Salesforce is a cloud-based CRM platform that provides software, services, and applications to create valuable customer experiences. The platform is tightly integrated, providing the different departments of an organisation, such as marketing, sales, services, etc. a single shared view of the customer.
The most critical part of any Salesforce Envision Advisory engagement is to have an upfront and honest conversation with the customer about where they want their business to be in the future. We also establish their desired outcomes and how they want their customers to think about them. It has everything to do with what you want to be for your customers and how you want them to value your relationship. It has nothing to do with where you are today or the systems that you currently use.
Collaboration with the customer
Another essential factor is the alignment between the customer and consulting team and the effort involved by both organisations. A single individual within an organisation can have a fantastic idea. However, unless every group within the organisation is aligned, the odds of successfully turning that idea into reality are minimal. Hence, most projects usually result in just a fraction of the benefits promised at the onset and end up adding yet another system or process for the organisation with little to no benefits for the company or its customers.
Planning for success
By understanding your customers' goals and desired outcomes, you can build on the existing efforts and knowledge-sharing within your customer's lines of business (LOBs) and IT departments. Utilising the information, you can create a roadmap for transforming the customer's business and position them to serve their customers better, realise significant efficiencies, and prepare the customer to scale for growth in the future.
Every stakeholder within your customers' organisation will need to take part in creating this roadmap, fully aligning with their organisation's leadership. It is critical to note that the roadmap is not a technology rollout plan, but a roadmap of capabilities required to meet their identified business outcomes and goals. One of the keys to this plan's success will be to ensure that when it comes to execution, business processes would have to be analysed and re-architected just as much as their existing technology and IT systems would need to be changed.
What is the Salesforce Envision?
The Salesforce Envision is a design-led engagement that enables organisations to undergo a true digital transformation journey to unlock customer insights, build actionable roadmaps, and develop successful solutions. Aimed to deliver great customer experiences using the Salesforce platform, the engagement follows these principles:
Align critical business and IT stakeholders.
Collaboratively and iteratively create/ideate solutions and validate them through proof-of-concept demonstrations.
Salesforce Envision engagements are typically co-led by a Salesforce Senior Business Architect and a Senior Salesforce Technical Architect, to provide guidance and ensure the customer stays on track.
To start the process, we identify key stakeholders/decision-makers from the customer's business and IT groups. Then we conduct a "20-Minute News Conference" session with each stakeholder. The objective is to challenge each participant to think about the outcomes that will allow the organisation to take the business and customer experience to the next level. In the "20-Minute News Conference", each participant is provided with an opportunity to step up to an imaginary podium of a future-dated news conference and share their thoughts, perspectives, and ideas on how they achieved unrivalled, unexpected, and unimaginable success in their business.
Because of the way it changes the way people think during the program, the News Conference exercise offers the following advantages:
Putting key business and IT stakeholders in the future frees them from the pressures of the day to minimise the existing challenges that preoccupy most people's minds and restricts one's imagination.
Starting with the end in mindand having a participant at a future dated event and describing how unimaginable success was obtained has an immediate and profound impact on how they think.
Each participant gets an opportunity to exercise their imagination by describing their organisation's future without any restrictions.
Providing the participants with a lateral thinking technique like the News Conference during the initial interactions allows them to foster creativity and innovation as part of the complete process.
The News Conference activity is unobtrusive and is easy to perform multiple times. Considering we include all the stakeholders that impact or are impacted by the process, the activity drives the inclusion, diversity of opinions, and there are multiple benefits gained from listening to the voices of the crowd.
Measuring the frequency of statements heard during the "News Conference" provides insight into the major themes that can drive an organisation's success. Making it easier to detect accurate signals hidden in the noise and identify which capabilities are the most significant for reaching the future state.
Even though participants are at a "future event", many of the statements made in the "News Conference" are consciously or subconsciously relevant and current issues.
The News Conference exercise is based on the tenet that it is always easier to work backwards from the future. It also introduces the use of outcomes and outcome-based thinking. The main goal of The News Conference sessions is to document future-state business outcomes, the problem statement, and a set of critical challenges and corresponding impacts.
2.Current State discovery:
Next, we conduct in-depth discovery sessions focusing on the existing business processes. Our team consults with the customers' subject matter experts (SMEs) and stakeholders across the groups and LOBs subject to the digital transformation that is about to happen. The discovery sessions consist of several "white-board" sessions with SMEs to capture the end-to-end Level-0 and Level-1 business processes, scenarios, and steps. In addition to conducting the discovery sessions, we run "shadowing" sessions with critical personas that the digital transformation will impact.
In addition to documenting the existing end-to-end business processes, we also document the current-state technical landscape, typically focusing on the key business areas subject to undergo digital transformation. This documentation needs to include the existing IT systems and tools used to deliver functionality, the current persona, and the userbase interfacing with these systems. It is also critical to note and document all the existing integrations across their IT landscape.
Key outputs from the discovery sessions are Level 0 (high-level end-to-end), Level 1 business process maps (one or more level 1 business processes per group), the IT landscape at the technical solution, system, and integration levels. The concept of performing a current-state discovery uncovers more holistic insights and perspectives by listening, whiteboarding, observing, and paying attention to unmet needs and opportunities, i.e., the gaps in key business, IT and subject matter experts and stakeholders.
3.Future State Enterprise vision:
In this stage, we conduct workshop sessions looking into the targeted future state of the business. The team focusses explicitly on the future-state business processes and platform landscapes with key business SMEs and Enterprise Technical architects. The workshop sessions could be several white-board sessions discussing the business requirements of the future business. The key output from this phase is identifying the future-state business and technical requirements that align with the desired outcomes from the News Conference.
4. Gap analysis & alignment:
As a next step, we analyse the findings from the News Conferences, the current and future state workshops and then conduct a gap analysis. This helps to complete the necessary study and research to create a point of view for the company's future state. Through additional interactive workshops with key business and IT stakeholders, we can use "Lateral Thinking" and "Design Thinking" techniques to generate and define ideas and identify actions that will realise key business outcomes. The main deliverables documented are the highlights and outputs from the workshops. Each highlight and output serve as an input into the step-by-step plan for the harmonised business processes and technical landscape tied to the Salesforce platform for the future-state business.
5. Salesforce platform demonstrations:
We work with selected SMEs from the business to define and develop the optimal scenario proof of concept (POC) in the key areas to demonstrate the art of the possible in Salesforce. By gathering business and technical feedback, we can prototype the ideal customer, employee, or partner experience via these Salesforce POCs and demonstrations, getting the validation we need from the business. This becomes the basis for developing the roadmap and future state strategy, the implementation phase plan with the appropriate platform, technology, and support to bring the customer, employee, and partner experiences to life.
We recommend recording the Salesforce platform demonstrations.
6.Future State Roadmap:
A Future-State Roadmap is developed based on inputs and ideas gathered and synthesised through the various exercises. The roadmap should identify the different business themes and activities required for the future Salesforce platform and the business groups and then be scheduled over a period of time in a phased approach. Furthermore, the roadmap must cover all the business functions and areas from cradle to grave, e.g., marketing, campaign management, lead identification and nurturing, sales and opportunity management, implementation and onboarding, support, etc. The key output is a phased-out roadmap with one or more releases with one or more themes per release.
7.Future State Strategy:
Once a roadmap with the different business themes is in place, we conduct a series of workshops with the business and IT to further identify and list various business capabilities under the different business themes identified within the roadmap. For each theme, specific business SMEs should be identified for each discussion with mutual agreements reached on the capabilities.
The following data should be captured under each theme:
Capabilities: Business capabilities that would be grouped under a particular theme (e.g., Customer 360, Employee 360, etc.).
IT Systems / Tools: Existing IT systems & tools, if any, that are currently used to deliver these capabilities.
Users: Current / Expected user segments that will be using this capability in the future.
Once the listing is available for a given theme, we work with the IT teams to evolve a future-state strategy for each of these line items. A future-state strategy includes one of the following:
Retaining legacy systems: Deliver this capability using existing legacy systems and tools. Existing legacy systems will continue to be maintained and enhanced as required.
Using Salesforce to surface legacy data: Retain existing business logic and data in the backend legacy system. Leverage Salesforce to surface this backend data as a single system of engagement. Existing legacy systems will continue to be maintained and enhanced as required.
Integrating Salesforce with legacy systems: Integrate Salesforce with the backend legacy systems using Web services and other modes of integration. Deliver the business capability using Salesforce as a system of engagement while calling the backend legacy system(s) for retrieving specific data and logic.
Rollover legacy features into Salesforce: Replace the existing legacy systems with Salesforce to deliver this business capability. Then eventually, sunset the legacy systems at the right time.
Using Salesforce automation tools and features: These capabilities are currently delivered using shadow IT systems that are not supported by IT, i.e., MS Office, Excel, etc. Fully replace these shadow IT systems with Salesforce and leverage the appropriate automation tools and features.
Salesforce features: This capability is not available in the current state. Deliver this capability in the future state using Salesforce.
TBD: If none o f the strategies mentioned above can be decided by IT due to lack of requirements or lack of gap analysis, this option should be used to indicate that no decision could be taken right now. Detailed requirements and gathering phases (post the Envision phase) will determine how this capability will be delivered.
In summary, we develop a tree of multiple themes and several capabilities for every theme. This makes up the Future State Capability Matrix both from a business and IT perspective.
The future state capability matrix will play a critical role in identifying the various IT systems to be decommissioned by the Salesforce platform for the future-state, thereby lending itself to cost and maintenance benefits and leading to a solid business case.
A blueprinting exercise should also be included in the roadmap to evolve a solid business and technology foundation over which the future state capabilities can be developed. This architectural exercise is expected to cover various grounds, including business process design, data modelling, business rules, integration, multi-channel management, etc.
Final Executive Brief
Towards the conclusion of the Envision engagement, we develop the final Executive brief for the customer's business and IT stakeholders highlighting the following:
Overall Problem Statement with Challenges and Impacts.
Current-state Business and IT engagement model.
Current-state Day in the life.
Proposed Future-state Business Architecture (Conceptual Solution).