Last week, we reviewed the tenants of fission vs. Fusion-Powered Salesforce. This week, we ask a question of value: Should the value of a Salesforce implementation be quantified solely by the number of things the implementation project was able to encompass, or should it be held to a higher measure? Like all trilogies, this is the middle part that shows where the ending may, or may not, go.
What is the value of getting everything, all at once, if it means that by the end of a Salesforce project, people are exhausted, confused, alienated, or worse, gone? What is a different way of producing better engaged people, upholding morale, seeding empowerment, and recognizing the true capacity of your organization as it implements? These are the values of Fusion-Powered Salesforce:
- Adaptive to change by giving time and space for foresight.
- Builds organizational infrastructure and capacity while implementing.
- Creates user ownership and power-users to mentor and grow other staff.
- Puts in place internal feedback mechanisms for staff using Salesforce to have their needs reflected in how Salesforce grows and changes over time.
- Meets people and organizations where they’re at, and doesn’t throw them callously into where a process forces them to be. Salesforce isn’t sink or swim!
- Is mission and metrics aligned, with a focus on success across the organization, rather than person and department aligned with a focus on individual or departmental “winning.”
- Helps organizations and organizational management lead with technology, rather than simply react to technology.
- Imbues organizations with structures to manage technology in the context of organizational leadership and vision, rather than simply yet another disconnected tool.
What are the results when these values aren’t held as part of implementing Salesforce? Participating in hundreds of discussions in the Power of Us Hub has afforded me the opportunity to listen and collaborate with colleagues, nonprofit staff, and others committed to the success of Salesforce for nonprofits. When I talk to a potential client who is mired in fission Salesforce, I inevitably notice a few of the following characteristics in their instance:
- Bottom-dollar driven work that doesn’t abide to platform (or, as it also is for nonprofits, managed package and business process) best practices.
- Shifting organizational goals and priorities that don’t coalesce around standard processes and metrics to put into Salesforce. Know yourself, then reflect this knowledge inside of Salesforce, don’t expect Salesforce to tell you who you are!
- Failure of organizations to understand industry best practices for fundraising, case management and HIPAA compliance, data confidentiality, and/or other specialties within the nonprofit world.
- Absence of executive leadership or understanding of the platform, either from the very simple “how it works,” to the very complicated, such as mismanagement of staff time to learn, adopt and grow with Salesforce.
- Disconnected projects within the platform itself – different staff attempting to produce different outcomes using competing strategies, and sometimes different implementation partners, over time (and occasionally, concurrently).
- Failure to understand how to scale the platform to meet the needs of more than one department, process, or goal.
- Placing all the eggs of platform engagement and management in the single basket of either person or departmental management.
The bottom line here is that Salesforce has been available to the nonprofit sector long enough for us to have seen a few key trends emerging:
- The first wave of implementations on the platform has been around long enough to demonstrate the value in thinking about the scale of your Salesforce instance from the start. Some of these organizations are running in to very tight spots realizing that their Salesforce instances grew hastily, or with incorrect assumptions about use, or contrary to best practice. Getting out of these tight spots is costly.
- Salesforce has never been more powerful as a platform, with more temptation than ever to invest in many kinds of enhancements and features. This both shows the promise of Salesforce implementations, but also throws nonprofits into an increasingly competitive and confusing world of proposed solutions. Know what is authentically your organization’s real capacity, metrics, and budget before entering so you better know which enhancements and features you really need.
- Salesforce will continue to grow and change, as will your organization. In 2010, I never could have predicted the types of features and functions that now are part of Salesforce in 2015. Because your organization is becoming part of this growth and change when you implement Salesforce, by its nature you must adopt internal governance and management strategies to be able to best harness it.
These trends necessitate a new way of thinking about how Salesforce is implemented, and what the real considerations for implementation projects should be. Next week we will conclude by looking at what Fusion-Powered Salesforce activities you can engage in with your organization.