In the interest of full disclosure, let’s get this out of the way first: I’m employed! Or I will be as of November 1 when I join KELL Partners full-time as Solutions and Support Services Manager. I’m very excited about this opportunity to join a team that I’ve gotten to know a bit over the past few years. I’m also thrilled to be taking on a role that will have me working with nonprofits post-implementation. More on that in the future, I’m sure.
During my month of unemployment I had the pleasure of working on a few meaningful Force.com projects that have nothing to do with my upcoming role at KELL. If you’re a Common Ground (or Common Ground Enterprise) client still overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do next, this one is for you.
Since my husband and I married, we’ve moved three times. From an apartment to a house, from a house to a condo, from a condo to a house. Each time, we’ve been fortunate to have a company do the packing for us, and each time I’ve kicked myself as I’ve unpacked stuff that never should have been allowed to make it in to a box. As carefully as I orchestrated our moves, there was always a drawer or corner I missed. If I had known what I had in that drawer before and cleaned out first, I would have saved money in what I paid the movers and my time later.
When I met Ehren Foss and learned about his plans for a CloudFixer Analysis Tool for Common Ground, I jumped at the opportunity to help him. From the moment the end of Common Ground was announced, I’ve watched helplessly as two things happened: Organizations on Common Ground got angry (and a little panicked) and vendors and consultants who sell services and applications competitive to Common Ground seized opportunity. Many of these vendors and consultants have a high level of understanding of Common Ground at best, and they certainly don’t know how these organizations were using Common Ground. “Common Ground had matching gifts? We have matching gifts! Common Ground had batch gift entry? We have batch gift entry!”
Changing over a system which for many organizations, including the one I left, serves as the central spine in how they engage with their constituency isn’t going to happen easily after comparing a pricing and feature matrix and sitting through a few demos. I loved the idea of a simple, affordable solution that organizations could use right now that would give them unfiltered data to inform their decisions. It’s not about price comparisons. Or feature matrixes. It’s not about Salesforce vs. Blackbaud. It’s about really understanding what you have and how you’re using it and using that information to guide your next steps. It’s about implementing processes so your organization can best meet their mission while minimizing disruption and cost.
The CloudFixer Analysis Tool starts with a survey to access what the organization is considering, including whether or not they would be open to a Blackbaud solution. This isn’t about selling an organization on Salesforce, although of course I have my biases. It just might work out that a Blackbaud or non-Salesforce solution can be a match for an organization. Give them unfiltered, data-driven information and let them make their own choices.
From there, the organization gives CloudFixer API access to download data and it’s presented to the organization in a clean, color-coded and simple way (well, as simple as a complex relational database can be presented) with upfront overall flags of potential data issues that should be addressed before a migration. An organization can clearly tell what in their Salesforce instance is Common Ground and will be impacted, and what is standard Salesforce or belonging to another application. It will tell them if they have custom fields or modifications within Common Ground objects.
They can dig deeper on any object and see overall recommendations, usage, record ownership and field-by-field analysis.
Finally, the tool provides some high level recommendations of where the organization might want to focus, given how they’re using Common Ground today.
Is it meant to replace a consultant? Absolutely not. It’s meant to give an organization information and data that they can then share with a consultant…or dig in to the report on their own. Their choice. Well-informed clients who know their data inside out and can fully participate in their own implementations make the best customers, don’t you think?
Here’s a video Ehren made which explains the tool. Learn more about it here.