In a recent operational meeting, the topic of process automation came up. It became clear that we needed an integrated approach to manage sales communications and operational capabilities more effectively and become more agile. As we begin our new year, our executive team decided to implement Salesforce as a solution to our needs both short and longer term.
The current processes consisted of one source of information (The president) and a plethora of spreadsheets and data sources that support our sales funnel, our resources, and our projects. The work effort to manage all these different sources of information was slowing down the process and the data wasn’t always easily accessible. We needed a better mousetrap.
Enter Salesforce. We were told Salesforce was developed for much larger corporations and that the implementation effort and learning would be substantial, and likely outweigh the benefits. However, once we realized the flexibility of the tool and the offering of other integrated applications that could be integrated in subsequent phases, we realized that this approach was the right one for us. This tool would allow us to automate many of our processes and help us become more efficient with our time while providing the integration needed and ultimately add more value to clients. The advantage we did have was a small sales and operations team and a small data set (in comparison to a large organization) to be migrated to the application. The executive team decided to move ahead with the deployment of the application with the objective of being ready for the new year starting April 1st (and we know what day that is!)
Moreover, it was critical that from an operational perspective we move forward with the new tool or we would fall behind from a technology perspective. Small companies are more agile but that doesn’t mean they are not bound by process and technology. The executive team knew that in order to improve efficiency and manage the business more effectively, the company needed this new application to stay competitive.
Make no mistake, in addition to the new technology the team needed additional training, the addition of “Salesforce administrator” to an existing employee’s job description and a remapping of the organizational strategy and roadmap to include the new suite of tools. In many ways the result is not much different from a large corporation migrating to a new ERP system. An ERP has the same effect, improved efficiencies and a strategy for the company to follow for at least the next five years. Ultimately we were a bit late meeting our timeline objective, but have the new platform up and running, and are busily working through the first 30 days of “Go Live”. The risk of waiting longer far outweighed the risk of getting operational sooner with a baseline of data and a team of hardworking, smart and agile resources with an unstoppable attitude and desire to succeed. The right people are on the bus!
The addition of new technology is an effective approach to obtaining improved efficiencies and effectiveness but without the appropriate process and change management support for the new enterprise strategy the new technology will only be able to move the organization a small step forward.
Without a rigorous training program to ensure adherence to the new processes through quality reviews and monitoring, employees will fall back to the old process because it was comfortable and familiar. The executive team is responsible to communicate and support the implementation of new processes to ensure the success of the initiative, and ultimately the company.
Measuring results of the change is paramount to the success of the investment in the new technology. In larger organizations, the Project Management Office is an important point of control for this task as they may already have tools and methods to measure and analyze the success of the enterprise projects. They may have the resources and capabilities to understand and support the magnitude of the change. Operational efficiency projects are iterative. Not all the planned changes will be effective, but as stated by business mogul William Knudsen, “In business, the competition will bite you if you keep running, if you stand still, they will swallow you.”
For more information about how Logixsource can help improve success of your transformational or project initiatives to connect strategy to results please contact: Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org or Scott at email@example.com.