Build A Salesforce Center Of Excellence


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Practice Makes Perfect

Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect. That’s one of the primary reasons why we recommend that larger businesses build a Salesforce Center of Excellence: to help get the most from their CRM program.

Many larger businesses approach Cloud Sherpas with reports that various divisions have “gone rogue” and implemented Salesforce org rollouts on their own. One large bank that we recently spoke with, for example, found approximately two dozen instances of Salesforce, which it wanted to reconcile. If the bank had been able to enforce a single instance of Salesforce from the start, however, it might have avoided the difficulties involved in merging so many different instances of Salesforce together later.

Who Needs A Center Of Excellence?

According to Cloud Sherpas VP – Cloud Strategy & Social Business, Geoff Merrick, building a Salesforce Center of Excellence isn’t for everyone. But for many businesses, doing so will improve:

  • Governance: Create a standard, consistent Salesforce experience, while minimizing administrative overlap
  • Support: Provide a better user experience — and customer service — for Salesforce users
  • Efficiency: Employ a centralized team to manage Salesforce, investing in required skills as you progress
  • Change management: Better manage changes to your Salesforce implementation
  • Repeatability: Build on previous project successes to learn from mistakes and avoid reinventing the wheel

The Importance Of Good Governance

Why should larger businesses that use Salesforce focus on governance? In part, because it’s so easy to spin up new instances of Salesforce. But having multiple instances of Salesforce that aren’t centrally managed exposes businesses to related risks, including:

  • Inconsistent information architecture
  • Difficulty rolling up reports
  • Poor license management
  • Challenge in reconciling overlapping roles
  • Having to relearn any “lessons learned”

Weighing Multiple Salesforce Orgs

Should businesses stick to a single Salesforce org (aka instance) for the entire organization? The answer is, not necessarily. Take into consideration whether your divisions have compatible business processes. If not, then you may be best served by having multiple orgs, since they may have little crossover.

For divisions that are a good fit for a Center of Excellence, we regularly advise them that it’s okay to have a handful of larger orgs, provided the groups involved agree on a core set of data — meaning, their information architecture — from the start of the project. That will greatly facilitate merging the orgs later, should you choose to do so.

Tough Love Pays

If you go the Center of Excellence route, don’t be afraid to practice tough love from the start. One Cloud Sherpas customer — a bank — has been migrating from a highly customized version of Siebel to, and users have been demanding to have access to Salesforce immediately, without pausing for centralized control or the creation of a Center of Excellence. But executives at the company have insisted, sometimes having to drag business divisions along, kicking and screaming, because they want to avoid the challenge of having to later reconcile multiple instances of Salesforce that may have different customizations and information architectures.

Be prepared for tension between local divisions who want to do it their own way, versus a centralized corporate approach. For example, at one Fortune 100 financial services firm, two out of three divisions had previously resisted an attempt by a centralized project team to create a single, standardized Salesforce instance. After going off and attempting to do it on their own, however, the two divisions returned to the fold, and the business is now working with Cloud Sherpas to create a single instance of Salesforce, backed by a Center of Excellence.

Learn More

For more information on the need for a Center of Excellence, see our related Managing Complex CRM webinar, hosted by Forrester Research vice president and principal analyst William Band and Cloud Sherpas’ Geoff Merrick.

To learn more about Cloud Sherpas — one of the world’s leading cloud services brokerages — and how we help businesses adopt, manage and enhance their CRM investment, see how we help our customers identify desired business goals, find the right tools and technology for the job, and deliver rapid implementations that remain focused on achieving the desired business capabilities.

Post and thumbnail photos copyright Flickr user Photomat, used with permission.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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