Build a Process Competency Center for Salesforce

By engaging with end users and helping them help themselves, IT can accelerate the exploitation of new technology and help end users create competitive advantage and build closer links to their business peers, while managing the risks of EUAD (End User Application Development).
– Ian Finley, Research Vice President at Gartner
The key to making Salesforce Admins successful with building process-driven applications is to build a Process Competency Center.  The objective of the Process Competency Center is to support business units as they build their own solutions, either on their own (with community support through the enterprise social network) or with support from other resources. The Process Competency Center makes available whatever users need to get their solutions built, as well as protect them from making mistakes, including things like legal infringements and security violations. Having a centralized or departmental situational process Process Competency Center also makes it easier for business units to share administrative and other service costs.
It includes the following functions:

Enablement

The Process Competency Center is responsible for implementing and supporting the platform.  This includes enabling:

The Database

The Process Competency Center is responsible for building and managing the self-service database.  The goal is to make data that is shared available to those that need it, and at the same time, shield users from data that they are not interested in.

The Social Network

Implementing an enterprise social network is usually a separate project outside of the CoPE realm, but it is quite feasible for the Process Competency Center to take on this responsibility as part of the rollout of the platform.
The Process Competency Center is responsible for encouraging the inclusion of social hooks into applications.

Mobile Enablement

The mobile enablement of applications is an integral part of the Process Competency Center’s responsibilities. This includes helping users decide upon which mobile strategy to use for their particular needs.
Salesforce Workflow
The Process Competency Center is in an ideal position to coordinate the orchestration of applications into cross-departmental workflows. This includes making users aware of the built-in and 3rd party workflow tools such as Xpeditor that are available to them, and how they can help them build solutions.

Governance

IT needs to ensure that compliance rules are being enforced, that confidential data is not being exposed by users, and that agreements with third-party asset providers are enforced.
The risks posed by user solution development has grown significantly, because instead of individuals building applications for themselves and their workgroup, the power of Salesforce App Cloud means that users can now build departmental, enterprise and even public applications.
The Process Competency Center must ensure that any regulations are complied with, prevent the accidental disclosing of protected assets, and enforce Center agreements with third-party asset providers. One of the key roles of the Process Competency Center is to make users aware of potential problem areas, like regulatory concerns, financial and tax matters, management and security issues, and help users deal with them effectively.

User administration

The Process Competency Center is responsible for activities like:
  • Creating and deleting users, keeping the corporate hierarchy in sync, and creating user profiles
  • Managing all security settings and sharing rules, and conducting regular security/configuration audits  
  • Managing all new user set-ups and deactivation
  • Setting up and maintaining teams, groups, territories, etc.
  • Define sharing rules, profiles and role hierarchies.
  • Delegating administration rights to users.

Licensing and chargebacks

The Process Competency Center is responsible for managing licenses, including interfacing with the vendor as needed.  The Process Competency Center is also responsible for calculating chargebacks to business units.    

App store management

The whole goal of private AppExchange is to empower the CIO to say ‘yes’.
– Sara Varni, Salesforce senior director of AppExchange marketing
 
Salesforce offers a private corporate AppExchange for enterprise available IT approved Web and mobile apps. You can add situational apps, custom corporate apps or public apps to your Private AppExchange.
The CoPE is responsible for maintaining the app store. The enterprise app store can make all the applications available in a single place, and simplify distribution and updates. App stores can help eliminate unnecessary application duplication.
One of the benefits of an app store is that it handles all the messiness of installing and provisioning apps. In the corporate context this involves identity access controls and authorizations as well as, where applicable, provisioning access to corporate servers and systems. Companies may already have something like an app portal or resource page within an intranet or collaboration environment, but the provisioning part likely involves a clunky IT ticket logging process.
Salesforce Private AppExchange eliminates the provisioning hassles by taking advantage of Salesforce access controls and Salesforce Identity.  There’s also a Salesforce Identity connector to corporate identity directories such as Active Directory and flavors of LDAP.
  Other features include:
  • the ability to give the store a custom look and feel
  • organize categories of apps
  • create an app approval process if you want to limit certain apps to certain users (sales apps to salespeople, etc.)
  • monitor and measure traffic, downloads and app usage by page, category and app
  • integrate with third-party license management systems.
 
The Process Competency Center should enforce quality rules and help to promote the use of apps in the store. Each app should be described in detail, with examples of how to use it provided, as well as contact information if questions arise. Users can comment on an entry and register details of their own usage examples. They can also add tags, and both the entries and tags can be rated on popularity and relevance. This helps drive the development of more functionality from actual usage.

Database administration

The Process Competency Center is responsible for administering the database.  This is quite different from the traditional DBA role, which was highly technical in nature.  The platform takes care of things like backup, disaster recovery, performance and scaling automatically. What is left for the database administrator is to ensure the data model is correct, and act as a gatekeeper to ensure that the data in the database is clean and current. This requires:
  • Integrating fragmented data involving multiple and diverse underlying data structures, formats, and access mechanisms.
  • Resolving the complexity arising from outside the enterprise, including customers, partners, suppliers, and distributors.
  • Addressing compliance requirements that organizations use to measure and demonstrate specific quality levels in operational and reporting systems.
  • Implementing data models and assisting others in building their own data models.
  • Protecting data and managing permissions by taking responsibility for protecting and giving access to sensitive enterprise data, as well as making data that is shared available to those that need it, and at the same time, shielding users from data that they are not interested in.  This also requires ensuring that data ownership and sharing works for your organizational structure.
  • Ensuring data cleanliness, timeliness, and non-redundancy.  The CoPE is responsible for ensuring that data from external systems is pristine, timely, and non-redundant, before it is added to the database. This allows the users to focus on how information needs to be delivered rather than how to find it.
  • Augmenting data with 3rd party information that will be useful for users.
  • Training users so they understand the importance of data integrity and how to do their part in any data-quality initiative; and assign ultimate responsibility for each region’s data to a super user, geographic lead, or other business owner.

Development services

Inevitably, there will be times when additional functionality is required to support a process,
 
IT provides frameworks, tools and environments for use by the citizen developer, and IT works with citizen developers to create cooperative relationships to safeguard and use data.
– Mike Rollings (Gartner), Citizen Development: Reinventing the Shadows of IT
IT should spearhead the creation of a CoPE. This is an excellent way to serve the needs of many users with minimal resources, and allow IT to maintain a modicum of control. IT can also accelerate the exploitation of collaborative work management and help end users create competitive advantages and build closer links with their business peers.
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