Community Member Spotlight: Marshall King on the power of collaborating and paying it forward
Some people don’t just utilize the online communities they engage in; they also help those communities thrive. The FinancialForce Community is blessed to have a great group of customers who do just that, and Marshall King, Senior Vice President of IT Solutions at JLL is the perfect model. We chatted with Marshall recently about what makes communities so important as well as the power of knowledge sharing and collaboration.
Hi Marshall! Tell us a little about yourself.
Marshall: I’ve lived most of my life in the Dallas, Texas area except for my college years. I’m married and have a 19-year-old daughter and four dogs.
My main hobbies are running and swimming. I’ve completed 30 ultra marathons (from 50K to 100 miles), several Alcatraz swims, and other long-distance swim events, most recently participating in Swim Across America, a fundraising event for cancer research. I’m also on the board of directors of Homeless Nexus, a nonprofit that provides material assistance (hygiene supplies, food, beverages, clothing, tents, bags, blankets, etc.) to individuals living unsheltered on the streets of Dallas. I’m actually in the process of implementing the Salesforce.org Non-Profit Starter Pack for us at Homeless Nexus.
Tell us about JLL and your role there.
Marshall: JLL is a global, Fortune 500 company with over 70,000 employees. We excel at providing industry-leading professional services and investment services focused on commercial and corporate real estate.
I work specifically for JLL Technology Solutions. We were acquired by JLL two years ago for our expertise in workplace management and real estate technology and consulting, and we are a professional services team that implements technology solutions for corporate real estate.
My role is to select, manage, and administer the tools we use to service our customers. Before we were acquired, my department was called “Tools and Enablement,” and that name is perfectly suited to what we do: we find the tools we need to excel at service delivery. My team and I manage Salesforce, Pardot, FinancialForce, Jama, JIRA, and Box, along with a few other smaller cloud-based tools. We are proud that all of our tools are in the cloud.
Which FinancialForce products do you use and what benefits do you see from them?
Marshall: We use FinancialForce Professional Services Automation (PSA), Accounting, and Revenue Recognition. It’s not an exaggeration to say that FinancialForce, particularly PSA, is the foundation of our business model. It is critical for us to manage our resources and our project financials, and PSA gives us critical insight into employee availability, project performance, and lots of key metrics that we use daily to run the business. We also rely heavily on the streamlined invoice process. We typically have 1,000 active projects and invoice them monthly with only five resources, which is a significant volume for such a small team.
How important would you say communities are in terms of helping product users become successful?
Marshall: A few of the benefits of being in the cloud are speed, flexibility, and agility. But as more and more complex systems are migrated to the cloud you can lose these benefits if you don’t know how to use the tools. The community serves as an always-on, always-available user group with a vast wealth of knowledge and experience. I think a knowledgeable, vibrant community preserves the power of the cloud and keeps your systems from becoming stale, inflexible, and unable to evolve.
Are you a member of any communities other than the FinancialForce Community?
Marshall: I’m a member of the Salesforce Trailblazer Community and the Salesforce Power of US Hub, focused on education and nonprofit users. I also leverage communities for JIRA, Jama, and Box although I’m not as active myself in those like I am with FinancialForce and Salesforce.
How often would you say that you visit the FinancialForce Community?
Marshall: I am notified of every post in the PSA group, Accounting group, and several others, so I read posts every day throughout the day. I probably visit the community directly every few days to respond to a post or see other people’s replies.
What compels you to contribute?
Marshall: Since we’ve been a FinancialForce customer for over five years I feel that we have a lot of experiences we can share with new users to make their journey easier. We had a lot of help when we got started so it’s just a way to pay it back. Also, my background is in consulting and business analysis, so I naturally want to know what business challenges and use cases people are trying to address. It makes me better at my job, and I always learn something when I contribute, either from the original poster or from the other replies. There are a ton of really smart FinancialForce users and I love to learn from them.
What would you say is the most valuable part of being a member of our Community?
Marshall: Learning from other users and building relationships. We love to get a peek at other organizations’ and teams’ use of the applications. And now with Lightning, it’s amazing to see all the different ways people are leveraging the power of Lightning. We’ve had numerous opportunities to meet virtually with other community members to show them how we’ve solved specific problems and compare it to their approach. It’s a great opportunity for collaboration.
Which area would you say you use the most?
Marshall: Definitely the discussions. There’s so much to learn from other users.
Can you give us an example of the kind of value you’ve received from our Community?
Marshall: Community member Steve Andersen from Exponent Partners asked the community for customers using Lightning. There were several responses and Steve scheduled a show-and-tell session where we could share our experiences and ask questions. Steve had done some awesome Lightning configurations with instructions and helpful links right on the page layout; we loved that idea and immediately put it to use and continue to leverage this concept throughout our org.
What tips do you have for newer members—or people not yet engaged there—to get the most out of the FinancialForce Community?
Marshall: Join the groups, post in the groups, and set up your notifications so you are notified of every post. You won’t get too many emails and it will ensure you don’t miss any important posts. You would be surprised how many people probably have the same questions as you, and it will open your mind to a world of possibilities when you learn the creative ways other users have addressed their challenges.
Learn more about JLL and how they are driving business unlimited with FinancialForce here. And thanks for reading!