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Business and Technology Insights

A New Model for Global Salesforce Implementation Best Practices

 
September 28, 2016

Organizations, particularly those spanning continents, can take a variety of different paths to growth. They may grow organically through strategic investments, taking advantage of market opportunities, and expanding reach in to new market segments and geographies. Many companies seeking growth in new and potentially exciting markets will take an inorganic route buying companies that complement their existing capabilities or acquiring products, IP, and technology that help them build scale.

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Regardless of their strategy, growth leads inevitably to a common suite of challenges. Organizations often find themselves at a point where they have assets, resources, and IP dispersed across business functions and geographies. Companies that have grown through acquisitions and mergers know that success depends on capture the synergies of the combined organizations by merging a series of geographically spread and culturally diverse businesses. This is a tough ask. Because those businesses have grown at different rates and under different circumstances, managers will find they're faced with myriad, often duplicative or conflicting business processes and standards, language and other cultural differences. Add legacy systems that produce vast amounts of information that's often got little or anything to do with the new world leadership envisions, and executing standard activities such as revenue forecasting across all business functions, and true enterprise integration becomes a daunting, if not impossible task.

Successful organic growth can still pose similar challenges. When implementing processes and systems, individual lines of business may consider themselves too unique to standardize or consolidate technology and processes, causing them to go it alone. Differences in products and industries may drive justifiable disparities in business processes, and resulting use of technology. And national, regional, or cultural differences can add an additional layer of complexity.

Companies need to move beyond these challenges to create new revenue paths. This can include finding ways to increase sales through new lines of business or expanding into new market segments, increase customer engagement to increase wallet share, find for operational efficiencies, or all of the above. In order to address these challenges, this means driving toward a common base of business processes and KPIs against which the entire organization can perform against across geographies, lines of business, and cultures.

I will present at Dreamforce this year with Tom Pelletier, Director, Strategic Sales Effectiveness Programs at Thomson Reuters. During our session, we will discuss how Thomson Reuters is tackling these challenges and how TCS is helping. Thomson Reuters has grown significantly through acquisition and purchased companies whose products and services could be sold and delivered across a common group of customers.

These are not straightforward tasks. Thomson Reuters has taken the right approach investing the time and resources necessary to harmonize business processes across its business functions. These business processes can then be enacted through implementation of a global template leveraging the unique functions of the Salesforce environment, which combined can lower the cost and effort required for training and organizational change management associated with business process enablement, and from a systems standpoint reduce the level of technical debt carried as a result of highly customized Salesforce orgs for each line of business.

TCS has applied its experience to develop a unique 'Global Standard' approach that delivers the rewards of standardized business processes while ensuring that lines of business benefit from an optimal degree of customization of the Salesforce platform.

We start with a blueprint process that clearly identifies a roadmap of prioritized initiatives based on delivering the highest value and impact across the organization, and is a foundation from which to assess deployment options and allows us to map and plan architectural changes across the enterprise. We've evolved a blueprint that helps us understand the people, process and technology aspects of the Global Standard. With optimized process maps, we are able to minimize the costly and time-consuming need for Salesforce customizations.

We use process workshops and comprehensive feedback from stakeholders to align the implementation to overarching business goals. So there's always an eye on the prize whether that's integration of acquired businesses, greater responsiveness, operational agility, or the readiness to innovate new business models.

Enabling these business processes through the Salesforce platform then becomes an exercise of templatizing those business processes and functions that are applicable across the company, while still allowing localized customization to address specific business needs. The ideal balance would indicate the global template represents 80 percent of the required functionality across business units fully aligned with global business objectives, with 20 percent representing localizations and tailoring required of that business unit or user group. This approach affords greater alignment toward achieving objectives of the business and enterprise, reduces the barrier for organizational change management and training, and lowers the technical debt associated with maintaining disparate technology solutions.

Leveraging the strength of the Salesforce platform, the standardized business functions, data model, reporting and associated KPIs can be deployed as a managed package to a Salesforce org. This creates the foundation for a business function or group, which can then tailor and augment processes and functions unique to their model and needs. This is applicable to companies leveraging single Salesforce orgs, or multiple. The benefit to multi-org environments is the ability to easily distribute the package to each org, upon which tailoring can occur. But the common base is always there as the foundation.

I invite you to join Tom Pelletier and me at Dreamforce to hear how Thomson Reuters is deploying and managing Salesforce on a global scale, and the success achieved leveraging TCS' Global Standard approach. The session, Increase Enterprise Agility Managing Large, Global Salesforce Implementations, will take place on Thursday Oct. 6, 10-10:40 a.m. at the Palace Hotel, Pacific Heights Room.

We alsoinvite you to register for access to our private VIP center at the W Hotel Trace restaurant to meet with our experts, or visit us in the Cloud Expo at booth 413.

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Lisa Hager is the Global Head of the Salesforce Practice for Tata Consultancy Services. She is responsible for the core practice operations including business development, delivery, alliance management and offerings, and solution development for TCS’ mature and emerging markets.