Would you help Tech Students during this pandemic?

Would you help Tech Students during this pandemic?

Calling all Technology Enthusiasts, Workers, and Trailblazers….

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Due to the COVID health pandemic, Minnesota is at a Stay at Home order and our school kids are learning from home.

Here is the struggle that the teachers are having.  This time of year, students were planning on field trips to area businesses to learn about the future technology careers available to them.   This is a highlight for the young students, and encourages them to continue their learning and growing.

Since they cannot go out, I am asking for you to help come to them!  Would you consider creating a 20-30 minute video for the Humboldt High School class, explaining who you are, what you do, and why you chose the occupation you are in.

They are currently studying the following areas and are looking for folks who work in these fields:

  • Architecture
  • Engineering
  • Webpage development (HTML, CSS,  Python, Javascript)
  • 2D and 3D Graphic Design & Animation
  • Tech Audio & Video Production
  • News Story Production
  • Computer App Development
  • Computer Maintenance and Repair

These students want to know what you do, how you do it (what technologies you use), what is cool about what your job, why do you love it, and what makes it exciting? Would you be willing to talk about your “day in the life” scenarios and how you use technology tools in your processes?

Details of the Request

We would like to do have a video from you (you can record it, or we can record it together online (Google Meetup or Zoom) and go through questions below. 
 

We are not looking for perfection, just trying to get students excited about careers! Don’t worry if this isn’t polished and Hollywood-quality professional video.

The students would like to know things like:

What Your Work is Like:
1. Can you briefly explain your field of work? (example, “Architecture”)
2. Could you describe one of your typical workdays?
3. What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
4. What tools and technology do you use to do your job?
4a.  Can you provide a “show-and-tell” example of your work to demonstrate to the students what sort of outputs you deliver and how you create them?
5. Do you have to depend on others in order to accomplish your job? If so, explain how?
6. Has technology changed your job? What changes do you see in the future?
Your Journey to the Career:
7. What led you to choose this career?
8. What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
9. What do find most enjoyable?

10. How do you use math, reading, writing, business, technology, science, and language skills in your daily work?
11. What type of interests, abilities, and skills would help a person to be successful in your occupation?

12. What type of education/training, technical knowledge, or experience is necessary for this kind of work?
13. What advice would you give a student interest in this career?

More about the Humboldt Academy of IT:

– Humboldt Academy of IT: https://www.spps.org/domain/5723
– Normal “Career Visits” from AOIT

 

ALSO

These students all have iPads, but they need ways to develop and host their web code.
If you know of or work at a Web Server Hosting organization willing to donate space for 30 students to upload and share their webpage development, please let me know.

ALSO

If you have online learning platforms where students can learn more about the topics above, would you consider offering our students passes to your content while they are now doing distance learning?

Please feel free to leave a message below if you have questions or wish to reach out..

Thank you!

Stuart Edeal

People Matter…

People Matter…

In the world of the Business Analyst, we talk about Process, People, Technology and Policy a lot. We like to map out things, from process maps, data maps, impact maps, to example maps, we have diagrams and charts for everything. We love our tools and techniques. It’s true, it’s very true.

Fortunately I had a chance to step away from writing stories and mapping “everything” into its different buckets and I had time to reconnect with people at Midwest Dreamin in Chicago.

It reminded me that a good Business Analyst is technically skilled and always learning about the technology at use, and is also constantly understanding the domain in which they work (finance, retail, nonprofit, manufacturing, sales, service) but most importantly a good Business Analyst connects and relates to people, listens to people, tries to empathize with people and holds people as the most important part of their business.

I had a chance to listen, relate to and understand some of the important people in my Salesforce neighborhood. These are the people who have taught me, inspired me, mentored me, been a shoulder to lean on and at times have been a critical voice when I need correction.

The cool thing about this group of peers is that they come from different places and backgrounds and many are actually competitors in the same business verticals as me, yet we share our tips, tricks and knowledge with each other. We are better together in cooperation with each other, learning from our mistakes and gaining from our successes. The technology changes all the time, and process seems to be constantly at change.

The people who you meet, help and learn with are the most important. This post is all about the People.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can a Salesforce Community Do?

What can a Salesforce Community Do?

As a Salesforce Community Leader, I am asked to help in a variety of ways beyond just facilitate meetings.

    To help make connections between job seekers and employers
    To help find panelists for upcoming discussions on technology topics
    To help schools find resources for upcoming trade shows or career days
    To mentor other community members through a tough question (technical or not) they may have and need a sounding board.

This last summer, I received an inquiry to help that was a bit different than others. A local nonprofit leader approached me at the end of our community meeting and said:

I run a small local nonprofit and we just received our 10 donated licenses of Salesforce NPSP which we are grateful beyond belief.  We have a small staff of a few people and we need help getting started with Salesforce.  Do you think your community can help?

He gave me his card and agreed I would think about it. Later that night I was reading the Trailblazer community chatter messages and saw many community members around the world stating “I am a newly certified admin, but I need experience!” Or “I am working on badges to become a ranger but where can I go to use my new skills?”

It struck me that these requests need to be put together and the community can help to do this.  I put out a question on the Twin Cities Trailblazer Community page to ask if anyone would be interested in volunteering to help a nonprofit build their Salesforce instance.

I got an immediate amazing response. Yes, people were willing to help and more people would help than I could fit in a room. It was an overwhelming response, so I knew that the hunger to help and learn more was out there.

I ended up with a group of 6 outstanding Salesforce community members who agreed to meet with me at the nonprofit, get to know the organization and see how we can help them be successful.

We met on Monday nights for about 12 weeks and helped the organization with onboarding steps with Salesforce and making decisions around how to build out their Salesforce org, including accounts, contacts and giving opportunities. We analyzed and consulted on connections with Mailchimp, Classy, Eventbrite, and Google Mail.  Overall we had great success for this organization and made great strides in helping them on their way to a positive use of Salesforce.

More that those accomplishments above, I am most proud of how we worked as a group and how we interacted with our nonprofit organization:

  1. Group dynamics: We learned how to do things as a team of Admins and were able to bounce “what if” scenarios off each other and share how we do different scenarios at other organizations we have had experience with or things we have learned on Trailhead or through Certifications.
  2. Networking: We learned more about the other volunteers and got a deeper understanding about why they volunteered.  This networking is so valuable and I consider this team to be an amazing group of admins.
  3. Empathy: Understanding more about the nonprofit and how what they do makes a difference for the lives of men and women in the community.
  4. Salesforce Skills:  We increased our understanding of Salesforce and gained an appreciation of how 10 free licenses of a cloud CRM software can impact a small nonprofit so much!

Was this a successful trial?  Yes, it was! Within only a few weeks, we were able to help the nonprofit to link donors and donations to Salesforce, and start to track their efforts through the year.

Dashboard Snapshot
All charts show improvement in Donors and Leads!

 

Since we started this little community volunteer group, I have had 3 more nonprofit organizations reach out to me and ask “How can your community help us to kick-start our Salesforce instance?” I am pumped to imagine a win-win scenario where community members who need opportunity and experience will match up with those orgs who need people to help volunteer.

What can a Community Group do?  Based on our experiment, the Sky is the Limit!

2018 Recap – 2019 Reset

2018 Recap – 2019 Reset

I am not big into “resolutions” although I do believe the beginning of the year is a good time for reflection on last year and an inventory on where I am and where I am going. I do set some strategy for what I want to be doing in the next 12 months and think about those things. I don’t like to call them “goals” as that becomes a checklist of measurement that is not what I am trying to do. These are really “wouldn’t it be cool ifs”. With that preamble, here is my 2018 recap:

Cool stuff that happened in 2018

This is in no particular order, but this is cool stuff I got to do and build in 2018:

  • Designed and built a set of APEX classes that selected yesterday’s “sales items” and sent them to the fulfillment vendor’s API for shipment.  Then next day, another set of APEX classes would get a file from an Amazon S3 bucket that would show the status of those items (shipped, back-ordered, cancelled, etc) and bring back to Salesforce for customer service review.
  • Migrated my employer’s Salesforce org to Lightning Experience and was selected as a Lightning Champion from Salesforce
  • Became a Co-Leader of the Twin Cities Salesforce User Community
  • My employer created a “member portal” on it’s website and I designed a way for the data in the member portal to match up with the Salesforce contact data in an automated way, using custom formula fields and process builder.
  • Started a “CRM Governance Team” at employer to start handling strategic long-term issues around value and future use of CRM products, processes, and policies.
  • Implemented new Telemarketing System (new integrations with CRM Systems)
  • Migrated Attachments to Files
  • Migrated Notes to Enhanced Notes
  • Used new integration tools like Zapier to bring in new data to the CRM system.
  • Got 3 Certifications, including:
    • Salesforce Certified Community Cloud Consultant
    • Salesforce Accredited Sales Professional
    • Salesforce Certified Nonprofit Cloud Consultant
  • Books – I didn’t do as much reading as I wanted, but I did finish:
    • Joseph Topinka:  Business Partnerships: A Field Guide, Paving the Way for Business & Technology Convergence
  • Volunteer Work / School:
    • In my 2nd year of a Mentor at my Adopted High School, I was elected as Chair for the St Paul School District’s “Technical and Continuing Education” Advisory Board.  I hosted the high school students to my place of employment for a tour and visit to learn about public media and broadcasting.  It was great.
    • Also, started a group of volunteers to help a local nonprofit to build out their Salesforce NPSP org.  We meet on Monday nights to collaborate with this nonprofit and team up together to do amazing things in the Salesforce platform.
  • Trips: I was able to speak at Tahoe Dreamin, and at Dreamforce this year.
  • Baseball: I demoted myself to “Assistant Coach” this year and am so happy I did this.  I enjoy coaching baseball, but I don’t really get a high on being head coach.  I want to continue this next year.
  • Health:  I have been working with professionals to work on health related concerns and this has been a real journey, but has seen some positive results.

 

Cool stuff to do in 2019:

  • work with internal Governance Team to build better internal processes and policies about CRM usage. Discuss leadership, strategy and innovation internally to build the value of the CRM.
  • Expand the Governance team to include Superusers in departments to build leadership in the internal User community.
  • Learn Apsona (selections, mail merge, multi-step reporting, and Dedupe tools)
  • Build Bots and SMS Text project
  • Learn about Amazon Connect system (integrations to CRM)
  • Learn Einstein Discovery
  • Learn Einstein Analytics
  • Learn Flow/Process Builder/APEX Triggers to create future renewal/add gifts
  • “Do cool and amazing stuff in the Salesforce User Community”
  • Learn Modern JavaScript (classes/books/online/hands-on)
  • Learn APEX better/more (classes/books/online/hands-on)
  • Get 3 Certifications, including:
    • Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Designer
    • Salesforce Certified Data Architecture and Management Designer
    • Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I
  • Books: I will be reading more in 2019, specifically I am looking at books on Leadership, Innovation, and Strategy that look interesting to me.  I am also seeing that great leaders do one thing in common, which is read daily:
  • Collaborate with Salesforce.org Probono program in a Design/Strategy session.
  • Learn more about Salesforce.org NPSP
  • Build projects using the Raspberry Pi
  • Rock Tumbling, Quartz and Geode Polishing
  • Go on Fossil and Rock hunting, camping, hiking and swimming.
  • Volunteer Work / School: Will continue to work with my adopted high school and may be also helping out an elementary school in the coming year.  Will plan on finishing our Monday night volunteer project and perhaps look for a new non-profit to help as the year moves on.
  • Trips:  Not sure if we will be traveling much this year, but we are planning to host some international guests this summer.
  • Baseball: I am planning on signing up for baseball coaching again this summer.
  • Health: Will continue to work on my health in 2019 and have some goals for this item as well.

 

How Target Missed the Mark on Black Friday

This year wasn’t going to be about shopping and crazy lines for me and my family.  We spent our week preparing for family gatherings and getting the supplies ready to do a large smoked turkey to bring to my mother-in-laws.  It was full of laughter and celebrations.

However on Friday, we needed to get some supplies and we ventured out for both groceries and some last-minute birthday gifts at our local Target store.  It was busy in the store, but to be honest, most of the chaos was from the Target employees themselves, moving carts around, checking supplies, having chats on walkie-talkies between the front room and back room, and what seems like a lot of “standing around”

There are two things on my families gift list that is in the electronics section, so I went to looking for it.  Low and behold, it was more difficult to find them in this remodel.  Maybe that makes me look at more stuff?  or just get more irritated by the shopping process?

When I finally did find the item (a new camera), we realized we would need to find someone at Target who can help us get the camera behind a locked case.  Ok, I thought, there are lots of employees standing around, so I went to speak with one.   He said “No, I cannot help you, I don’t work in that department”  (but… you are standing right here??)   I went to speak with a person behind the electronics counter and there are already some folks in line.  Someone asks me if I need help and I say I would like to buy a certain camera.  He dispatches another person who walks with me back to the camera isle.

Here is where Target missed the mark on Black Friday.  (several years ago, Best Buy did the exact same thing to me, and I have no stepped foot in a Best Buy store since.)  at this moment is where a good brand loses a customer for life.  Target take note. Best Buy take note.   FYI, this is several hundreds of dollars I am about to spend in your store for a nice camera.  ok, here goes:

The employee begins to rattle off every piece of information he knows about this camera without first asking me a question.  He goes on and on and on, holding the camera and touching each button and telling each feature and why to buy it.  (Is he trying to impress me with his knowledge?)

Finally he is done talking and asks “what do you wanna know about this camera?”  My response is clear: “Do you have it in stock?” and “What can you get me to go with it?”

He stares at me for a second, as if not understanding the question.   My wife leans over to me because she has a mobile phone and has already figured out that they have none in stock but a couple other stores in town do.

The employee looks in the glass case and says “Nope, we don’t have any…. and I am sure it would come with a charger.”   then he said the one thing that will ensure I don’t purchase electronics ever from Target ever again.  “You could order it online and have it shipped to your home!”

BINGO!   YOU JUST WON THE EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH CLUB!!!
You and that guy who told me the exact same thing at Best Buy 8 years ago!

Guess what – telling me I can go online to buy this camera will ENSURE that I will find a better price, a better deal, and a better package than what you can offer me.  You just took $800 out of your employers till and sent it to some other company out of town.

What I expect from Retailers like Target and Best Buy

In order to compete with Amazon, New Egg, B&H, and other online retailers, you need to step up your game.  Sorry that it comes to this, but if your employees are being trained to tell customers to shop online to find your products, that is a very risky thing to tell customers and you better be ready to lose that game, UNLESS:

  • Match online prices for your products.  As soon as you tell me i can go online to order, I am going to search for the best price, its just what I am programmed to do.  If you match that price, I will stick with you.
  • Have inventory on-hand.  Whats better than walking out of the store with the cool thing you have been wanting to buy for your wife for many months at the price you wanted to pay.  When you say “It is across town at another store”, how does that help me, your customer?  Why can’t you say “I see it is at another store.  Let me dispatch that for you and it will be sent directly to your home.  You will have it by the end of the day! ”  (Your competition is doing that – with Prime Now.)
  • Offer packages.  If I buy that camera at my local boutique camera store or even on Amazon, they will offer me sweet deals on kits that go with it (nice case, memory cards, tripod, extra charger, etc).  So when I say “What can I get with this?” some stores have said, “You are spending $800 today, we will throw in this nice camera kit that you will enjoy using.”   It gives me the customer a little feeling of love.
  • Make your store easy to shop at.   Your recent remodel made the aisles tighter, so now two people cannot move a cart through at one time, and finding products is a maze.  Whereas, finding a product on Amazon is getting easier and easier.  Amazon is becoming the hottest search engine where people go to find out information about things to buy.  Which brings me to my final point.
  • We are an educated consumer society.  I have so many places to find information about products:  my friends, coworkers, family, people I meet who use products, Amazon reviews, google searches, YouTube videos, company FAQ sheets, etc.  By the time I walk into Target to look at the product hands-on, I have already done a ton of shopping on this product.  I don’t need your employee telling me a bunch of facts about it.  What I do need is him or her asking “How can I help you with this today?”, then doing everything they can to make a sale happen.

Honestly, stores, I want to shop local and I do shop local when I am able.   But if you don’t have the products, don’t have the service, and cannot offer to me the way to get the product, I am not sure how you are competing for me?

I’ve Been Published!

Just a note to say that my most recent blog post actually is at another site!  I was asked by my good friends at dazeworks if I would write some Salesforcey things with them and they accepted my first submission!

I wrote about my most recent work with Salesforce at my day job, and how we have been working hard to migrate our set of users to the Lightning Interface (LEX).  Today was a milestone, as I have 80% of my users in Lightning, and am working on the final 2 groups of users to be migrated before end of July!

Read more about my post here a the dazeworks site:  http://dazeworks.com/guest-blog/lightning-migration/

 

I get this question about once a month… now I am revealing my answer!

I get this question about once a month… now I am revealing my answer!

I get the following question about once a month – through social media, at events, or through referrals from other peers, colleagues and friends:

“My goal this year is to get Salesforce Admin Certified, but I am not sure the exact path to take.   Can you help guide me”

First, I would say – your path is going to be different than mine.  If I were to poll the recipients of the Salesforce Admin Certification, we would find that they have different paths and each one has value.  So I must say that my path won’t be your path.  That being said, there are some things that I feel would bring a solid base on your way to being certified.  Congratulations on taking the path and good luck on your journey!

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1) Hands on work

If you are currently working as a Salesforce Admin that is great and will give you experience in Salesforce. I spent over 6 months administrating a Salesforce organization before studying for my Admin Cert, and I think that was valuable time spent. If you are not currently an admin it is OK, because we have Trailhead! With Trailhead, you can sign up for a developer Salesforce Account and use this as your hands-on playground to understand more about Salesforce and how Salesforce Works. Here is a Trailmix for Admins looking to get certified:
https://trailhead.salesforce.com/users/00550000006yDdKAAU/trailmixes/build-your-admin-career-on-salesforce

2) Study Groups

Through my local Salesforce user group, I found other people in the area who wanted to get certified and we started our own study group. We met weekly for 3 months and studied together, using the materials I will list below to work together on quizzing each other on topics and Salesforce functionality.

3) Certification Site and Exam Guide

Use the exam guide found on the certification page as a study template.  Make sure you know the information listed in the categories on this guide. http://certification.salesforce.com/administrator

4) Blogs and Admin training sites

I reviewed these on the way to my certification:

5) Reach out and Connect with others

You already have done this if you reached out to me with your question, so you are already networking with others.  Keep doing that.  Meet others at local user groups, connect with other community members via Twitter or through the Trailblazer Community.  For example, there is a Certification Study Group  https://success.salesforce.com/_ui/core/chatter/groups/GroupProfilePage?g=0F9300000001pLJ but there are many other groups you can join and participate in.  Asking questions to others is a great way to start a conversation.

6) Set a Date for your Exam

I set a specific date for my Exams – try to be realistic, but set the date.  For my Admin Cert, I set a date 3 months out and then strive to hit that date.  Having the deadline put pressure on me to continue to study every day knowing that I had to be done.

Oh, and then make sure to celebrate for yourself when you are done.  It is nice to have the certification and then reward yourself on a job well done.