The Cloud Enterprise Documentation Challenge
The Salesforce Customer has become the Integrator
The Salesforce platform makes it extremely easy, with ‘point & click’ to:
- Build and Customise Salesforce applications: overriding labels and adding custom fields and more;
- Add AppExchange applications: to buy ready-made solutions to common processes;
- Create Custom Objects or custom applications: to manage unique local business processes & entities.
So, every Salesforce customer has the power to buy or build custom applications to create the best-fit virtual ‘cloud-ERP’ (Enterprise Resource Planning) system for their needs.
However, this power places responsibility on the customer for integration between applications and the need to maintain a cohesive user experience for processes across applications.
Enterprise Documentation in the Salesforce Cloud
Unfortunately, the problem with current help means that organisations using Salesforce for enterprise applications face several challenges when it comes to documenting their applications, providing help, and supporting users as they work in and across applications.
- Standard Salesforce help: has limited support for Enterprise end-users and local customisation;
- Bolt-on, multi-vendor remote help systems carry significant integration and maintenance overheads. Additionally, the complexity, costs and effort needed to attempt to recreate context for the user, away from their point of need, often makes for expensive ‘shelf-ware’;
- Users have to seek out, filter and analyse help before acting, rather than be delivered appropriate help direct to their point of need. Often they will just ask (in other words, interrupt) a colleague.
Enterprise Documentation with the User Engagement Layer
In an ideal world, documentation and help for custom enterprise applications would be a natural extension of the Salesforce ‘point & click’ model including providing native support for:
- Embedded Help: Locally defined, rich-media content in standard, customised, extended and custom Salesforce apps, preventing additional silos for bolt-on help;
- Helped Lightning and Visual Force Page support: for Enterprise custom apps and AppExchange apps;
- Enterprise Help & Documentation Portal: for common business glossary, data dictionary, process and procedure documentation;
- Reading lists: to provide virtual documents/presentations for processes and ‘play-books’, with interactive Help Guides to walk Users through app pages;
- Contextual Links to existing Help Resources: Paths to learn more, to repurpose, add context and maximise return on existing investments;
- Context-sensitive Dynamic switching: of help content using Data-Driven rules about the viewed record and/or Helped User (Help Domains / Help Personas), based on the viewing user.
Fortunately, this ideal world is already possible with the User Engagement Layer powered by Improved Help, and Improved NoticeBoard is already supporting our customers’ associated change management activities.