A lot has been made of the sea-change in the role of IT within businesses. Finding the balance between keeping the lights on, looking for the next technological innovation and helping drive business strategy can be tricky.
Here Srinivas Nadendla, Director – Systems Specialist and Venktesh Maudgalya, Director of Product Management – Enterprise Integration discuss how they manage the demands of that double duty.
Srinivas: My team has the responsibility for keeping one of Salesforce’s largest orgs - Org62 - up and running at all times. In a day to day sense that means addressing user queries and requests and cleaning technical debt. It’s the technical debt aspect of the role that both takes up the most time and conversely offers the most opportunity for innovation.
Venktesh: That’s probably less of an issue for my team, our role is to ensure that all the systems can and do talk to each other. Given the fact that we’re a cloud-first company and that our ecosystem, our products and our platform are all sitting in the cloud, it means that interaction is absolutely vital to keep things up and running. So we’re responsible for integrating all of the systems apps and devices that we use within the Salesforce ecosystem to drive world class experiences for all our employees.
Srinivas: We’ve found, as IT transformed into Business Technology, that the ambitions for the role have increased substantially. These days it’s fair to say that about 30% of my team’s time is spent dealing with the usual demands, and the remaining 70% is spent thinking about and creating new tools that will either allow us to gear up for future needs or can help us with identifying challenges before they become actual issues.
Venktesh: Obviously, because we’re a cloud-first organisation, our footprint when it comes to infrastructure is minimal – effectively this means that there’s less of the nuts and bolts tasks requiring our attention and so that time can be spent more productively finding ways to tackle business problems, make the process more efficient and, of course, reduce costs – everybody loves that one! But the most important aspect of it is that it means we get to work closely with business departments across Salesforce figuring out and developing the architecture to support the organisation as it scales and grows – and harness the power of MuleSoft, so that we can connect all those systems with an API-led approach.
Srinivas: Which in a way brings us back to the technical debt aspect that I mentioned earlier, it’s a huge focus for us because it’s an issue that affects the organisation across the board. So, for example, Venktesh, all that work that you’re doing in developing new systems through MuleSoft requires capacity on the system. It’s really essential that the internal system can support that growth. So the 70% of our time that we spend innovating is largely concentrated on that aspect of the business – making room to build more functionality on the system and simultaneously ensuring that there’s always enough capacity to take advantage of improved tech and adapt quickly as the business demands change according to circumstances.
Venktesh: I think you’re right – that ability to change and adapt, almost to be able to predict what’s needed and innovate to meet the challenges is central to the way both of our teams work. So for example we use an HR system from Workday and we realised that the employee information contained within it was also necessary for the financial side of the business. We’ve now integrated the two systems so that they effectively function as one – meaning that both HR and Finance have a real time view of the data across both of the systems. Like much of the innovation we develop, that was the result of a two-week sprint which is designed to deliver a tangible piece of work at the end of it - it’s a question then of repeating that process for each new development.
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