The word governance sounds formal and may bring up thoughts of “red tape,” “bureaucracy,” and “inflexibility.” So the mere suggestion of applying a governance framework to your Salesforce org might sound complicated, scary or not a good idea!
Before I try and convince you that Salesforce governance is a good idea, let’s explore what governance is. Simply put, the idea of governance within technology is a set of best technology management practices that are followed by all.
Now that we have a clear understanding of what governance is, would you agree it’s important? Do you also agree that your Salesforce solution is a technology business investment? In fact, it’s an investment that perhaps many of your core functional teams have come to rely on for sales, marketing, service and business operations? Not only does owning Salesforce have an annual cost, but it also has an annual return on investment. One might argue that your organization’s most valuable data lives inside Salesforce.
With your most valuable data living in Salesforce, let’s explore four key reasons you need a governance framework:
- Agility — Technology is moving at a rapid pace. Salesforce has three major releases a year, new applications are added to the AppExchange daily, and new feature add-ons and new clouds are constantly made available. How do you keep up? How do you and your organization decide which shiny new features or applications to invest in and implement? With a governance framework in place, everyone gets a say in what new initiatives are prioritized. This allows your organization to quickly adapt, with your key stakeholders in agreement, as changes arise.
- Focus — Organizations without a governance framework focus on the “squeaky wheel” and often the loudest voice gets solution changes versus the changes that produce the most value. Good governance sets clear priorities and puts standardized processes in place. This ensures that your technology teams, which often have limited resources, are able to focus on the right things that drive down costs or drive up efficiencies.
- Compliance — Compliance in your organization is key. If your governance framework is not used, it will not add value. Some areas where compliance is especially essential are around security, regulatory requirements, system access, data privacy and data protection.
- Risk — As organizations are becoming more dependent on technology for their most important work, exposure to technology risks can devastate them. It is essential to be able to systematically assess and mitigate your risks.
How do you know you need a Salesforce Governance Framework?
- What is the vision of our Salesforce solution?
- Who is the executive owner?
- Who is driving alignment between the different functional areas and IT?
- Why is end-user adoption so low?
- Why does the system administrator have a massive backlog of enhancement requests?
If the answers to these questions are unclear or inconsistent, your organization would benefit from a governance framework.
Who should be involved to establish and support a governance framework?
The first thing to do is to identify an executive sponsor with budget authority. Without an executive sponsor to support your Salesforce solution, work can become siloed, contradictory, or even divested at the leadership level. A strong executive sponsor can help your organization think big picture about your Salesforce solution, break down obstacles, and build buy-in across the organization.
Once you have identified an executive sponsor, that person should establish a steering committee with stakeholders from each business unit (including end-users) and information technology.
Example goals of the Steering Committee is to:
- Set the vision and strategy for your Salesforce solution
- Own and manage the budget
- Designate a product owner
- Refine data strategy, architecture, and management
- Remove technical debt
- Define a release schedule and communication strategy
- Define the software development lifecycle
- Establish a centralized backlog and prioritization
- Ensure all changes are system tested (for security, function and risks)
- Provide system support
- Build end-user adoption through consistent training, onboarding and feedback collection
A proper governance framework should not be large, slow and cumbersome. The Salesforce lean governance framework can be a powerful, lightweight and flexible approach to managing your technology investments.
Trust me: You need governance.
Need some help deciding where to start? Connect with the Redpath team!