London’s Calling, Not Dreamin’

We’ve just finished our second London’s Calling Community conference.  We’ve been asked a few times why the name London’s Calling and why didn’t we opt to go with the Dreamin’ name like the majority of the other conferences.

There is a simple answer to that, we’re not dreamin’.  If you’ve been to England, you’ll know it’s cold, damp and cloudy, especially in February.  This means that our conference has a bit of an edge.. You can thank the Vitamin D deficiency for that.

One of the things we try to do with this event is to infuse it with British culture.  Being in the interesting position of being an American living in London, I understand my own as well as theirs.  Where Americans would embrace the concept of Dreamin’.. The Brits might give you the side eye.  A little too optimistic for their taste.  So as part of our objective for London’s Calling, the event has to be reflective of the intersectionality of Salesforce and British culture.  One would say it’s no easy feat, but we make sure there are elements of both in everything that we do. We give you Ohana served up with a side of sarcasm.

Let’s start with the name, London’s Calling was the name that was tossed out whilst we were sitting and drinking gobs of champagne and my arm was being twisted into joining Francis & Simon on this adventure.  It was to be a placeholder name until we found something more clever.  Guess what folks, THAT never happened. We decided to stick with the name and got a theme song in the mix!  The next thing we did was tshirts.  If you’ve seen the design of our tshirts, you’ll see they cross whimsy and steampunk.  We know other community events are doing tshirts, so we’re not the first to do this, we just hope ours show our personalities.

The next part that we hope people notice is that we try not to take ourselves too seriously.  Yes, we want this to be a great event that people will come back to year after year but we know we’re not event planners and are doing this in addition to our day jobs, night jobs, school and a host of other things happening in our lives.  We’re not polished and we’re hoping that adds to our charm.  What we do take VERY seriously is our content.  We spent hours pouring over 150+ submissions for only a handful of sessions.  This meant that only 22% of submissions were accepted, which is good and bad and it’s hard to turn away fabulous content, but we have many user groups in London.  Definitely present your content there if you were not selected.

Other things we don’t do are confetti, dancing and karaoke*.  I think this may be a holdover from the fact that the UK hasn’t won Eurovision since 1998. Some are still sore about this and it’s better to just leave it alone.

At the end of the day what we want people to take away from our event is that we’re a ragtag but enthusiastic group of people that want to put on an event for the community that they’ll enjoy and want to keep attending year after year or until we run out of ideas.  We want it to reflect the culture here which we know is a bit different from event to event.  We’re hoping when you attend ours, you’ll see what we’re about.

Now that we’ve finished our second one, we’re hoping the vision is a little more clear.

*This is a constantly evolving list of things we don’t do but may do in the future.. Depends on our mood that year and how much its rained.

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The 5 Essentials You’ll Need for London’s Calling – 2017 Edition

5. Comfortable shoes. The area between rooms, expo, space bar and the entrance isn’t large, but after many times of walking up and down the stairs after the fabulous keynotes and sessions, your feet may get tired.  Plus you may want to show us your best dance moves during the after party!

4. Comfortable clothing. You’ll be moving from room to room, up and down the stairs and presumably, playing table tennis or showing off your dance moves as mentioned in #5.  You might as well be comfortable doing it.  If comfortable for you is fancy dress, as say..  a superhero, who are we to judge?

3. Technology! As if we really had to tell you to bring tablets and phones.  But just in case, here is a reminder.  You’ll of course want to live tweet how much fun you’re having to those that weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket!  In case you don’t know, our hashtag is #LC2017 and we’ll be streaming tweets in the expo!

2. Chargers!  We’ll have the outlets, you bring the chargers or extra batteries for all of that technology you’re bringing.  You’ll definitely want to tweet your favourite moments and get those selfies!

1. Enthusiasm! Hopefully you’ll be excited that it’s a Friday and you’re not at work.  In addition to that, you’ll be learning cool stuff, meeting new people and getting swag.  Also, you’ll get our amazing Keynotes from Peter Coffee and Belinda Parmar and if that wasn’t enough, the after party!  A chance to cut loose, have an adult beverage and hit up the photo booth!

We can’t wait to see you there!

What is a Center of Excellence and Why do I want one?

Recently (Southeast Dreamin’ & World Tour London) I spoke about moving from being a Solo Admin to creating a Center (or Centre) of Excellence (CoE).  The talk I did at Southeast Dreamin’ was a little different content wise from what I had spoken about at World Tour.  I’ve also summarized a fair amount of the important points in this post.  Now that you have a good background on how to quantify and qualify your time as well as ask for assistance, I am going to move into the next part of this topic.

What is a Center of Excellence?

A Center of Excellence leverages People, Processes, Knowledge and Technology to drive business value, encourage collaboration, socialize best practices and promote standards across the business.

This sounds fairly easy and straightforward, right?  Not really.  The devil is always in the details and in trying to figure out how to effectively leverage people, processes, knowledge and technology to drive business value.  It’s one of those sentences that sounds great on paper (or online) but means very little without some best practices to guide you through the creation process.

Core Pillars

Ok, well core pillars now sounds really official!  It sounds like we’re getting somewhere now, so let’s define the 5 Core Pillars that comprise a CoE.

COE_Best_Practices

Governance:  This is the processes that ensures the effective and efficient use of IT in enabling an organization to achieve its goals.

Business Management: Empowering the business to know what to deliver, why it is important and the value to the business.

Change Management: The process to manage enhancements, timely delivery to market, prioritization and utilization of resources

Release Management: Ensuring the highest quality with structured processes and methodology.

Support Management: The ability to provide Subject Matter Expertise, responsiveness and education.

Now that you know what the Core Pillars are, why do you want to build a CoE?

Here are some reasons why building a CoE is the right thing to do to manage Salesforce effectively for your business.

  • Salesforce is unique and encompasses competing stakeholders within Sales, Marketing, Service across one or more businesses and/or regions
  • Delivering a quicker time to market with utilizing out of the box and easily configured features but discipline and process is essential
  • Managing the rapid change of pace as Salesforce has thrice annually releases in addition to ever changing business needs
  • Justifying license model and reacting to data management challenges by ensuring adoption is high, data is clean and trusted by the business to justify investment
  • Acting on complex org decisions such as single or multi org strategies due to organic growth or growth by acquisition in a firm.

In the next post, I will detail each of these pillars out more and with additional details.

Project Pitfalls: The Lift & Shift Shuffle

You’ve signed a contract with Salesforce for a brand spankin’ new org and you’re ready to start assembling a project team to implement your new Salesforce org when management says a variation of the following phrase, “We’re trying to keep costs down, let’s just make this a lift & shift of our current system”.

That one little sentence should give you a sigh of relief cause it will be easier… right? Right? RIGHT?

psycho

Wrong!

I like to call this the “Lift & Shift Shuffle” and it makes anyone that works with Salesforce for a living, crazy.

For the uninitiated, the Lift & Shift Shuffle sounds like a fun dance move, like the Lindy Hop or the Jersey Turnpike.  However, the Lift & Shift Shuffle is an attempt to make the initial implementation easier by replicating the system being replaced into Salesforce, warts and all.  From a management perspective, the logic is sound.  If the old processes were working, why change things?  Here I will break down a list of reasons why it is a good idea to skip the Lift & Shift Shuffle.

  1. Are you replicating legacy processes in Salesforce? If you’re doing the “lift & shift shuffle” then yes, you are replicating legacy processes in the cloud.  This is a good time to clean up processes and challenge those doom & gloom “but we’ve always done it this way” folks.  I had a client that refused to ditch their legacy account numbering scheme and request a change order to build their old processes around account numbering into Salesforce.  The cost for this additional functionality? $40,000.  I don’t know about you, but I can definitely find something better to spend that much money on!
  2. Are you taking advantage of out of the box Salesforce functionality or recreating old technology within Salesforce?  I had a client that was moving from Siebel to Salesforce because they just loved the functionality and how quick and easy it was to collaborate internally via chatter.  They extolled the virtues of Chatter to anyone that would listen, but ended up rebuilding Siebel into Salesforce with a side order of Chatter. Not exactly the efficiencies they were looking to gain by moving to the cloud and leveraging the agile nature of Salesforce.
  3. Not having a roadmap for Salesforce and/or communicating the goals and objectives to stakeholders. Many times the Salesforce champion in an organization has a clear set of goals and objectives that were detailed out in the business case, but has not actively communicated this along with the plan to gain buy in.  Many times users feel like new technology is being foisted upon them without knowing why and what the benefit (long and short term) are to using this new technology.  Which coincidentally brings me to number 4.
  4. Not having a change management plan.  Change is hard and we resist change, but if the change hasn’t been actively socialized with the end users, then they cannot have a clear picture of why things are changing?  Is it because systems are being reduced from 6 to 1? Is there now a more customer centric view, is CTI being installed which makes it easier to answer calls?  These are important selling points to end users which help make change more palatable.  Anyone that helps enable change in an organization knows that you need to win over a select few and enlist their help as change agents.  If you remember Field of Dreams and the mantra in that movie, “If you build it, they will come..” it’s sorta of like that!

There is a reason why companies are upgrading to Salesforce and not just because it’s in the cloud.   Companies invest a lot of time and money into upgrading to Salesforce, it should be in their best interests to want to implement a system that meets all of the criteria that was listed on their business case to justify the investment. To get the most of Salesforce, it is important to follow best practices around successful implementations and  to use the new implementation as a good time to consider some business process redesign efforts to ensure that those business case metrics are able to be met.   If an organization does not have the knowledge in house, many Salesforce partners can assist in this area.