At Merkle, we strongly believe Salesforce is an incredible platform for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of any company's customer service and sales operations. However, we also acknowledge that implementing new software can be a challenging process that requires careful planning and execution.
Before beginning a Salesforce implementation, we advise all users, whether they are new to the platform or seasoned veterans, to conduct a thorough discovery phase.
For example, one of our clients, a leading global bicycle manufacturer, wanted to enhance their Service Cloud to improve the quality of customer support they provided. By conducting a strategic roadmap discovery phase, our team was able to gain a deep understanding of their business objectives, identify key stakeholders, and define success metrics. This helps align the implementation project with their strategic priorities, ensuring it delivers tangible business value.
However, not all discoveries are the same.
What’s the difference between a Tactical Discovery and a Strategic Roadmap Discovery?
A well-executed discovery phase can make or break a project. That's why it's essential to understand the differences between a “tactical discovery” and a “strategic roadmap discovery."
Tactical discovery is a targeted method for determining the unique demands of a project or initiative. It's perfect for shorter-term projects with well-defined objectives. This process helps define the scope of work, identify key stakeholders, and gather information necessary to design and implement a solution.
On the other hand, a strategic roadmap discovery is a more comprehensive process that takes a broader view of the organisation's goals and objectives. This process involves a thorough analysis of existing systems, processes, and technology infrastructure, as well as an assessment of industry trends and best practices. A strategic roadmap discovery is typically used for longer-term initiatives (18-24 months, multi-cloud solutions) that require a more complex and integrated approach.
How can a Discovery help a business?
Both new and current users can benefit from a discovery phase, whether it be tactical or strategic in nature. The potential of the Salesforce product suite can be quickly communicated to new users, allowing them to set their priorities. Existing Salesforce users can also find opportunities for quick wins, product enhancements, and platform expansion over the longer term.
A discovery also helps identify potential risks and challenges while outlining key milestones and deliverables. It’s important to take a preventative approach as problems arise and by proactively addressing them, one can minimise risk and disruption for clients. Our discovery process also provides clients and key stakeholders with certainty on project requirements, timelines, costs, and dependencies.
To maximise the client's return on their Salesforce investment, it's essential to conduct a thorough MosCoW and needs analysis, assemble a strong project team, and develop a comprehensive communication strategy.
It’s also essential to have a solid understanding of the key responsibilities and outputs that are generated during the discovery phase. These generally include, but are not limited to:
- Stakeholder Interviews: Conduct interviews with key stakeholders to understand their needs and pain points.
- Current State Assessment: Assess the current state of the organisation's technology, processes, and data to identify any gaps or inefficiencies.
- Data Analysis: Analyse the organisation's data to understand its quality and completeness.
- Requirements Gathering: Gather requirements for the Salesforce implementation, including functional and non-functional requirements.
- Business Case: Develop a business case that outlines the potential benefits and costs of the Salesforce implementation.
- Solution/Architecture Design: Design a solution that meets the organisation's requirements and aligns with its strategic priorities.
- Roadmap: Develop a detailed roadmap that outlines the steps required to achieve the desired outcomes, including timelines, milestones, and key deliverables.
- Risk Assessment: Assess the risks associated with the Salesforce implementation and develop a risk mitigation plan.
- Implementation Plan: Develop an implementation plan that outlines the specific tasks and activities required to implement the solution.
- Prototype: create a prototype to allow stakeholders to explore, experience and test the usability of the solution before implementation begins.
Using proven methodologies is vital to maximise Salesforce's potential while minimising downtime and risk. By producing these key deliverables, the main stakeholders can build confidence in the project. A discovery phase allows for the following significant benefits and outcomes:
- Clear Vision and Goals: To deliver real business value and align with strategic priorities, it's crucial to establish a clear project vision, goals, and identify key stakeholders and sponsors.
- Risk Mitigation: Identify potential challenges proactively to mitigate risk. Assess the organisation's technology, processes, and data to identify gaps or inefficiencies, reducing costly delays, rework, or failure.
- Optimised Processes: Optimise your processes by identifying opportunities for automation, standardization, and streamlining. Analyse workflows, business rules, and data models to leverage Salesforce, improve efficiency, and save time and costs.
- Enhanced User Adoption: Boost user adoption by engaging with end-users early and often. Understand their needs, preferences, and pain points to design a Salesforce solution that meets their needs and is intuitive. Involving end-users ensures a satisfying experience, increasing adoption rates and driving higher ROI.
- Measurable Outcomes: Maximise your Salesforce investment by defining success metrics, establishing a baseline, and tracking KPIs throughout and beyond implementation. Demonstrate ROI and identify areas for improvement with measurable outcomes.