Why discovery and architecting phases are so important in a Salesforce implementation

Kirby Corbey |
 Roycon |
 Aug 19, 2020

Have you ever purchased something online and what you received was not what you expected?

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Photo credit: Bored panda

The same thing can happen with software implementations. The most effective way of mitigating this risk is by completing the discovery and architecting phases. By completing this portion of the Salesforce implementation process, it improves the overall customer and vendor experience and ensures greater satisfaction and user adoption.

In this blog, I will discuss what discovery and architecting phases are and why they are important by highlighting the benefits and the potential risks if they are not completed during the Salesforce implementation process.

Defining the discovery and architecting phases

The Discovery Phase
The discovery phase is the portion of the software development process where a software vendor performs a requirement analysis workshop and develops the overall design of the solution. It is during this time, that the vendor works with the customer’s key stakeholders and collects and analyzes a variety of information and documentation while establishing the goals of the project. This information includes:

  • Technical requirements
  • Any pain points the customer faces with existing data management solutions
  • Who the end users are and how they will be using the Salesforce solution
  • What their end-all goals are to help determine their Return on Investment (ROI)

This allows everyone involved to get a well-rounded understanding of the project, realistic timeline of deliverables and expected project completion date, expected cost, and any potential limitations or roadblocks that they may be encountered.
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The Architecting Phase
The software architecture is a plan for the implementation. This phase allows for communication between all stakeholders involved and enables everyone to understand the Salesforce system that is being built as a whole, which makes the entire process more streamlined and efficient.

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Image credit: Focus on Force


The Purpose of Discovery and Architecting Phases
The reason why the discovery and architecting phases are so important in a Salesforce implementation is that they help define the customer’s overall goals of the Salesforce solution that they are investing in by clarifying the project and establishing a roadmap that includes a clear set of requirements, goals, cost and a realistic project timeline that is defined to meet customer expectations.

The Benefits
This allows for a more transparent relationship between the customer and the vendor. Following this process can lead to a more successful long-term partnership that is built on trust and realistic expectations, timeline, and deliverables being met.

The discovery and architecting phases can aid in buy-in for the end-users if deliverables and functionality is defined early on. The end users then have something that they are invested in and look forward to using, which would ideally help streamline their day to day activities and make them more efficient in their roles.

What are the Risks if Discovery and Architecting are Not Completed?
If the Salesforce implementation begins without these phases, that leaves the potential for a gap of knowledge and understanding of what is being built and ultimately delivered, leaving a large potential for both parties to become upset and frustrated as expectations and needs are not defined and therefore met.

Another potential risk is that if it is not clear what is being delivered, then the implementation could possibly be almost never-ending due to scope creep- the customer continually asking form modifications or additions that they are expecting in the solution, but the vendor didn’t account for- which would be costly financially to all involved.

Here at Roycon 
We implement these phases by ensuring an internal hand-off or Knowledge transfer between the sales and the delivery team in which a high level of understanding of the project is passed from one department to the other. This includes details of what is in scope and what is out of scope. Our delivery team then puts together a project plan that includes a meeting cadence and projected agendas to keep the project on track. We may also recommend the client review any necessary Salesforce trailheads depending on their previous Salesforce knowledge if applicable.

Once these steps are complete, a kick-off meeting is scheduled with the client.

Our goal with the discovery and architecting phases:
To get an understanding of the client’s current overall state, how they do business and the associated tools they use in their day to day processes, to ensure that we identify any out of scope items that were not covered in the original statement of work. This also allows us to get a full understanding of what will allow the project to be successful according to the client/key stakeholders. We develop a detailed view of the client’s ideal software solution, and how they want Salesforce to help solve any pain points identified during the sales process. This allows us to get a comprehensive understanding of the desired implementation and allow us to build a solution that will meet their end all goals,

Roycon’s best practices to ensure these phases success:
Ideally, we prefer a cadence of 5 touch-points per week during the discovery and architecting phases so we can document the information, propose/design a solution, and smoothly transition to the build phase. This allows us to get a solution in front of the client sooner, so they can start to envision what the end product will look like.
The length of time for these phases varies client to client depending on the complexity of the overall project and any relevant integrations as well

Conclusion
In an ideal world, when we purchase something, what is delivered meets our expectations and we are satisfied with our investment.

The discovery and architecting phases help the vendor understand what the customer is looking to get out of their Salesforce implementation, and can even help the customer apply critical thinking to what they want to see within their software solution, potentially bringing things up early on before the configuration begins, reducing the chances that something may be missed or configured incorrectly, causing more money to be spent down the road to remedy it.

By completing the discovery and architecting phases in Salesforce implementations, it helps reduce unexpected cost, improves efficiency, and sets realistic expectations resulting in a trusting partnership between vendor and customer by providing a clear understanding of customer needs and expectations and setting realistic deliverables from the vendor.

You can learn more about us, we’re an Austin-based Salesforce Consulting partner, with a passion and belief that the Salesforce platform’s capabilities can help businesses run more efficiently and effectively. Thanks for stopping by the Roycon Salesforce blog, be sure to subscribe. Thanks for reading and as always, happy building!

Kirby Corbey

Kirby Corbey

Client Success Manager

Kirby is one of our Account Executives at Roycon. She has over 5 years of experience in a client success role within the software industry. She was born and raised in Montana and will continue to live there even though the winters can be pretty tough.

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