The end-users for a business generally have several requests and ideas for the functionality of Salesforce. It is here that Salesforce.com creates 3 seasonal releases every year in Spring, Summer, and Winter. You obviously cannot do everything together, so here is the question: How can you concentrate on product improvements to drive user engagement that will have a tremendous impact on your company and your end-users daily functions?
The following are the key steps to effective change and seasonal release management via Salesforce-
- Create a Strategy
- Acquire an executive sponsor
- Gather input from your end-user
- Define the object and impact
- Configuration and testing
- Communicate and train users
- Follow up and support
The ones mentioned above are some of the things that you can do to manage things better. Now, let us take a look at the above steps, one by one-
- Create a strategy – One of the fundamental tenets for initial deployment is to keep it as simple as possible. You can later add processes and features after the application has gone live. You can’t incorporate every request for change into the deployment, the levels of effort might be intense, or the specific request might not align with your business’s goals. When business admins meet to determine which of the seasonal release and change request features are to be incorporated, you would need a strategy for determining the needed effort levels.
- Acquire an executive sponsor – When you get and engage an executive sponsor, you will boost the effectiveness of change management. This sponsor will assist you in the change management process by defining and establishing strategic goals. The sponsor also contributes to communication plans so that your message is defined to the users correctly for boosting adoption.
- Gather input from your end-user – There are several ways for you to derive feedback and ideas from the end-user. The most important thing here is you must do it. Some unique features of the Salesforce CRM will assist you here-
- Make a Chatter Group for all your end-users for capturing ideas, feedback, and their questions. Post links on the left side-bar for FAQ, training, process documents, and other vital resources for help. You will get a bonus here. Users will start to answer each other questions and free their time up here.
- Optimize the Salesforce CRM’s Ideas CRM for creating a two-way channel of communication between your user community and the change management group. Users are fond of this feature as they can view the latest status of the ideas they share, for example, approved, under consideration, and rejected.
- Usage of the case objects for capturing requests for internal enhancement. All the information you require to assess this request can be obtained from here. Later, deploy the inbuilt report and functionality of the dashboard for supervising the number, type, and frequency of the particular requests.
- Define the object and impact – when you have obtained the list for enhancement ideas, you should determine their scope and impact. For international or cross-functional deployment of the idea, you need to align the processes between functional areas. The group should evaluate them for change management to keep negativity away from the other areas of function.
This step offers an excellent chance for you to engage with your end-users. It is an effective idea to scope out the features that have been proposed keeping a specific use case in your mind. The experts from the esteemed name in the arena of Salesforce DevOps, Flosum, says that it offers you a cover of your users’ daily routine to predict any impact of these change.
- Prioritize – It is not feasible for you to execute every request for enhancement. This is why you need to define its overall impact on helping the change management group, and your sponsor decide which of the above enhancements to execute now, which of them to target for a subsequent date and which of them to reject. For the ones that get approved, you need to deploy an application for change management to track progress, the status, and the following steps of the project.
- Configuration and testing – This will depend upon the edition of Salesforce you use and whether you will have access to one or more than one sandbox environment with the copy of the production data. The sandbox will be used for the configuration and the testing of any changes or enhancements before they can be deployed to the production environment. This is a smooth and critical step for hassle-free deployment.
- Communicate and train users – You must have an extensive plan in place for users’ communication and training. Here, you must take advantage of the sandbox environment for offering them real-time training. You can incorporate several training options like online training, an FAQ section, and more.
- Deploy – Once your users’ training is completed, the next step is to deploy the new release into the production environment. The Force.com IDE will aid you here and give you the best results.
- Follow-up and support – This is the last step where you will evaluate the new release’s success and later identify the areas that can be enhanced in the future. Once this deployment process is over, you can reconnect with your key users or survey a bigger user community base to start the cycle again. You must have a good support process in place for technical questions that your users may have. You can have a dedicated IT helpdesk for the task.
Therefore, when it comes to the seamless deployment of the change management process under Salesforce, you should follow the steps that have been listed above. They will help you get everything sorted without hassles and add value to the process as well. In this way, you will enjoy a competitive edge in the market and keep your end-users satisfied as well.