core of the service. When the customer will be notified, and is this a matter of the agreement’s provisions or rather a mutual trust – needs to be established. The most important is that both sides feel comfortable and safe.


Who cooperates with the vendor on the customer’s side?

My experiences in this matter are different – there is no single scheme for Managed Service in Salesforce, as well as there are no rigid rules of who coordinates Managed Service in Salesforce on the customer’s side; who is in charge of communicating with the provider.

In my opinion, it is worth remembering to designate such a person, which is not that obvious. Sometimes, customers stop at the agreement conclusion; they are satisfied with the negotiated conditions, the service works, which means that everything is under control. Then, by the end of six months, it turns out that there is something wrong. But what? The agreement was concluded, though there was no one to watch over the implementation of its provisions; no one would know a detailed scope of tasks and processes in the service. No one knows how to verify the effectiveness of the service’s operation or assess what was changed in the system.

Who should be seconded to such an agreement and keep an eye on Managed Service in Salesforce? It is difficult to point out which solution is the best and which area should be represented by a given person. I know cases in which a Product Owner (who combines IT and business side) is responsible for Managed Service in Salesforce on the customer’s side. Sometimes it is a Delivery Manager who supervises only services of Managed Service in Salesforce (if there are more than one), sometimes it is a Service Manager – when the service is combined (meaning that on the vendor’s side there are, for example, developers and the third line of support, and on the customer’s side – the first and second line).

Why is it so important that the Managed Service in Salesforce agreement was under constant supervision on both sides? Because the communication may take place once every six months, and the service is carried out constantly. A lot can happen, especially in IT, where a change, often the rapid one, is the only constant.

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  • Agnieszka Ziarkiewicz
  • Service Manager
  • Since 2013 in the IT industry, since 2017 holding managerial positions. Responsible for optimizing IT work, defining, measuring, and monitoring KPIs for the IT team, implementing, modeling, and supporting ITIL processes, managing internal and external IT contracts (including legal, financial, and compliance aspects). She has been working at Craftware since August 2020. Deeply convinced that the only constant in the IT (and not only) is the change, and effective communication can save lives. In her free time, she runs an informal board game club and participates in 17th-century historical reconstructions.

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