You might have heard people in the Salesforce community mention the idea of a ‘Salesforce Center of Excellence’. Perhaps you even run one. Today we’ll be looking into why it’s an excellent idea to set one up and some important best practices you can put in place to ensure success.
What is a Salesforce Center of Excellence?
A center of excellence (CoE) is a broad term – here best referring to a team that provides leadership, best practices, research, support and/or training for Salesforce. With today’s IT environment and the rise of citizen development, it’s more important than ever to ensure you have a good governance framework in place.
The Center of Excellence can have many functions, but fundamentally they set the strategy. This means prioritizing work and defining support plans. Doing so requires a way of collecting information from different parts of organizations. This allows business processes to be successfully adapted to a digital approach. The group can also set architectural and design standards for Salesforce orgs, using a variety of viewpoints to determine the best approach.
What are the Benefits?
A successful center of excellence results in superior business results through better leverage of the low-code development platform. It also de-risks implementations and better ensures regulatory compliance. This means that initiatives are brought to fruition more quickly with fewer unnecessary risks. Overall, a collaborative approach will result in greater visibility over all aspects of your platform and result in a more unified approach.
What are the Types of Center of Excellence?
There are three main types of Center of Excellence you can set up. Which one you decide on establishing will depend on your preferred development methodologies. Here’s a brief explanation of the three:
Consolidated: A centralized and formal model. Focused on command and control. Has long development cycles and a rigorous software development lifecycle. This is a very safe model but slow and not particularly flexible.
Federated: This is a more moderate command and control model. It’s more agile than consolidated and is a compromise between the two extremes one can take.
Confederated: This has an agile model with a focus on producing Minimum Viable Products. Its main advantages are a fast time to market. It has a “shift-right” testing approach which allows increased development speed. While very flexible, this approach can be less predictable and requires more discipline to stay on track.
Who are the Stakeholders?
If we’ve established that the CoE is a governing body, the obvious question is who should be present? There are a few different groups that need representation to ensure success:
Sponsor – the most senior role, who owns the priorities. They understand why the feature is being built and have sufficient authority to resolve any business or funding issues. This may be a role such as the product owner.
Programme Team – the team who will be running the projects on a day to day basis. This can be the release manager, architect or other important members of the Salesforce development team.
Implementation Team – the people who are working on specific areas of the platform. This is where voices with specific experience and insights can come in useful, such as UX designers, experienced administrators or developers.
Business Experts – an easy role to forget, but a vital one. Salesforce teams must never forget they are creating business solutions for users and having a link to end users is vital to ensure success. These can be roles such as sales managers or even appointed super users.
Setting up your Salesforce Center of Excellence
Now you’ve decided to set up your CoE, you should do so with the following vital steps:
1. Decide if your CoE will be Salesforce specialized or whether you want to make it multi-SaaS. The latter would let you make strategic decisions on where to automate certain business processes
2. Define clear objectives and the scope of work to help keep your project on track.
3. Create a staffing plan with the stakeholders discussed above.
4. Develop customized communication plans to ensure all your organization can take advantage of the service.
Top Tips to Follow
When setting up your CoE there are a few things you’ll want to remember:
Set well-defined objectives for the CoE by identifying internal company needs, findings from postmortems and any other sources of data (e.g. your help desk)
Start with a small set of activities that solve common problems. Starting small with modest ambitions will create credibility and will help you to prepare for the next phase.
Create a catalog of these activities and highlight the benefit of solving each of these issues. This provides essential evidence to back up your work.
Communicate, communicate and communicate! Put effort into ongoing communication tactics so you get the right engagement. The number one cause of CoE failures is a lack of engagement from other business units.
How Quality Clouds Can Help
As part of your Center of Excellence, one of the most important things you’ll need is a way of measuring the productivity of your Salesforce projects and assessing your orgs. Quality Clouds is the analytics and automation platform that help companies measure their Salesforce and ServiceNow Center of Excellence. It provides KPIs about quality, adherence to best practices, innovation and development speed.
To find out more you can book a demo here.