What I Learned Implementing Community Cloud

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If you’re in the Salesforce Ecosystem you are no stranger to the elusive “360 degree view of the customer”. It’s what we all want! We want to see a full view of how we interact with our customers in order to better serve, better connect, better sell, and better market.

On the flip side of the equation, we are all customers. As a customer we want real time information at our fingertips- no lengthy phone queues and no snail mail. We want answers when the questions arise! Salesforce tackled this challenge for both the business and their customer with the introduction of Salesforce Community Cloud.

If you are not familiar, Salesforce Community Cloud allows companies to share (or share and collaborate) real-time information from Salesforce with their customers or partners. Community Cloud has evolved since I started my Salesforce Consulting career 6 years ago. It’s one of my favorite clouds because the variability of use cases and immediate ROI impact for clients. Here are the 3 things I have learned: Start with a template, Communities can be used for non-traditional use cases, and understand license types.


Start with a Template

I’ll start by aging myself; you kids today don’t know how easy you got it with these templates! While not without imperfections, the investment Salesforce has put into their templates and lightning components is outstanding. My first community project was back in B.L. (Before Lightning) and everything was 100% custom. Projects were long, expensive, and required multiple front and back end developers. I am astonished how quickly and inexpensively a Community can be built today! Within a month, businesses are able to roll out a sleek, branded, and intuitive site for their customers or partners. Templates have provided a framework for admins to customize while still allowing the added flexibility of custom components when required.


Communities can be used in non-traditional use cases

What do the following Use Cases have in common?

  1. Place new orders and check the status of your orders
  2. Manage the end-to-end renovation of a home
  3. Select your health insurance and view your EOBs
  4. Open new savings accounts and manage your retirement investments

While these use cases seem disjointed and all over the place, they are all actual use cases of community projects I have been a part of over the past 6 years. There is no limit to what is achievable within a Community. While each of the preceding projects were all focused on achieving different business outcomes, all had a common theme; huge ROI, significant process efficiencies gained, and a better customer experience!


License Types

It’s a running joke at Solving IT that as soon as you master the difference license names and capabilities, Salesforce will come up with a new batch of licenses to learn. This is especially true with external licenses Partner Community, Customer Community, Customer Community Plus. Then pepper in assigned licenses vs. pay per login. It’s enough to make a Salesforce Expert take pause to wrap their head around limitations and capabilities. When scoping a new community project, it is key to help guide your client through the licensing process. Ask the right questions around who is using the community (no internal team members), how big is the user base, how frequently they will log in, and what information users will need to access.