Joe Thomas: Hello, and welcome to our session: Creating a Unified Digital Business: Best Practices from Technology Leaders.
We are super pleased to have so many of you on, and I still see that number ticking and trickling up. We have a 500-user maximum for our GoToMeeting, and almost twice that number registered. So, we hope we’re gonna be able to accommodate all of you. We are also recording this. So, if you do get missed or you want to share this with some of your co-workers, we will be able to push it out to you.
I’m Joe Thomas. I’m the Global Solutions Evangelist for Analytics at FinancialForce, but I’m the least important person on here as we will certainly see here in a second.
Before we begin, we just want to talk a little about customer centricity. To us, we see that as the core of what everyone is trying to do. After all, it’s customers that pay the bills, it’s customers that tell you what it is they want and need. It’s customers that are the reason that any of our companies exist.
We see four basic tenants around that customer centricity. Making and becoming more of a digital business, I think, is foundational to it – and that’s really where we’re going to focus today.
This is the first in a series of sessions we will do around those tenants; becoming a digital business is the first one. The other three are: Gaining Customer Insights Through Analytics; Having Enterprise Agility: Being Able to Course-Correct and Change and Adapt to Customer Behavior; and finally Delivering Innovative Experiences to Both Your Employees and Customers. But, for today, we’ll focus on that digital business piece.
As I’ve thrown out in the chat – hopefully you can see it – questions that you have, we will take at the end. Please put them in the question tab so that we can keep track of them. Like I said, with so many of you, I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get to all of them. I will try to aggregate as I see multiple questions on a similar topic and be able to put those out to people at the end.
But with that, let’s get to the agenda. You’ll see here in a second. We’ll do introductions. I have four discussion topics prepped up. We’ll share each of those with you so you can see them and then we’ll go through our panel with those discussion topics and we’ll take your questions at the end.
But let’s go to introductions. As you see, here is your very esteemed panel from industry leaders across customer and vendor standpoint, from an ecosystem standpoint with Salesforce, and even from an implementation standpoint from Huron.
So with that, why don’t we introduce ourselves in those orders? Amber, if you can go first.
Amber Milks: Hi, everyone. Thanks, Joe. My name is Amber Milks, I’m the Director of Services, Strategy and Operations at DocuSign, where I’ve been for about two years, but I’ve been a FinancialForce customer for quite a bit longer than that across a few other companies.
Joe Thomas: Great. And Anthony?
Anthony Griffin: Yeah. Andy Griffin also from DocuSign. I’ve been a Business Systems Analyst here for – coming up on four years – and pretty much focused on FinancialForce for that entire time since we implemented it in 2017.
Joe Thomas: Yep. Bryant, if you can introduce yourself?
Bryant Bonner: Thank you, Joe. Bryant Bonner here from Salesforce. I help lead our Business Value Services team for our high-tech energy, operating unit.
Joe Thomas: Great. Then, finally, Matt, if you can introduce yourself.
Matt Johnson: Thank you, Joe. You’re doing a great job. Hey and I apologize to everybody in advance. I have a construction project going on below me. Hopefully, when I come up and you’re not going to find out about that directly.
Glad everybody’s joining. I’m from Huron, and I lead our Digital Strategy and Transformation Capability inside of our Salesforce service line. Absolutely delighted to be with you all today. Thanks so much for joining.
Joe Thomas: Thank you. And like I said, when we put this panel together, we very much wanted to represent all elements of being a digital business. So, when we have customers of FinancialForce like DocuSign, the people that run the ecosystem that we live in from Salesforce, and then an implementer such as Huron. So, we think there’s a good varied set of perspectives here that we want to share with you.
So, let’s look at our discussion topics. The first one is going to be somewhat foundational. Right? What does it mean to be a digital business, and sort of the transitions people have seen happening – not just with Covid in driving this – but just as technology has passed. That will be question one, and we’ll probably spend some time there. I know my friends from DocuSign have some screenshots that they’re going to share at least of how things have changed them before and after FinancialForce. But then we’ll get that ecosystem and implementation perspective. Then we’ll go to these other questions.
But, first, I’m going to start with DocuSign around what does being a digital business mean to you and what changed from before you brought FinancialForce on? Maybe, Amber, from before you, what benefits have you seen? So, if we can start with that.
Amber Milks: Yeah, I can start there. Anthony has been at DocuSign a lot longer than me, and went through the implementation of the before and after. But, you know, I think for DocuSign, one of the things we’re working through in our own transformation is going from sort of single-product to multi-product, and the interconnectivity between our teams, and really making sure that we look like we’re one company has been really critical. So, our field users and services, CSM, support, even sales, having access to some of this information that we put through FinancialForce and then, therefore, on the Salesforce platform has been something that we’ve had to work through internally.
We’ve also done a couple of acquisitions. So, bringing those folks on into something that’s unified and global has been really important, and how that looks to the customer being unified. I’ll let Anthony speak in a second, but something you’re seeing here on this slide – and if you want to also go to the next slide – is we’ve created a couple different views on our homepage for our field users.
This one is very consultant-centric, and so there’s a lot of information. Right? We frequently use “analysis paralysis” as a phrase at DocuSign. So, we’ve tried to really distill a lot of complex information into very important elements for those users in a really focused way. So, we’ve been working – and Anthony can talk to some of the other projects we’ve worked on – to really try to get that down to something that’s very consumable and being able to slice that for different audiences has been incredibly valuable for our different groups.
Anthony Griffin: Yeah, exactly. This homepage that we’re looking at here is actually pretty recent. When we made the transition to Lightning, we really wanted to focus on this homepage and make it actually useful for end-users, because what we had before is just like the out-of-the-box FinancialForce homepage, and just didn’t have a lot of pertinent information there.
So, we went out to our end-users, talked about what they’d like to see, what’s most important to them and came back with this. So that first slide that Joe had is what we splashed at the top of FinancialForce whenever anyone logs in. It’s just items to approve. So this can be anything that’s going through an approval process here. Most of the time it’s time cards. But having this at the top here has been super helpful to let people know that there are time cards waiting out there for them to approve.
Then, this section here is just a dashboard component that we put out there. The nice thing about this is that, at least for us, anything that changes in Salesforce, FinancialForce, usually has to go through EA; but, with this, we actually have the capability to make edits and changes to this ourselves. So, if there’s a new process, new change that’s happening in the business, we can rearrange this and splash up a new report on the fly without having to wait super long to get that implemented.
So, this has been super helpful in letting the teams know the status of the utilization or timecards or projects. All that stuff can be found right here on this homepage and then [crosstalk]…
Joe Thomas: Anthony, I know you’ve been here maybe a little longer than Amber. How did you do this before you had FinancialForce? Was it just a bunch of spreadsheets … ?
Anthony Griffin: Yeah, it was a combination of spreadsheets and then out-of-the-box or customized reports that people had to go find and know to always click and pull up and to have that manual work to actually go and find the report. Which, whenever there’s manual work, it might not always be looked at. So, just displaying this information right here, it’s in your face every time you log in has been super helpful, I think.
Joe Thomas: Great.
Anthony Griffin: Then, yeah, just at the bottom of this homepage, we also have the time entry component. Just to remove any barrier here from, you know, getting time cards in the system, this is also there on the homepage for end-users there.
Amber Milks: One of the other things that we did that you’re seeing here on the screen is, when we acquired our CLM product, those projects from an implementation standpoint were much heavier than what we were used to seeing from the Esign. So we had to formalize and establish a project methodology, which we didn’t really have before and the way that we needed to support that product. So, within FinancialForce, one of the things that you’re seeing here – and I think there’s one more slide after this one – that we did is we actually integrated our own DocuSign CLM product into FinancialForce.
So, this is something also that everyone DocuSign has access to through DocuSign CLM, where they can see all of the project artifacts that get generated on a project. It helped us establish some standard global templates for things like status reports and knowledge transfer decks, and then, depending on the attributes of the project, it actually is a customized list of documents depending on project size.
So, I know that our CSM teams, our renewal teams, and some other teams will access these artifacts through the Salesforce account to facilitate discussion. So, it’s created a much more streamlined, seamless experience in terms of all of those handoffs that are happening between the different teams, and just reducing the amount of warm handoffs and conversations that need to happen.
Joe Thomas: I was going to say, I know we’ll get to maybe some of the metrics that you track. It’s one of the discussion questions, but I know you had something here around CSAT and maybe just do this very quickly. Yeah.
Amber Milks: The last one is we also integrated CSAT into our project. So, we have an automated process where we’re capturing CSAT that we use for enablement. It also feeds into some of our discussions with our partners where we sell contracts. So, all of this lives right on the project – which makes the reporting on this much easier. Prior to this we just had our survey account that was external. We had to pull reports, and then we were trying to cut all those reports in different ways against FinancialForce data. So, actually, towards the end of last year, we just stood this up. So, it’s great.
Then this is just a screen grab of some of the types of metrics that we can see. There’s many, many, many different cuts of CSAT that we used, and it’s been helpful to have it stacked up – not just against our project data, but our bookings data and account data as well.
Joe Thomas: Completion, and then you brought billing in there as well.
Amber Milks: We did, yeah. So, one of the things that we actually just went live with in April is Billing Central. We did that as a quick pivot away from our old billing system that just really was not very services-friendly. So, we just implemented Billing Central. We also, again, are using our own CLM product to generate the invoices. This has been really helpful because our collections team, our renewal management team, and our subscription management team are all involved in the collections process and answering customer inquiries about their invoices.
Prior to this implementation, there wasn’t a lot of visibility for those field users into what was going on with the customer’s account. So, we were able to reduce our collections on Proserve by half, and just give faster time to resolution for those customers. Then, it helped sort of spread the love, if you will, of multiple teams helping the collections team. So this was a huge win for Proserve in just having a really tailored billing system that was really supporting professional services like bill presentment and the type of invoices we were trying to generate.
Joe Thomas: Yeah, great. So, thank you for taking us through that. If I was going to summarize – and you tell me if I’m wrong here, Anthony/Amber – I mean, to you, being a digital business is that blending of the front office elements, the data that you’re collecting through Salesforce, leveraging some of your own technologies.
I already saw a question here from David Benson: Why did you choose a DocuSign PDF creator over Conga? I would guess because they’ve got a really good price on that DocuSign PDF creator. Yeah, you’re drinking your own champagne there. That, to me, seems pretty obvious and easy. But, again, blending your own technologies, and then bringing in the technologies from FinancialForce, both the PSA elements to run your projects, and then billing to make sure that all the invoicing and stuff is going on together. Is that an accurate statement?
Amber Milks: Yeah. For sure.
Anthony Griffin: I’m just like, we’re always trying to add the new features that FinancialForce has to what we have already. I know there’s a lot of good things that come with every update. So, we’re actually going to upgrade here pretty soon, and already have a list of items that we want to continue to add to just make this easier for the teams to use and get the information that they need. So, it’s always on our roadmap, too.
Joe Thomas: Well, we appreciate it. As the number one Salesforce ISV, DocuSign, I’m sure that Bryant is pleased to be on here with us and talk more about the ecosystem. At FinancialForce, where the number two is our understanding. So, we have to try harder.
Bryant, why don’t you talk a little about what a digital business means to you from a Salesforce standpoint, particularly around the ecosystem?
Bryant Bonner: Yeah. You know, it’s great. I love what you’re showing, Amber & Anthony, because, you know, at a macro-level, we’re seeing a trend where the responsibility of business leaders are becoming more broad, more taxing. Everyone is being asked to do more with less. Okay. So, many of the executives that I’ve talked to the past year, they’ve been focused on transforming organizations across four major areas.
They want to drive and create predictable revenue growth.
They want to develop recurring long-term relationships.
They want to meet their customers’ demands. What’s interesting about that is those demands – those unique demands – have changed over the past 18 months, as we know. So how do they adapt to that is key right now – top of mind.
The final thing is agility. I think what you were just showing, Amber and Anthony, were how can we make our projects more agile? How can we actually deliver agility to our customers? So, being more nimble is important. It’s top of mind. It’s a major trend that we’re seeing.
From a benefits perspective, Joe, you know, I think, what we’re seeing is scalable, dependable growth. Companies are becoming disruptors that traditionally were not disruptors. I think, to me, that’s the biggest benefit: how do you create a company and serve these new customers that you have in new markets that you just didn’t think were possible? So, solutions that we can bring to market – that you both can bring to market – is gonna be important to that, it’s gonna be a key driver for it.
Joe Thomas: Yep, great! We’re pretty happy with the ecosystem. It’s amazing how much easier things are when you’re all on the same platform. But I shouldn’t steal any of Matt’s thunder. I’m sure, from an implementation standpoint, he has some thoughts here around being a digital business. Matt, we bring you into the conversation.
Matt, you’re on mute.
Matt Johnson: But it would be good if I started my conversation having clicked the mute button first.
There’s going to be background noise any second, I guarantee it.
So, at Huron, virtually all of our clients are on some form of digital business journey. So, they’re taking that journey towards becoming a business that we might think of as a digital business.
But one of the things that I’d like to point out is that, okay, that’s fine. Being a digital business is good. That’s where everybody’s going. Being a unified digital business is better. So, how do we accomplish that? What’s the unified digital business thing?
So, we have an initiative that we refer to as Synchrony. We actually had a big webinar last week on this topic, where we talked about the concept of a more unified digital approach. When the applications that are put together inside of a stack can all talk to each other, well, that’s one element to becoming unified. So, getting things inside the stack are great.
It’s also important to go to the next level of maturity, which is getting the stacks connected to each other as well. That’s where not just having things work seamlessly inside up and down, but across the stacks. That’s where I think we’re going next: is how do we ensure that we can share information? Which, obviously, is our second question. But that exchange of information, when we can exchange it across the stacks, drives better intelligence. It’s the intelligence, why we’re trying to become digital intelligence and, as Bryant said, agility.
So that’s where I think we want to go: becoming a unified digital business.
Joe Thomas: Great. You did kind of tease out that second question, which is best practices around breaking down those sort of data silos, whether they’re intra-stack or extra-stack. I’ll put it back to DocuSign. How do you pass data back and forth between your sales, service deliveries, support and CSM orgs?
Amber Milks: Well, I’m sure to Bryant’s delight, I would say that most of our data is on the Salesforce platform. So, it makes it very easy to do that. I will say, some of our teams are much more savvy than others, and so they tend to kind of stay in their silos. But, you know, I think about the example of the home page or the status reports, right? Like, we’ve served up those things into the places where people spend their time – which I think is important, rather than trying to convince my CSM team to go into FinancialForce and vice versa. We’ve kind of, you know, pushed the key data across into where the teams mostly work, and so it doesn’t feel like a separate experience.
We also use Service Cloud, so our support is on platform. We have portals for both our support portal and our partners. So, we’ve tried to really bring the data into where people are doing their day-to-day. Even our finance team, a key component of replacing our ERP, is how we’re going to shift data back and forth between the ERP and Salesforce/FinancialForce. So, I think it’s important to enable folks with the data they need, where they need it, and not kind of send them in a million different places.
So, we have a very old Salesforce instance. I know from being a customer for a long time. So, we’ve been very on-platform, and I think you know I’m sure Anthony can probably speak to this, but that was a big consideration when we’re choosing a PSA, because we didn’t want to have so many different places that we would have to shift data back and forth. We do have an entire Integrations team and our IT team. So, we do that as well, where we’ve got a bunch of data integrations going back and forth that folks are not switching between systems – which is, you know, a lot of friction for them.
Anthony Griffin: Yeah, for sure. I wasn’t intimately involved in the negotiation process when they bought FinancialForce, but I know it’s a non-starter to have something that wasn’t directly linked to our Salesforce instances, just because that’s where – like Amber said – everyone lives. So, from a project you can easily hop to the account opportunity and all of the information is just linked together and easy to find and even build reports on opportunities and projects, opportunities and miles from time cards, all the different key FinancialForce objects, you can tie back upstream to opportunities and accounts, and all that type of stuff. So, it was essential to have it all within that same Salesforce icon; you just click in and have access to everything that you need.
Joe Thomas: Bryant, I don’t know, of you and I, who is smiling more right off of this, but I know, you have thoughts on this as well.
Bryant Bonner: So yeah, that’s great. I mean, it’s an interesting question, because, you know, I would actually say that they did not pass but share. Okay? The word “passed” was interesting. I know you obviously, from an integration perspective, have to pass, but we think of it, the end game is to share that data, make it actionable through AI, predictive analytics, etcetera. Right?
When you think about all the touch points with your customer, I think of it like your service team is your sales team. Your sales team is your service team. I know they have unique skills, expertise, roles, and problems they have to solve on a day to day basis. But through knowledge and shared data, they should be singularly focused on customer success. That’s what we are all about.
I think actually one of the biggest challenges that I see is our customers deciding what data to share versus not. Like, what data do you give to this team versus this team to make sure that they can do their job, but not overwhelm them to a point where it drives complexity? Because we want to drive simplicity through that function. So, that’s what we’re seeing, is a massive focus on shared data.
Joe Thomas: Yeah, I mean, Matt, if you can jump in here. Not everyone has the luxury of having the preponderance of their data on a shared platform. Actually, I mean, DocuSign does not run our FinancialForce financials, nor does Salesforce. So can you talk a little from an implementation side? What does it mean to be sharing data, whether you have a single-stack or multi-stack?
Matt Johnson: Absolutely. So, without question, because of the intelligence endgame data has become central to everything that we’re talking about right now.
As organizations are thinking through the addition of new applications, and we’re adding applications to the stack, one of the things that I really encourage starting with is the concept of having a very good and correct data model. With many organizations, one of the things that we like to start with is actually a data strategy. As the challenge becomes more between stacks, the strategy is more critical, but even making sure that we understand the data model when we’re exchanging information inside the stack is an important starting point.
The other element of all of this: making the sharing of data possible. Where we’re moving our organizations – the clients that we’re working with – is to be as a part of that data strategy as a part of getting ready to be moving more information, to drive more intelligence, is also the concept of moving towards a more modern integration architecture. So there’s multiple ways to build those pipes, right? But, what we’re finding – and it goes back to Bryant’s point around agility – that when we’re using a more modern integration approach, we have a greater sense and a greater chance for that agility. So, creating the integration layer and things like that is where we’re trying to guide our clients to go.
Joe Thomas: Yeah, Matt, I think you and I are seasoned enough to remember pre-stacks, when everyone was, you know, people were fighting out the suite wars. Do you still have to make that argument to your more forward-looking customers on reducing numbers of platforms, on trying to coalesce around fewer stacks than more? Is that an argument you still make with people, or do you think people get it at this point?
Matt Johnson: So, there are a number of things that I think the market has matured around, By the way, were you just calling me old, Joe? What was that all about?
Joe Thomas: Seasoned! Experienced.
Matt Johnson: Okay, okay.
So, look, you know, there’s a number of things that people are accepting now. Change management, used to be like, “what are you talking about? I’m not spending money on change management. People have to use this app.” I think the concept of app rationalization is more expected today. You know, app proliferation has become a problem. When we go in and we do an app rationalization exercise, we might find three or four apps across the enterprise doing the exact same thing. So, everybody understands the business case of reducing the number of apps. So, I don’t think that’s a hard sell anymore.
The harder thing is telling one business unit that they’re losing the app that’s their favorite. By the way, that goes back to the change management problems that, you know, fortunately everybody is more accepting of today.
Did that answer your question, Joe?
Joe Thomas: It did. It did. Like I said, I did preface that I might be the most seasoned. So everyone’s young compared to me.
Let’s look at, as the analytics evangelist at FinancialForce, to no surprise, metrics, KPIs are all near and dear to my heart. Amber and Anthony, what metrics are key for you to track? I think you shared a little of them in the slides. How do you do it? Have behaviors changed off the metrics that you’re tracking?
Amber Milks: Yeah. I mean I think that home page dashboard definitely splashed up a couple of key ones. Utilization is always a big one in professional services. We track a lot of our financials in terms of the data we pass back and forth. We use that to validate our financials with the accounting team.
I think, from a field perspective, we’ve tried to really cut down on the amount of things we’re asking them to focus on, from an administrative standpoint, and so, getting really, really crisp on how many projects you have opened, what’s the backlog look like, how’s your burn rate? Like those very typical metrics are incredibly easy. There’s also a big effort at DocuSign to really track customer health across our product suite, and do some more predictive analytics around churn, upsell, etcetera. So, our analytics team that we have in customer success is doing a great job of marrying together our project implementation data and things like just basic status reports, and was this customer ever red during their implementation, and now they’re up for renewal. Is there anything to be concerned about? And kind of marrying that sort of 360 view to kind of predict renewal upsell financial-type outcomes.
Also, just looking at potential issues in Proserve. Is this customer heavy user of support? Do they have admins who have been trained through our training business? That is somewhat predictive in terms of how difficult or easy implementation may go. So, we’re in very early stages of that. We’re actually doing a pilot with the FinancialForce Einstein Analytics. I’m sort of seeing what that looks like in terms of we’re starting with looking at capacity planning and modeling. So, we’re very early stages in those things as we’re kind of adapting to a multi-product world, but it’s becoming really important given how high volume we are. We can’t look at every single customer in every single deal at a great level of detail. So, it’s becoming very critical at our scale.
Joe Thomas: You answered the question I was going to ask, which is did you bring in an expensive data scientist and set them off for six months to go do this? Or are you leveraging the predictive capabilities in the formerly known as Einstein (now Tableau CRM) technologies?
No one’s worse about it than me in honestly still saying Einstein. I have to break myself of it. Anthony, was there anything you were going to add around metrics and dashboards?
Anthony Griffin: No, I think that’s great. I think Amber nailed it. I would just add: we have different teams that use FinancialForce in very different ways. So, we’re able to build different project page layouts and add fields on this type of project, but not that one, so that each of the teams can track what they want to track. You know, some are very detailed and they want to use project task for every time entry, and then some just want to go through and click that mouse when it’s done and we’re able to just accomplish all that with FinancialForce.
So, it’s been great how we can just build and customize to, like Amber said, limit that admin requirements for the teams that don’t need it, and then really get the detailed options for the teams who do want that part of the business track.
Joe Thomas: Yeah, I didn’t flash a safe harbor slide up at the beginning of this. So I guess I should probably be careful with what I say. But, I can tell you from the last couple of product releases, that predictive side of the house has been top of mind for us around the analytics that we’re delivering. We think we’ve done a great job around descriptive and prescriptive, and now we want to basically get predictive around and being able to leverage the embedded predictive capabilities in Tableau CRM has made that a lot easier for us around services revenue forecasting, around capacity and demand planning, all part of our services analytics offering tied to our PSA piece.
But, Bryant, you knew all that already. Right? You’re the reason we got that technology. So do you want to talk about this from an ecosystem standpoint?
Bryant Bonner: Yeah, it’s interesting. This question is very top of mind to me because my team and our role in helping customers achieve success with value identification as well as realization. When you think about KPIs and metrics, it’s the cornerstone to what my team does.
So, what we’re seeing are many businesses are changing their business models to as a service. Right? Business. It’s the new thing, and when it comes to that, they need to look at what KPIs or metrics they’re going to use to measure themselves in this new business model. For instance, like past or traditional metrics that you would typically see. We saw them, I think, on some of the solution stuff like net promoter score, customer loyalty, customer stats, forecast accuracy. You know, those are the things that you would typically see. You probably still need to see those.
But from a future perspective, when you think about these businesses transforming to “as a service,” you’ve got to worry about annual recurring revenue. You’ve got to worry about performance obligation, predictable growth. We’re seeing customer and employee lifetime value as a huge metric. Our customer attention expansion, using the predictive analytics that you just talked about to show and provide early warning insights, so that you can take action with the customer as soon as possible.
The last thing that I think I would like to share is what we’re seeing is this compounding value impact. We’ve got a lot of people, within high tech enterprises who are focused on: “how do we combine customer experience with employee experience to drive more value?” How do you measure that? How do you measure customer experience and employee experience? Because if you get the employee experience right, it will drive customer experience. So, are you measuring that in the right way?
So, those are things that are top of mind and what we’re working with our customers on.
Joe Thomas: Great. Matt, what are you seeing from an implementation standpoint? What are people asking for? What are you recommending in terms of KPIs and metrics for people to track that maybe they’re not thinking about?
Matt Johnson: So, Joe, there’s a number of people in our audience who know me, and I know that I’m an evangelist around the idea of value realization. Including, by the way, one of your guests today, a buddy of mine, Greg Kenny, sent me a text just as we got started reminding me that that good looking head shot of me that you shared is actually his sport coat that he loaned me when we were getting our pictures taken. So, thanks, Greg.
Joe Thomas: Shout out to Greg. There we go.
Matt Johnson: So, look, we work with a lot of different industries, and so obviously KPIs are going to vary based on that. So, what I’d rather talk about is just the notion that as we help an organization with their digital transformation, there’s obviously a big investment. So, as we’re building out the stack, as we’re layering onto the Salesforce capabilities – things like FinancialForce – we have to make sure that the capabilities that we’re creating have a benefit in return. So, as Bryant pointed out, that benefit can be back to the user in making their performance better. It can be to the end-customer in making their experience better.
So, what we really like to do is track, based on the capabilities that we’re creating, let’s associate benefits to those. There’s a number of reasons that that’s important. So. the obvious end-game is so that we define the KPIs that we want to be monitoring, and by monitoring we can increase the likelihood we achieve them.
But there’s something in between which is as we’re building out those capabilities, knowing that we have benefits associated with them, increases the likelihood that we build them correctly. So, we build for benefit as opposed to build for the functionality.
A key portion of that is making sure that as we create the data structure, as we build out the functionality, and as we think about ultimately the dashboards that we’re going to create, that all of that goes into the implementation so that we actually can monitor the metrics that we’ve defined as important to assure that this investment that we’re making has a payback.
So, it’s the combination of knowing that we need to find the metrics based on what we’re trying to create, and then building accordingly that we find is important.
Joe Thomas: Great. Well, I got one more prepared question, and the questions have been coming in from the audience fast and furious. So, I am going to save some time to go through those, maybe the rapid fire round for the customer questions.
But the last question I have is: “How do you leverage insights that you’re gaining from your current customers to benefit future ones?” Again, we’ll start with DocuSign around this.
Amber Milks: Yeah, I think we kind of touched on this a little bit. One of our things that we’ve been building over the last few years is our CSM team and our renewals team. So, we’re working with our analytics team to make sure that we’re putting insights in front of them early enough to do account management, renewal management.
We’re looking at the differences between our products, the delivery there. So, that’s been one of the things we’ve been working on internally, and just how we scale up how we’re delivering that data.
So, one of the things that we’ve been doing with our Proserve team is trying to look at the repeatable use cases, particularly for our CLM product, Right now, and initially when we acquired that product, it was very custom, lots of conversations, long sales cycle. So, what we’re doing is we’re taking some of the lessons learned of our successful customers, and figuring out how we really hammer down to produce project length and sale cycle length for those products. So, we’re pulling together and trying to look for patterns now that we’ve had that product for about three years.
So, the Proserve team, in particular, and the data that we’ve been collecting on projects for that time, has been really critical in terms of how we’re feeding that for future sort of sales or renewals or CSM motions.
Then, the other thing that we’re doing – and then I’ll pass it over to Bryant, because this might be more in his wheelhouse – is we’re expanding our partner ecosystem, and so we’re trying to also take those lessons learned from our internal delivery and enable our partners. So, we’re trying to accelerate their service delivery by just knowledge transferring all of those lessons learned with them. So, trying to do that has been a challenge.
We set up a partner portal with the Salesforce community a couple years ago, and we’ve been making improvements there. So, we’re using that as a repository for all of these things, and we’ve actually integrated FinancialForce – a couple of pieces of that – into that community as well.
Joe Thomas: Great. Bryant, I know you sit on a bunch of project steering committees. What are you seeing out there?
Bryant Bonner: Yeah, I get that luxury, given my role and it’s all about… Matt mentioned value realization. He’s really thinking about the end of mine and, and so I sit on the steer communities as a result of that. Candidly, many of our larger projects have FinancialForce as part of the scope, which is awesome because of the transformation they can drive.
But, in most instances, when I look at those projects, customers are doing the transformational projects to break down business silos and barriers so they continue to grow, but do it in a more simple way.
I think complexity is definitely the enemy today. As companies grow, you’re gonna find that the business functions and departments, they lose touch with each other. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand’s doing. So, to me, the project is all about changing that trend: getting them to work together and simplify operations.
So, I’ve been in IT projects for 25+ years, and it’s always been about people, process and technology – and obviously Salesforce can be that catalyst for that technology change. But I don’t think the projects are about that anymore. I mean, the technology has proven, really, to me – and I’d love to get Matt’s thoughts on this – but it’s really about people and processes. It’s a massive culture change.
So, what we’re doing is we’re working with our partners to share dynamic, best practices for changing the culture and the business processes to break down those silos, to get these big functions of these high growth companies to work together again and do it in a way that drives collaboration and reduces friction.
Joe Thomas: Great. Matt, I’m sure. Are there things that you can do from an implementation standpoint on the front end to make that a simpler process? Is process critical to this? Help us understand.
Matt Johnson: Well, absolutely. So, the notion of best practices, I mean, that’s the easy term to say, and it’s a hard thing to know. So, it has to be a relentless pursuit. But let me talk a little bit about the challenge of knowing what the best practice is and how to learn from our collective client base.
So, if you think about the process that we just described: “Hey, we have a problem, we’re going to go build the capability or a solution using some technology, and then we get a result.” Alright. That was the whole value realization thing, measuring the results. So here’s the challenge. So there’s three steps, but there’s five. So, after you get that first result, then there’s a modification. Alright. And a lot of us aren’t necessarily working with the organization any longer when they go through that modification, and then there’s an updated result. So, either that modification took a step forward or it took a step backward.
So, the real learning happens in the long term approach to using technology to automate a process, drive empowerment with people. So, bringing those three things together. But it’s the long term understanding of that impact that’s really key.
So, here’s one of the things that I encourage. So, Bryant used the term collaboration. Organizations that talk to each other about the long term learnings that they have can share with each other those best practices as well. So, we facilitate that as often as we can. We drive exchange between our clients so that they learn from each other, not necessarily from us. I mean, certainly because we’ve been studying it I have to say for decades now, you know how these things work. There are some things that we learn along the way. But I also implore organizations, because of that long term learning process, to share with each other. You don’t necessarily have to give your competition away the secrets to the store, but there’s a lot of things that peers can learn from each other, and being a part of a peer network as an example is a great way to do that.
Joe Thomas: Great. Well those were the prepared questions I’ve got. There’s a whole bunch of questions in here from the audience. I’ll take them in chronological order. Some of these came in early.
Debra asked: “My client is a Salesforce user and separately has a DocuSign account. Would they be able to integrate the DocuSign to Salesforce without having the FinancialForce financials in place?”
I mean, I’m gonna be sad and say no. I’ll answer for DocuSign: the answer is yes, but why would you? I mean, the simple answer to that is yes, and I think thousands of Salesforce customers integrate with DocuSign very nicely without FinancialForce. But when you’ve got FinancialForce, PSA, and Billing Central in there, it’s gonna be even better.
Amber Milks: Yeah, it was definitely a lot easier for the use cases that we’re talking about. But yes.
Joe Thomas: So, yes, the answer is yes. But you’re making Joe sad.
“How does FinancialForce fit into a multi-org company?” Very well. Our products are designed to be multi-org, multi-currency, multi-language. With PSA, I mean, I don’t know how far Amber, you and Anthony go, or, Bryant, you might even go farther. We can support up to 12 levels of hierarchy around region, practice, group. Certainly that can expand over to an entire org as well. In a lot of cases, in the dashboards, it’s a toggle or a filter for us. So, I don’t know. Is that your experience?
Amber Milks: Yeah. We had that challenge with a couple of acquisitions, and that was actually one of the nice things: that, as we were bringing in those companies, we had one company that we acquired that was using Harvest for basic time tracking, and we wanted to bring them in and bring them in quickly, but we were able to kind of keep them separate. Like, separate but in, until they were sort of fully integrated. So, yeah. It’s been great because we have multiple legal entities, we’re global. We’ve got multiple Proserve teams that do different things. We have a high velocity practice called Adoption Consulting, incredible different business model than traditional Proserve, and they’re all using FinancialForce.
Joe Thomas: Great. Bryant and I think the same thing is probably. I’m sure no one’s been on an acquisition streak quite the way that Salesforce has. Right?
Bryant Bonner: Yeah. I think your orchestra strategy is important. Right? When you think about it, right? How you set it up, why you set it up? I think you have to have a governance body, government structure to really oversee that, because I’ve seen customers get too far one way or the other and you’ve got to strike the right balance for that. So.
Joe Thomas: Hirschfield asked about clarification. “DocuSign, you’re using Salesforce and FinancialForce for CRM, some parts of ERP, and as your PSA platform. How do you handle your HCM?” It’s like, do you keep your skills hierarchy in HCM and bring that into PSA? How does that … ?
Amber Milks: Yeah, we actually keep all that in PSA as our source of truth.
I would say – and I answered this in the chat – but we’re pretty much all Salesforce/FinacialForce except for ERP. So, we do have a different HR system, but we integrate that as well so it can maintain our contact data and all that.
But anything related to Proserve, skills, capabilities, all of that, our source of truth has always been PSA for those things.
Joe Thomas: Yeah, I would touch on that. From our analytics standpoint, we have pre-built data models that have the buckets for those. Where you’re keeping your skills hierarchy, you bring it in. Where you’ve you’ve got certifications somewhere and some other security clearances, you can bring… We’ve created the objects to hold that data. We may not be generating the data in FinancialForce, but the objects are there. Then, you bring it in and then those can be used as filters and criteria around those pieces.
Let’s see here. Daniel, here’s a good one here. “I’ve been in the professional consulting services for 20+ years, and the one thing I’ve always needed is a way to get all chargeable time recorded. Chargeable time comes from different modes: online meetings, on-site phone call support, projects, etcetera. It seems that no one has a solution where all these hours can be recorded efficiently and effectively.” He gives some examples of a phone app or to prompt you to record the time, the system and timing means from Outlook and record natural time.
Has anyone cracked this nut? Matt, maybe? Yeah. Amber, you were going to say yes?
Amber Milks: Go ahead, Matt. I’ll let you go.
Matt Johnson: No, please, go. Yeah. I was hoping you were going to answer it, Joe.
Joe Thomas: I have some thoughts, but I’ll let Amber and Bryant go.
Amber Milks: Oh, yeah. This one is very exciting to me, because we didn’t finish implementing it yet, but that high velocity business I was talking about (our adoption consulting team), I mean, this is a team of consultants that handle maybe 40-50 customers at a time. Right? So, very high volume for them. We’ve designed out, they use a scheduling app that we’re looking to integrate, which also looking to integrate with their calendar through that scheduling app to then create time cards based on those interactions.
We don’t use a phone app now, but it’s something that we’re exploring for that team. and we do use Service Cloud. Right? So, I’ve done an integration from Service Cloud. It’s not even an integration, it’s just reading Service Cloud interactions into time cards.
Joe Thomas: A data feed from Service Cloud, basically.
Amber Milks: Yeah, yeah. There are definitely ways to sort of do that now. If you go on site, you can’t really pull that out of your brain, but there’s definitely ways to streamline that, especially on the time entry side.
I will say the time entry UI that FinancialForce has is the best I’ve ever seen. So, whenever consultants complain about time entry – which they always will, no matter what you do – I always say that is definitely the best-in-class, easiest time entry screen that they could have access to.
Anthony Griffin: One additional thing that we are looking to do is directly on the project itself: when they’re and they’re updating the status or doing whatever, you can put in your 3-4 hour or whatever it is and just have it submitted without having to go and actually pull up that time entry screen. So, just whatever is easier, where they’re working, just have that time entry option available.
Joe Thomas: That was something that we came out within our Spring ‘21 release, where we tried… Time entry is the biggest bugaboo in PSA. Right? Getting people to do it, having them not all do it Friday afternoon and kind of …. So, there’s a lot that we’ve done to basically put time entry here and everywhere. Right? On your phone, various parts of in the app. Anything to nudge people to get to do time entry.
Bryant, did you have anything you wanted to add around maybe some…? I bet you there’s a little thing from this little company just bought called Slack has some ideas around those things as well. Right?
Bryant Bonner: We’ll probably be giving a demo pretty soon on how we can do it straight from Slack. It’s happening. Trust me. I think Amber said it well. In terms of FinancialForce’s approach, it’s really good. I’ve seen it several times.
One thing that we’re doing at Salesforce – Salesforce on Salesforce – is I always track that admin time. You always want to reduce that, right? Because you want your billable resources billable. Right? So, you know, one of the things that we’re doing is we’re tracking this, and we’re able to embed it with our calendars. So, if you have that time on your calendar, we’re able to quickly move that into a timesheet very fast. I’m talking, it would take my team maybe five minutes to do their time for a week.
So, things like that are top of mind. But I know Amber and Matt and Anthony can help with getting that best position for you.
Joe Thomas: I would also say that this is something we’ve thought about a lot. There are several patents we have pending around leveraging, things like location services, telephony, those sorts of pieces to start auto populating timecards. More news on that as we … In later discussions, perhaps.
Daniel had a lot of questions, and he said, “Can you schedule some time with us?” Daniel, you’ll get our contact information on the very last slide.
David Scott, David asked about the difference between the thing I mentioned around the older sweet models versus the current stack model. Are we just talking about choosing and staying within an ecosystem?
I mean, no, but yes. I mean, no one ecosystem is going to solve all of your pains. I’ll be the first to say it. Right? Salesforce does a beautiful job, but there’s other ecosystems out there from other companies. When I talk about at least consolidating – and anyone else can jump in here if they’ve got a difference of opinion – it is leveraging the ecosystems where it makes sense, and having fewer outliers. Right? If you can get yourself down to two or three ecosystems, that’s probably a victory because most people just look in your own home how many ecosystems you’ve got between your cable, your internet, your phones, your tablets. Any of those sorts of pieces. Compound that at a corporate level, and it just… How much of your IT spend is spent just stitching that together?
I mean, Matt, you probably see this on a pretty regular basis. Right? I mean, one of the biggest values that people get is that sort of transition from spend to keep the lights on versus spend to innovation. Am I wrong in this regard?
Matt Johnson: Well, it is the challenge of going with a single vendor versus a composite of people who have chosen to collaborate together, invest their R&D together.
So, the ecosystem model provides a greater amount of agility for achieving best of breed outcomes as opposed to banking on a single vendor that they’re going to build everything that you need. So, that’s the difference between the suite and the stack in my opinion, Joe.
Joe Thomas: Yeah, no, that’s a great call. There are some ecosystems at companies I might have actually worked at before, that, let’s say, are more closed than others. Right? Where partners have lower case “P.” Salesforce is not one of those. I think Salesforce very much leans on its partners for innovation, for niches, for expertise, things that aren’t … while providing a beautiful foundational core that lets us innovate without having to worry about that there’s gonna be a GDPR question coming down here. Right? I love the fact that I can lean on Salesforce and it’s GDPR compliance without having to build that in.
Let’s see. And I might jump to that question because I think that was… Where is it? How are you?
Here it is: Nick Rollins asks, “How are you handling data metrics and analytics across geographic entities? What challenges have you had doing this with GDPR?”
Amber, Anthony, I’ll throw it to you, and then, Bryant, I’m thinking you probably have some thoughts around this.
Amber Milks: I’ll actually defer to Bryant, because I think Anthony and I are lucky that we’re kind of downstream of those issues. So, we’re just like, “Oh, we’re good.”
Bryant Bonner: Yeah, it’s a tough one, and it’s a tough one depending on the type of metric. Right? So, I generally prescribe to a balanced scorecard, but sometimes that balanced scorecard … You get into some sensitive information? So, I think what you’ve got to do is ensure you’re getting the right data for that specific country. Then, there’s going to be this need to go overarching across companies, and there are certain people that need and require that data there.
So, what we like to do is figure out who the stakeholders are. Who is required to sign off on GDPR and ensure that they are in there early and often. I mean, there are certain things you’re gonna share across countries, and certain things you are not. So, my advice is just make sure that person who has that responsibility is accountable to compliance across the organization is in early, and just share with them what you’re trying to accomplish. Then, get their buy in quickly. You don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to do something and then, you turn around, and you can’t share that information because of compliance.
So I would just say try to get that person involved early as often inside your organization.
Joe Thomas: Yeah.
I’m sorry. We’re at the top of the hour. There’s still lots of questions. I’m going to capture them. I’ll share them with this panel, and we’ll get all of you answers to that.
I think the last slide I will show you here has our contact information. Let me forward us. There we go.
We’re happy to participate with you around this. We’re going send out some details with this recording, and an infographic we’ve built around creating a unifying design business.
But I want to thank our panel. I want to thank Anthony and Amber from DocuSign. I want to thank Bryant from Salesforce. I want to thank Matt from Huron. I think the fact that we have three such interesting perspectives certainly adds to the benefit to this, and there was tons… I don’t know if you saw it in the questions in the chat, people agreeing, excited.
So, thank you very much for your time, and I hope we can do this again around perhaps one of the other tenants of Customer Centricity.
Amber Milks: Thank you, Joe.
Matt Johnson: Nice work, Joe.
Joe Thomas: You made it very easy. Bye, thank you.