In many ways, the cloud is a double-edged sword. Let’s take the Software-as-a-Service customer relationship management platform Salesforce as an example, since this cloud-based app is one of the most popular in enterprise IT. Because Salesforce doesn’t rely on on-premise hardware or cutting-edge IT systems, anyone with an Internet connection can access the CRM platform, even with low revenue, a small or nonexistent IT department or few employees. The tool is extremely valuable, but at some point, when everyone else has it, businesses need to set themselves apart.
One way to break away from the Salesforce pack is to take advantage of all the platform has to offer in regard to integration, device support and capabilities. This ensures SMBs and other organizations that simply implement the basic version of Salesforce do not have the same features as your business, making your company one of a kind in its sector.
Leveraging Salesforce to its maximum potential can be extremely lucrative. But where do you start? Let’s take a look at what features you need, and what skills your IT professionals should have to get to the top of the Salesforce ladder.
1. Integrate and add on
One of the best aspects of Salesforce is the platform’s ability to integrate with a variety of systems and applications. Whether it’s being synced with financial software, ERPs or databases, Salesforce can directly connect to other solutions, ensuring that every department is working with the same information in real time.
“You need IT professionals familiar with .net and Java to integrate existing software with Salesforce.”
Salesforce Dev Center explained that applications can integrate in four ways. You can combine user interfaces, extend business logic across apps, share data and connect security authentication mechanisms. Each of these aspects must seamlessly integrate, and in order to do this, you will need IT professionals familiar with .net and Java programming languages. As a note, security connectivity is expected to launch soon, and an employee with skills in cybersecurity would prove valuable when it does.
2. Go mobile and support wearables
Unless you’re headquartered in Silicon Valley and all of your employees are millennials who have read Steve Jobs’ biography cover to cover three times and take Uber everywhere they go, Apple Watches probably aren’t on the wrists of everyone at your company. However, it’s very likely that some professionals are using smart watches or clamoring for Salesforce1, the flagship Salesforce mobile app. Adding to that, enterprise mobility is a hot trend, and enterprises without a mobile sales team could be losing leads.
Whatever the situation, Salesforce is perfect for mobile devices. GeekWire noted that the company was the first to develop for the Apple Watch and provides a set of Salesforce Wear developer tools for Samsung Gear, Pebble and more.
Furthermore, with Lightning, any business can start customizing its mobile Salesforce apps quickly and efficiently, but by leveraging Heroku or Programmatic Development, you can take your mobile apps to the next level. Heroku is for customer-facing apps and supports Rails, Node.js, Python, Java and all JVM languages, while Programmatic Development is for internal apps and is based on Apex. Simply put, a developer with mobile experience is a must.
3. Let everyone use the solution
When Salesforce began, businesspeople and IT experts figured that the platform was great for the SMB market that demands a CRM solution. However, in the past few years, Salesforce has become a mission-critical tool for every company, from Fortune 500 ventures to startups. Now, the CRM platform is for more than just salespeople.
InformationWeek reported that on April 23, 2015, Salesforce launched Salesforce for HR, referring to the new cloud-based system as an “employee success platform.” The tool will work very similarly to Salesforce, giving employees a level of global visibility to new hires and organizational structure instead of sales data. Beyond that, Salesforce is valuable to any department in its vanilla form.
As more departments and employees start to use Salesforce and associated tools, you are going to require IT professionals to manage the platform. Filling the roles of Salesforce admins or similar titles, these individuals will ensure that employees know how to use Salesforce, as well as create reports, update the platform and complete many other tasks.
Salesforce is undeniably powerful, and by not using it to the fullest, businesses are shooting themselves in the foot and stunting the growth of their sales channels. Now, Salesforce is valuable for almost everything, so put it to work with IT professionals who know what they’re doing.