Running the Salesforce Centre of Excellence for 2500 users sounds like a job for a Trailblazer. Fletcher Building’s Brian Joynt is here to share his story.
I’m the Technical Manager for the Salesforce Centre of Excellence for Fletcher Building, the largest building company in NZ – we’re a collection of manufacturing and construction businesses.
So I look after anything Salesforce-related, and we have 2500 licences. My team of four business analysts provides technical support and any project implementation, we do most of the work in-house with very little input from consultants.
It’s a weird history – I studied fine arts and graphic design, then got very involved in the technical aspects of web and print design. I really got the bug for technology, so I did a diploma in business programming and started working in IT and business systems. I was working for the biggest signage company in New Zealand when my former CFO offered me a Business Systems Manager role at Fletcher Aluminium.
It was much more of a challenge and quite an interesting role. My first day, I was handed a Salesforce project and it was quite complex – the implementation of a partner portal for 70 franchisees.
It was just two months to the first delivery and I’d never heard of Salesforce, so I ran to the internet and tried to grab all the info I could – and unfortunately there was no Trailhead at the time.
Certification! We had very strict privacy policies and any breaches would derail the project, so from day one it was highly important to understand the underlying platform. I did the Administration Essentials for New Admins (ADM201) course and then had to deliver, but I loved what I was learning and and the power of what you could do from a declarative point of view – I pretty soon completed my Developer Certification and Advanced Administrator exam.
At that time there were quite a few Salesforce projects starting within other Fletcher business units too – as I gained more and more knowledge and experience, I was pulled into lots of them.
Now I have seven certifications and I’m starting to work on completing the architect ones via the architect journey that’s now on Trailhead. I have 328 badges – aiming for 400 – and I’ve completed most of the superbadges except the new ones that were just released.
It’s hectic and very complicated – along with about 2500 Salesforce users across 17 orgs, there are 35 different business units. We engage with a majority of these, each unit is different with its own challenges and complexities to deal with – you truly need to understand the platform and the business processes otherwise you’ll be at a loss.
We deal with training, support, enhancements, design, project work and integration – it's just non-stop, because there's a lot of change and focus on business improvement.
Once a week my team strive to allocate time for Trailhead Friday; we commit time to learning and I want my team to focus on improving their knowledge and gaining new certifications. It is time consuming of course but I’m happy with my team spending time on Trailhead to learn because it’s just the best way to improve their skills and be more effective in dealing with the business challenges and becoming subject matter experts.
I can really recommend that teams apportion time to Trailhead and make it a key part of the day-to-day, like any other standard job or support activity you need to deliver.
The real challenge in this environment is that you need to be a Salesforce expert across everything – there are consultants of course, but a lot of the times you need to have the knowledge to advise and deliver solutions yourself, you need to know what you can and can't do. The platform is also so broad and it changes every quarter – the only way you can really stay on top of that is committing time to regular learning through Trailhead.
I love the focused projects and superbadges because it’s all very relevant and quite close to what we need to do on a daily basis; it’s a good test of your knowledge and a practical means of applying the knowledge you gain. We’re not about the points, we’re about the knowledge and practical application.
Running the Centre of Excellence, I’m still learning and the products just keep coming alongside the need to implement them. I really need to be on the ball to provide sound advice to the business units, actually implement, and ensure success.
I’m working towards becoming a certified architect as well. The more knowledge I can gain around the architecture side of things the better, because by nature a lot of our businesses have complex processes – we’ll run into problems if we don't architect things properly and having this knowledge in the business is a necessity.
Stick to Trailhead and start focusing on getting solid foundational knowledge. Admin certifications is a must and then get as much experience as you can, then focus on app builder and spend regular time learning on Trailhead. Lots of people don’t get the opportunity to leverage the platform fully and gain rich experience depending on their job/role so Trailhead will help broaden your skills. There’s so much scope in the platform, you will most certainly find an area that you will get passionate about as you skill up and will also find that this effort is career enhancing.
And if you’re not committed to continually learning and improving your skills you’re in the wrong game.
Admin or developer, architect or analyst – skill up for the future with Trailhead.