Cloud Enterprise Documentation
The Salesforce Customer is the ‘Cloud-ERP’ Integrator
The Salesforce platform makes it extremely easy, with ‘point & click’ to:
- Customise Salesforce applications: overriding labels and adding custom fields;
- Add AppExchange applications: to buy ready-made solutions to common processes;
- Create Custom Objects or applications: to manage unique local business processes & entities.
So, every Salesforce customers 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, 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.
The graphic below illustrates the Cloud Enterprise Documentation Challenge, where the bought & built virtual ERP environment provides a disjointed user experience across process / application silos.
Enterprise Documentation with Improved Help
In an ideal world, documentation and help for custom enterprise applications would be a natural extension of the Salesforce ‘point & click’ model – 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 Visual Force Page support: for Enterprise custom apps and AppExchange apps;
- Enterprise Help & Documentation Portal: for common business glossary, data dictionary, process & 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: to repurpose, add context and maximise return on existing investments;
- Context-sensitive switching: of help content using Data-Driven rules about the viewed record and/or Help Domains, based on the viewing user.