Don't Sew By Hand - Use Salesforce
This week at Salesforce Connections we are hearing a lot about process. Some companies think that by implementing Salesforce, they can just automate their old processes and everything will be better. Unfortunately, this is a fallacy. If an old process is broken, Salesforce won’t magically fix it (it will make it go faster, for sure, but that's not necessarily an improvement). Manual processes can’t be improved by just speeding them up. Unnecessary steps are still unnecessary. Inefficiencies are still inefficient. Here is an analogy I like to use with my customers:
Take sewing, for example. When sewing by hand, one uses a needle with the eye in the back, a single bobbin of thread, and moves the needle through the fabric. When using a machine, the eye of the needle is in front, there are two bobbins of thread (of different sizes), and the fabric moves through the machine (the needle only moves up and down).
The manual process doesn’t resemble the automated one in any way – even the basic tools (needle and bobbin of thread) are slightly different. And, most importantly, one could never design the automated process (a sewing machine) by looking at the manual process and using it as a starting point.
The point of this example is to think outside the box (way outside) when redesigning processes. Salesforce and the App Exchange partner apps have many well-designed and carefully thought-out processes built in, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel (or widget, or claim form, or customer experience, etc.). They provide an excellent starting point to create new, user-friendly processes that are fast and intuitive. A sewing machine can be 100 times faster than hand-stitching, especially taking into account reloading of thread, errors, and sticking one's finger with a needle. The quality between hand-stitching and using a machine might be the same (after all, can the average person tell the difference between a hand-stitched item and a machine-stitched one?) but the speed differential is enormous, and that is why new processes are important. Improved processes are not only faster, they eliminate unnecessary steps, streamline the flow of data, and automate steps that can be performed by machine or AI.
Also, and this is important to note, the skills required to operate a sewing machine are fundamentally different from hand sewing. So, not only are you changing the process, but you are likely changing the skill sets of the employees (or customers) when implementing a new process. Give serious thought to whether the existing employees can perform the new process, if they need additional training, or if another kind of skill upgrade is necessary.
The key to success is to be willing to let go of old processes. Improved, automated processes allow a company to really maximize the value of Salesforce and App Exchange tools. Whether it’s an improved sales process or an automated claims process, looking outside your company can provide tremendous benefits.
Always remember: with new software comes new processes; with new processes comes new skill sets.