There are two event websites I use for niché groups and networking – Meetup and Eventbrite. These sites are useful to finding activities in your area. This week I attended a 3½ hour NH Salesforce User Group (via Eventbrite) held at the FIRST headquarters.
I will gladly use this time to capitalize on “New Hampshire’s best known secret.” So you know those segways that public safety officers and annoying tourists scoot about on? The Human Transporter was invented by Dean Kamen of DEKA, and noted friend of inventor Ray Kurzweil. In an effort to get students (ages 6-18) more excited about STEM careers – engineering, robotic design, and animation, Dean Kamen started the nonprofit FIRST. Inspired students plan and then construct working renditions of moveable models with LEGO® Robotics, and often work with scientists to solve real-world problems. Competitions aspire students to gain 21st Century skills including creative problem solving and fosters lifetime exploration of science and technology for children, our tomorrow’s leaders.
Back to the User Group…
A user group is essentially like-minded people gathering around a table of donuts and coffee (sadly no NY bagels) sharing ideas, tips and tools of the trade. I listened, I shared, I observed. We discussed best ways to use Salesforce to attract different audiences, how we can bridge the gap with mobile communication and by using the CRM platform to its greatest potential, see substantial ROI. As an audience member, I was most impressed with Southern NH University’s College for America demonstration as I saw first hand the student portal, paying close attention to how the organization optimized the system for their user. An opportunity to see inside some of New Hampshire’s most promising companies and a chance to learn about SF best business practices, this was an event I will have to wait until next February to attend again.
This is a chance for me to fancy everyone with my hands-on knowledge implementing Salesforce Enterprise edition for multiple companies. I can subduely glorify my experience here.
At the TechCrunch Disrupt SF conference this week, Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff candidly discussed his glory days with mentor and inspiration, Steve Jobs. Benioff attributed Salesforce’s success to Jobs and followed his vision in leading the company: “Respect the past, but project the future.” It was this piece of advice, however that has led Salesforce down a prosperous path: Jobs quotes, “Saleforce needs to be ten times larger with the backing of at least one huge client and needs to become an application ecosystem.” That was in the beginning days of SF at a meeting they both attended and Jobs’ guidance has resonated since.
And what a path it has been.
The Nitty Gritty
A powerful tool, Salesforce manages the whole sales operations of a company down to process workflow, contact information, dashboard and analytics, and a robust reporting feature. This is a cloud-based system with customizable fields and integrations through APIs and the AppExchange network.
Who uses it?
Many companies use Salesforce internally and platforms such as SharePoint, Outlook, and Quickbooks all integrate together. My college, SNHU has been using SF to enhance their practices and recognized the potential of the platform for “its fast, scalable solutions to manage students’ data.”
Gladly speaking, Salesforce is a one-stop-shop for all a company’s needs. In addition to its CRM platform and cloud computing capabilities, SF.com adds a social networking platform called Chatter and Mobile Services platform for connecting with multiple devices amongst other features.
Salesforce has evolved into a company representing millions of marketing, sales and customer service professionals and is the world’s number one cloud platform. Luckily I can say I know the program like the back of my hand and one day it will be useful to me again.
In the few short years I’ve been in the biz, I’ve seen a drastic push for online help in replacing traditional text outputs. The bible-length manuals we used to print were often seen as an afterthought for products. While each doc set has a particular purpose and audience, companies are now looking to social collaboration to drive customer satisfaction. Wikis with embedded social help features offer real-time customer feedback about a product, crucial from a developer’s standpoint and marketing teams post launch.
Microsoft SharePoint: ‘Yammer’ is a social media tool fostering collaboration, knowledge and efficiency. There are endless possibilities with apps and open APIs to be explored. Naturally Yammer is paired with Microsoft products; which means, a Microsoft Dynamics integration supersedes Salesforce CRM.
Mindtouch: ‘A social help system that includes a knowledge base, help center, ticketing integration and a help button.’ Enough said.
Atlassian Confluence Wiki: A robust system designed with JIRA users in mind. Some key features are: Embed Google docs, Scroll Version, and team calendars. Want a slimmer version, perhaps on a diet? Try Confluence Blueprints.
MadCap Flare: ‘Pulse’ is a social collaboration platform in conjunction with the Help Authoring Tool. While pricey, MadCap serves the purpose in finding one software to do five, ten, fifty, one hundred tasks in one.
Want to read more about wikis?: Follow the discussion on LinkedIn.