I was first introduced to Salesforce by a long time friend who I worked with at the start of my career at AT&T who had joined Salesforce as a account executive. At that time I had no idea what Salesforce was but I assumed based on the name that it must have something to do with Sales. My friend introduced a feature that he thought was so cool, this feature allowed the user to link Social media interactions of your clients with Salesforce. While I thought this was interesting it did not compel me to go out and purchase Salesforce for our firm.

A few years later as we hired our first full time sales person and we decided to take the plunge and really invest in a sales focused system. Given the fact that Salesforce was known as the dominant player in CRM systems and the preeminent player in SASS (software as a service) based software it seemed a good choice for our company with no desire to maintain our own code anymore for our homegrown sales system. We had always maintained the philosophy for ourselves and for our clients that you should only build software when no good solution in the marketplace exists and for CRM there were many good and robust solutions.

While the price tag was a little high based on the cost benefit we went ahead and purchased Salesforce's enterprise edition. We thought we were getting a CRM system but within the first few months we realized we had gotten the system that our entire company's infrastructure would be built upon.

We learned that Salesforce.com was not a CRM system but rather a development platform that had been created with an incredible set of tools and out of the box capabilities that allowed you to build on top of the platform automation for any business process in your company. If your business process involved workflows, email, or data Salesforce it turned out had the core ability to allow you to rapidly automate and enhance that process. The real value however was that Salesforce allowed you to build on top of their platform with a Java based language to enhance the platform to do just about anything you wanted to do with the platform.

Not only that but if you were not a Java or Salesforce expert it turned out that Salesforce had built one of the world's largest ecosystems of developers and third parties who were there to provide solutions and answers to the things you wanted to do.

We decided one of our first targets for this platform would be our HR area of our business. Being a consulting firm our people were our greatest asset and we wanted to have a much more robust capability for supporting that area of our business. We leveraged some free basic templates from Salesforce from their Salesforce Labs offering and within just about 6 weeks we had built out a pretty impressive HR module that supported tracking of all our HR data, performance planning for our employees and integration with our billing system which we also had built on Salesforce.

Our clients, Private Equity and Hedge Funds are very much like us. They view their employees as one of their most important assets, and they are not hesitant to invest in supporting those people. Therefore, building an HR system on the Salesforce platform for those people is an obvious first and easy project for our clients to take on. However, as my blog title suggests there are so many other processes in an Alternative Asset Manager that can leverage the same business process automation principles.

Through the next series of blog entries I will share many other ways that our clients can leverage Salesforce to be much more than just a CRM system and why for a relative small investment Salesforce can provide the ultimate ROI for our clients. I will also share various cool and valuable features of Salesforce that make it a compelling platform for building your operations and infrastructure on. It can't do everything and I will also discuss where I would not use Salesforce, but when it comes to business process automation I cannot think of a better tool to use.

To learn more about FinServ Consulting’s Salesforce related services, please contact us at info@finservconsulting.com or (646) 603-3799.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.

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