Salesforce applications: avoid overruns on your IT projects

Yousra Mahros,

The deployment of an application of the scale of Salesforce requires a real change management strategy. It is important to avoid overruns in terms of both time and budget.

For a better return on investment, discover the key success factors of a Salesforce project: optimising the user experience, managing feedback, using collaborative intelligence effectively…

1. Implement an effective change management strategy

As for any business application, a successful deployment of your Salesforce application cannot be achieved without user buy-in. Resistance to change is one of the most ingrained survival mechanisms in the human brain. It is therefore necessary to put in place a real change management strategy. You must get your employees to accept the new solution and actively participate in its deployment.

To do this, focus on communication upstream of any implementation, and throughout the project. Promote the benefits of the new application while being transparent about what is at stake. Establish a precise roadmap to reassure users. Thus, you allow them to project themselves into the deployment process.

Engaged and confident users will adopt the Salesforce solution much more easily. This will naturally result in fewer overruns both in terms of time and budget.

2. Adapt your organisation to the new Salesforce application

Effective change management cannot be based solely on changing mindsets. The implementation of applications such as Salesforce is inevitably accompanied by profound changes in working methods.

Before launching the roll-out phase, start developing these new habits. Use collaborative intelligence to create effective processes, involving your teams in defining this change. You can rely on managers, but also on key users within the teams. These people are familiar with the technical challenges of the new solution and have an excellent knowledge of working habits.

By re-organizing teams and practices before you even start using Salesforce, you’ll gain efficiency during implementation. It will also save your teams from having to manage process changes and software training at the same time!

3. Deploy your Salesforce application gradually

When you decide to adopt a high ROI application such as Salesforce, the temptation is to rush to the next step and roll it out too quickly. However, such a decision will not save you time, quite the contrary! By deploying the application simultaneously in your various departments, you run the risk of having an overworked IT department unable to resolve all the problems within a reasonable timeframe.

Remember that user adoption is a fragile thing. Even if you have prepared your teams well, being confronted with too many bugs and a lack of reactivity from IT risks giving them a negative image of the application very quickly. This loss of confidence will create even more overruns.

On the other hand, opting for a phased deployment has two major advantages. Firstly, your IT department will find it much easier to manage the backlog that inevitably comes with the implementation of a complex application. Secondly, the initial feedback will allow you to put in place a real strategy of continuous improvement, making the rollout increasingly smooth and efficient. You should eventually be able to complete the project for your entire organisation much more quickly!

4. Provide a good feedback tool from the very beginning of the project

Throughout the implementation of your Salesforce application, user feedback will help your IT department work more efficiently. This means putting in place a tool that allows you to create a real dynamic around collaborative intelligence. Indeed, a real feedback tool is much more than just a mailbox between users and IT! Invest in a real collaborative tool, with a process for qualifying requests.

In this way, users will be encouraged to solve problems among themselves when IT intervention is not absolutely necessary. In addition, the feedback that reaches the IT department will be much more structured and qualified, which is an obvious time-saver.

Finally, such a tool can become a real booster for collaborative intelligence, by encouraging teams to make proposals for improvement.

5. Optimise the user experience for better user adoption

Throughout the implementation process, ensure that the user experience is optimal. To do this, you should first of all rely on feedback from key users to develop tools that are adapted to the real needs and working practices of the teams. Secondly, do not neglect feedback on ergonomics. A powerful tool that is little or poorly used because it is too complex will be useless!

Whenever possible, encourage your technical teams to make changes requested by end users to improve the usability of the tools. Such changes are of course an investment, but they will result in much better adoption by the teams. Users will pick up the tools more efficiently, and your organisation will be able to take advantage of the power of your Salesforce application much more quickly.

You now know what the key success factors are for a Salesforce project. Don’t hesitate to allocate the necessary resources to build an effective change management policy before and during the implementation. By focusing on user experience and buy-in, you’ll save both time and money in the deployment phase.