The idea that you can deploy Salesforce then go back to operating business “as usual” is a complete myth

I often get asked to deliver complex Salesforce implementation projects which are expected to handover to a pre-existing “Business as Usual” or BAU teams and processes on completion. The problem with that is outside of the most simple/classic CRM implementation, the original concept of “business as usual” no longer exists.

Transformation means just that

Salesforce is often the core technology used to support a digital or customer centric transformation. By their nature transformation programs as designed to change how an organisation operates. Moving from traditional call centre or bricks-and-mortar business models to online and mobile. Moving away from an organisational structure based on internal silos which don’t share customer data or even the same definition of what a customer is.

Customers and competitors are changing rapidly

Salesforce is often embraced as a platform through which to deliver agile technology solutions. Customers and competitors are evolving quickly and traditional IT delivery processes will struggle to keep up.

Establish new structures to cope with business no longer being “usual”

I recommend adopting a three-tier model to deliver ongoing change:

  1. Heavy lift large projects
    – more than two weeks of work needing the support of an external delivery partner
    – usually funded with capital released by business case
  2. Minor works
    – less than two weeks of work with an internal team needing a careful build and test cycle
    – usually funded as an operating expense to retain a fixed delivery capacity
  3. Day to day Salesforce administration
    – less than a day and often be done directly in production/live Salesforce

Establish new processes to channel requests for change into these three swim lanes

Establish a common process to capture all requests for change relating to how customer information is managed. It is critical this is broader than Salesforce or the “CRM” as this is primarily about making things better for the customer.

This common process needs to span marketing, sales, service and operational fulfilment across all channels you do business. Establish a regular forum to review and triage requests for change. Meet weekly initially and reduce the frequency when it becomes clear the pace of evolution is reducing. Maintain a backlog of work for each delivery stream which is prioritized so what is most important gets done first.

Business as usual should fade from memory

Done right your staff and customers will see regular and tangible improvements on how business is conducted in your organisation.

After all that’s why you decided to use Salesforce, right?

Richard Clarke


Richard has led Salesforce delivery teams in the Australia, New Zealand and the USA and applies over 30 years of enterprise software experience when delivering business value with Salesforce.com.