London-based Salesforce consultant CloudSocius certainly isn't the biggest dedicated partner for the popular cloud-delivered CRM application.
So it distinguishes its value proposition by focusing on how to ensure that its implementations -- so far, mainly for midsize companies and technology startups -- are successful after the fact.
"If you can give the team a lightbult moment within the first month, they are far more like to make using the platform part of their job," said Gareth Stephens, one of the firm's two owners.
Stephens learned this on-the-job at his previous company, where the Salesforce rollout was overcomplicated and way over budget as a result. Based on his experience, CloudSocius advises its clients to pick one or two processes to address rather than trying to overcomplicate an initial Salesforce implementation. At the same time, it makes them plan for the future, it reminds them to leave the door open to add features -- and additional departments -- over time.
"When we do an implementation, we usually tell them to start simple, show value, and get [employees] using the software," Stephens said.
Many CloudSocius clients are small and midsize businesses (SMBs), although the solution provider has worked with companies with as many as 4,000 Salesforce users. In many cases, these companies have a limited ability to manage, administer or evolve their Salesforce deployment internally.
One example of a company that uses the CloudSocial "Salesforce Success Service" is Huddle, which develops a cloud-delivered enterprise content and collaboration application. It has about 100 Salesforce users spread between the United States and the United Kingdom.
When Huddle lost its internal Salesforce administrator, CloudSocius stepped in to champion the solution -- providing ongoing fixes, designing custom reports, and looking for ways to integrate Salesforce with other systems. In the short term, the relationship helped reduce the overall cost of system adminstration (because Huddle saved on the internal salary), while improving support response time related to Salesforce issues. Over the long term, the ongoing managed service will enable Huddle to build in new capabilities using Force.com, something that would have taken longer for the company to handle internally.
By handling the administrative and technology-related tweaks, CloudSocius allows businesses focus more attention on Salesforce strategy: figuring out what makes sense for its processes and exploring ways to make them simpler, and more successful, Stephens said.
"We can fix the issues and document the best practices," he said. "All we really want is for the customer to end up with what's valuable for them."