Going to the cloud !

In 2013, I was offered the chance to join our Salesforce team. I had no clue as to what I should do. It was a new field – a cutting edge cloud computing framework totally outside my vision. But I took that risk. And, today I am happy with that extraordinary step I took, compared to other career choices I have made. Salesforce is the World’s # 1 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform and I have been team leader of the CMS Salesforce team since January 2016. And this is an incredible opportunity for me to share my thoughts and perspectives as a leader and individual.

Our client is a Salesforce.com Partner and has a team of certified consultants, developers, trainers & project managers to help their end-clients achieve optimized implementation and customization of the Salesforce CRM. Using their in-depth knowledge and experience, the group provides business process overhaul, industry specific customization and fully integrated CRM solutions in amazingly short time frames. The team comprises 80 experts working from the client’s offices in Belgium and Netherlands, and the remote team in Sri Lanka (SL Team).

The SL Team has a mix of Junior to Lead developers constantly working on improving their expertise through work experience and Salesforce certification.

To deliver what our client requires, our collaboration runs through the following cycle:

  • Estimation and Solution outline

With the involvement of the Team Leader (SL), Project Manager (Belgium) and Developers (SL) – a detailed estimation and process planning are done as per client requirements.

  • Research and development

Once the estimation is confirmed by the end-client, the project will progress with the developing of the end-to- end user stories.

  • Testing and code scope

Testing and code reviews are done by the Developers (SL) and Consultants (Belgium)

  • Deployments

Consultants (Belgium) and Developers (SL)

  • Implementation

Consultants (Belgium) and Developers (SL)

Apart from above, we engage in regular code reviews and check on technology advancements to be abreast of industry trends. Our team seniors have a weekly call with the CEO (Client) to review the progress of each project and the practices, and we have a Monthly Online Meeting with the full group to share knowledge on new product learning and trending technologies.

To share some details from 2 of our large and ongoing projects:

Project 1 – Loyalty program for one of Europe’s’ largest car manufacturers

We have successfully developed a ‘Loyalty’ portal to provide Belgian vehicle owners/users with an online ‘vehicle maintenance timeline’.

It was developed for use in Belgium and Luxembourg. The solution uses Salesforce’s Force.com platform which is integrated with SmartFocus to generate personalized newsletters, email alerts and for portal content management. There are major advantages in terms of speed, lower risk and cost effectiveness with solution development on the cloud platform using Force.com. The project is endorsed by Salesforce in their own case study written in Dutch and was also featured in the ‘IAM Cloud’ Magazine of January 2014.

To provide a view of the project life cycle – every month we plan two releases – mainly at mid-month and end of month. We use ‘Trello’ to track our correspondence and project management. And we line up the development and delivery based on end-client priority.

Right off the bat, we make a solution outline for each requirement and get it endorsed by the architects and end-client. Once that is done, we do the development and on completion we run unit tests followed by full sandbox testing, which includes end-user acceptance. As the last step and on approval we move everything to the production environment. The project scope is enormous and we collect feedback day by day/week after week at meetings with all the project members. I think we are exceptionally lucky to get this opportunity to work in such a major project.

Project 2 – a leading global payments & technology company headquartered in America

The project provides support for worldwide deals with more secure and convenient plus rewarding payment solutions, processing of billions of payments seamlessly across the globe and building economic connections that accelerate the business. To work together with these financial institutions across the world this process has been implemented in the Salesforce environment. In addition to being quite complex, these requirements are stated with the mission to be as ‘dynamic as possible’.

Since there is a time zone difference between Sri Lanka and US, the technical teams in Sri Lanka and Belgium work in parallel, splitting the end-client instructions into work sprints. The Belgian consultants advise and delegate the tasks among the Developers (SL). All project management and issues are tracked and followed through on Jira.

Deployment happens after unit testing and full sand box testing, including end-user acceptance.

Aside from the above standard development, there are other tasks that we manage, by occasionally obtaining the requirements directly from the end-client. These opportunities are good for the development and growth of new Developers (SL).

And overlooking this operation, the CMS management supervises client interaction to ensure that the client relationships are running smoothly.

I am happy to say that I got this great career opportunity due to CMS and I have a long journey ahead of me. And we welcome you to join CMS so that you could also gain knowledge and experience working directly with international clients.

 

Published Date October 24, 2017