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What Role Does a Technical Architect Play in the Implementation Process?

What Role Does a Technical Architect Play in the Implementation Process?

This is the second installment in our two-part series on how different types of Salesforce Architects add value to the Salesforce implementation process.

Our last blog post addressed how Solutions Architects liaise with client stakeholders to determine what business requirements they’ll need to translate into an outline for the Salesforce organization to come. These experts deliver a high-level overview of what the Salesforce org will look like and how required user stories will play out in practice.

Next, a Technical Architect applies their deep understanding of how each component of this organization will need to be assembled and how additions will impact the Salesforce organization’s functionality in the long-term. Let’s look at how this happens in detail.

Where a Salesforce Technical Architect Enters the Picture

Unlike their colleagues, Technical Architects don’t interact directly with most of the key client-facing stakeholders that Solutions Architects rely on or the business requirements they share.

Once the Solutions Architect has completed the “Planning and Preparation” phase of the Salesforce implementation process, Technical Architects get started on the second phase: set-up and customization.

The most simple way to explain what this entails would be to say that the Technical Architect takes the functional design deck from their colleague and runs with it. They pick up right where their counterparts left off and flesh out the technical side of the plan. What does “technical” mean in this context? They apply their Salesforce expertise to… 

  • Identify where out-of-the box tools are the right solution.
  • Determine when and where a custom, coded solution will be required.
  • Create a detailed road map of how many developers will need to work on the project and what the timeline for delivery will look like.

If a Salesforce org were a paint-by-numbers project, the Solutions Architect would sketch out the solution in broad, pencil strokes and the Technical Architects would draw in the hard boundaries between each element, define which color goes where, and flag sections that require a custom color palette.

An Expert Who Knows When to Select Out-of-the-Box Tools and Custom Configurations

Salesforce Technical Architects play a key role in selecting which tools you’ll need to arrive at the solution you’re looking for, and they never start from scratch.

When we implement Salesforce, we aim for about 85 percent “out-of-the-box” configuration and 15 percent customization. Technical Architects understand that this balance is key to building a stable Salesforce organization that will support new features in the future.

This is a critical part of their function because minimizing the number of custom elements makes activating new features less labor-intensive.

Every time new features are added, an expert – typically a Technical Architect – will need to review those customizations to ensure that their addition won’t break any other features or functionality.

Because Salesforce designs new features with an eye on stability, their out-of-the-box, configurable features require less maintenance going forward.

Which brings us to the other important task Salesforce Technical Architects support: these folks also predict how much maintenance it will take to support the product on an ongoing basis. They can also help you locate and track this data for yourself as you track your Salesforce ROI.

Salesforce Technical Architects Champion Product Stability

To help deliver both stability and the outcome their clients seek, Technical Architects often look for ways to deliver customized out-of-the-box solutions. I know this may sound like a contradiction in terms, but consider this example:

If a Technical Architect has contributed to a customized financial services Salesforce product, perhaps to deliver a 360 customer view in one dashboard, they can use the same framework for their next implementation.

 By taking one custom package and treating it as an out-of-the-box solution going forward, Technical Architects can deliver reliable solutions faster.

Building on their experience, these experts carry the second step of the Salesforce implementation process and prepare their team to arrive at the third stage: Deployment.

Technical Support on a Continuous Basis

At this risk of sounding like I’m skipping over the last two steps in the implementation process – deployment and driving adoption – it’s important to understand that Technical Architects can be engaged on an ongoing basis (whether or not you have a Salesforce Center of Excellence).

They are the experts who will follow up with the dev team to fix issues, check the code quality, and ensure that best practices are being followed. The Technical Architect isn’t just a planner; they’re also responsible for ensuring that the development process follows their carefully made plans.

And their involvement in a Salesforce implementation is not just periodical. Technical Architects are on call to answer questions, think outside the box to help steer the team around roadblocks, and keep the project moving forward by sharing their technical knowledge of the Salesforce universe.
If this sounds like the kind of support you could use to steer your Salesforce implementation, contact us today.

Click here to for part 1 of this series

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