Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it. And to make matters worse: complexity sells better. – Edsger Dijkstra, The threats to computing science
While Salesforce provides a variety of tools to automate structured business processes, it does not provide the same level of functionality for “unstructured” processes (better referred to as “situational” processes – an unstructured process is an oxymoron). Thus, Salesforce tools must be augmented by tools that better support the increasingly complex, dynamic, and fragmented nature of work.
Citizen developers are here to stay and will fundamentally change the future of IT work. How you embrace them will determine the future of IT within your organization and the role IT plays in the creation of new innovative business practices. – Mike Rollings (Gartner), Citizen Development: Reinventing the Shadows of IT
Corporate IT is starting to strangle citizen developers on the Salesforce platform.
The Salesforce platform has been a tremendous gift to citizen developers. Citizen developers are end users who create business applications without the involvement, or with limited involvement of corporate IT. This collective effort across the organization is often referred to as Shadow IT.
The Business Operations Platform externalizes the control of processes away from individual applications. It makes them equal peers, subjugated to the Business Operations Platform layer that controls the execution of the processes, the provision of services, and the delegation of tasks or activities to the individual applications according to their specific uses and needs.
– Peter Fingar, The Business Process Platform in the Sky
You could create your own business operations platform by cobbling together disparate social, mobile, process and cloud products. Or you could simply use the comprehensive, integrated, extensible, and ready-to-go Salesforce platform.
It is dawning on many of our clients that there are many advantages to leveraging the Salesforce platform as much as possible, other than the obvious of getting more value from their licenses.
It tends to follow a progression something like this:
The benefits of using a single platform like Salesforce for your organizations business operations include:
- Decreased time to market by eliminating the decision-making process regarding what technology to use and what software to install and maintain, thereby allowing users to start building solutions immediately.
- Easily deployed solutions quickly, globally, and inexpensively.
- Long-distance collaboration and support by giving users, developers, and specialists the ability to work from anywhere at any time in one place.
- Reduced training and support costs, by making community support more effective with a greater number of participants.
- A consistent approach to applications, allowing the organization to benefit from reuse across multiple solutions—reuse of processes, technology, and people and their skills.
- Consistent use of the same security profiles and authentication methods across all solutions.
- A single place for data and information sharing through a common repository that everyone is connected to.
- A holistic view of the organization across applications, departments and information silos.
- Access to an extensive ecosystem of developers, applications and services that can simply “plug into” the platform, thereby reducing the need to reinvent the wheel.
- A single place for interaction with customers, vendors and partners.
Something to consider: Having a single core platform is generally more important than the bells and whistles it may or may not have. If a car doesn’t have all the essential elements that make it run smoothly and make it easy to operate, it doesn’t matter if the car has 12 speakers instead of 1, or 1 cup holder instead of 10.
However, the beauty of a platform like Salesforce is that if you need the equivalent of those 12 speakers, you can get them from the Appexchange or have them custom built. All you need to do is plug them in – much like you can add luxury packages to a car.