Embarking on a Salesforce implementation is no small feat, especially when tasked with transitioning clients from legacy platforms. Attain Partners recently collaborated with the Michigan Small Business Development Center (Michigan SBDC) to implement Salesforce migrating all existing data and developing new processes and workflows for the organization.
In this post, hear from Maury Davis, a Senior Salesforce Consultant at Attain Partners, and Josh Billington, Assistant State Director, Strategic Innovation Operations at Michigan SBDC, as they share insights gained from our recent collaboration. They shed light on key themes that underscore successful Salesforce implementations to help you get the most out of your relationship with your implementation partner.
Historical Data Migration: A Weighty Undertaking
The migration of historical data is a monumental task that demands meticulous planning. Cleaning historical data before migration is not just a best practice; it’s a prerequisite to ensure the integrity and quality of data in the new system. Attain Partners’ collaboration with the Michigan SBDC highlighted the significance of dedicating ample time and resources to this critical phase.
Data cleansing and mapping is critically important, especially if there is a significant data architecture difference between the systems in question. Careful planning with Salesforce Objects and fields, in addition to deleting/hiding out-of-the-box fields with no relevance, saved Michigan SBDC time and money in the long run.
Data Import Matching Rules: Balancing New and Legacy Data
Establishing matching rules for both historical and incoming data is a pivotal step in maintaining data accuracy. Whether importing legacy data or collecting new information through intake forms, having robust matching rules ensures that the Salesforce database remains consistent and reliable.
Though it’s difficult to obtain 100% clean data all the time, matching rules along with thoughtful validation rules will keep maintenance tasks manageable and reporting concise.
Process Documentation: Charting the Course
Thorough documentation of current and former scenarios is indispensable. Utilizing tools such as LucidChart or Visio helps create a visual representation of processes, aiding in a comprehensive understanding of workflows and related validation rules. Attain Partners’ experience emphasizes the importance of maintaining detailed documentation to facilitate smooth transitions and troubleshooting. While working with Michigan SBDC, we found Field Trip to be immensely valuable in helping us understand data mapping and provide clarity around naming conventions of fields in objects. This helped us tremendously when delving into the reporting as well as the object relationships in those reports.
Change Management: A Vital Ingredient
Change is a constant, yet managing it effectively remains a challenge. Acknowledging that people resist change, Attain Partners recommends making a conscious effort to maintain continuity and familiarity wherever possible. This not only eases the transition for end-users but also secures buy-in for the new Salesforce system.
Implementation and Managed Services: A Unified Approach
Recognizing the interconnected nature of implementation and managed services, Attain Partners advocates for treating them as a package deal. Integrating the Managed Services team into the implementation process ensures a seamless handover and ongoing success. In our collaboration with the Michigan SBDC, this approach proved instrumental in achieving a smooth transition. It also provided us with a clearer understanding of Michigan SBDC’s processes and workflows that support its mission. SBDCs, being programs under the U.S. Small Business Administration, adhere to policy definitions that translate into these workflows and data governance. Combining implementation and managed services teams reduced communication breakdowns on these sometimes-intricate details.
Budgetary Considerations and Long-term Success
While SBDCs are nonprofit, state-, and federally-funded entities, it’s crucial not to compromise on critical aspects due to financial constraints. Recognizing the long-term value of a well-implemented Salesforce system, we emphasize the importance of strategic budget allocations to avoid delays or roadblocks that could impede success.
It is paramount that other SBDCs consider all the ancillary subscriptions and licensing associated with their Salesforce instances. Basic SBDC operations, like training, hinged upon such licensing with the use of Blackthorn integration. Other potential basic add-ons would be appointment calendaring, market research integrations like Vertical IQ, and maintenance tools like Demand Tools, each of which can be immensely valuable.
Key Takeaways for SBDCs Moving to Salesforce
Our collaboration with the Michigan SBDC has provided us with a wealth of insights into the intricacies of Salesforce implementation. The key themes discussed—from historical data migration to change management—serve as a comprehensive guide for anyone embarking on similar projects. By learning from these experiences, we can navigate the complexities of Salesforce implementations with greater confidence and ensure the long-term success of our clients’ transition to this powerful platform.
Attain Partners – Salesforce Experts
No matter if your organization is beginning its Salesforce journey or 10+ years into development, we are here to help you achieve your goals. Contact Attain Partners today to learn how we can help you achieve your goals by harnessing the power of Salesforce.
About the Authors
Maury Davis is a Senior Salesforce Specialist at Attain Partners. Maury has worked in higher education and nonprofit organizations for over 15 years, focusing his last 10 years on demonstrating the value of the Salesforce Platform to his employers and clients.
Josh Billington is an Assistant State Director of Strategic Innovation Operations at the Michigan Small Business Development Center. Joshua has worked in Small Business Consulting and Economic Development, Operations, and entrepreneurship for over 15 years.