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Salesforce Review: "Fantastic product, but requires internal expertise."
https://www.trustradius.com/crmSalesforce.comUnspecified8.22063101
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October 28, 2012

Salesforce Review: "Fantastic product, but requires internal expertise."

Score 10 out of 101
Vetted Review
Review Source

Software Version
Unlimited
Modules Used
Force.com, Sales Cloud, Chatter, Database.com, Heroku

Overall Satisfaction

  • We’re able to build custom applications and immediately solve business problems without having to do the traditional client server model.
  • If you know what you’re doing the ability to customize and solve problems is unparalleled.
  • There is also so much functionality out of the box.
  • They continue to drive to concept of citizen developer. You really need just a system administrator.
  • My only caveat is that it is not as user friendly as you would want it to be.
  • You need an expert to develop on the Force.com platform. It requires a degree of specialization that most people don’t have.

Product Usage

600 - We have 7500 hourly employees that clean hospitals. They do not have licenses, but interface to Salesforce.com via a Kiosk.

We have 600 one app license users who are front line managers. They use our quality management app via handheld devices. They are not logging into our CRM for information but do have access to Chatter.

The plan is to have our Vice Presidents have upgraded license levels. Right now they are just getting a roll-up.

To access HR functions, you need to have the platform edition. We have ~30 platform edition seats and we have 20 full licenses.
4 - 2 power developers – currently 100% of their time is allocated towards our own product development. We are developing a product on Force.com and other technologies. One is a chief architect who came from eTrade. The other we’ve trained up is a generalist and is great in Apex, Java, PHP, and Ruby.

A Salesforce administrator who works in clicks not code configuration.

A web developer that is learning Salesforce development. They are good on Visual Force pages.
  • We are extensively using Force.com for our internal business processes automation. We have done a lot of internal stuff to automate internal processes. We have also built applications that we intend to sell on top of Force.com but are transitioning more towards database.com and Heroku as Force.com is too expensive. We have started to use Chatter in the last 3 months.
  • We are using Salesforce.com to support HR related processes. We don’t have an HRIS application so we have customized Salesforce.com to handle many HR related functions including: general liability claims; workers compensation; recruiting – we created a candidate object; risk management; and payroll change approvals. Most customizations were achieved through clicks not code configuration in the platform, but we have since done some Apex and VisualForce coding work. We are using VisualForce and triggers a lot more. We also use a lot of out of box stuff like workflow and approval. We have not looked for 3rd party HRIS apps, as the system as customized currently meets our needs. We also have a home grown time and attendance system – a desktop based system that is integrated via data loader. We recognized the need for online approval process for payroll changes so we did a hybrid approach using Salesforce.com. Longer term, I think we will want to take a look at an HRIS system since we are growing at 30%. Our HR department went rogue and found a system called Origami that is replacing some elements of our homegrown system IT wasn’t consulted on it. Our managers are mini HR people. We don’t have a centralized HR system. We empower our managers to do a lot of the HR staff – reporting for liability etc. It has worked out so far but it's not a model that’s sustainable.
  • We are also using Salesforce.com for Business Performance Improvement. We are very mobile driven and we determined there was a need for our managers to evaluate team members in terms of how well they were cleaning hospitals. Using Salesforce.com Mobile, we developed an employee object called Performance Improvement. It’s accessed through iPod touch connected to WIFI and enables performance evaluations on all team members. We also recently farmed out a project to a company called Forcebrain.com. They built a product on native iOS for the iPad. It’s iPad data entry, with custom objects on the back-end and quite a bit of Apex. It’s used for a quarterly evaluation of our facilities that we’re cleaning. We are evaluating, how we interact with patients. It is a real time device, where a VP in the field, can do an evaluation. It has an offline mode and uses mobile SDK. We also have a self-service kiosk for our hourly team members. We use Visual Force pages for buttons. It’s a touch screen. We can do the whole on-boarding process with a goal to be completely paperless. PDFs are stored in Amazon S3. Applications get sent off to directors for approval, then if approved, the hourly person can fill out new hire paperwork. We have a signature capability that they can sign to authenticate document. The problem was most that most e-signature options like Docusign and Echosign require email addresses (many of our hourly workers don't have one), so we had to build something custom that’s .NET based sitting on Amazon. It’s pretty bad.
  • We also built an application on Salesforce called IT tracker, to track IT assets in our system.
  • We also use Salesforce.com for case management. The case object is not visible to one app license users, so we set-up a visual force page on intranet which acts as dependent pick list to enter cases. We use email to indicate that we’ve received your case. Other departments now want to do this.
  • Records management/content management – we scan documents in. We use Salesforce.com to store meta data. The actual documents are stored on servers here, but we aim to transition storage to Amazon.

Evaluation and Selection

We were using ACT and Goldmine.

Implementation

If I were to do it again, I would hire an outside team to analyze my business needs and determine the right path – otherwise you end up doing it piece meal. I have not found someone I really trust yet. There are lots of shops that are good at Salesforce, but most are not good at integrating with mobile devices.
  • Implemented in-house
  • Professional services company
We did the main implementation in-house, but worked with one company to outsource a couple of projects – Force Brain (http://www.forcebrain.com/) based in San Francisco. The experience was not great but the final product was good. We went through 3 different project managers, multiple lead developers, account managers and had to give a brain dump every time. They have hard time retaining talent. However the current project manager is great.

Training

  • Online training
  • Self-taught
Most training is handled in-house. We throw staff in front of Salesforce.com generic videos currently, but intend to move all to cyberU. We are building out all training content.

Configuration

We are using Salesforce for a number of core business processes and have developed multiple custom apps.

Support

Maybe it’s unfair, as we are pushing the boundaries of the platform. We get knowledgeable people but they are generalists. We need troubleshooting on more specific interactions etc. Generally we just figure out things ourselves.

Reliability

There have been times when it's gone down. It’s generally not the entire network, but just a cluster.

Integration

  • Google Apps and Google Sites
  • Amazon S3 - this is our primary storage
  • Box - we use this for individual sharing/ small clusters of teams.
  • ADP Payforce
We are strictly a Google Apps premier shop. Our intranet is built on Google sites. We have been Microsoft Exchange free for 4 years. That was the best thing we ever did. We integrated to Salesforce.com and use the Google Maps API for Salesforce.com data i.e. for mash-ups. We have really contextual Google Maps. We also have an internal tool that allows our CEO to do predictive analysis on where to place VPs. It’s like moving pieces around on chessboard. Google sites is also integrated to Salesforce.com. Visual Force pages act as front-end UI for things like general liability and workers comp. We use it for things like travel arrangements/requests.

We are moving to ADP timesaver on demand. Managers use to edit time cards. ADP is our payroll provider and we use them for time and attendance tracking. We use Payforce as a back-end. It is better than what we have, but it is still the back-end. Payforce is a SMB product/payroll service from ADP. It tracks deductions etc, and ADP cuts the checks. Unfortunately they don’t provide API access to the data. Our workaround to is to get an extract file everyday and we use a script to populate Salesforce with the data. We can provide better reporting than ADP folks can through Salesforce. Our team is so mobile, that logging into a web interface can be prohibitive. We do email blast to operators with daily variance. Our company is extremely sensitive to blips in payroll.