Joe, the sales manager, can’t figure out why his quarterly forecasting reports are coming up short on revenue and proposed earnings. Across the hall, Joyce, the controller, is overwhelmed by the volume of inventory and sales data collecting on her Excel sheets. The number of accounts has tripled since last quarter, but her ability to input this data has been overshadowed by other tasks.
Both Joe and Joyce are missing out on a huge advantage to system automation, and the reason this occurs comes down to two common problems.
- Employees don’t know functions exist.
- Employees lack the experience needed to use automated functions.
Both instances require the expertise of a system administrator. “A systems administrator like the stage manager performs many duties in a company,” wrote Larry LaBas, Senior Management Consultant at Taos. “They may plan the architecture, build your infrastructure, deploy the applications, troubleshoot issues, work with customers (internal/external), perform vendor management, etc. Similar to the roles needed to ensure a play is ready for the performance and then that all goes well during the execution.”
A large part of an admin’s job duties is understanding existing resources that can help employees do their jobs more efficiently. But in the case of Salesforce, does your admin know what’s there? And can he or she effectively educate employees on functions and how to use the system?
Do you know what you have?
In some cases, companies purchased Salesforce simply because they heard it was a good system–and it is a good system. But it requires some knowledge to incorporate department practices into centralized processes. Oftentimes, the system administrator doesn’t fully understand what the company just acquired . . . and, that’s a problem. Fortunately, Salesforce offers myriad ways to gain additional knowledge of the Salesforce platform, including online help, representative assistance, and certifications opportunities that provide additional learning.
When employees don’t know about existing functions
When employees are branching off into their own manual processes, it’s likely they are unaware of a centralized system that can handle the job for them, or they prefer using a more familiar process that isn’t integrated into the Salesforce system. Either case creates problems.
In an ideal situation, the Salesforce administrator would collect feedback from employees on what they needed to accomplish with an automated system. It is important for the administrator to keep employees informed about various processes that can be handled through automation and why centralizing these processes is important.
- Find out what the problems are. What’s slowing you down? What is not working in your job? Chances are there is a written process for those problems.
- Once you understand the problem, what process could solve this problem? All of those things can be automated.
- Keep a list of those implementations. What have you contributed? Make a note of those processes. This information is helpful for future issues, and it looks good in career advancements.
When employees don’t know how to use the system
Here’s the bottom line: When the person running Salesforce has never bothered to train workers on what this system can do, it’s a waste of money. An automated system is only as good as its users. It’s common for people to underutilize a resource, and when they don’t know what they have, they don’t know what could make their job easier.
The best environment is one where the administrator and the employees are asking the right questions of each other. The Salesforce administrator must be sure employees are using the system and understanding the comprehensive benefits of automated processes. If there isn’t an automated system in place, the employee should speak up and talk with the administrator about what they need. If the company is running Salesforce, the solution is likely already in place or easy to obtain.
“Who are the systems administrators that I want on my teams helping the business with its performance on stage?” wrote LaBas. “Those who will help accelerate the business, be part of a team and continue to grow both technically and in their knowledge of the business.”
By fully understanding the product, identifying the needs of the employees, and making sure each is trained in using a centralized process, your system administrator is sure to get employees well-versed in the advantages of using the automated system and streamlining the workflow of the business.