Choose an Implementation Partner
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Explain how Salesforce helps customers choose an implementation partner.
- Identify how to manage uncertainty by working with an implementation partner.
Pick the Partner Who Speaks Your Language
You need to find a partner who speaks the same language you do. Are you in the Communications and Media industry where you have subscribers? Or maybe you’re in the Healthcare and Life Sciences Provider industry and you work with patients. Whatever your industry, your language and your culture are what makes you unique. You need a partner that gets you.
Conducting an assessment is the best way to select the right partner. Here are some assessment categories to consider and questions to ask potential partners during the selection process.
||Questions for Potential Partners
|Industry and solution expertise
|Local presence, global presence, or both
|Resource availability and competency
|Partner expectations of customer
The assessment template in the Resources section can get you started.
When you’re ready to select your implementation partner, choose one that’s in the Salesforce partner community. If you pick a company that's not in the partner ecosystem, Salesforce is limited in what we can do for you if something goes wrong.
After you go through this partner assessment, you’ll feel more confident in your selection knowing you used consistent criteria in your evaluation.
And the Countdown Continues
In addition to the assessment categories, ask yourself:
- Do you want an order-taker or an expert?
- Do you have data to migrate?
- Do you have a clear budget for the project?
Order-Taker or Expert?
An expert may be more expensive, while typically order-takers do exactly what they’re told to do. That might not be the level of service you need. If you hire an order-taker, you might end up with the same pain points, just on a new platform. Our expert partners bring a point of view on how you can improve processes on the Salesforce platform, based on what they know about the industry, the platform, and your current processes and culture.
Data migration is another important piece of a successful implementation. The cost of migrating data typically ranges between 5% and 40% of the project budget, based on the following:
- Who is doing the work—you, the partner, or both
- The quantity and quality of the data you need to migrate
- The complexity and diversity of the source data
And speaking of budget—make sure there is one. Here are a few things to keep in mind regarding the budget:
- Implementation costs are driven by project scope and complexity.
- The number of licenses you need doesn’t equate to project complexity.
Remember our rocket launch analogy? The main driver of cost is the path the rocket takes, not the number of astronauts in the rocket.
The main thing to remember when it comes to budget discussions is to make sure you let the partner know any constraints. A partner works with you to balance your business needs and your budget. When it comes to budgets, no surprises are the best kinds of surprises.
More Resources to Help You Find a Partner
Your account executive and solution engineer aren’t your only resources for finding the right partner. The Salesforce Partner Business Development team and Partner Account Managers know the partner ecosystem, which includes partners in all industries with various expertise and solutions—from simple to complex.
These teams work with your AE and narrow the field down for you. Generally they provide two to three partners to interview.
Also, take a look at the Consulting Partner tab in the AppExchange to see partner details. View partner certifications and expertise, read reviews, and see which active partners are doing the kind of work you need done.
The Cone of Uncertainty
Have you ever heard of the Cone of Uncertainty? If not, you’ve probably experienced it but didn’t know it had a name. In project management, the Cone of Uncertainty describes the change in the amount of uncertainty during a project.
At the beginning of a project, there are many unknowns—this creates uncertainty. As you get your questions answered and make some decisions, you build your confidence and the amount of uncertainty decreases. Let’s face it, uncertainty is unwelcome, but it’s a natural part of any project.
A great partner can guide your decision-making and eliminate or reduce scope creep. This helps keep the Cone of Uncertainty under control.
Managing this cone is another reason why you should engage a partner sooner rather than later. The more the partner knows about your goals and objectives, pain points, and current environment and culture, the better they can guide you to confidence in your decisions.