ServiceNow Training Vs SalesForce Trailhead

I have accessed to the ServiceNow training services they offer. And as I have been using the SalesForce Trailhead services, to compare it is the first thing I have done.

The first thing you find is that the majority of the courses are so much expensive. You can consider that nothing is for free, but the amount of training courses offered by SalesForce is impressive.

The user interface is very classical in comparison with trailhead. The use of videos is low and there is a lot of documentation to read, but without a clear learning path or goal.

The way the information is updated it nice but you have the feeling you are accessing to a help database from 2002.

It’s clear the training strategy from ServiceNow is so much different to the one picked by SalesForce. I’m sure they are making some money with these training courses, but the speed of adoption of the communitty (technical, users and business users) is going to grow very slowly in comparison with SalesForce.

Trailhead, continuous evolution

I completed some trails of SalesForce Trailhead. Now I come back to make some new modules and I have found that some of the trails I did have included some new modules to enrich the knowledge of the trail.

For instance on the developer beginner there is a new module for search engine, where you learn about:

  • Salesforce Object Search Language (SOSL) and other aspects of search.
  • How to refine a search and have a balance between data offered and time response.
  • How to include auto-suggest on searchs.
  • How admins can promote a maximum of 2000 terms.

Once completed you have again completed the trail, with more points: from 19225 to 19525.

SFDC-Trailhead-Developer-Beginner2

SalesForce Trailhead Admin Beginner

In November 2015 I completed SalesForce Trailhead Developer Beginner. Now, during Christmas time I was able to complete the main challenges of the Admin beginner. And finally, during January I completed it.

To me this course was easier than the one related to development: so much configuration activities and the challenges are easier.

The big challenge to complete the training was one of the challenges. The checker was not working fine. After opening a question on the trailhead forum, I was contacted by a developer who was checking my development environment. After some checks, he noticed that the there were some elements that I could not see anymore, and by that reason the challenge checker was not working. I created a new DE Org, I completed the challenge from scratch and it worked.

Next one?? any suggestion? SFDC-Trailhead-Admin-Beginner

TCO of use of SalesForce

I have so much questions about the SalesForce TCO. I have search about this topic in the internet and there is not so much about it.

The perspective: looking at Portfolio Manager view.

The context. The environment we are talking about is a global organization with multiple business units where each one have different use of the platform. Each application has it’s own business owner, who ideally has to pay for each one of its applications (based in licenses). Common applications as CRM have also a business owner that will pay using the same principles.

The two main scenarios are:

Scenario 1: Building a business case. I have a business case where an application requirements, #users, transactions, expected size of data is defined. I would like to calculate the TCO of such application in different environments. How can I calculate the TCO on SalesForce?

Scenario 2: Real consumption of my platform. I have a portfolio of applications implemented in SalesForce and I receive an invoice. As IT environment, I have not budget, I have to divide that invoice within the different business units consuming the services. How can I calculate the TCO on SalesForce?

Other questions are:

  • Is there any common methodology to calculate the TCO of SalesForce?
  • What are the common parameters used to perform this calculation? Just the #licenses?

SalesForce Trailhead Developer Beginner

During these last 7 days I have been using my free time to complete the Developer Beginner training from SalesForce.

I have worked in Lotus Domino world during some years and so much of the concepts implemented in SalesForce have the same vision of Lotus Notes; the difference is for sure there are 20 years difference in the technology to implement that vision.

The similarities in the concepts with Lotus Notes made me to go quickly on the training sessions. The most useful part are the challenges and the code you can test at the same time you read the lesson. The usability and the way to acquire concepts is so good, the timing of 20 – 25 minutes is also good.

Do I recommend to go through this training? yes and no.

  • If you want to understand the basic concepts of the SalesForce platform and understand how powerful it is, YES.
  • If you loved Lotus Domino and miss to work on a platform as that, YES.
  • If you are a pure programmer that comes from Java, .NET world, you probably will find it boring, so NO.
  • If you find corporate workflows and business process boring, NO.

SFDC-Trailhead-Developer-Beginner I will go through other one during Christmas time, Which one do you recommend me?

MVC pattern + DevOps + agile = SaaS developer

This equation is so simple, there are transferable skills that can be used in different platforms.

MVC pattern + DevOps + agile = SaaS developer

In the market, companies working on SalesForce, ServiceNow, Workday… all of them are looking for developers. You cannot learn how to develop ServiceNow code using the traditional training channels: they just don’t exist.

So the skills that these companies are looking for are:

  • Developers with perfect understanding of MVC pattern.
  • Developers who understand the cultural aspects of DevOps, the principles of automation in SDLC and quality of software.
  • Developers with perfect understanding of some of the agile methodologies.

Hiring these skills, you ensure that the learning curve to be a developer in your own platform is minimized. They can become experts in just some months.

By the moment, the only academy that certifies that these guys is the SalesForce academy. So many of the certified developers in Force.com are being hired by other companies to work on ServiceNow. It’s simple, they only have to get familiar with the library of objects.

I have just noticed that AWS offers their own DevOps training, classifying DevOps as a methodology, which is wrong!

Sales complaints against the new CRM solution

With SalesForce recently implemented as CRM solution in the organization, I have seen the two major teams complaining about the situation:

  • Business department (sales), argues that the solution itself is not useful, and that it does not cover all sales needs of the sales people.
  • IT organization, argues that the capabilities that exist in the solution are not being used, and hence, it does not make sense to continue evolving the tool if the tool is not being used.

…And then the game starts…

The bottom line is that SalesForce itself is a powerful solution that includes a lot of best practices that SalesForce team has been learning for years. This is the reason it has become a standard in so many organizations. The basis solution requires a good configuration and initial adaptation of the solution for a given organization. Doing this well, the basic solution should be enough for the organization to operate.

Thanks to Force.com, you can customize the tool and improve some of the functionalities and capabilities that the tool offers to the end user.

You can create specific dashboards, reports, background processes, etc. All this is “nice to have”, but in a bare bones organization (which is the case here), we have to discover first what the key priorities we have to attend are. If we do a list of desired capabilities, what are the “critical” ones and what are the “nice to have”?

First , we need the involvement of management teams in different aspects of the sales processes. What can business/management team and its individuals do? Too many things, some of them could be:

  • Use the CRM solution: ask for actions to the sales representatives, ask if they need their support on a key commercial action.
  • Determine that the CRM is the only source of trust in the sales process: all has to be there: reports, actions, planned visits, contacts information, relationship we have with them.
  • Use the reports: do they reflect what they need? Do these reports help them to fulfill their sales goals?
  • They have the tool and the data, they have to use them to turn this data into information that once that they in their minds, they will be able to think beyond.
  • Understand what, how and what the CRM solution does and understand what they really need.

Second , we need the role of Business Change Manager (BCM). This can be a full time person or a partial time person with this responsibility on top of his/her duties. The second option is the more frequent alternative.

When CRM is implemented, it is expected that the solution deliver some outcomes. These outcomes are translated to capabilities for the organization; we have to ensure that these capabilities are translated into real benefits for the organization.

During the implementation of the CRM solution, the project team starts to realize the benefits of the solution, but once the project is closed, the project team disappears and the role of BCM is key to continue realizing and measuring that the benefits are realized.

Staregic-context-benefits-managementI’m sure that the implemented CRM you have has so much capabilities that are not used by sales and that they should be used to improve the sales cycles. Again, sales leadership team is the organization with authority to change the situation.

Third, once the CRM solution is implemented, new needs appear, they are detected by users, and they have to be managed by the BMC. There will be so many needs, and we have to define the way to manage them: what are critical, nice to have…

Fourth, competitive intelligence(CI) team has to interact with the CRM tool. They analyze the market, define areas of improvement by regions, by division, etc. These analysis needs to be followed by actions from the sales teams. The interactions of sales and CI team is key to push the achievement of new customers and new opportunities.

This case has some specific actions that are related to the specific situation of the customer, but they can be moved to other organizations.

who will buy Salesforce?

This is a buzz that has moved the market after Salesforce jumped 15% in the market: NYSE:CRM. This is just pure speculation exercise, nothing else.

I have several questions, who, why, when.

Who and why: there are different alternatives, and plausible reasons. These are my bets.

Oracle

  • Salesforce is having some inability to make waves outside its core competency (CRM) software. Force.com is a growing ecosystem but it’s not enough.
  • Oracle is being unable to be widely considered as a major cloud computing player.
  • The 15% rise is not a overnight consequence, these ORCL-CR discussions come since 2014 (at least).

Amazon

  • Both companies has a powerful ecosystem (infrastructure & software) oriented mainly on enterprises market.
  • Amazon never published the contribution of AWS to their business and suddenly they did this time, why do they need to show their AWS is a healthy business? A reason could be: we need some money to be able to buy something.

Microsoft

  • Microsoft Dynamics is so far away of the leader of the CRM market: Salesforce. MS Dynamics is covering small size market, but for the blue chips Salesforce is the standard election.
  • Microsoft changes are driving their cloud strategy to better situation and they are capturing a good piece of the infrastructure market.
  • Microsoft SharePoint was supposed to be the collaboration environment with B2B capabilities, but the reality is that it’s not as powerful as it should be. Force.com ecosystem is working better for B2B. SharePoint could stay as document management environment.

SAP

  • SAP was not able to jump to the cloud by themselves and after that they bought Ariba.
  • A better integration between CRM & ERP could generate good synergies and opportunities.

Is this the right moment? (when), the overall stock market is living a 6 years rising trend, and there are voices that start to say the market is living a bubble. The question is that money is moved from one place to other when they feel they can earn more in other place. There are 2 worldwide tensions: China (saturated real state market and lowest growth in last 20 years) and oil price (low prices and fracking companies with credit risk). Some of these two could be the ones who make the market to fall. To me this is not the best time to buy.

Bets opened!

Mobility cannot be sold as stand alone solution

Mobile applications for corporations is a complex business. The decisions are being taken into so much perspectives and the situation of each company also has a big influence on it.

The real question is not how to sell mobile solutions, the right question is how mobile solutions are purchased.

Connectivity and web access , some years ago there were a fever to offer all applications through the web browser; this makes that in some cases almost all key applications are accessible through a web browser. The second component is the connectivity. During the last years the security industry has improved a lot and the big corporations have opened channels of communication through the internet to enable connectivity in a secure way.

So many people request their vacations through a web browser from home only entering their user name and password; all from home. It can be your PC at home, your tablet, your smart phone and soon… your  watch? or maybe … your glasses?

Critical and Key applications , companies take their portfolio of applications and they classify them (for instance by critical, key or non key applications). Each category receives more or less attention from the strategy point of view and hence more or less funds to improve or decommission a tool. It is also important to understand that behind these tools there are processes, that also are classified in the same way. So well, you have to look into the critical processes for your customer, not the others.

I know, I know, you can find so much productivity points for HR or administrative processes, and they can be improved with a mobile solution, but due to their classification they will not be considered or funded.

Platforms , today the companies invest on platforms (SalesForce, Microsoft Office 365, SAP…..) all of them have by default a configurable mobile layer or a way to access to it through mobile. Here it could be a niche, for instance SAP by default do not implement mobile layer, and a huge amount of effort is required to enable it. Well here you have a chance!! The main issue you can have is that the partner that today is performing that area will be better positioned to implement the mobile layer due to the detailed knowledge of the environment.

The “mobile” value , this is something important to think about it. For a given application, you put it available through a mobile device. what is the increased value of having it there? how much productive is going to be the organization? the answer to these questions have to be strong, and the people working on these processes are the ones that really know the pain points. They all are users of smart phones and they ask themselves “I would desire to see this data from my phone”. Operators maintaining manufacturing plants, people looking at semaphores, people that travel and request something or need to approve/reject something.

There are other perspectives or considerations to be taken into account.

So, before to think how to offer mobility to your customer, look for the right pain point that your customer has. Not all are bad news, all these companies have some niches where they have a need and they really are willing to have mobility.