Future-Proof Your Salesforce Implementation

Posted in: Blog
By: Rachel Hands

If you’re a nonprofit using, or considering using, the Salesforce platform to run your organization, you probably made that choice with an eye toward future-proofing. You wanted something that would continue to serve your organization for the long haul. But what does it look like to actually set your organization up for long-term success on a platform with seemingly infinite possibilities?

As Salesforce nonprofit implementation partners since 2005, we at Exponent Partners have had the opportunity to see and steward a wide range of solutions within the human services and philanthropy sectors, and we’d like to share a few key lessons we’ve learned along the way.

The Big Change is just the beginning.

When it comes to technology, we often think of the implementation of a new tool – whether that’s switching to Salesforce from your legacy system, adopting a new routing app for your meal delivery drivers, or a grant management system that lets grantees log in and submit their supporting documents – as The Big Change. And in many cases, it is a big change! 

It’s an important moment to review your processes, decide which ones would benefit most from the efficiency gains your tech has to offer, and think about how seemingly small, everyday actions fit into the big picture of your organization’s strategy. We recommend doing that review in partnership with your Salesforce implementation partner, and not just because we love doing those kinds of projects! Working through the process together helps ensure that your decisions are informed by the broad perspective your partner brings about what the technology can do for your processes.

That Big Change, though, is just the beginning. Think about all the ways your organization has had to adapt and shift over the last few years alone to serve. Was your technology able to keep up? 

Change is part of the routine.

The most successful organizations we’ve seen have a routine for handling changes to their system. It’s baked into their processes, part of the rhythm of their work. They’re able to nimbly respond to changes in funder requirements, launch new programs to serve their constituents, and commit to continuous improvement for the existing ones. They’re able to thoughtfully take advantage of the fast pace of advances in technology that come with working with Salesforce (and, if we may say so ourselves, with Exponent Case Management). 

Whether they call it a governance process, a Center of Excellence, or just a technology meeting, they’re regularly gathering feedback from their teams to understand what they need, examining how their Salesforce solution is (or isn’t) meeting the changing needs of their team, and planning for the resources it will take to keep the technology in line with their strategy. 

The best change routines include a plan for keeping their program participants’ data secure. They include a plan for anticipating and addressing questions, training new users, and handing the keys to the next system admin when the time comes. (All these are changes that will – I promise – happen to your organization within the next few years, and they don’t have to derail your organization’s strategic efforts.) And as a bonus, the change routine lends some much-needed predictability to our work lives, making it easier to navigate the non-technical changes that we encounter every day.

It takes a village.

You’re doing this work because you are committed to making change for good, and you know better than most that change takes time, collaborative effort, and resources. The technology that supports that change is no different – and we’re here to help. Click here to learn more about our Success Center offerings or schedule a conversation with one of our experts today!