Interview: I’m An Admin Who Devs with Bill Martinez

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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re with Bill Martinez, CRM Manager at 2U and co-leader of the NYC Developer User Group to find out what it’s like to be an Admin with a developer background.

Join us as we talk about what it’s like to be an Admin who develops, how to own your Admin persona, and the key to effective project planning.

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

From pseudo-code to Apex.

Bill had a rather unusual dream when he was younger, he wanted to be a CIO: “I knew that technology was in my DNA, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m here today.” It’s a little far off from Superman, and it all started with a programmable calculator. “I had a TI-92 in high school,” Bill says, “that taught me how to program in pseudo-code languages, and that’s when I knew I wanted to spend a lifetime in technology.”

Calculators, however, are still a far cry from Salesforce. Bill was working on another CRM system that they knew they wanted to replace. He knew the business challenges that the Org had, including permission splits and marketing automation needs at integration points. “I grilled the Salesforce rep on projects that I knew took me one to three months, and to my surprise, he was able to configure them in Salesforce in real time,” Bill says.

Understanding the power of Salesforce.

Moving over with six years of experience on another CRM, Bill thought that Salesforce would be relatively easy to learn, “Boy, did I learn,” he says, “not so much because it was complicated but because it was so feature-rich.” The Marketing and Sales features that they had previously built in-house were now much easier for Bill to build on his own, and the flexibility was astonishing.

Bill’s company started with an outside consultant to help with configuration, “they did a combination of point and click configuration as well as some custom code, to the point where when I originally took the Salesforce Admin exam I failed it because we had so much customization in our Org,” he says. “I learned the application because I was hungry for it,” Bill says, “I was the senior administrator and I wanted to prove to my boss that I could be the go-to technology guy.”

Bill went to the official Salesforce training, while at the same time he was working the project with business analysts, the Salesforce architect, and the project manager, AND he was responsible for doing data loads, migrating the data from the legacy system. “That’s where I really understood the power of Salesforce,” Bill says, “as the different Sales or Service Organizations needed customizations done we were able to do that on the fly.”

Coming up with a development plan.

“When you’re doing business requirements,” Bill says, “the business often doesn’t understand where an Admin ends and where a Developer starts.” It’s important to remember that most people wear multiple hats at the same time. That’s doubly important when you’re creating business requirements.

“I always lean towards point-and-click configuration— you want to keep your application as simple as possible,” Bill says. You want to have a good conversation with your business area about what feature sets they need so you can have a clear picture of what they’re trying to do. “When I look at enhancements, I look to see whether it brings revenue to the organization, or if we can save money through process improvement.”

Trailhead

  • Diving into Apex Development from Rachel Watson – https://trailhead.salesforce.com/users/005500000060WkUAAU/trailmixes/diving-into-apex-development

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