What a Boutique Partner Can Offer: Craftsmanship
A year or so ago I wanted a connected speaker for my living room that would pass my wife’s aesthetic test. Nothing I found was pretty enough. I did some research online and decided that I could probably figure it out. You see, I have some tools. Some I’ve bought, some I’ve inherited, some I don’t know where they came from. I probably have the right tools for the job. I mostly know what each does. I took wood-shop in middle school. What more could I need?
So, I bought some wood from the local warehouse store and went to work sawing, drilling, and gluing. The result was…less than ideal. No amount of sanding or staining was going to make this thing work.
With my pride a bit damaged I called my brother. He’s a woodworker with a garage full of tools and several impressive projects under his belt. I went to his house. He looked over my drawings and re-drew them with accurate dimensions. He wrote a checklist in the margin of what we needed to do.
We headed to a woodworking store. They had hundreds of types of wood; varieties I’d never heard of before. We picked out a beautiful Sapele, which my brother determined had the right properties for what I was going to do with it. It would stain nice and the grain would look gorgeous. We headed back to his shop.
We ran the board through his table saw, which he had fitted with the right blades and jigs for the job. We used his drill press, which had a laser guide to help make sure the holes were perfectly centered. We routed the speaker holes to get a nice beveled effect that was cut perfectly. We used special clamps and cross-braced it to make sure everything was perfectly square when we glued it.
Most of the tools we used are tools I have at my house. I just don’t know when or how to use each tool like he does. I don’t know which blade is the right blade for the saw and I don’t have the right jigs to make sure I can cut everything even and straight. I don’t know some of the techniques that helped my brother do things faster and better than I could.
Without my brother’s help, I had made an ugly but functional speaker. With his help, we made a beautiful speaker that will stay together for a long time.
Since then, my brother made his own version out of two different types of wood which he chose for their resonance and how their grain and color work together. Mine is pretty. His is innovative.
What does this have to do with picking a Salesforce integrator? Everything!
There are thousands of choices when you’re picking a Salesforce partner. Each of us have the same set of tools available to us–Clouds, Objects, Lightning, Apex, Process Builders, Flows, AppExchange Packages, Triggers, Actions, Bots, Einstein, and many more.
Some partners are like manufacturers. They have a large framework, large teams, and standardized project plans. They churn out project after project. Their result is predictable and boring–following the step-by-step anyone-can-do-it instructions. You get the same table every time and it lasts well enough, but it isn’t art or innovation. You get what you saw in the catalog and you pay a little bit more for the privilege. These folks will bring a big team of people, a playbook, a rigid methodology, and a hefty invoice with them.
Some partners are like excited hobbyists. They think they know all the tools. They see them all lined up but only have enough information to be dangerous–like me as a woodworker. I have come behind many of these before. I see them having used Apex to do something they could have done with a formula field. I find a custom Lightning Component with a spaghetti mess of code that takes longer to untangle than to rebuild correctly from scratch. What they build is technically what their customer asked them to do, but much like the speaker I built by myself, it isn’t going to hold up, isn’t well crafted, and any true craftsman will see it and cringe.
Sometimes these hobbyists are very familiar with a few tools–like the woodworker who is enamored with his routing table and wants to use it in every project and consequently everything has a beveled edge. These partners might steer you toward AI to solve every problem. To be fair, my brother was excited to use his Japanese saw but he only pulled out that tool when it was the right tool for the task. We mostly used familiar tools–saws, clamps, sandpaper, and wood glue. In the same way, AI has its place in the Salesforce partner toolbox, but it shouldn’t be used where a Process Builder will do.
At PolSource, we’ve built a team of craftspeople.
- We ask the right questions up front to make sure we understand the job.
- We measure out the work to make sure we’ve got the right resources and time-frame.
- We plan and design carefully to make sure we do it right the first time.
- We work together to make sure that we’re picking the right tool for each job.
- We make sure to use each tool correctly, so that those who come behind us can build upon our work. No cutting corners. No using the shiny new tool just because it is there.
- We enable our folks to learn each industry, each tool, and each technique. We learn from each other.
- When we make mistakes, we correct them the right way–no duct tape or filling in spaces with caulk.
- Beyond that, we’re looking for ways to innovate and provide something above and beyond.
The end result is something well-crafted and well-delivered.
Take care when selecting a partner. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. Pick people who have deep experience in the craft, ask enough questions so you know that they are crafting just for you, can point to some excellent past projects, and are excited to take on the project.
I would love to show you some of our past work and talk about any projects you have in mind.