And now for something completely different.
Ok, well, it’s the same completely different as last time, because we have more suggestions for how to help you maintain your data quality!
If you’ve got a data quality problem, chances are you’ve read an article or three about how to improve that quality. However, through the course of that research, you’ve probably found that many of the articles are very much alike.
Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing; articles can only be so long, and it’s important to capture the most pertinent points first. Data deduplication, validation rules, reports; these are all potent weapons in the ongoing battle for data quality. Unfortunately, this means that other important things often don’t get mentioned, but let us not leave these soldiers behind! They can be just as important, and in some cases, more so.
The thing is, we’ve had so much to say on the subject, that it spilled out around the edges of a single blog post! So we’ve split this up into 2 posts, and here are the last two ideas:
4. Ease Their Pain
It’s more than just a cheesy Field of Dreams reference, it’s a call to action for User Experience, or UX for short. If your users find their Salesforce org to be painful, they’re more likely to misclick, ignore non-enforced fields, and input easy “dummy” data (e.g. 555-555-5555) all in an effort, intentional or otherwise, to get out of that painful experience as quickly as possible. You wouldn’t want to leave your hand inside a boiling pot of water any longer than you have to, would you?
That may sound overdramatic, but it’s not difficult for an org to get into a state that truly is painful for users. Does your org have any of the following?
- Overly cluttered page layouts
- Unused fields or fields that are only needed in certain situations
- Having to look in multiple records across multiple objects to get a picture of an account
- Extra clicks which could be reduced
- Search layouts that haven’t been updated in years
- Gaps in automation or interoperability, just because it would take Flow or Apex
If you answered yes to any of these, you are causing your users pain. They may not even be telling you about it, but if they have to deal with one of the above on an even semi-regular basis, they’re cringing just as often. In my experience, if they’re not bringing their issues to you directly, they are almost assuredly complaining to someone. All of this is undoubtedly undesirable.
I know it seems difficult, but you’ll find it invaluable to set aside a little bit of time every so often. Make a weekly task of going and cleaning up one page layout with the stakeholder’s help. Compile a list of click-consolidations you can perform, one by one, as you have an extra bit of time come up. Attach the creation of new Record Types onto another project on the same object, just to get it through the door. Make little inroads, bit by bit, and you can’t lose.
5. Get Comfortable Asking for Money
So we want to improve the UX, but that can be quite daunting. Salesforce has a relatively strict way of arranging the UI and UX, and while many improvements would be insane even with Visualforce and Apex, some are downright doable, if you have the right tools. And by the right tools, I mean tools not found in Salesforce. This means going outside of Salesforce itself, and into the savage lands of the AppExchange.
There are some free tools out there which can be indispensable, but to be honest, most of the good ones will cost money. This means getting funds approved from the right people, which can be difficult if you’re not sure how to approach it.
The thing to keep in mind is that UX is, in and of itself, an investment that shows financial returns. The generally-held wisdom in the industry is that every dollar spent on UX design yields a return of at least $2, which is a practically- guaranteed 100% ROI, so long as the improvements are sound and valid. Free money! As in beer!
Plus, if you think a tool is really a sound investment but anticipate trouble getting the funds, work with the company that maintains the tool. Often, they’ll already have documentation and numbers to back up the value of their tools, so it’s just a matter of asking and passing it on.
Above all, be confident when you go in for that ask. If you go into a meeting believing that you’ll be turned down, it’s pretty likely that your expectations will be met. For that matter, people in leadership positions often have a personality type that responds well to confidence, so keep your head up and make it sound like it’s the best thing since sliced custom objects.
If you’re looking for some great tools to improve your users’ experience, here are some of my personal favorites and suggestions:
- GridBuddy (C’mon, did you expect to not get some mention of it here?) - In all seriousness, a great tool for displaying and editing multiple records across multiple objects from a single page or page chunk
- TaskRay - An indispensable way of organizing projects, and ultimately a better way of dealing out tasks
- Rollup Helper - Get rolled up data from non-Master-Detail relationships to fill in those data and reporting gaps
- Inline Account Hierarchy - A free tool that brings your Account Hierarchy onto your account page, instant Sales team happiness
The bottom line is that data quality is an attainable goal, but it does take that small amount of commitment beyond just setting up automated tools. If you follow these 5 additional tenets (don’t forget the ones we did in our previous post), your users will love you, and your executives will love the data you give them. This what I call good ROTI - Return On Time Investment - and we as admins can all get behind that.