Best of Dreamforce: AppExchange Strategies for Business Analysts with Keizra Tyson-Griffin

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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Keizra Tyson-Griffin, Salesforce Business Analyst at Esor Consulting Group and a soon-to-be Dreamforce presenter. Join us as we talk about her Dreamforce presentation about evaluating AppExchange apps as a Salesforce Business Analyst.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Keizra Tyson-Griffin.

Best of Dreamforce

With Dreamforce happening this month, we wanted to take a moment to bring some of that content directly to your ears. We know not everyone can make it and, even if you can, you might not be able to catch everything. So we’re bringing on the best speakers from the Admin Track to tell you what they’ve been cooking up.

There’s a first time for everything

It’s not only Keizra’s first time presenting at Dreamforce, it’ll be her first time attending as well—talk about jumping straight into the deep end. Her presentation will cover AppExchange strategies for Salesforce Business Analysts, and we wanted to bring her on the pod to give you a sneak preview of what she’s going to cover.

“I kept coming across clients who wanted to add an application to their org but there were tons of questions around [it] and they didn’t really understand how best to identify the best app for their org,” Keizra says. Instead of being distracted by bells and whistles, the key is to focus on your goals for your business and how an app can make them possible. Is a new app really aligned with your core business objectives, or does it just make you feel cool?

The questions you need to ask about a new app

The most important thing you can do to start is to talk to your key stakeholders to understand where you are now and where you’re trying to go. You want to find out how each department would use a potential new app in their day-to-day activities. Most importantly, you need to know where each department is now and where they’d like to be in the future. Are there any other technologies that your potential app needs to integrate with? Will this app grow with your business or will you need to do something different in a year or two?

We also pick Keirzra’s brain about how she came to be a business analyst and what skills you need to get started in that career. “One of the excellent things about being a Salesforce Business Analyst is that you can pull from other careers that you’ve had,” she says, “if you’re an inquisitive person and you like understanding how things work and why, these are absolutely skills you can pull into your career.” 

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I’m your host today Gillian Bruce, and I am joined by an amazing brand new Dreamforce presenter, Keizra Tyson-Griffin. Now she has an amazing presentation about evaluating AppExchange apps as a Salesforce business analyst, which is useful for every single Salesforce admin out there. She’s the first of a series that we’re going to be doing where I’m calling the best of Dreamforce. So we’re bringing some of the top presentations from the admin track both in the admin theater and breakout sessions to you listeners on the podcast. Because I fully realized that even if you’re going to make it to Dreamforce, you’re probably not going to make it to every single admin track session. If you do, I don’t know how you’re going to do it because that means you got to clone yourself and be in three places at the same time.

So I have been partnering with Jennifer Lee, who’s owning the admin track this year and we have got some amazing presenters who are going to join us on the podcast and deliver right to you the presentations that they are sharing with attendees at Dreamforce. So without further ado, let’s welcome Keizra to the podcast. Keizra, welcome to the podcast.

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: Hi, Gillian. Thank you so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I am very happy that you are here because not only are we getting ready for Dreamforce here, everyone, whether you’re joining virtually or in person, but this is also the first time that I’ve gotten to meet you because this is not only your first Dreamforce, but your first time presenting at Dreamforce, correct?

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: It is.

Gillian Bruce: Well, so that’s really exciting and also a really big deal. Can you tell us a little bit about what you are putting together to share at Dreamforce?

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: Yes. So at Dreamforce this year, I’ll be speaking on AppExchange strategies for Salesforce business analysts.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you said a few things that I know all admins care about right there in the title of that. So let’s talk a little bit about kind of where you’re coming from to talk about this. So can you introduce yourself a little bit to the listeners about who you are, what you do in the ecosystem and why this is a topic that you’ve chosen to focus on?

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: So my name again is Keizra Tyson-Griffin. I am a Salesforce business analyst at Esor Consulting Group, which is a bit wise company, and I’ve been a business analyst for a little over a year now. And the reason I selected this topic is because it absolutely matters. So I kept coming across clients who wanted to add an application to their org, but there were tons of questions they had around that application that they wanted to add and not really understanding how best to identify the right app for their org. Sometimes being distracted by shiny objects or all the bells and whistles and not really taking a good look at these are the goals for my business and these are the goals for my org, not only short term but long term. I mean just really trying to help them navigate that.

Gillian Bruce: I think that is such an important topic because as you said, you’re getting distracted by shiny objects. I mean, we all do it. And a lot of times when you’re looking at AppExchange, there are so many options out there and there are so many things that you’re like, I want that because that looks like it’s going to give me this and it’s going to give me that. But it sounds like you’re really kind of helping folks understand more about the why and how these things might fit in and you talked about kind of aligning to business goals. So can you talk to us a little bit more about breaking that down and how you come out, let’s say, Hey, I want to find an app that helps me automate a certain part of my business. There’s three different options out there. So how would you go about evaluating that and deciding which direction to go?

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: So one of the things I’ll be talking about in my presentation is the discovery aspect of talking to those key stakeholders, and just really getting a sense of how each department will be using that app in their day to day, what their current state is versus their desired state, and then getting an understanding of the business goals, right? Where are we today? Where do we want to be short term? Where do we want to be in the long term?
And then also taking into consideration some of the other technologies, platforms and applications that they’re using or integrating with their Salesforce org and how those applications might play with something that you’re looking to implement from the AppExchange. And so just getting an understanding of those needs and those requirements, and then doing the research in the AppExchange based on what the client or the end-user has stated that they need, what applications actually meet those requirements that exist on the AppExchange today.

Gillian Bruce: All right. So I’m hearing a lot of probably the wheels turning that a lot of admins go through like, great, so I have this business unit that wants to use this specific AppExchange idea. I have this business unit who uses something that’s kind of over here, but maybe similar, but maybe also have a different goal. How do you negotiate kind of working those issues out maybe with some competing interests within the same organization?

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: One of the things with a client that I worked with specifically is that they had to go through procurement to really vet that technology because they have a good understanding of what they’ve already purchased and what the purpose of those purchases were. And so they’ll be able to help identify whether or not this application or these applications that you’re recommending will actually work with what the organization is doing as a whole.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Now I know here you are in the business analysis space now being a business analyst is something we’ve talked a lot about especially when we talk about. It’s one of the top skills from our Salesforce admin skills kit is the idea of being able to do business analysis as a Salesforce administrator. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you have kind of developed and honed that skill so that other people might be able to follow your footsteps?

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: So Tony V Martin has been on this show before. So I’ve learned a lot from her. Also, Tiffany Spencer, I’ve learned a lot from her as well. And then just one of the excellent things about being a Salesforce business analyst is that you can actually pull from other careers that you’ve had. If you are just a very inquisitive person and you like understanding how things work or understanding why people make the decisions that they make, these are absolutely skills that you can pull into your career as a business analyst. I think that you just have to have a natural curiosity about why people do the things that they do, why organizations are structured the way that they’re structured and work the way that they work.

But then a more tactical thing that I would implement is documenting. Having a good understanding of what the client is giving you and then capturing that, whether it’s in audio or video form, or just writing it out, really capturing that information that they’re providing to you because then you can go back to that and then pull from that when you’re making your decisions or when you want to refine those requirements and say, Hey, you said this, am I understanding this correctly? Or you said this, but it sparked my interest or curiosity in another way. So let me ask you this set of questions so that you can get that holistic picture.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you touched on a few things there. I mean, the idea of being curious and just asking questions, I think is something I found in every single, truly awesome admin that we’ve talked to, that I’ve met, is that it’s so important because you actually have to want to know and learn things, right? [inaudible] to fake curiosity. And then the other thing you mentioned was the idea is you can bring this kind of business analysis skillset from previous roles and previous experiences. Can you maybe dive a little deeper on that? What kind of experiences were you maybe able to bring over from other industries or whatever other things that you’ve done and then transfer that skillset into really kind of this business analysis ability within the Salesforce context?

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: So my first job out of college actually I was a contracts negotiator for an aerospace and defense company. And so I was very heavily involved in proposal writing and working with different departments to pull that proposal together, get it back to the client for them to then look at it and then actually going through the different clauses and negotiating those clauses. And so I kind of tie that into going to the client and finding out what their needs are and then looking at those requirements and documenting what their needs are, what their future goals are, creating those user stories for them to make sure that we’re actually building what it is that they desire to be built.

Then I also have a background in marketing. I have my master’s degree in marketing. And so I’m very curious about the way consumers think. And so when Salesforce as a platform takes that 360 degree customer view, that really plays into what I do as a BA and understanding those short term long term goals, what the business is trying to accomplish overall, and how that could potentially feed into their different departments within the organization.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that’s awesome. I mean, I love from looking and evaluating clauses of very complex contracts, which also by the way you said aerospace engineering was the…

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: Aerospace and defense.

Gillian Bruce: Aerospace and defense. That’s pretty cool. And also I imagine super complex. And then at face value, you probably are like, how does that relate to Salesforce? But the way you just broke that down was really clear. And I think a lot of people that I talked to that are maybe struggling to figure out how do I transition from this at face value industry that has nothing to do with tech or Salesforce into Salesforce. I think the story you just told, made it really clear of a path to do that.

And then the other thing, your marketing experience, again, a lot of people probably don’t immediately think like, I’m a marketer. So I’m going to be working in the Salesforce space. I mean, I’m a marketer in Salesforce in Salesforce, but I don’t have a marketing degree. So I think it’s really interesting how you explain those perspectives help you really become a great BA. I think that’s really great. So thank you for sharing that.

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: No problem. I think a lot of people can get caught up in the technical aspect of it. And what I mean is as a contracts person, this is what I do. Or as a marketing person, I focus specifically on content. Well, a marketing person can focus on the customer journey. They can focus on the analytics and understanding what the analytics say to then inform business decisions. And so it’s important to take a look at the whole and then be able to see the different paths that can come out of that whole.

Gillian Bruce: A hundred percent. Very well said. And look at you even bringing in some of the Salesforce corporate platform right there. Thank you Keizra. You’re making me look good. So before we get towards the latter part of our conversation, I just want to talk about the fact that this is your first time going to Dreamforce and you’re presenting at Dreamforce. How are you feeling about that?

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: So I am excited and nervous at the same time. I’m excited to just be able to go there and meet all the people that I’m going to meet that exist in the ecosystem today and have really built their careers in the ecosystem. And there’s something to be said to you about people that have been going for 13, 15, the full 20 years, right? And then nervous because I submitted my topic and I was like, I’ll submit, this is my first time, I probably won’t get selected. And then I was selected. And so it’s exciting but I’m also nervous.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you it’s totally okay to be nervous, but I promise that we’ve got you and you’re going to do an amazing job.

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: Yes. Everyone’s been wonderful so far.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that’s good. You’ll really get to experience the online Trailblazer community love in person…

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: … which will be really fine. Hey listeners, if there’s anyone listening to this episode that is also going to be going to Dreamforce for your first time, make sure that you meet up with Keizra because Hey, you’ve got another first timer to connect with.

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: So, Keizra, before we totally wrap, I just wanted to give you an opportunity. So I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are listening in the pod that aren’t going to be able to come to Dreamforce, which is totally normal. It is a big deal to try and come to Dreamforce. What do you want to share with those folks? So maybe top takeaways that the in person people are going to get from your presentation that maybe the listeners can get right now.

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: So I would say when you are evaluating an app on the AppExchange to make sure that not only it meets the requirements that your end-users have laid out for you, but that also it’s an application that is supported in terms of is this email support, chat support. Can you pick up the phone and call someone if you have any issues, when you integrate that you are able to test in a sandbox environment, you obviously don’t want to test in production.

Gillian Bruce: No.

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: And that it’s an application that’s really going to grow with the business, right?. You don’t want to integrate something that just isn’t going to work for them in a year, two years down the line and you’re back at square one. I would also say that you need to make sure that you review the system requirements of the application. And so for example, you’ll want to make sure that your client has the appropriate Salesforce edition. You don’t want to recommend an application for them that is not supported by the addition of Salesforce that they currently have.

And then I would say something that’s key is that you want to make sure that you think about who is going to be responsible for maintaining that solution post implementation and how secure that application is. So Salesforce has its own set of security requirements for native applications. But if this is a third party application, there are going to be some other security concerns there. So you want to make sure that you keep that in mind.

Gillian Bruce: Great takeaways. Keizra, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast.

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: Thank you so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce: It’s been great to get to know you a little. And I am very much looking forward to seeing you at Dreamforce. And I’m also very much looking forward to seeing your presentation and I’m sure lots of people are now going to want to connect with you and get more of Keizra. So be prepared.

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: Thank you so much, Gillian, for having me. I’m really looking forward to hearing the episode and then again, attending Dreamforce and presenting on this topic.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Well, I’ll see you soon and I’m sure we’ll have you back on the podcast in the future as well.

Keizra Tyson-Gr…: Awesome. I’m looking forward to it.

Gillian Bruce: Well, thank you so much, Keizra, for joining us on the podcast and taking time out of your busy Dreamforce prep to share some of your incredible insights and knowledge and your Dreamforce content to us on the podcast. Now, if you want to learn anything more about what we talked about today, especially if you want to learn anything more about being a great business analyst, make sure you check out admin.salesforce.com there’s a whole section of the admin skills kit dedicated to business analysis. I’ll also put some good links in the show notes for Trailhead content that’ll help you with your business analysis skills and then some good AppExchange resources as well. And I hope that you all want to connect with Keizra who first time Dreamforce attendee, first time Dreamforce presenter. Obviously she’s got a lot of great knowledge to share with the Trailblazer community. So connect with her. She’s on Twitter @keizramakeba that’s k-e-i-r-a-m-a-k-e-b-a. Again, we’ll put the link in the show notes. You can find myself @gilliankbruce and you can find our other co-host Mike Gerholdt, @MikeGerholdt. And as always you can join all the awesome admin greatness online @SalesforceAdmns. No-i.

Now if you’re coming to Dreamforce, I want to really remind you to check out all those great sessions that are already listed on the Dreamforce site. If you’re not physically coming to Dreamforce, don’t [inaudible]. We’re going to have great content streaming to you on Salesforce plus. So there’s going to be a lot of admin stuff on there. There’s also going to be some great content available on demand after Dreamforce. So hope you have a great day. Thanks for listening this episode and I’ll catch you next time in the cloud.

 

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