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What to expect when deploying Salesforce

Salesforce is aptly named given the impact the customer relationship platform has had on enterprise IT. It has affected the operations of organizations across all industries – even including sectors such as health care and law. However, not all businesses and associations take advantage of Salesforce.

Sometimes, instituting operational change is difficult, and as a result, many organizations fail to embrace new technologies and tools, despite recognizing the benefits of doing so. They simply don't want to shake up the status quo, since they have no idea what to expect before and after deploying Salesforce. This isn't right, but the fear in the unknown is reasonable.

But what if every organization understood exactly what to anticipate with Salesforce? The problem would be solved, right?

Here are four things that all businesses should expect when deploying Salesforce.

1. Expect to do work on the IT side
The typical business leader has heard about the benefits of cloud services for years now – quick to deploy, easy to provision, highly scalable and much more – but deploying Salesforce or any other cloud platform isn't a simple task. There is plenty of IT work that must be completed in order to integrate Salesforce with existing systems, which is necessary to get the most out of the CRM system.

"Salesforce deployment is a bigger process than some might believe."

A blog post written by Cobhan Phillipson of Documented provided a list that the average organization can adhere to when deploying Salesforce. Phillipson asserted that businesses and associations must determine configuration settings, compile security requirements, ascertain database integration demands and then complete 10 more steps. After that – yes, there's more – Phillipson recommended planning maintenance opportunities and setting up teams that can provide continuous integration and ensure quality performance throughout Salesforce's lifecycle. Only then can organizations finally adopt and integrate the CRM.

While this seems overwhelming at first glance, the point is that deployment is a bigger process than some might believe, and therefore assistance is absolutely vital – whether it's coming from a consultancy firm, extra IT employees or both.

2. Expect fundamental changes in operations
Salesforce will reinvent an organization's operations. Not only does the platform remove paper from the equation entirely, but with a network of integrated systems – ERPs, accounting and more – sales teams, customer support and many other departments will have new, efficient ways of completing tasks.

Businesses and associations must recognize the importance of accepting these process changes, even if learning new methods takes a few weeks. The end result is well worth the journey, and this is why organizations choose to deploy Salesforce in the first place.

3. Expect the unprepared workforce
Whether the skills gap exists or not, every employee will not immediately be adept at using Salesforce. This unfortunate truth, however, is counteracted by Salesforce's newest tool, Trailhead. This recently released aspect of Salesforce ensures that organizations have the training and certification required to leverage the CRM to its fullest potential. According to eWEEK, Trailhard provides users with "Trails" that are essentially different collections of directions for completing certain tasks or processes – with courses for everyone from developers to administrators to end users.

Employees will have to take the time to learn how to use Salesforce, but with Trailhead and some external support from knowledgeable experts, there is nothing to fear.

Salesforce data equals dollars, but only if organizations prepare to properly manage the storage and analysis of it.Salesforce data equals dollars, but only if organizations prepare to properly manage the storage and analysis of it.

4. Expect to collect a lot of data
One of the biggest pros of Salesforce deployments comes with one of the cons: CRM systems generate a wealth of data, and the management, storage and use of that information all require the investment of resources. Clearing up those challenges is a top priority.

According to Business 2 Community contributor Pajaree Suntudkarn, organizations that experience "data-related issues" earn about 12 percent less of their potential revenue than those that don't.

Therefore, businesses and associations must solve data challenges before they impact the core of their operations. The solution could lie in Salesforce Wave, a powerful analytics platform that collects data from any integrated sources and provides a visualization of trends and findings. With a tool such as Wave, Suntudkarn asserted, organizations can ensure that every piece of information becomes a valuable asset with the potential to empower employees – whether they're in sales or providing customer support.

CRM systems have slowly but surely become a fundamental component of modern business, and Salesforce leads the pack. However, to truly take advantage of the platform, organizations should know what to expect and prepare for deployment.

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