London’s Calling, Europe’s largest community-led event for Salesforce professionals, is just around the corner, and the excitement is palpable! As ever, members of the ProvenWorks team will be attending and we’d love to meet up with you in person if you are planning on attending. This year in particular we have more reason to want you there…
ProvenWorks’ very own Operations Director, Beth Clements, will be taking to the stage to share invaluable insights in her session “Productivity Hacks: A Toolkit for All Trailblazers!”
London’s Calling: Europe’s largest community-led event for Salesforce professionals
London’s Calling has established itself as a premier event in the Salesforce community, attracting professionals, enthusiasts, and industry leaders from around the world. The conference offers a unique platform for networking, knowledge sharing, and staying up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the Salesforce ecosystem. For the past couple of years, London’s Calling has been held at The Brewery, 52 Chiswell St in London.
London’s Calling differs from Salesforce World Tour as it’s tailored to users, developers and administrators of all levels as opposed to prospective customers. All sessions are geared to audiences who are already developing, using or managing the Salesforce platform.
💡 This year’s London’s Calling is currently sold out. You can join the waitlist in case more tickets become available.
Productivity Hacks: A Toolkit for all Trailblazers
We’re thrilled to share that ProvenWorks’ very own Beth Clements joins the list of speakers at London’s Calling 2023! Beth’s session is called Productivity Hacks: A Toolkit for all Trailblazers where she will share 5 productivity hacks that actually work, featuring many other voices from the Salesforce ecosystem.
Room: James Watt
“You’ll be surprised to see how a few habitual changes can have a very positive impact. From admin to architect, join me as I take you through 5 productivity hacks that actually work!”
Beth has been researching and testing a number of different ways to be more productive in her home and work life. In her session, Beth will unveil productivity hacks, tips, and best practices that empower Salesforce professionals to streamline their workflows, enhance efficiency, and maximise their impact. Attendees can expect to gain practical insights and discover actionable strategies that they can implement immediately within their own organisations.
Say hello to ProvenWorks at London’s Calling
We’d love for you to come hear Beth’s talk, and we’re suggesting that we have a ProvenWorks meetup at 11.45am, directly after the session, with as many familiar faces as possible. We’ll aim to do this outside but keep an eye out for the ProvenWorks t-shirts!
Don’t miss the chance to hear Beth share her expertise on productivity hacks that can transform your Salesforce experience. Join ProvenWorks at London’s Calling, and discover a wealth of knowledge, networking opportunities, and cutting-edge solutions that will elevate your Salesforce journey.
So mark your calendars, pack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable experience at London’s Calling. We’ll see you there!
We mean it when we say we’re Salesforce experts. We work exclusively in the Salesforce ecosystem and our products are built 100% for Salesforce.
Welcome back to another dive into the Salesforce Clouds! If you’re new to our Head in the Clouds series, you can take a look at the full list of Clouds we’ve covered.
Communication with customers is important for every business. Effective communication comes from understanding your customers well (listening to their needs) and building a good relationship with them (meeting their needs). As a customer relationship management (CRM) system, Salesforce allows businesses to communicate with customers, and vice versa, at any time over any channel and device, through its digital commerce solutions.
In this blog you will learn what Commerce Cloud offers and what exactly you can do with it.
What is Salesforce Commerce Cloud?
Commerce Cloud is a key part of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform which provides world-leading B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) ecommerce solutions. Created in July 2016, Commerce Cloud enables users to create intelligent and customised unified purchasing experiences across different channels, including mobile, social, web and store, helping brands launch sooner, grow faster, and reach more customers.
After that brief introduction to Commerce Cloud, let’s take a quick pause to define some terminology.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud: Created in July 2016, when Salesforce acquired Demandware. The Demandware technology has grown and evolved to become foundational to Salesforce’s B2C Commerce offering.
Demandware: The old name of Salesforce Commerce Cloud – a software company aquired by Salesforce.
Customer 360 Platform: Salesforce’s integrated CRM platform, allowing every team of the company to manage and develop its role in the customer journey.
Genie: Also known as Salesforce Data Cloud. A customer data platform that works with Customer 360, bringing real-time data power to Customer 360.
B2B2C commerce: Business-to-business-to-consumer, is an ecommerce model where businesses access customers through a third party e.g., Amazon, The App Store. Learn more with this Trailhead Module.
D2C commerce: Direct-to-consumer commerce, when a brand sells their product directly to the end user via digital channels without third party involvement. Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers ecommerce solutions to quickly create D2C sites.
Salesforce storefront: the user-facing website where your buyers can browse products, place orders, and manage their accounts. These sites are built using Salesforce Experience Cloud – learn more about Experience Cloud and digital experiences in this blog.
Headless commerce – you might have seen this term being used in Salesforce blogs: “In its simplest form, headless commerce is a type of ecommerce architecture involving a separation of the front end and back end of an ecommerce application.” Headless commerce was a response to reports that ecommerce vendors were falling behind user experience and design trends since vendors were beholden to ecommerce platforms updating their back-end systems.
With these terms in mind, Salesforce’s online learning platform, Trailhead describes the power of Commerce Cloud:
“Design and execute your own commerce strategy at your own pace, according to your particular needs.”
Now we are clear about some key terms and their definitions, let’s examine what they mean in real business environments!
What can you do using Salesforce Commerce Cloud?
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is built on the Salesforce Customer Success Platform. You can use Commerce Cloud to offer the best ecommerce experience to your customers with native online shopping sites!
Here are some real-life applications of Commerce Cloud:
Create B2B and B2C stores using best-in-class templates to get you started
Specify profiles and permissions for who can access your store, this can include self-registration
Use Commerce Einstein AI to automate tasks and personalise the experience
Build customisable reports to examine your data on the #1 CRM software – Salesforce
Link your commerce operations with other Salesforce products, like Experience Cloud and Health Cloud to have a 360 view of your customers and business
💡 Top tip: Watch the free demo to learn more about Commerce Cloud!
Why should you use Salesforce Commerce Cloud?
Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s value proposition is that you can grow your business faster. Not only does it promise a fast time to value but it highlights the agility that the platform offers in response to the fast-paced ecommerce climate. Commerce Cloud also promises to increase sales and reduce the cost of order placement by up to 26%, which ultimately maximises your profit! Thanks to Salesforce Genie, you are getting real-time data that allows you to deliver personalised experiences to each customer throughout their journey, which helps you to deliver success!
Some benefits of using Commerce Cloud summarised:
Unify your commerce operations by leveraging Salesforce CRM as your single source of truth for your commerce site, order management, partnership ecosystem, service offering and more
Quickly launch best-in-class stores with no-code needed
Provide the very best customer experience using Commerce Einstein’s AI and Salesforce Genie’s real-time data insights
Leverage all of the above benefits to ultimately maximise your profit and reduce your lost sales
Salesforce Commerce Cloud and ProvenWorks in action
Import B2B line items easily with SimpleImport
Working with online orders manually can be challenging, especially when faced with complex orders that include rows and rows of products. These longer manual jobs are not only time consuming but also increase the chance of human error. Empower users to upload these large orders via a spreadsheet, importing these line items directly into Salesforce quickly and easily.
Reduce cart abandonment with fast address verification
When it comes to ecommerce, one of the biggest challenges is cart abandonment at checkout. Create a powerful user experience with our Address Verification Flow Component that verifies address data at the point of entry in 5 keystrokes or less.
Events season is well and truly under way thanks to AppExchange Live! The first UK event of its kind, this in-person conference was packed with informative keynotes, customer-centric breakout sessions, and a bustling expo hall. The ProvenWorks team was thrilled to be a part of it all, and we’re looking ahead to more events this summer!
One of the standout moments of AppExchange Live was the keynote speech from Salesforce VP, ISV Sales EMEA & APAC, Virginia Matassa and Senior Director, ISV Technology Solutions, Marco Kuster. They share some startling statistics from Capgemini:
75% of companies think they are customer-centric. 30% of customers actually agree.
This data proves that the customer success gap is very real, and experienced by most customers.
With 91% of Salesforce customers having installed an app from the AppExchange, the importance of putting customers at the centre of business could not be clearer. This message resonated with us here at ProvenWorks, where we believe our value that customer success is everything. When you purchase one of our solutions, you’re not just buying software, you’re buying years of experience and expertise in solving your problem.
We also enjoyed attending some of the industry breakout sessions, where we heard from inspiring Salesforce customers like Clarins, NHS Professionals and Jaguar Land Rover about how they leverage the power of the AppExchange. It was inspiring to see how much innovation is happening in the Salesforce ecosystem, and we can’t wait to bring some of these ideas back to our own team!
At our ProvenWorks sponsorship booth, we loved connecting with attendees, including plenty of our own customers, and sharing the latest about our suite of products. We were thrilled to receive such positive feedback about our solutions and to answer questions from people looking to enhance their Salesforce experience and empower their users to be data heroes.
What events are coming up?
Looking ahead, we’re excited to be a part of several upcoming events in the Salesforce ecosystem. We’ll be attending London’s Calling on 9th June and World Tour London on 29th June.
We can’t wait to see familiar faces and meet new friends at these events!
At ProvenWorks, we believe that events like AppExchange Live are essential for staying up to date with the latest trends and building connections in the Salesforce community. We’re committed to being a part of these events and helping people get the most out of their Salesforce experience.
AppExchange Live was a fantastic way to kick off the 2023 events season. We’re grateful for the opportunity to connect with so many amazing people and learn more about the exciting things happening in the Salesforce ecosystem. We look forward to seeing you at the upcoming events!
We’re excited to share that ProvenWorks is an official sponsor of the upcoming AppExchange Live! Whether you’re a Salesforce administrator, developer, or business leader, there’s something for everyone.
What is AppExchange Live?
AppExchange Live is the in-person conference for Salesforce users who want to make the most out of their Salesforce org by leveraging the power of the Salesforce AppExchange. The event is taking place all day on Thursday 11th May at etc venues, 133 Houndsditch, London EC3A 7BX, and we can’t wait to meet you there!
With over 30 ISV partners (including us!) attending, and 19 customers sharing stories of how they accelerated their digital transformation journey, the day is guaranteed to be full of opportunities to discover how you can maximise your Salesforce investment. And did we mention that the event wraps up with a keynote from former rugby player, Maggie Alphonsi MBE followed by some live music during the networking session!
The best part? It’s totally free to attend! All you need to do is register and get access to the full event, including keynote sessions, industry breakout sessions, and the expo hall (where you can find us!). Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on this fantastic opportunity to connect with others in the industry and learn more about the latest trends in Salesforce and its AppExchange marketplace.
And while you’re there, don’t forget to swing by the ProvenWorks sponsorship booth. We’re excited to share our latest product news with you, answer any questions you have and most importantly… get hands-on with live demos! Our team of experts is always happy to chat and help you find the best solutions for your business needs.
So, what are you waiting for? Register for AppExchange Live today and join us for a day of inspiration, education, and fun. We can’t wait to see you there!
Our solution AddressTools is an award-winning suite of functionality that is native to Salesforce CRM. Off-the-shelf, verify global address data, standardise your addresses for integrations and use native functionality including validation rules and lookup fields to make the most out of your CRM address data.
If you’re deciding between AddressTools v Google Maps API that Salesforce offers out of the box, this article is for you. We hope it sheds light on when it’s the right option for you to buy AddressTools versus the right option for you to use the Google Maps API that Salesforce offers.
First off let’s have a quick glance at some broader reasons you might choose to buy AddressTools or to use the Google Maps API.
3 reasons to choose AddressTools
Verify address data at the point of entry and in batch jobs
Includes an address status field so you can see and report on cleanliness of data
Populates a County field and ZIP+4 Code* as default
You don’t require or rely on any address and/or accurate address data
You don’t need to understand, report on or act upon the quality of your address data
Let’s dive deeper into a few key factors we’ve introduced here, starting with arguably the most important.
Need answers quickly? We provide a bitesize summary at the bottom of each section.
Quality of address data
Google Maps API does not provide verified address data. Google Maps API makes it easy to enter addresses, but it does not provide any guarantee of ensuring proper addresses are captured.
As ServiceObjects explains, “The Google Maps API uses spatial interpolation to return results for an address that may or may not be valid, or even exist.”
Let’s take a look at a US example: 9011 Marymount Way in Goleta, California.
Google Maps API data quality
In Salesforce, the Google Maps API returns the address for the user to select.
Looking up this address in Google Maps even gives us a pin and directions for this location.
The problem is that 9011 Marymount Way does not exist.
It is not a real address and, as you can see by the fact there is no house there, it cannot be delivered to. However, Google Maps API presents it as an actual address, allowing the user to input incorrect data.
As we can see, there is a big difference between Google data and verified data. This is not the only example.
Why don’t we take a look at a UK address: 27 Albion Terrace, Reading RG1 5BG.
The Google Maps API in Salesforce presents plenty of Albion Terraces…
…but doesn’t have 27 Albion Terrace, Reading in the UK at all (see below). Google Maps data would have you believe that this very real address does not exist. For a user, this means they need to manually type additional keystrokes, increasing the risk of human error and leading to a frustrating user experience.
AddressTools data quality
Unlike the Google Maps API, AddressTools uses global postal authority data such as Royal Mail, USPS and Canada Post for truly verified data, reducing failed delivery rates by up to 70%.
Let’s run the same address searches using AddressTools.
When we look for 9011 Marymount Way in Goleta, California, we can see that Marymount Way exists in Goleta but number 9011 is not even presented as an option and we are only offered verified alternative addresses (including ZIP+4 Code).
Furthermore, upon selection and population of a verified address, we are shown an Address Status value so that we can be certain of the address quality.
When we search for 27 Albion Terrace, Reading, UK we are presented with this address as a verified result, sourced from the Royal Mail database.
In short: There is a clear distinction between the address data quality offered by Google Maps API and by AddressTools. It’s up to you to decide how important good address data quality is for you and your organisation.
Address status field
One important feature of AddressTools that Google Maps API does not offer is an address status field.
What does this field look like? With AddressTools, every address is assigned a status such as Verified, Corrected, Ambiguous, Parsed but not Found, Not matched, Not checked.
This address status is important because now you can clearly see and even more importantly, clearly report on the quality of your address data.
Working with address data, knowing that an address is bad can be just as valuable as knowing an address exists. With an address status field in place, you are able to develop recovery processes for unverified addresses.
Out-of-the-box, the Google Maps API does not offer an address status. This means that you cannot determine if an address was delivered by Google Maps API or manually entered by a user or imported by an integration.
💡 If you’re interested in learning more, we’ve got a two-minute clip of Callum Hurry, our Director of Product Engineering, explaining the value of an address status field.
In short: An address status field is a vital tool for reporting on and understanding the quality of your address data. It’s up to you to decide how important understanding and reporting on your address data quality is for you and your organisation.
Address data management
The most important difference when considering AddressTools v Google Maps API, aside from address data quality, is how AddressTools helps you make the most out of your address data. We’ve already started to see this with the address status field, however there’s much more to consider.
AddressTools is not just a postal address verification tool. It’s a powerful dataset that, when used strategically, can optimise your business processes. With AddressTools, you gain a bundle of objects for Country, State, US ZIP Code data and more. By customising these objects and using our Lookup field functionality, you can enrich, tidy up, and simplify your records to enhance your territory management and make the most out of your CRM address data.
What does this mean in practice? How about adding a Field Rep to relevant regions? Maybe you have a preferred regional service provider? What about using AddressTools’ Country ISO values alongside the full country name to work with an integration? You can harness the AddressTools dataset however you want to use it.
In short: AddressTools offers a suite of functionality around address data and address data management. It’s up to you to decide whether you’re just looking to populate an address (great – the Google Maps API sounds perfect for you!) or give yourself a way to manage, verify and harness the power of your address data.
AddressTools v Google Maps API – it’s your decision
Thanks for sticking with us this far! We’ve examined three key factors that you need to consider whilst considering AddressTools v Google Maps API:
address data quality
an address status value
broader address data management requirements
We hope this provides the necessary information and some food for thought on which you can make the right decision for you and your organisation’s needs.
If you’ve still got questions about AddressTools, we’re always happy to chat! If you’ve made up your mind, congratulations! Now it’s time to implement and continue your data journey!
Check out AddressTools for yourself
Let’s discuss how you can use AddressTools to leverage the power of verified address data in Salesforce! Book a demo to see AddressTools in action on a live demo with our team.
In 2022, we were delighted that our application to join Salesforce Accelerate Grow program was accepted. Following four-months of a curriculum involving lectures, seminars and online learning, we are graduates of the program and we’re ready to take ProvenWorks to the next level!
Salesforce Accelerate Build is a more typical incubator offering, supporting startups as well as established software companies develop apps from scratch for the AppExchange marketplace.
Salesforce Accelerate Grow is Salesforce’s offering for more experienced ISV Partners who are hitting certain metrics and therefore recognised as in their growth stage. This program helps them accelerate their expansion in the AppExchange marketplace
Our Salesforce Accelerate Grow cohort was the 13th iteration of the program and we were delighted to share our journey with a global group of ISV partners that comprised over 250 individuals from the ecosystem.
The virtual four-month program was primarily built around weekly lecture-style sessions run by various mentors from the ecosystem. These sessions covered four main units:
Positioning and marketing
Go to market
Additionally, fortnightly mentor pods offered seminar-style groups intended to be more conversational and a chance to discuss our experiences, homework and learnings. For us as a British ISV Partner, it provided a fantastic opportunity to meet and build relationships with more EMEA ISV Partners.
Salesforce Accelerate Grow provided an intensive, purpose-built program for us as an ISV partner to step back, align strategically and identify where we should focus our time. Now it’s time to implement. We can’t wait to see what’s next for ProvenWorks, but we know where we’re headed… upwards! 🚀
We mean it when we say we’re Salesforce experts. We work exclusively in the Salesforce ecosystem and our products are built 100% for Salesforce.
“AddressTools is easy to use, robust and has great support, so there is no reason not to use it!”
Stéphane Houle, Web Operations Supervisor, InnovMetric Software Inc
Standardising their Salesforce address data means that InnovMetric can effectively leverage their CRM
The history of InnovMetric is one of technological innovations and passion for 3D measurement in which a talented software development firm headquartered in Quebec City, Canada, leverages its key partnerships with industrial manufacturing giants to become a multinational with a direct presence in 17 countries. During the first 25 years of their business journey, they’ve pioneered point-cloud-based inspection, invented the concept of a universal 3D metrology software platform, and introduced the most user-friendly CMM sequencing workflow ever designed.
InnovMetric are now massively investing in creating the next-generation digital data and process management technologies that will bring 3D measurement data at the heart of enterprise processes to significantly reduce time-to-market and fabrication costs.
As an international company handling multiple languages, InnovMetric faced issues with their address data that prevented them from leveraging the full power of their Salesforce CRM.
The challenge: standardising address data for reporting and assignment
Salesforce users at InnovMetric were entering address data in different languages, scripts and formats. This resulted in unstandardised data, particularly around state and country values. All of this inconsistent data meant that InnovMetric couldn’t fully leverage functionality in Salesforce that depended on address data – such as filtering reports and assigning accounts.
The solution: implementing AddressTools with zero onboarding time
Web Operations Supervisor, Stéphane Houle described InnovMetric’s AddressTools implementation:
“Very easy! Once set up, we only need to keep our ‘Alternative Country/State Names’ lists up to date every time a new name variation comes up, which takes 5 seconds.”
When asked how long it took to train users, Stéphane added:
“0 minutes – everything is automated and they’re only aware that State and Country names may be automatically corrected after they have entered them.”
Since AddressTools is native to Salesforce CRM, InnovMetric users are not even aware that a solution is at work!
The results: running operations with clean address data
“I can say with confidence that not having AddressTools would make our processes much less efficient, since all Account/Lead assignment is based on the Country field and could not be managed automatically if those names had not been standardized.”
With AddressTools in place, InnovMetric can clean up and maintain consistency in their address data, helping them grow trust in their Salesforce CRM as their single source of truth.
Pulling clean, trustworthy reports
InnovMetric has in place a solution that automatically cleans up and standardises their address data in Salesforce. When filtering by state and country data, their reports are consistent, easy to create and trustworthy.
Account and Lead assignment success
By determining a singular state and country value format, InnovMetric removed inconsistent variables that prevented their account and lead assignment automation from running. With standardised address data, InnovMetric can ensure their assignment processes that are dependent on address data work consistently.
Trust in their CRM
InnovMetric don’t waste time thinking about all the possible exceptions that might disrupt their reporting and assignment processes.
Why InnovMetric recommends ProvenWorks
Stéphane shares why InnovMetric has worked with ProvenWorks since 2010:
“I always receive great support whenever I reach out. ProvenWorks is definitely top tier in response time. AddressTools is easy to use, robust and has great support, so there is no reason to not use it!”
AddressTools is our award-winning package for Salesforce to help you standardise, validate and verify your address data.
Let’s talk about why gender equity matters in the tech industry. #EmbraceEquity is the theme of International Women’s Day 2023, and for good reason. As a tech industry, we need to prioritise both gender equity and gender equality if we want to create a more diverse, inclusive and successful workplace. More on that later.
Gender equality is all about providing equal opportunities for people of all genders. It’s a great start, but it doesn’t take into account the unique challenges that women and other individuals from minority groups may face in the workplace. That’s where equity comes in.
So, what’s the difference between gender equality and gender equity?
According to a recent study by McKinsey & Company, companies with diverse workforces are more likely to outperform their less diverse competitors. In fact, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity in their leadership were found to be 25% more likely to have above-average profitability. That’s a compelling reason to make gender equity a priority in our industry.
As Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, once said, “When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.” By prioritising gender equity, we can create a more inclusive industry that benefits everyone.
What can equity in the workplace look like?
Gender equity initiatives might include mentorship programmes for women, flexible work arrangements to accommodate caregiving responsibilities, and policies to address gender-based harassment and discrimination. These measures can help to create a workplace where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and contribute to our industry’s success.
As a tech industry, we have a responsibility to build products and services that work for everyone. By prioritising gender equity and gender equality, we can tap into the full range of talents and perspectives that our employees have to offer, driving innovation and growth. That’s what we’re all about!
So, let’s work together to build a more inclusive tech industry. By prioritising gender equity, we can create a better future for all of us.
#EmbraceEquity ProvenWorks honours International Women’s Day
Women are critical to ProvenWorks’ success. Whether it’s in our development team, marketing team or front-facing in sales, we wouldn’t be who or where we are without the women among us.
We aim to ensure that women are fairly represented at all levels and given equal opportunities to participate and grow in ProvenWorks life as well as our decision-making processes.
In keeping with our value of transparency, we’re taking this opportunity to reflect on where we are today. Currently, women represent nearly 40% of the ProvenWorks team, and 30% at the leadership level.
Whilst it’s vital to honour the achievements of the women we work with, these celebrations are not some sort of ‘conclusion’ or a goal that we’ve reached. We recognise that gender bias exists across the software industry. Therefore this moment must serve as an inspiring reminder of how much further we must go to reach gender equality and how much more we will accomplish when we do.
ProvenWorks is proud to offer its support to International Women’s Day, and we commit to #EmbraceEquity.
Here are our 5 top tips to help you choose a solutionon the Salesforce AppExchange.
With over 5,000 solutions and growing, the Salesforce AppExchange has definitely earned the title of the world’s leading business app marketplace. There are solutions that enhance Salesforce’s existing functionality, there are apps designed specifically for certain industries and Salesforce Clouds, and there are nifty components that you can drop into Lightning pages with little customisation or configuration required.
It’s safe to say that the Salesforce AppExchange is the place to look when you’re shopping around for a solution. But with so much choice available at your fingertips, how do you know what you should be looking for? What are the steps you can take to make sure you choose an AppExchange solution that’s right for you.
So without more preamble, here are our five top tips to help you choose an AppExchange solution!
1. Read the reviews
Whether you’re heading to the cinema, buying a new phone or picking a restaurant for dinner, your first instinct is probably to read some reviews. It’s the same with the AppExchange.
The AppExchange gives customers the opportunity to rate a solution 1-5 stars and leave a written review. When you’re choosing between solutions on the AppExchange, take time to read each solution’s reviews. Does one have significantly better reviews? What are the recurring messages in the reviews? If there are any negative comments, do these suggest a one-off experience or do they point to a more concerning trend?
If a solution has no reviews, that’s not necessarily a reason NOT to investigate it further. It might be brand new to the AppExchange, or built by a tiny ISV who don’t have resource capacity to dedicate time to asking for reviews because they’re too busy delivering a great product!
Whether the reviews are great, worrying or non-existent, there are more steps you can take to help you correctly choose an AppExchange solution… so let’s take a look at them!
💡 The AppExchange is as good as we make it. We really encourage you to leave reviews on the AppExchange as they really help the Ohana understand first-hand experience with a product. It only takes a couple of minutes and you’ll be helping so many people in the future!
2. Check the releases
Each AppExchange listing will show the date of the solution’s most recent release under the More Details tab. How recent the latest release is or is not can be a great way to understand how well the developers are keeping the product updated with the Salesforce platform. Salesforce operates triannual releases and is often introducing new, exciting functionality. Often these changes need to be reflected in AppExchange products, so check how recent the most recent release is.
Don’t just stop on the listing if its last release was way in the past. You may be able to check the product’s release notes directly with the vendor; there can often be supporting services that can be updated without the need to issue a new package to the AppExchange. New version information may be published on the vendor’s website so keep your eyes peeled!
Overall, there is no clear-cut answer to ‘how long is too long’ between releases, but this is definitely another important data point to consider when evaluating different solutions and ultimately choose an AppExchange solution.
3. Try the documentation
Most solutions on the AppExchange will come with some amount of documentation. As a minimum, solutions generally provide installation and configuration guidance. At the other end, some solutions by bigger vendors give consultancies and end users demo kits with use case-specific documentation and orgs configured ready for testing.
Is the documentation provided sufficient for your needs? Can the team in charge of implementing a solution understand it? Is the documentation up to date for the most recent release of the solution?
If you find yourself trying to install a solution and getting lost in the documentation, it might be a sign that a certain level of knowledge is expected to use the solution (e.g. the target audience may be developers not admins). This is something you need to consider when you’re reviewing who will need to configure and/or use the solution and therefore possibly its documentation too.
But there’s always the support team on hand to help…
4. Test the support team
This is one of my favourite quick tests you can run whilst you’re evaluating any sort of purchase. Send an email query over to the support team and see how quickly they respond to you. Is it hours? Is it days? Is it ever?!
As one esteemed contact said on LinkedIn recently, “if you reach out as a prospective customer and don’t love the response/timeliness/etc, don’t expect it to get better after you buy.”
5. Run a trial
If you’ve gone through steps 1-4 and you’re still considering purchasing the solution, it’s a good sign!
At this point, it’s time to try out the solution for yourself. Install the solution in a sandbox, try to build out a small Proof of Concept (PoC) to help establish how easy it is to use and to see if it can meet your requirements. Reviews, releases and documentation are important, but nothing beats getting your hands on a solution. Your org will have its own nuances and your business will run things in a certain way. You need to be confident that whatever solution you purchase can work seamlessly for you.
It’s time to choose an AppExchange solution
We can’t make the choice for you, but there are our five tips for making sure you’re choosing the right AppExchange solution. None of these steps in isolation should form the basis of your purchasing decision. However, as you work through them, you’ll find yourself building an impression of the solution and the team behind it.
Remember, if something doesn’t feel right, ask!
Ask if you can extend your trial of the solution.
Ask the question that’s been bugging you.
Ask around the community to see if anyone who uses it is happy to share their experience.
Good luck and enjoy the process of finding your latest favourite solution!
Welcome back to another dive into the Salesforce Clouds! If you’re new to our Head in the Clouds series, you can take a look at the full list of Clouds we’ve covered.
This time, we’re looking at Salesforce Government Cloud so stick around to learn more!
What is Salesforce Government Cloud?
Salesforce Government Cloud is a bespoke, securely partitioned instance of the Salesforce 360 platform which offers an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) platform. It’s aimed at:
US federal government
Local government customers
US government contractors
Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs)
Why does Salesforce Government Cloud exist?
Salesforce explains the challenges facing government authorities and public offices in a Trailhead module:
“In the modern digital landscape of online applications, customer self-service, and automated workflows, government authorities and public offices must rethink and reinvent their task flows. The ultimate goal for any public sector authority is to increase constituent engagement and streamline internal workflows. Public Sector Solutions from Salesforce do just that.”
Government Cloud’s main objective is to provide government entities with an industry-leading, security-compliant platform on which to scale and secure resources in order to complete their mission effectively. We’ll dive into the specifics of how it does this later.
Let’s take a minute to dive into some helpful terms and definitions:
Government Cloud: a bespoke-for-government and public sector suite of tools built on the Salesforce CRM platform. Government Cloud is designed for agencies around the world including central government, local government, police and healthcare. Salesforce Government Cloud maintains a FedRAMP Agency Authority to Operate (ATO) at the Moderate Security Impact Level.
Government Cloud Plus: runs on AWS GovCloud (US), a dedicated instance of Salesforce’s Government Cloud designed to support the security needs of U.S. government agencies and contractors. It has achieved a FedRAMP Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) at the High Security Impact Level.
FedRAMP at High / Moderate Security Impact Level: a differentiator between Government Cloud and Government Cloud Plus. Government Cloud Plus is compliant to the highest level whereas Government Cloud is compliant to the Moderate level. This means FedRAMP has evaluated these cloud services via a significant, thorough security and compliance review that is annually reassessed. In short, having authority to operate at this highest security level allows Salesforce Government Cloud Plus customers to use Salesforce for the most sensitive, unclassified data.
What can you do with Salesforce Government Cloud?
Since Government Cloud is already built on Salesforce and its 360 CRM, it casts a wide net in what it can provide for the public and government sector. Salesforce offers out-of-the-box security-compliant applications designed for government service.
Here are some of the applications and functionality available with Government Cloud:
Emergency response management
License and permit approvals processes
Inspections management applications
Grants management applications
Contact Centre functionality
Scalable call, web, chat and text response systems
Centralised communication with stakeholders across email, SMS and social platforms
The power to give public servants a 360-degree view of citizens, stakeholders and partners in a single source of truth – Salesforce CRM!
Overall, there’s clearly a lot that you can do with Salesforce Government Cloud and Government Cloud Plus. Since governments are vast, multifaceted, and public-facing institutions, Salesforce provides a single source of truth digitally with Government Cloud to empower governmental and public sector employees to accelerate their mission impact. There are other benefits too:
Low code / no code Saas platform that integrates with legacy systems
Gain access to a broad range of solutions from contact centres to case management to citizen engagement and many more
Security-first infrastructure compliant with the demands of government
See time to value in days not years
Learn more from these Salesforce demo videos.
Salesforce Government Cloud and ProvenWorks in action
ProvenWorks is a Salesforce Partner offering a number of solutions that enhance out-of-the-box Salesforce functionality. We have customers around the world who are government entities with interesting use cases around importing.
Empower external stakeholders, business entities and programmes to import data to your Salesforce org quickly and securely.
Whether you are reporting on local outreach programmes, analysing state-wide employment data or outsourcing contracts for efficiency, you need to collect all that data into your single source of truth – Salesforce CRM.
Our spreadsheet data importing solution, SimpleImport, empowers government entities who want to streamline data input by removing manual workload and empowering users to import themselves. Unlike security-compromising solutions access via third-party website or inefficient admin-only tools, use SimpleImport directly from your Salesforce org or a digital experience.