Tuesday, January 12, 2021

May the Force be with you (Salesforce, that is)

As a part of their work constructing a future-state service model for UVAFinance, the Finance Engagement Team is steadily bringing all UVAFinance departments into the Salesforce fold.  And, in keeping with the Star Wars metaphor, they’re empowering team members in those areas to be customer service Jedis.

Incorporation of Salesforce is just part of the plan for more streamlined, consistent customer service from UVAFinance, and it’s a huge first step.  In late 2020, Travel & Expense became the first department to adopt use of Salesforce to manage stakeholder interactions.  Since then, the Finance Engagement Team has onboarded Business Intelligence, administrative services, and System Support, with many other units set to follow.

Using Salesforce to manage customer questions, track the resolution of issues, and provide cross-functional insight into operations, it has become easier for UVAFinance units to deliver great service to those who need the service.

“Traditionally, every unit in finance has provided service in its own way,” says Andrew Sallans, Finance Engagement Manager, explaining that units all have had different ways for stakeholders to contact them, different ways to get information, and different response times.

“What we’re trying to do is reframe UVAFinance services as an interrelated set, with interdependencies between them, and empower our service providers to support stakeholders both in their own unique, personalized way, but at the same time in an easier way that is consistent and takes advantage of all central finance units being connected in Salesforce,” he says.

Raegan Harouff Gaye of Travel & Expense says the experience has been overwhelmingly positive and has allowed her team to improve their internal processes in addition to better serving their stakeholders.

“When we implemented Salesforce, we looked at our processes and asked how we could make them work with the system (Salesforce) better.  We’ve truly been having fun, because our team has been taking a fresh look at what we do and asking a lot of questions,” she says.

Scott Adams of the Finance Engagement Team says those questions are important every time they onboard a new unit into use of Salesforce. 

“As an IT person, I constantly ask myself how I can empower those around me, how I can enable them to accomplish what they want to accomplish, and free them up to do what they are best at,” he says.

Another customer service solution offered by Salesforce that has benefitted UVAFinance units is the tracking and reporting that allows them to gather data that is needed for continuous improvement.

Sallans adds that as Salesforce provides more transparency into how work is happening, there are many more opportunities to recognize those involved in the provision of the services.  When services are delivered with that coordination, alignment, and visibility, more of the work that people do ends up being seen, and we can celebrate those who do the work and learn from them.

Adams sums it up: “Our implementation of Salesforce and our future service model work is definitely about the bigger vision of the University.  We’re setting up for the future, laying the groundwork for people to think differently, and providing the opportunities to build on that; and we all have insight into what’s being tried – we move on from failure and learn from it, moving constantly toward a better future,” he says.

Or, to slightly reframe the words of renowned Jedi Master Yoda, “Do, or do not; there is no ‘not trying.’”


If you’d like to hear the Finance Engagement Team and Travel & Expense talk more about this process and their pursuit of continuous improvement, listen in to this recent conversation on Finance Matters: https://everydaygrace.podbean.com/e/challenging-the-status-quo-panel-series-uvafinance-service-model-finance-matters/

Read more about the Salesforce Implementation on the UVAFinance blog here:  https://uvafinance.blogspot.com/2020/11/smooth-operators-finance-engagement.html

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