Getting Started with a Salesforce Center of Excellence

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Don’t Skimp on Salesforce Governance

Salesforce is a powerful solution that can help scale your business, increase efficiency, improve insights into performance and deliver numerous other returns. But the only way to realize those benefits is through a proper Salesforce governance strategy.

But once you implement Salesforce and are ready to introduce a governance model, where do you get started? Your Salesforce governance strategy should focus on four key areas:

  1. Establishing a Center of Excellence
  2. Introducing Change Management
  3. Setting an Organization Strategy
  4. Formalizing Design Standards

Today let’s focus on the first of these areas: Establishing a Center of Excellence (COE).

What is a Salesforce Center of Excellence

A Salesforce COE acts as a central governing body for the entire organization. It brings together stakeholders from across the organization to create a single, well-defined group that is responsible for making decisions when it comes to Salesforce.

The most important responsibility of a Salesforce COE is to set the standard for Salesforce architecture, updates and enhancements. In doing so, the COE should ensure a consistent user experience and minimize administrative overlap.

The COE can accomplish this objective by making decisions around which new features get implemented, when they get introduced and how they get introduced and by regularly collecting feedback from the user community.

Why You Need a Salesforce Center of Excellence

A COE is an essential component of any Salesforce governance strategy because it creates a centralized governing body for the entire organization.

Without a formal COE, as the role of Salesforce grows within your organization, chaos can ensue. Imagine the challenges if different teams began to introduce completely different processes and use Salesforce in varying ways to achieve the same objectives. Not only would this create confusion within the organization, but it would also create duplicate work, leading to inefficient setups in terms of time and money.

A formal COE brings order to this chaos by:

  • Creating one clear place for the user community to provide feedback
  • Standardizing processes across the organization to avoid unnecessary duplication
  • Managing system rollouts to ensure changes happen in an organized way and that top priorities get addressed first
  • Setting design standards to ensure consistency through your Salesforce program

By bringing order to the chaos, a Salesforce COE can also help increase and maintain high levels of user adoption, which is critical to the success of any program.

Who Should Be Involved in a Salesforce Center of Excellence

To succeed, a Salesforce COE must have an executive sponsor at the helm. Having someone at the executive level is essential because Salesforce is such a big investment.

In addition to an executive sponsor, a COE should be comprised of a program owner responsible for working with all of the stakeholders, departmental stakeholders who can advocate for the needs of their group within the organization and business and technical stakeholders. Business stakeholders might include roles for change management, training and reporting, while technical stakeholders might include roles for release management, quality assurance and support.

This group should meet regularly (ideally monthly) to review the state of Salesforce, at which time they can hold discussions around user feedback, rolling out new functionality and efforts to improve onboarding and adoption.

Are You Ready to Get Started with a Salesforce Center of Excellence?

Ready to discover everything you need to know about establishing a Salesforce COE and how else you can set your organization up for success with a formal governance strategy? Check out our white paper on Salesforce Application Governance to learn more.

Ojay Malonzo

Read more posts by Ojay Malonzo