Why I’m Building a New Home for Salesforce Architects

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Architecture is a hot topic in the Salesforce world right now. As Salesforce matures, those of us who were consultants, specialising in Salesforce projects back in the day, are now consulting at an entirely different level: holistically.

Our mastery of the Salesforce platform, experience in implementing it and knowledge of the many ways it can interact with other systems means we can share the good, the bad and the ugly with our customers. We’re key contributors to the success of a Salesforce project because we aren’t just designing a system, we are designing a way for our customers to get the very best from their wider landscape and their teams, too. Which oftentimes includes designing a project, giving advice, leading delivery workstreams of our own and coaching / mentoring along the way.

That’s not to say that all Salesforce architects are client-facing. Salesforce’s position is often at the centre of customer strategy and many customers make investments in doing the job well. They’ve hired architects to work permanently on keeping their solutions performant and well-governed. It’s because we bring so much to the table that we aren’t cheap resources.

Why We Need Architects

As an architect, my role is pivotal in defining the strategy, quality and future care of Salesforce for my customers, and assuring it on an ongoing basis. What I’m seeing is the deployment of architects after key decisions have been made. Their involvement then tapers off after a short while once everyone is up and running. How can we assure quality if we aren’t there to inform the decisions, then we have to drop shortly after we’ve just got going?

And Why Now?

Salesforce, after 20 years, is the number 1 CRM in the world. With implementation at the enterprise level, we deploy resources carefully to maximise the profit margin and handle the workload. Sadly, for architects, I’ve seen that we aren’t always used in the best way we can be. We scuttle from one project or RFP to the next. Once live, customers might buy a Managed service; or choose to let things run for a while.

In presales, we are trying to navigate bigger, older and more complex customer environments. Often with a limited budget, many moving parts or little sponsorship. We can’t spend too much time assessing complexity because we are expensive resources and we might not win the deal. So we watch as our customers cut corners and create technical debt. We shrug and say “what else can we do?”. Salesforce becomes a new “legacy” version of itself that needs rebuilding in a few years’ time.

In consultancies, we don’t always have the time or inclination to explore the benefits of the AppExchange. We must be billable and we can’t always be sold to clients because of their limited budget. Our utilisation suffers, having a knock-on effect on remuneration and career advancement. And sometimes we have to cut corners. Maybe we are working for ISVs and have to design solutions that can maximise licence revenue. Maybe we have hard deadlines and budget, so we can’t suggest what would really be best for our customer.

Of course, we do some awesome things, when we have the opportunity to. Designing cutting-edge solutions and exploring new features and products. Creating a roadmap for our clients. We are problem-solvers, fixers, diplomats, and we consider the bigger picture in whatever we do. The opportunity to work with rising talent that can break a few of our own bad habits and open up our minds. We can feel pride in the achievements of the architects of tomorrow.

Building a New Home

We do our best work when we build trust with our customers.

Gemma

This year, there came a turning point in my career, thanks to a combination of delivery experience and the skills developed leading Ladies Be Architects. My decision? I will spend my time adding real value to Salesforce projects because I care about the right outcome for everybody involved. No more delivery. Just help.

A strong Salesforce project has architects to guide and advise customers. That advice could mean shaping a company’s RFP, reviewing someone’s code or challenging a solution design. Being the second pair of eyes for an AppExchange or Consulting partner. Running an agile retrospective or even acting as a customer’s product owner. We have a responsibility to make space for new Salesforce practitioners to gain more knowledge and experience.

The Architech Club

I want to build a home for Salesforce architects like me, where they can build their own customer relationships. Our values include telling customers the truth and making time to learn. We will give and receive great advice and have room to grow our own personal brands. Architect 89op\sop; belong to our club, where they don’t have to fret about bonuses, commercials and utilisation. They can go to Dreamforce, they can speak at conferences and their leaders will be there to support them.

The Architech Club is for customers, to get the assurance they need at the right time. It helps customers to prepare for Salesforce and to continue to innovate with strength, at a cost they have control of.

I am building the Architech Club for consultancies. Their success depends on a deep understanding of our customer, therefore I want my team to help them navigate the complex environments they are expected to deliver in. I want to help their people progress and become experts. I want to help their customers succeed with Salesforce.

I am building the Architech Club for the enablement of AppExchange partners. Their innovation creates success and saves time and they deserve our support. They want to talk to companies whose architectural and business environment fit the offering they provide, and I want to help them.

I am building the Architech Club for Salesforce, to increase the success of its customers.

And I’m building the Architech Club for YOU, my dear future architect. A place to aim for, a role you want to grow to, a home where you feel valued and empowered. Permission and coverage to focus on what’s right for your customer, and what’s right for you and your family.

Give us a try and see where you end up.

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