B2C Solution Architect

B2C Solution Architect, the latest addition to the growing list of Salesforce certification you can achieve. Exam which is demanding, it will take probably a long time before you can really use it on some project, not many people will probably reach it but it gives you a lot of food for thoughts.

Salesforce Ben wrote about it a while ago, but I would say he didn’t really say all about it.

First of all, it has some prerequisites:

  • Platform App Builder
  • Marketing Cloud Email Specialist
  • Integration Architecture Designer

Frankly, I’m not sure why Email Specialist is on the list as I would say it won’t bring you any knowledge you need to have. Marketing Cloud Consultant is more appropriate I would say. But besides these you also need to know about Heroku, Shield, Social Studio, Audience Builder or Community Experience Cloud. It even tests your knowledge about Order Management System, which will be GA in February 2020.

How to learn is the second important question. Trailhead has a lot of B2C modules, just a minimum of them will be of any use. The exam has a dedicated trail, which is way more useful. But the real gold is in the Partner Academy, where only partners have access. That course will bring you even more details in some areas and is short in others, but overall really worth to spend those roughly 40 hours it requires.

What are my main takeaways?

  • in cross-cloud implementations the unique identifier should come from Service Cloud and be used across clouds;
  • leads mean complications for Marketing Cloud, as the ID will change;
  • Customer 360 Data Manager to the rescue, I mean get to know your ultimate „human“ behind multiple different contacts, but don’t be surprised with limitation;
  • probably the first exam, where „that would be nice“ approach doesn’t work and they are not afraid about their limits – no API integration with Customer 360 (it would be super cool in a lot of scenarios), no native integration of Marketing Cloud and Customer 360, max 50 million unique source records in Customer 360, Customer 360 Data Manager is good for linking human based on „traditional“ identifier (phone, email), if you want to link Twitter/Facebook and other digital identities use DMP or Social Studio, B2C Service Cloud Connector is not supported by support, not production ready and only supports person accounts, the list goes on.

Leads in Sales Cloud and Service Cloud help with contact record data quality, but they can damage the data quality in cross-cloud implementations.

With multi-clouds there is also a question of system of record and sync of data, the recommendation here is to sync as little as possible and make real time call-outs to get the latest data/update them.

Multi-cloud architecture

I just loved the following picture, which you will see hundred times during the course and which I try to explain to every customer. It is always super hard, because they feel they should want the best possible and don’t want to admit they are not ready for it.

Evolutionary Process

For every use-cases in the training they will describe those 4 phases and how can you improve step by step, some of them looks like something super simple, but obviously there are clients for which even the most simple scenario will be hard. So ordering on behalf of customer should start with anonymous shopper, continue with authenticated, then you can include assisted shopping and other things.

Or another great example – BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store). Sounds easy at the beginning, right? But are you sure your inventory is up-to-date? What about flash sale, will the store be able to deduct the numbers quickly enough? Have you thought about allowing customers to book their pick-up time? Will it have impact for you, because one customer bought quickly but will pick-up later, after another delivery, so you could sell more. What about curb pick-up, when you will deliver the goods directly to the trunk of parked car – do you have enough shop assistant to do that? Can you cooperate with the parking to maybe enter the order number when entering and guiding customer to specific parking place? All in all – you can make it super complex, but the customer might not be ready for that.

The final step is to give Lorene „superpowers,“ which will enable her to not only fully service her customers, but to also deliver relevant recommendations, apply discounts, and so on. The scenario above is not easy to implement. What’s happening behind the scenes is complex. It takes a deep understanding of the two products involved — B2C Commerce and Service Cloud — and how to integrate those products.

“What do we want to show each person?” vs “What does each person want to see?”

The training is surprisingly practical, I still remember my Service Cloud certification and how I struggled with the best practices, here you have it all. Including parts which you might consider as project management, but that’s part of the architect life as well.

Einstein everywhere. You know that, I know that, still surprise me how powerful it can be. And also how much you need to think about how to utilise it and which one.

There is Einstein Recommendation in B2C Cloud, which makes sense for the product details and search, as people really appreciate if the search „knows“ them and provide relevant products. And I’ve been surprised how many strategies for product recommendation there is:

  • Customer recently viewed items
  • Customers who bought also bought
  • Customers who viewed also viewed
  • Customers who viewed ultimately bought
  • Product Affinity Algorithm
  • Real-Time Personalized Recommendations
  • Recent Most-Viewed Products
  • Recent Top-Selling Products

But there is also Einstein Recommendation in Marketing Cloud which you should use when sending emails, but not on product pages. It is totally ok if the recommendations are different, as long as they recommend similar types of products.

Be sure to add suppression when implementing behavioral triggers. For instance, if a shopper has purchased a product in the past „X“ days, they’ll be categorized as ineligible. This ensures the user isn’t overwhelmed with marketing material.

Abandoned basket is process you probably heard about, nothing hard, right? But even that things can be complex and I would say is implemented in surprising way – B2C has MC collect.js on the page, which reports all the products you see/add to your basket and MC behavioral triggers will decided when and what to send. Surprisingly the process should not stop with the email, but when the user click on the link in the email, the shop should pre-populated the basket with all the things which were there and report back, when customer bought it, so you have correct KPIs.

Show me any shop which does it, I mean almost no-one is using this technique (abandoned cart), even less have it than complex.

Abandoned cart schema

Books and links

A lot of additional great resources mentioned along the course, which are worth getting deeper:

Should you take it?

Well, it depends, see what other think:

  • B2C solution architect to me reads like the pre-sales Solution Architect at consulting firms, high level knowledge of basic things, absolutely useless when you get into the weeds;
  • I was just like nope, I can and have designed and built fully integrated and operational b2c solutions for my clients that do not involve Marketing Cloud and Mulesoft. They do not come into any decision making;
  • Cross cloud is the direction everything is moving in. This is to the solution engineer point. Being able to paint that vision of filling in top of the funnel with leads, push MQL to salesforce to be qualified by sales. It’s understanding the whole life cycle and how everything is connected;
  • Solution architecture is not product specific but is a mindset in building a scalable solution per customer requirements and does not do the certification justice if this is the route they want to go;
  • It would help to grow an area that Salesforce wants to, and is a mess while making visible other architect career paths. I don’t see it as a logical path to CTA at this time, but another option;
  • There is definitely a weak spot when it comes to the multi-cloud/platform implementation side of things. With each of these acquisitions needing their own unique resources and time tables to get right.

It took me a while, but I made it. And must say that this certification feels like a really fun, I learnt a lot, probably the most from all certifications I got.

Salesforce Certified B2C Solution Architect
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Time Warp vs Timeline

There are two great component on AppExchange. Timeline has been around for a while, Time Warp is pretty new. Both of the has been published under the Salesforce Labs account, meaning they have been developed by Salesforce people, went through standard security process and provided for free to customers.

What they do? They visualise how all the records follow after each other. You know, by default we are used to those related lists, when we speak about contact you can see all those campaign they have been part of, at different related list all the opportunities, completely separated are activities, meaning emails, tasks, phone calls. And when you want to see what followed what you are pretty lost and that’s exactly what these two (and probably plenty others) components solve for you, each of them in a bit different way.

Timeline

This component is a bit older, you can find documentation and even future roadmap and it can basically replace the standard Activities component we are used to see on the right handside.

Timeline

You can filter by object and you can specify the time frame when viewing on record.

What I really like is the configuration. It is like a wizard, where you select the parent object and then can add multiple (probably unlimited) number of related record, for each of them you need to select the title and date field and can add additional fields, which are visible when you „expand“ the record. Plus you can add a filter if you want to see just subset of those documents. You can also create a multiple different configurations for the same parent object, but you cannot put the same child object into one configuration twice (even though there is no check during configuration but it will fail during runtime).

Time Warp

Time Warp has documentation as well, the main difference in configuration is, that it uses Custom Metadata Types, meaning it will transfer between sandboxes, but you need to specify it manually and there is no configuration wizard. The great part is, that it is preconfigured for the standard objects, so all you need to do is put it on the Lightning Page and you might be good to go.

It visualise the data differently – as the „real“ timeline where you can scroll left and right.

Time Warp

Again, you can filter on the component to see only some objects, you can make it smaller or higher, you can see „into the future“ as well. Sadly you cannot (as a user) zoom out to see more at the same time, but as an admin you can specify both the time range into history and future as well as the zoom range. Another drawback is, that you cannot filter records it shows, when you want to see just subset of records.

Which one?

I would say both of them might be beneficial for your implementation, go and check them. It looks they are both production ready, I tested on an instance with a few million records and there was do speed consequences on opening the record details.

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NPSP features & extensions

Nonprofit Success Pack:

was built for, and with, our community of over 47,000 nonprofits, with out-of-the-box capabilities and a relationship-first view of all the people in your universe. Free and open source, it turns the #1 CRM for businesses into a Constituent Relationship Management system for nonprofits.

In nutshell, this thing is a bunch of managed packages installed on top of standard Salesforce, which are specifically designed for non-profit needs and help them manage donors, fundraising and a few other things.

What always impress me is that it can do much more plus a lot of those things any company can find use for. Or put it the other way around – a lot of non-profits don’t really know what all it can do besides the basics. To iterate on that – not even the Nonprofit Cloud Consultant certification covers them.

Plus one more great thing – most of the things mentioned here are accessible in public repo under the BSD-3-Clause licence, which allows you to re-use it in your own development.

Households

One of the most obvious things in NPSP are households, which automatically creates a new account for any contact, but you can put multiple contacts under one household. No person accounts, no bucket account, but some logic behind.

When we do NGO implementations in Czech Republic, we speak about this feature every then and now, but surprisingly, at the end, rarely implement it. The reason behind is, that it is pretty hard to manage people when they get together (actually this part is doable) and when they separate (here is the really scare part). So it is better and cheaper to communicate with each donor separately rather then try to somehow manage it.

Relations

What is super awesome feature in all the „new“ clouds (read NPSP, EDU, Financial and Health) are relations between people. For some reason Sales Cloud only cares about linking people to companies, but relations between people are probably even more important and I’m still surprised not many companies want something like that.

Small but lovely detail is, that when you create a relation, it automatically create the relation from the other side and change its name accordingly (child vs parent, brother vs sister). And yes, this part is in the certification.

Relationships Viewer showing Contact Valencia Robledo connected to two additional Contacts.

Soft Credits

Another thing in which Czech non-profits are not interested. We are awesome in tracking hard credit (money they actually got), but they don’t care about who influenced it. Together with the relations this might be super powerful for seeing the right picture about my donors, at the same time put additional effort to get such info.

Recurring Donations

In every single org we have something we called „kočkopes“ (mix of cat and dog). Darujme, our biggest donation portal probably everyone uses, allows to track recurring donations. Integration done by CRM pro neziskovky, can get this info to Salesforce and organisations want to see that the donation was part of this regular payment.

Surprisingly so far I only saw handful of organisation who identify donors as regular donors and only one of them – over all those years – attributes donations paid on bank account correctly to appropriate category as well.

But probably none of them use it for any forecasting, how much money they have „guaranteed“ in a few months.

Multiple payment donations are kind of similar, I saw just one organisation handle this part in some way, but that was more about the related contract they need to generate for it.

Engagement Plans

This is something everyone should use and also something similar to what a lot of 3rd party tools do – manage tasks which need to happen when specific thing occur.

Manage Engagement Plan Tasks screen

Together with NPSP Levels, where you can define automatic transitions of donor’s statuses based on specified thresholds it can lead to better handle of repeated donors.

CampaignTools

This repo catch my attention just because of the name. Four years old, no description but it looks like something which can help you manage campaign members and filter them from other campaign. Something like Campaign Combiner – an app I found a long time ago, presented on NPSP Day in Amsterodam (my first entry into the community world) and which is not available on AppExchange anymore, but you can still find the page on its author website including a link to the repo.

Program Management Module (PMM)

Extra package you need to install if you want to use it. Quite often campaigns might be enough, but maybe you want to be more structured as your programs have services, cohorts, schedules, etc.

Program Management Module Entity Relationship Diagram

Hmm, maybe we can even use it for training and conferences?

Volunteers

Our typical solution for volunteers is a checkbox on contact, when the organisation is extra demanding we add a picklist with skills and maybe an extra object to track what works they provided, so we are able to report based on it.

This package from Salesforce provides something extra. It provides web page where volunteers can sign up, search engine, definition of jobs and shifts and reporting. From what I can see the only downside is that it counts with „regular“ volunteers, who can dedicated you a time on every Thursday, not that great when you look for people who might have 3 hours any day in a week.

A diagram showing the relationship between a Campaign, Volunteer Jobs, and Volunteer Shifts

Outbound Funds (OFM)

There is the minority of non-profit organisations who are on the „other“ side and provide grants for others.

Outbound Funds Module Entity Relationship Diagram

So if you want to allow people or organisation to request money from you this is the right package. Just list your program, let people request money from them, approve requests, monitor reimbursements and link it with GAU, where the money are allocated from donations. Great finish of the whole fundraising effort and you can see the flow of money from the beginning till the end.

As an addition to Outbound Funds you can also get Grant Management, which is a paid add-on with a few of extra features, most important of them probably being the grant portal/community.

Accounting Subledger

The latest addition – and a paid add-on – to the whole money thing, which should help to „translate“ the donations you enter into Salesforce into accounting system thus simplify the whole communication between fundraisers and accountants.

Well, that would be nice, from my experience those are two different worlds which needs to communicate and it leads to a lot of confusions on what should appear where and when.

Nonprofit Cloud Case Management

Another paid add-on which sits on top of Program Management Module and well … should simplify the case management. But after going through the Trailhead module you can see it is much more. Kind of lead management at the beginning, something similar to Engagement Plans, recording of the whole interaction inside specific program plus tons of sexy looking custom components.

The Case Management homepage

Also the data model might provide some clarity but I would say in this case the Trailhead is better as it gives you better idea how to use it. Worth additional 360$/user/year?

Case Management/PMM Entity Relationship Diagram

Elevate

This program is – sadly – not available in Europe, costs just 5000$/year and provide the important „beginning“ for the whole fundraising – ability to create Giving pages and process payments including recurring payments.

Some reporting, tight integration with Salesforce NPSP, yes, this looks super cool. I’m just curious how much costs extra transactions (as just 5000 is included in the price) but even though the price looks high it might be very well worth it, taking into account that banks usually take 1 – 2 % from transactions.

Community

This is not module, this is the whole ecosystem around. Non-profits have their own „success“ community called Power of Us Hub to discuss all the things (and there are some long terms plans to merge it with the normal Trailblazer Community.

The second great thing are community sprints, which anyone can join and help create something good, which will be later on shared with everyone. The next one will be at the beginning of February plus you can also monitor relevant repos with additional useful things (event app, short videos of features, data generation tool, membership management and much more.

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Nonprofit Dreamin conference

A while ago I wrote about Nonprofit Dreamin looking for speakers, now the agenda is live and I can see some great topics there:

  • communities are for everyone, maybe you can use them even for free (for unauthenticated users) and deliver solutions with clicks not code very quickly;
  • solo admins are topic on any Salesforce conference and it is always interesting for me to see what they struggle with and where they focus;
  • Agile. I mean every project now-a-days must be agile, right? But what it really takes and how to approach it?
  • Artificial Intelligence is here, how can non-profits use it?
  • mobile – is it time to go mobile (especially if it is already included in the licence) and what might be the use cases for your people?
  • roll-ups, key data fields and dashboards – something you probably doesn’t want at the beginning of the project, but you will get to the point when you appreciate such things, here you will get some ideas.

Overall I like the fact, that there are just 16 sessions (over two days/afternoons), all of them looks super practical or eye-opening.

So, if you didn’t register yet, go for it as soon as possible, to get your ticket.

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Hot, Filip Dřímalka

aneb Jak uspět v digitálním světě

Hot, Filip Dřímalka

Tahle kniha mě původně úplně minula, zahlédl jsem jenom „Hot“, podtitulu nevěnoval pozornost a říkal si, že to už jsem dost.

Jenže pak jsem ji dostal v balíčku se Stát se investorem a dal jí šanci. Dobře jsem udělal!

Hot totiž není nic o horkém zboží (vlastně možná ano), ale o lidech (Human), firmách (Organizations) a technologiích (Technology). Celá je prošpikovaná odkazy na zdroje (které jsou bohužel až na konci knihy a tak mě neskutečně ruší neustálé listování na konec) a tipy na nástroje, které by se vám mohly hodit. Kus z nich jsem znal, kus z nich nikoliv, všechny užitečné pro firmy i neziskovky všech velikostí (aneb když v CRM pro neziskovky budeme nabízet tu digitální transformaci, tak bychom je mohli také zmiňovat).

Když pošlete fotku svých dětí do rodinné skupiny v aplikaci WhatsApp, potěšíte tím své rodiče i prarodiče. A přesně v tom spočívá krása technologií – umožňují nám psát každý den desítky příběhů.

Aha! Třetí stránka knihy a přestože mám technologie rád, tohle je přesně argument, který jsme hledal pro ty, kteří s nimi nejsou kamarádi a raději je odloží na jindy. Ambiciózní digitální strategie a zaměstnanci pracujících na počítačích patřících do starého železa je další skvělý bod (tady si naštěstí nestěžuji).

Když jsme začínali s našimi kurzy, snažili jsme se lidem ukázat co největší škálu vychytávek a aplikací.

Jenže – jak jsem někde četl a jak píše i Filip – ono to není o množství, ale o důvodech proč to použít, praktických příkladech. Technologie vlastně vůbec není zajímavá, ale fakt, že svoji práci udělají lépe/rychleji/snadněji je to, co prodává. A pokud začnete přemýšlet, zda neexistuje aplikace na to, co řešíte, tak vám to celé klaplo dohromady.

Potěšila mě tabulka generačních rozdílů, skoro to vypadá, že jsem v generaci Z! A věděli jste, že existují digitální kompetence tvrdé a měkké a – to si zase asi doplňuji odjinud – super jsou lidé, kteří mají oboje (T-shape lidi).

Zaplaťte geekovi (člověk co rozumí technologiím), aby pár hodin seděl vedle vás a sledoval, jak pracujete.

Psaní – tohle říká každý (i Robert Vlach), naučte se psát všemi deseti, psaním trávíme až třetinu pracovní doby! A pořád mě překvapuje, že o rychlosti čtení nikdo nemluví, přitom mám pocit, že tím strávíme ještě víc času (alespoň podle toho jak krátké odpovědi píšu na ty dlouhé emaily). Lidi, čtením ušetříte ještě víc!

Dejte přednost eliminaci před automatizací. Když implementujeme Salesforce v neziskovkách (vlastně i v ziskovkách) tak všichni chtějí automatizovat. Ale ta myšlenka ty věci úplně zrušit. Sakra, to je věc. Akorát se to blbě prodává 🙁 S čímž asi souvisí i to, že musíte mít lidi, kteří se nebojí oponovat a přicházet s novými nápady. A „vyberte pět nejchytřejších a nejdrzejších lidi a dejte jim za úkol vaši firmu zničit“.

Digitální safari – oslovte zajímavé inovativní či technologické firmy a domluvte si u nich návštěvu a sdílení zkušeností. Kdysi jsme takhle v pwc měli digitální skauty a start-up days, akorát to podle mě nikam nevedlo, jenže se Salesforce user group vlastně něco takového dělám a je to super. Takže dělejte to taky!

Lidé jsou zavaleni novými a novými informacemi, ale přitom nemohou dohledat ty, které opravdu potřebují. Běžný informační pracovník tráví téměř 10 hodin týdně vytvářením textů či dokumentů a další 4 hodiny věnuje jejich vyhledávání, organizování či vyplňování.

To jsem si potřeboval přečíst přesně v situaci, kdy se snažím dát dohromady wiki a nechat lidi, aby tam doplňovali informace a pravidelně je aktualizovali, protože … protože Elements.Cloud pro ten projekt asi nepořídíme 🙁

Formuláře! Je zbytečné vyvíjet specializovanou aplikaci tam, kde jednoduchý formulář – třeba ten co umí Google Apps nebo nějaká jiná aplikace zdarma – úplně dostačí. A pokud vytvoříte QR kód, jehož naskenováním se mi formulář rovnou otevře a případně předvyplní, tak máte šťastné uživatele/zaměstnance/zákazníky a nestálo to vlastně nic.

„Jedním z nejčastějších problémů, na který noví zaměstnanci narážejí, je roztříštěnost informací.“ <- tohle mohu podepsat nejenom jako nový zaměstnanec, ale i jako ten starý, který nijak nepostřehl (nedal mu o tom nikdo vědět?), že některé věci už se používat nemusí a jiné naopak ano. Nejsem si jist, zda KuBa – chatbot, který si vytvořila Komerční banka – je to správné řešení nebo je lepší to situaci nějak zkonsolidovat, ale dávám jim za pravdu v tom, že to stojí za to udělat.

Kniha je prošpikovaná (to je vlastně asi přehnané, ale zmínek šikovných technologií je tam dost) odkazy na různé aplikace, nejvíc mě zaujala ale minit. Jednak prý umí spolupracovat se Salesforce (aha!) a podle logů si sama stvoří interaktivní mapu procesů, podle které vidíte jak jsou složité a jak dlouho ve skutečnosti trvají. Sakra, další věc na seznamu úkolů k prozkoumání.

A další – věděli jste, že O2 nabízí cestovní pojištění, které se automaticky aktivuje překročením hranic? Sakra to je pecka myšlenka. Alza a její automatické pojištění nákupu u České podnikatelské pojišťovny. Vykouknout z toho svého rybníčku, najít technologického partnera a nabídnout věci, u kterých platí, že 1 + 1 > 2.

Ta kniha je vlastně pecka na otevření očí a jsem moc rád, že jsem si ji přečetl. A závěr mohu zase zkopírovat přímo z ní -> „Na světě je k dispozici nespočet aplikací. Naučte se je hledat s pomocí těch správných portálů a služeb. Cílem všech nástrojů by mělo být zjednodušení práce, odstranění rutinních činností a zvýšení jak vaší spokojenosti, tak vašich kolegů.“

Koupíte u Jana Melvila a nebudete litovat.

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