Interview: How Maggie Jolitz Manages Inheriting Orgs

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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’ve got Maggie Jolitz, Director of Operations Services at NPI and AppExchange superstar, who will tell us all about her experience with inheriting Salesforce orgs and how to make them successful.

Join us as we talk about what she’s learned over her career about how to deal with inheriting orgs, including how to compare options when choosing between solutions, the power of the AppExchange, the strength of online resources to help solve problems.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Maggie Jolitz.

Why Salesforce is for builders.

In 2004, Maggie was working for a family-owned owned business who wanted to shift to a startup. They brought a marketer in who recommended Salesforce, “I didn’t know anything about Salesforce at the time but I went online and I saw that they had an event in Orange County, California and I lived in Kansas City at the time and thought, ‘Wow, you know what? Who doesn’t want to go to Orange County, California?” When she went to the event, there was everything from keynotes to breakout sessions and birds-of-a-feather tables for people working in similar departments.

“Everybody was really enthused and was offering lots of amazing suggestions, it just seemed like it was a creative tool,” Maggie said. After that, she dove in and started building stuff, implementing solutions for Support and Sales and creating custom objects to help with implementation. She got involved with the AppExchange in 2006 and had a ton of “Ah-ha” moments: “there’s so many different ways to solve a problem in Salesforce.” She moved on to a Salesforce consulting partner where she put up 27 different orgs over the course of 2 years, and then kept working with more startups and building her career.

First steps for inheriting an org.

“What most companies who implement Salesforce don’t realize is that you really need a Salesforce evangelist guru on your staff so you get the full ROI out of it,” Maggie says. “When I inherit orgs, I find that they somehow forgot to download the best-practice implementation guides,” she explains, because even though Salesforce is a powerful and customizable tool, “if you don’t put it together in the right then when you get to the end to try to do analytics or reports you realize all the mistakes you made.”

The first thing Maggie does when she starts with an org is to go the AppExchange and download the basic things she needs to understand what’s going on. Some questions she asks: “What are the differences in the Profiles we have? What are the fields that we’re using (and that we’re not using)? What do the best practices dashboards look like and how can I use them to show leadership what works?” Basically, get the AppExchange tools for Admins into your org and start using them, including Field Trip, Profile Comparator, and Metadata Search. “If you’re inheriting an org, you don’t know the history of what’s been done,” Maggie says, “so having the right tools available to you is priority number one.”

The importance of communication in implementation.

“When I start the first thing I do is build some way for my users to reach out to me,” Maggie says, to open up channels for feedback. She says to her users, “this is where you tell me the things you hate about Salesforce and the things you love about Salesforce and any ideas you might have.” This helps her figure out how to prioritize and categorize her work.

The next step is to hit the whiteboard: “I divide the whiteboard by division of the company and I start cataloging what the system does,” Maggie says, which helps her get a big-picture idea of what’s going on.

Keep focused on the right questions to get the best answers.

While Salesforce’s flexibility is a major strength, but how do you decide what to use to implement a solution? For Maggie, it’s about relying on the strength of that amazing Salesforce community to find out what other people have done and what works. At the same time, she’s always asking herself, “How can I make this simple? Because, at the end of the day, I have to manage it.”

The other key is to know what you want to measure when you’re getting started. Ask that question, “What’s the business problem we’re trying to solve?” It’s easy to get excited about how easy it is to get in there and do stuff, but you need a broader perspective. “I find out who my power users are, I find out who my naysayers are, and I actually bring those two types of people together in a focus group. I want them to feel like they’re a part of this; like this is their tool for them and I’m just the facilitator who will put it in their hands.”

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