By Carl Brundage, CTA, Master Architect at Odaseva
A typical Salesforce CoE is responsible for a lot of critically important work. Common topics include governance, methodology, change control, metadata management, release management, DevOps, and more.
But for a majority of CoEs, one element is missing from the big picture—data.
My colleague Chris Fair and I presented a webinar all about the importance of data for CoEs and specific actions any CoE can take to achieve greater control over the data lifecycle.
It’s a big subject (you can watch the webinar replay here), but I’d like to offer the following key takeaways.
Typical CoE projects focus on the experience and functionality the team will provide to end users. We’ll talk about objects, user interfaces and even process flows. But we don’t often talk about data.
Here are a few questions you can ask at the beginning of any project to ensure that you stay mindful and in control of your data:
Once you’ve gathered data, you can choose from a number of Salesforce platform features to build sound data management into the project you’re planning. Here is a quick list of just a few examples:
The biggest risk to your stored data is corruption by a person or system. Hacks and malicious attacks dominate the headlines, but most data losses result from simple errors made by people or systems. Every CoE should create the conditions for teams to respond quickly and effectively to a data loss at any time.
Once you have a standardized backup and restore solution in place, here are three key steps to make sure you’re ready for anything:
You store your data so you can use it. Different teams and systems need different levels of access to your data. To accommodate this, the CoE should create a range of options that give teams what they need, while ensuring confidential or sensitive data stays protected. Example categories range from Full Data Access, to more restrictive Hidden Sensitive or Hidden Personal, down to Representative Only. For example, a dev sandbox where a third party team is working should only contain representative data, ensuring that sensitive customer data can’t be exposed.
Here are some of my top considerations when it comes to making data easy for teams to access and manage on a daily basis:
How to archive data is another critical question the CoE should answer at the beginning of a project. You should understand what data needs to be archived, and why. For example, data on a long-term customer warranty is probably something you should archive but leave accessible in case a customer service rep needs it. Other data is less useful on a daily basis, but must be retained for legal reasons.
Here are some questions and activities I suggest when it comes to archiving data:
Once data is in Salesforce, someone will always want to keep it. But to maintain the overall health and performance of your Salesforce environment, you will need to delete data. That’s much easier to do if you have a conversation about deleting data at the beginning of a project, before anyone gets too attached.
Here are some topics to think about:
Everything I’ve written about in this post is really about one thing: delivering business value.
Good data stewardship is not a checklist item. It’s not a one-time, set-it-and-forget-it thing. It’s an essential daily practice consisting of small actions that add up to tremendous business value. Because when you take great care of your customer data, everything else gets easier. It’s easier to sell. It’s easier to make customers happy. And it’s easier to harvest all the intelligence and wisdom your customer data has to offer.
And making clear, important contributions to the overall business is the hallmark of a top-performing CoE. So if you want to go from good to great, put data first. I promise you won’t regret it.