Speed Dating, a play in eleven acts

Act 1 – The User Group Leader monologue As the leader of a Salesforce User Group sometimes I find it a little challenging to find content that group members want to see and hear. Sure, every time there’s a new release, we can talk about that, and once in a while a member does or discovers something really cool that they are willing to share, but what do you do with the other meetings, where the members of your group give you very little input on what they need or want to learn about? You’ve got to make the meetings worth the members time and efforts to attend, and content is king!  It drives attendance at the meetings. (Legal Disclaimer – the attached YouTube clips contain explicit language, as they are from movies with rating of PG13 – Hitch and R – The 40 Year Old Virgin)

Act 2 – Setting the stage Speed Dating, according to Oxford Dictionaries – speed dating (noun): an organized social activity in which people seeking romantic relationships have a series of short conversations with potential partners in order to determine whether there is mutual interest. Now I know what you are thinking, speed dating, yeah, right.  Like that ever works. You are probably even remembering the speed dating scene from Hitch, or the Date-a-palooza scene from The 40 Year Old Virgin, where, in both cases, things just didn’t end well.  For the purpose of this blog, I would suggest a slight modification to the definition as follows:  speed dating (noun): an organized professional activity in which users of Salesforce.com seeking knowledge about available apps have a series of short presentations by AppExchange partners interested in sharing best practices and value propositions in the hopes of forming a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. Yes, that’s what the last meeting of the Southern Indiana Salesforce User Group was…a speed dating event.

Act 3 – Global Tech & Resources – RPaaS – Recruting Platform Charlie Havens, Vice President of Client Services with Global Tech & Resources says that both employers and applicants think a lot of time and energy is wasted in the typical hiring process. How many of us have sat down to be interviewed and were greeted by someone stating that they are here to interview you, and then they ask what position you have applied for? Charlie thinks that hiring systems should help you hire the right person, not just track applicants, and that is precisely the reason GTR’s RPaaS was created. RPaaS treats the hiring process just like a sales process with distinct stages the opportunity, excuse me, applicant goes through, from sourcing and qualifying to interviewing and on-boarding. Check out RPaas on the AppExchange and make sure you are hiring the right person for the right job at the right time.

Act 4 – Kona DataSearch – KonaSearch – Advanced Search for Salesforce Dave Hall, CEO and co-founder of KonaSearch says that Kona DataSearch allows you to search like nothing else! Search inside and outside of Salesforce.com, with the complete solution. Kona DataSearch is scale-able, integrated, secure and advanced, and Kona DataSearch does fuzzy and full-text searches on active and archived records. It can even search multi-value picklists! Check out Kona DataSearch on the AppExchange and filter your search from 300,000 records down to one without even touching the search box!

Act 5 – Data Cleansing Solutions – CRMfusion – DemandTools, PeopleImport and DupeBlocker Brent McCormick, Sales Manager for CRMfusion likened data flowing into a Salesforce Org to the water system in nature, where rain drops are individual records, rivers and streams are data imports of many records at a time Like water in an eco-system, data in a CRM must be cleaned and maintained to provide your Salesforce users with clean, accurate, and reliable data. CRMfusion offers DemandTools to clean and maintain existing Salesforce data (de-duplication; data standardization and normalization; importing/exporting etc.) and DupeBlocker and PeopleImport to help identify and prevent duplicate records from entering Salesforce. Check out CRMfusion on the AppExchange to clean and protect your data.

Act 6 – Content Management – SpringCM – Manage It, Content and Contract Management John Garvin, Account Executive for SpringCM said that work gets done around documents, and you need to be able to access documents, like contracts, anywhere, on any device. That’s what SpringCM’s Manage It™ for Contracts enables your team to do. Using Manage It™ for Contracts, you can build agreements quickly with pre-approved templates and data pulled right from Salesforce. Check out SpringCM on the AppExchange to streamline your contract process.

Act 7 – Data Backup – Spanning Cloud Apps – Spanning Backup for Salesforce  Chris Pinkston, Sales Representative for Spanning Cloud Apps, says that data backup is not glamorous, but it is necessary. With Spanning Backup for Salesforce, not only can you originate your backup from in Salesforce, but you also get in app, ,on page restore capabilities. Spanning Backup for Salesforce doesn’t just backup your object data either, it backs up everything including chatter and attached files as well as your metadata. Check out Spanning Backup for Salesforce on the AppExchange, and protect your data with automated backups.

Act 8 – Enterprise Resource Planning – FinancialForce – ERP, Financial Management, CPQ, PSA and HCM Sally Sullivan, Account Executive for FinancialForce tells us that walls create problems. Those walls come from disparate systems, and the problems caused impact technology, visibility of data, time & cost of operations, and more importantly customer relationships. FinancialForce has developed an ERP system that is native to the Salesforce1 platform so not only is it mobile, but it also breaks down the walls and solved problems. It’s modular approach allows customers to pick and choose the apps they need to customize a solution. Check out all the FinancialForce apps on the AppExchange, and get your ERP up to Customer Speed.

Act 9 – Project Management – Bracket Labs – TaskRay Eric Wu, CO-Founder of Bracket Labs says that TaskRay takes project management and makes it as easy as sticky notes on a virtual white board. You can drag and drop tasks to a prioritized state, and reassign a task simply by dragging the Chatter Face to the task. Yes, that means TaskRay has Chatter Integration! TaskRay is also 100% native to the Salesforce platform meaning that it’s incredibly easy to integrate project management with your existing Salesforce data and the app is infinitely customizable using standard Salesforce admin techniques. Check out TaskRay on the AppExchange, and take the work, out of teamwork!

Act 10 – Excel for Salesforce – Apttus – X-Author for Excel Jules Ehrlich, Vice President and General Manager for Advanced Solutions at Apttus says that X-Author for Excel transforms Excel from a stand-alone productivity tool into a real-time user interface for Salesforce. You keep the familiar Excel look and feel but you work in Salesforce. You can update opportunities, create quotes, and assign territories. Anything you can do in Salesfore, you can now do in Excel with X-Author for Excel. You can even use unlimited related or unrelated, standard and custom objects to create, retreive, update, delete or upset data across an infinite number of Excel worksheets. Check out X-Author for Excel on the AppExchange, so you can work in Excel, and be in Salesforce.

Act 11 – The Closing Act The Salesforce AppExchange is a great place to go shopping. If you have a need to accomplish a task, collaborate with people, exchange data with other systems, prevent duplicates, safely back up your data, or create reports and dashboards that will wow management and foster adoption, it is definitely time to go shopping! Most, if not all creators of apps will let you try it before you buy it with a free trial period of at least 14 days.There are apps for nearly every industry. There are apps that are designed for Salesforce1 mobile users. There are apps that are even totally free to use, even after your trial period ends! I challenge you to go visit the AppExchange and NOT come away with at least one app to try on for size!

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