“When I learned how to develop in Salesforce it was like a light turning on. Now I’m working to enlighten others so everyone can work towards a brighter future.”
Jim Buchan is a developer with a true passion for what he does. From simplifying document management for the legal team to managing KPIs across departments, Jim is helping Axia maximize productivity with apps that help them do more. We talked to him about how he’s tackling user adoption and getting great ideas for new apps at the same time.
I’m a Salesforce consultant and Axia’s go-to person for execution of Salesforce apps and adoption. Before I was brought into the mix, the team realized that Salesforce provided a seamless CRM, but it was my responsibility to shine a spotlight on the potential that Salesforce offered. I’ve been working across departments to turn manual, repetitive processes into simple, intuitive apps. It’s my mission to help people rethink how they’re doing things and increase Salesforce adoption.
User adoption can be a challenge for any organization, big or small. People understand that it’s important to get users on board to achieve their goals, but they don’t always know how. About two years ago, I started doing one-to-one sessions with users from different departments, and I realized we needed to take a continuous approach to user adoption. I started talking to the leadership teams to get buy in, and with their support, scheduled training and feedback sessions every three months. The first session was like herding cats, but in continuing to stick with it, the sessions are now a great source of feedback from all users within the organization. It’s not just explaining to the teams about the latest Salesforce releases and features - we get a lot of context from users on issues they want to fix. As a result, 15 custom apps have been created, eliminating tedious manual processes and spreadsheets, and we’ve grown the number of Salesforce users from 50 to 150.
The app I love the most is our quote management system. It replaced a 13-year-old legacy system and there was a lot of trepidation from users about migrating to a new system. For the first two months I did presentations and mock-ups in a sandbox to show them how it could benefit their working lives and get buy-in from even the most reluctant users. Now, sales teams can construct quotes quickly and easily, and pull reports at the tap of a button with better data accuracy. It’s been pretty high profile within the business as it’s also saved money in terms of per-hour costs attributed to manual tasks and ensuring only the right users receive the proper notifications.
For me, it’s all about Trailhead and the online Salesforce community. It’s such a powerful free resource, and any system is only as good as your support network. With the community, everyone shares tips and innovations, so you can always find the answer you’re looking for. And you don’t just get one answer, people collaborate and add annotations to give you alternative ideas. With Trailhead, I love how easy it is to learn more. You can go at your own pace, start and stop if you need to, and it’s fun. My favorite trail so far was the building of an intergalactic battle station.
I think more customers should be adopting a similar approach to Axia, and I’d like to help that happen through the community. I’ve seen over the past couple of years how comfortable our users are with Salesforce, it’s so rewarding to see them realize they can find better ways of working and cut down on the tough admin jobs that no one enjoys doing.
The most important thing is to have patience with the departments you're working with, and to listen to what they have to say. When new ideas were presented resulting in new apps such as the Quote System, Business Case Tracker or Financial Reporting Tool, I knew the team would grow to love it despite many of them never having used Salesforce before. By listening to the issues they had with the old system, I knew I’d plugged those gaps, and that eventually they’d get it. They were hesitant at first, and change isn’t easy, but in just a few short weeks post-deployment, they said they couldn’t live without it! The other critical aspect is to continue to ask questions and ‘walk the floors’ to introduce yourself to other teams. I recall about six months ago striking up a conversation with one of the staff members in the Networks team and asked about the massive spreadsheet he was using, only to discover that he has been waiting for years for a tool to replace how inventory was being tracked. A few weeks later, the system was live in Salesforce, providing the team with automation, insights, and tracking of assets via mobile.
Learn more about Axia’s success using Salesforce.