It’s free like a puppy.

Salesforce is complex sophisticated. I am certain you could make something on the force.com platform that would launch a spaceship. At the very least, a rocket. I’m certain it’s already been done, what with the Internet of Things (IoT) now giving us doggie doors that sense Fido approaching and can log animal behavior in your own SF org. (I promise I heard about this on a ButtonClick Admin podcast.)

But firing up a new Salesforce instance can be tricky. Combine Harvester

An amazing colleague likens Salesforce to a combine harvester. It’s the opposite of, like, Dollar Shave Club where you just get a product delivered to your door that does its job straight out of the box.

If you have heard about how amazing Salesforce.org is, as part of Salesforce’s 1-1-1 model, you are probably aware that many 501(c)3 organizations can get some sweet product donations through the Power of Us program. Here’s where the issue becomes really clear (but this happens in corporations of all kinds, to be very clear. )

Can you see this conversation taking place?

Program Manager: I can’t make heads or tails of my info. Are my afterschool program kids getting free lunch programs at school? Are the GED participants hearing about our job fair?

Tech Manager: There’s this thing called Salesforce, and it can do that and more. And it’s free! All we have to do is download it.

I’m thinking you can figure out what happens next. Puppies, and this includes free puppies, have to be walked every day–several times a day. They have some data hygiene cleanup issues–every day. They need to be trained, and socialized, and most importantly they will want to sit on the sofa, right on top of you, on Family Movie Night. You can see the parallels.

For the love, and to avoid massive future messes…think through maintenance and support before acquiring any new technology, including product donations.

Tons of related resources can be found online; here are two right from Salesforce:

1M3gB1470659428

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