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What Role Does a Salesforce Solutions Architect Play in the Salesforce Implementation Process?

What Role Does a Salesforce Solutions Architect Play in the Salesforce Implementation Process?

This is the first part in our series exploring the roles different types of Salesforce Architect play in the implementation process. Why explore this topic?

Because these experts can have a huge impact on a company’s speed to Salesforce ROI. To help you understand how to work with these experts and get the most out of their services during the implementation process, it’s worth taking a few minutes to understand their piece of the puzzle.

You may already know that Salesforce Solutions Architects are on frontlines of any Salesforce implementation process. They’re familiar with the intricacies of the Salesforce AppExchange and have mastered the platform’s famous “click-not-code” approach.

These are the people who will select and configure the features you ultimately need to have in your Salesforce org to meet your short- and long-term goals. But let’s dig deeper.

The 5 Stages in the Salesforce Implementation Process

To start, we must establish a common understanding of what exactly the Salesforce implementation process is. At Apexon, we embrace the Salesforce framework for implementation – a roadmap that has five clear stages:

  1. Plan and prepare
  2. Set up and customize
  3. Deploy Salesforce CRM
  4. Drive adoption
  5. Continuously improve

While all types of Salesforce Architects aren’t involved at all five stages, as a team, they lay critical foundations, guide development, and assist with improvements along the way.

How Salesforce Solutions Architects Guide Planning and Preparations

Solutions architects are primarily engaged in the first step of planning and making preparations. They lay the groundwork for the implementation process by doing three things:

  • Define the data model. Think of them as the landscapers of all the data you plan to put into your Salesforce org. Technically speaking, they determine how each object should be organized and how all objects should be related within the data model.
  • Determine how the data will be fed into your Salesforce org. Once they decide how the data will be organized and stored, solutions architects map out the logistics of how that data will flow into and out of your Salesforce org.
  • Define solutions. This is where they begin to sketch out the business requirements behind the Salesforce implementation. In this process, Solutions Architects review all of the user stories that the project’s business analyst has put together and determine what work will need to be done in broad strokes that the Technical Architect will fill in later.

It should come as little surprise that the main job of a Salesforce Solutions Architect is to define solutions within Salesforce that will ensure their client’s goals are met at the end of this implementation process.

Proof of Concept: A Major Implementation Checkpoint

Once your Solutions Architect defines the solution, they translate it into a proof of concept for their team and the client to review. This helps determine what the scope of the implementation project will be so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to the timeline and cost.

Of course, this varies greatly from project to project.

Consider these two examples:

  1. A sales organization may not want all of the data in its Salesforce org to be equally visible equally to all team members. This is easy enough to remedy by configuring sharing and visibility rules  within Salesforce.
  2. In a medical sales system, there may be important regulatory requirements to consider around where the data is stored and who can see it within the CRM. This second example may require coding a custom solution that takes longer to build and increases the cost of that implementation.

The proof of concept will also allow the client to see how their Salesforce org interacts with any related systems – especially those that share dependencies. This is a crucial juncture at which clients can ask questions about these relationships and their maintenance directly.

For example, you might want to ask who will be responsible for maintaining APIs or other integrations in the long-term and what this will entail before moving forward.

While there will be regular check-ins throughout the development stage of this process, the presentation of the proof of concept is when your team will see the Salesforce Solutions Architect’s vision for your Salesforce org in full for the first time. It’s a great opportunity for clients to ask questions and confirm that everyone’s vision is still aligned.

Salesforce Solutions Architect Envision the Future of Your Salesforce Org

Salesforce Solutions Architects define the scope and timeline for an implementation project before handing it off to the Technical Architect. But the impact of their advocacy for following Salesforce’s best practices is foundational to all the work the rest of the team does down the line.

Their early work as a liaison between your business’s requirements and the overarching design of your Salesforce org is key. Simply put, without their expertise, the Salesforce Technical Architect would not be able to do their job at the next stage in the implementation process.

Further down the line, Solutions Architects will set you up to track the right metrics and give you the flexibility to continue to develop your Salesforce org as your company grows.

Contact us to start a conversation today about how Apexon’s Salesforce Architects and other implementation experts can help support you get the most from this incredible CRM.

Click here for part 2 of this series

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