The Importance of Data Quality as AI Grows

What is Data Quality?

When you think about the quality of your data, what things come to mind? For me, it goes way beyond simply having accurate information. It’s much more all-encompassing & includes completeness, timeliness and relevance of the data. Think about it this way – how does it make you feel when you receive an email that starts off with “Hello <First_Name>”.  Does that fill you with confidence that the rest of the message will be tailored to meet your needs or provide you with information or an offer that is exactly what you are looking for in that exact moment?

Compare that to an email that starts off with “Hello Eric” For the sake of this article, assume your name is Eric. Or every time you see “Eric”, substitute that with your actual first name. That invokes a much different feeling, doesn’t it? For me, I feel like the person (or company) who is emailing me, knows who I am, understands what I’m looking for & is prepared to have a good conversation with me as we build a great business relationship together.

Why is Data Quality Important?

Bad data wastes time & resources. It clogs up systems like email & Salesforce. It costs companies real money. According to Gartner’s 2021 “How to Improve Your Data Quality” study, “Every year, poor data quality costs organizations an average of $12.9 million.” That’s a lot of money! This cost comes in many forms: lost revenue, increased operational costs, penalties for compliance violations in regulated industries, and possibly the worst category – damage to a company’s reputation.

Overall, the cost of poor data quality can be significant, both in real, financial losses and also other negative ways. Investing in data quality management and implementing best practices can help reduce the risks of bad data as well as mitigate tangible costs and ensure that your business is basing decisions on reliable, high-quality data. 

How to Transform Bad Data into Quality Data

A few years ago, when I thought about bad data, my mind immediately went to duplicate records. Or “almost duplicates” – where one or two pieces of data about a person or company were different, and all other information was identical. But that’s just one piece of the quality puzzle. You don’t have quality data if you’re missing key pieces of information or if the data you have is no longer valid. 

What is a key piece of information? Anything that’s important to your company’s decision-making process. Anything that helps you understand who your customer is & how they make purchasing decisions. It could be something as simple as an email address, or even what time zone the individual resides in. As you think about your own data quality journey, be sure to think beyond the obvious as you look towards the future. 

The real challenge is how to maintain quality data in real time, as new data is being input or existing data is updated in Salesforce. The DQE Name module does real-time validation of all your customer contact details, names, postal addresses, emails, phones and company information with global coverage for more than 240 countries. This is extremely important for e-commerce businesses to ensure customers will receive their orders in a timely manner. It’s also crucial for call centers as they strive to provide the absolute best customer service experience.

All this ties nicely to the idea of having a single, unified customer record. Imagine this: You return to a website to browse their latest sales and a pop up appears, “Welcome back, Eric!” And you are presented with items matching your last search, items that coordinate with your latest purchase and a discount offer for your next purchase. Nice. They know who you are and value you as a customer.

DQE One Data Quality

Long Term Approaches to Quality Data

You may think that once you have cleaned up your data, you’re good to go. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now it’s time to develop a strategy that will keep your data quality at the highest level. Build the processes, get the right tools in place – do it now, proactively. But slow down, just a bit. Use a bit of discretion and move forward cautiously. The quality of your isn’t something to take lightly. Be sure to look towards the future and realize that change is inevitable, but having quality data should be a constant. 

Want to learn more about how DQE (Data Quality Everywhere) can help? Come visit with me and the DQE team at Northeast Dreamin or check out DQE One on the AppExchange.

The InVisory Community – Helping Buyers Make Smarter and Faster Decisions in the Salesforce ecosystem

There was a time not too long ago when sellers were the gatekeepers of the corporate buying experience. Sellers controlled the pace at which a deal progressed because they controlled access to the necessary product details buyers needed to make decisions about which product best met their needs. That all changed as more and more companies began offering their products on a subscription basis in what we all now know as the SaaS (Software as a Service) market.

Suddenly, buyers gained control over the sales experience due to their ability to gather their own intelligence about products from internet searches, SaaS vendor company websites and previous buyer reviews on marketplaces like the Salesforce AppExchange. Often this could be done without engaging a sales team at all. In reality, this was a monumental effort that typically slowed the purchasing process down while buyers took in all that data and analyzed it before even contacting a seller to make an informed purchase. This all helped to prove that knowledge is power. Or did it? Did the buyers really gain power and control; or did they end up succumbing to the sellers; or where buyers gained access to information and documentation, they also added countless hours of research and product comparisons to already busy schedules?

Today, InVisory assists buyers in their journey by removing time delays from identifying apps, the data gathering and analysis phases of the buying process. InVisory’s proprietary vendor categorization and scoring methodology allows its team to generate scalable research notes, and resources which help to better align customers to the right solution category, and create their short list of the top five to ten vendors they should be considering for their specific use case and business requirements. Once customers of InVisory have their short list, they can also send in an inquiry to a system implementer by completing a short form to best identify vendors that are a fit for their need.

Just how did InVisory do this? They created a place to connect Salesforce users, ISVs and SIs in a marketplace that provides unbiased, action-driven insights. Properly equipped with the necessary knowledge (power) these end users can drive more results from their Salesforce investments by shortening the time needed to discover, compare and evaluate Salesforce apps and consulting firms. The InVisory platform offers a simplified search from its curated and customized database and objective results in the form of detailed profiles for a select number of top vendors chosen by a proprietary scoring algorithm.

Not in search of a new Salesforce app right now? – The InVisory Communities helps Salesforce users connect with peers to share knowledge, find information and get other useful insights. Community members can post questions and contribute to conversations on various topics by solution category or cloud, and community members receive points for participating and can use those points to win high-value rewards.

To learn more about it, create your own profile and review the community for yourself.

How Clean is Your Data?

Every time I hear someone talk about data quality, I’m reminded of something I learned many years ago. Data is the life-blood of most any organization. It’s the new Gold, the new hot commodity. Every organization wants access to more and more data about their customers. Why? Because having good data is what drives business forward, what helps organizations better engage with their clients and constituents. There’s one big problem, though – the data you report out is only as good as the data you take in.  

Did you miss the recent webinar I participated in called Data Quality: Top 5 Ways to Prevent Garbage in, Garbage out – that took place on Thursday, August 11th? I discussed this very problem with Sviat Lobach, Vice President of Product at Revenue Grid. Some of the things we talked about included:

  • The impact bad data has on organizations – not just poor decision-making, but also the dollar impact on a company’s bottom line.
  • Why most approaches to data management don’t properly address this issue.
  • How automation can improve CRM data quality.
  • The best ways to have clean and complete data in your CRM.

Want to learn more? Check out the recording!

How Dirty is Your Data?

Every time I hear someone talk about data quality, I’m reminded of something I learned many years ago. Data is everything. It’s the life-blood of most any organization. Data is what drives business forward, what helps organizations better engage with their customers, clients and constituents. The data you report out is only as good as the data you take in. There seems to have been two different schools of thought that have evolved on this subject over the years:

Garbage in, garbage out – An early IBM programmer and instructor named George Fuechsel is generally given credit for coining the term. It is said that he used “garbage in, garbage out” as an easy way of reminding his students that a computer just processes whatever data it is given. The term has expanded way beyond the computer science world and now “garbage in, garbage out” is often used to refer to situations in the non-digital world, where bad decision-making occurs as a result of incomplete or dirty information.

Garbage in, gospel out – This is a slightly newer variation on the same subject, where people tend to believe and trust statistics, and data that are computer generated. The thought here is that if a report has been produced by a computer, it must, inherently be accurate and contain valuable information to base decision-making on. 

In the upcoming webinar Data Quality: Top 5 Ways to Prevent Garbage in, Garbage out, taking place at 11am Central on Thursday, August 11th, I will discuss this very problem with Sviat Lobach, Vice President of Product at Revenue Grid. What you’ll learn from this session:

  • The impact bad data has on organizations – not just poor decision-making, but also the dollar impact on a company’s bottom line.
  • Why most approaches to data management don’t properly address this issue.
  • How automation can improve CRM data quality.
  • The best ways to have clean and complete data in your CRM.

Save your spot today!

Hurry! Special Dreamforce Offer Expires at 11:59 PM Central Time, September 3, 2022!

Want to Attend Dreamforce 2022, and Help Homeless Children at the Same Time?

If you had the chance to do something (that you do every year) and help a great cause at the same time, would you do it?

Yes, that was a rhetorical question, but do me a favor, think about it and answer the question anyway.

My answer would be a resounding ‘Yes!’ I try to give back to the Salesforce community every chance I get. I’ve been fortunate enough to have secured a full pass to Dreamforce that I could auction off with the proceeds going to Project Night Night.

Today I’m thrilled to launch the 2022 edition of the “Attend Dreamforce, Help Homeless Children” auction. The rules are pretty simple:

  1. Place you bid here.
  2. All entries must be received by 11:59 PM Central Time on September 3, 2022.
  3. The highest bid wins.
  4. Free pass covers conference registration fees only. All travel and other accomodations are the responsibility of the winner.

Registration for Dreamforce 2022 is already open, and once the early bird rate expires on August 9th, the cost for a full Dreamforce pass will be $1,999.00.

The lucky high bidder in this auction will get a full pass to attend Dreamforce 2022, taking place September 20-22, 2022.  And in the process the winner will be helping many homeless children get a NightNight pack from Project Night Night so that they can have sweeter dreams, no matter where they happen to call home for the night.

Please answer these two questions:

  1. Do you, or someone you know, still need a pass to Dreamforce, or want to save money on the pass you already have?
  2. Do you want to help children have sweeter dreams at the same time?

If you answered yes to both questions, please place your bids here. To see the current high bid, follow me on Twitter and search for #DF22PNN_HIGHBID.

The bidding will close at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, September 3, 2022.

If you happened to answer the first question with a no, please visit Project Night Night to learn more about their mission and consider making a donation through my special “bacon donation” to Project Night Night.

Either way, please follow Project Night Night on Twitter and support their cause with prayers!


What Are You Thankful For?

GivingTuesday is coming up soon. And regardless of whether there’s any official activity in your community, you can still give of your time, talents or dollars, to those less fortunate. Dig deep. Think about what you have, and how you got to where you are today. I’m sure you’ll discover an organization whose mission is to support a cause that’s important to you.

For me, that’s Project Night Night. 15 years ago I began a journey through the darkest part of my life. My family and I struggled financially – we kept the power on in our home and kept food on the table, but we couldn’t always pay the mortgage or many of the other obligations we had. Somehow, we survived and even managed to keep our home. But for much of that time, I felt like we could have been just days or minutes away from homelessness.

What turned things around for us, was me stumbling into a job that became my entry point into the Salesforce ecosystem. It was really pure luck, and being at the right place and time. And from one person seeing something inside me, and giving me a chance at a new start to my career. (Thanks Pauline!) Shortly after that I was introduced to the Salesforce Community, and that’s when my career really started to blossom. Within a year, I started a local Salesforce Community group, and a year later I launched the very first Midwest Dreamin’, a Salesforce Community-led Conference. In 2012, I hosted the first Newbie “Reunion” Breakfast at Dreamforce – the event that became known as “The Bacon Breakfast.” Then, in 2013, I was named a Salesforce MVP for the first time, and it was at the 2013 Salesforce MVP Summit when I first met Project Night Night.

As soon as I discovered Project Night Night’s mission, it touched me deep in my heart, because I realized that the children they help, could have been my children – we were that close to homelessness. Project Night Night’s mission is to provide free Night Night Packages to homeless children from birth to pre-teen who need our childhood essentials to have a concrete and predictable source of security and increased exposure to high-quality literacy materials during this time of upheaval. Each Night Night Package contains a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal — all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag. Put simply, the Night Night Packages provided by Project Night Night may be the only thing a child in homelessness had that they can truly call their own. It helps provide a sense of security, no matter where the child lays their head down every night.

They can’t fulfill their mission alone…won’t you please help me support the children of homelessness by supporting Project Night Night, by making a donation today?

3 Things You Might Not Know about Declarative Webhooks

The Growing Salesforce Ecosystem

Of the 76,000+ Salesforce certified professionals, Administrators are growing at a rapid pace: 37% a year! For reference, that’s the 4th highest occupation rate growth in the United States. The fourth highest! At the same time, Salesforce implementations requiring at least one integration with an external application are on the rise.  Oftentimes these integrations require custom code just to send data out of Salesforce.  So why are there so few tools in the Salesforce AppExchange, solving for this frequent business issue, that are built specifically for Admins? That’s exactly the question the team behind Declarative Webhooks asked. And furthermore, why spend thousands of dollars on custom development or learning a new off-platform app when you could implement a 100% native, fully declarative, but extremely robust tool that any Admin can use?  

A Brief History of Omnivo Digital

After 6 years of running Omnivo Digital, a Certified Salesforce Partner, and a combined 30+ years experience with the platform, Adam Zuckerman, Jason Sun, and Lucian Ciobanu recognized multiple opportunities in the marketplace. The first one they wanted to tackle? Integrations.  After having implemented custom integrations for hundreds of Salesforce projects and having to write custom APEX code to support many, including relatively simple integrations, they thought, “Why do Admins have to search for external solutions or hire developers to resort to custom code when they want to connect Salesforce to third party apps?”,  “Why is there an Outbound Message feature in Salesforce that only supports SOAP and not REST, the more popular framework for integrations and exchanging data these days?”, and finally “Why are we having to write custom code for so many of our integrations?”

So, they took their extensive experience with Salesforce development and cross-platform integration and developed Declarative Webhooks to solve this problem.  

Here are 3 things you might not know about Declarative Webhooks. 

  • It has a fully declarative interface. True to its name, the Declarative Webhooks tool is one that any Admin can use to build integrations between Salesforce and external systems. The point-and-click experience is key to accessibility, low cost, and time-to-implement, all the things we value in the growing Salesforce ecosystem.
  • You can build JSON from parent-child relationships and apply filters using SOQL. Declarative Webhooks enables Admins to easily create Callout Templates and data structures using an intuitive JSON Builder. Admins can apply filters with an easy-to-use interface or with custom SOQL, if desired.  They can also map data from both related parent objects and child related lists (with filters on child records too!) in the JSON data structure. Additionally, users can use a response builder to trigger multiple response actions. Did I mention you can integrate with platforms no matter what kind of authorization  method their API requires?
  • You can implement a callout in a button, flow, process builder, or scheduled batch. No matter what requirements your business or users have, Declarative Webhooks can flex to meet them. Whether you want to automatically trigger a webhook with a flow or process builder, run them on a schedule, or give your users a button to make the callout themselves, the choice is at your fingertips. 

The Hook about Declarative Webhooks

So next time you have a use case where you need to integrate your Salesforce with an external application, before hitting the custom development panic button, give Declarative Webhooks a try!  With the free tier, you can create a callout template and up to 100 callouts per month to take the tool for a test drive. 

3 Things You May Not Know About Mulesoft Composer

Mulesoft Composer became generally available for Salesforce customers in mid-March, in the middle of the pandemic. And even with the lack of normalcy in the world, it didn’t go unnoticed. 

“The idea behind MuleSoft Composer is to give business teams a simple way to leverage data any way necessary to create new digital services.”

Data Integration Solutions News

A Brief History

Mulesoft was founded in 2006, as MuleSource. In 2009 the name was changed to Mulesoft. Over the next several years the company became a leader in the application integration space, with continuous  growth and innovation, and was acquired by Salesforce in 2018. Mulesoft Composer became generally available in March, 2021. 

Here’s 3 things you might not know about Mulesoft Composer. 

  1. Mulesoft Composer is code-free, point & click 

Mulesoft Composer is helping to grow citizen developers with its code-free, point & click environment that previews connections as you build them. Wow – a preview of the connections as you build them. That certainly solves the problem that end users don’t always know what data they want to integrate until they see it, and since it’s also point & click, those citizen developers (end users) don’t have to wait for IT teams to build those integrations either! 

Mulesoft Composer screen shot
  1. Business Technologists are power users

According to a Gartner report, the number of business technologists will exceed the number of IT professionals by a factor of 4 within the next 2 years. Mulesoft Composer was built specifically with the line-of-business (LOB) end user, the power user, the Business Technologist, in mind. This empowers end users to help IT teams better scale the organization as it grows.

  1. Speeds Integrations & boost collaboration with pre-built Connectors

WIth many pre-built connectors, it is fast and easy to connect data from applications like NetSuite, Workday, Slack, Google Sheets, Tableau CRM, and Salesforce. And since Mulesoft Composer is built on the Anypoint Platform, it shares the same enterprise-grade runtime, security, governance & scalability capabilities, which helps to boost collaboration between lines of business (LOB) and IT.

Mulesoft Composer Use Cases

So…what are you waiting for? Just think of all the amazing things your business could be doing thanks to Mulesoft Composer. Want to learn more about the amazing capabilities of Mulesoft Composer, check out these product spotlights, then contact Salesforce to get started. 

5 Things You Might Not Know About SharinPix

Now I know what you’re thinking…photos in my CRM? That’s crazy talk. First off, why would I need photos in CRM? And second, won’t that eat up all my storage space?

Yeah, I thought both those things at first too. Then I discovered SharinPix. 

SharinPix not only makes it easy to bring the power of images to Salesforce, you can do it without writing a line of code, offering it to your customers, field service workers, agents, marketing team, community or any other Salesforce user.

Here’s five things you might not know about SharinPix.

  • Vision: Let’s start by examining the vision of SharinPix. According to their website, their vision is to empower users with advanced image management features, leverage the capabilities of Salesforce with integrated image usage, and automate business processes that start with image content. Breaking that down some, since the popularization of the smartphone, people have been taking pictures every day for a wide variety of reasons, including: to share on social media with family and friends, to prove or explain something or to save time on note-taking.
Young people watching a live streaming. Social media concept.
  • Unlimited Storage: SharinPix doesn’t store your photos in your Salesforce instance. Rather they are stored securely via their Album Component in a way that doesn’t count against your Salesforce limitations. This method enables SharinPix to offer all its customers unlimited storage, so you can use all the images you need to, whenever you need them. And you can do this regardless of how you use Salesforce: Classic, Lightning or Mobile.
  • Many Use Cases: SharinPix helps with retail execution. Imagine you’re a beverage supplier with hundreds of reps working sales routes in the field, and the corporate office requires these reps to submit photos of stock and special displays at every store they service and every competitor they encounter. WIth SharinPix, your field sales reps simply take photos that showcase their displays and highlight what competitors are doing. SharinPix handles the rest. Using Einstein Object Detection, the retail display images are automatically analyzed to extract the insights you need, stored in a custom object in Salesforce. Managers get near real time access to the work the reps are doing, and the reps don’t have to spend their evenings renaming and uploading files. SharinPix helps with field service, marketing, image design & validation for franchises and much more. 
  • Not Just an Image App: Since SharinPix comes in many forms, including Lightning Components, Visualforce pages and even HTML5 components, you can drag and drop SharinPix onto any Salesforce record page and start using it immediately, whether at your desk or on the go. And SharinPix can be even part of your branded experience for your community users. But wait, there’s more! Need to update a field in Salesforce when an image gets added or updated? You can do that with workflows!
  • Pricing and Plans for Everyone: No matter what your SharinPix usage is, there’s a plan for you. The Basic Plan includes unlimited storage, the desktop experience and basic image format. The Premium Plan also includes the Mobile Online Experience, which is required for the Salesforce Mobile App. The Premium Plan also includes Extended Image Format, Annotation, Tag & Search, Images as Salesforce Fields and Records & more. The Enterprise Plan also includes the Mobile Offline Experience, smart components with image features for smart implementation, Smart Document Scanning, Smart PDF Generation, Smart Google Maps with Checkpoints and Annotations, Smart PDF to Salesforce fields and more!

You can learn more and start a free 14 day trial on the Salesforce AppExchange.

5 Things You May Not Know About Akoonu for Pipeline Reviews

For sales teams, success depends on the pipeline and winning deals.  But managing the sales pipeline today is full of frustrations.  Poor visibility, bad data, and insufficient reporting mean that pipeline reviews are inefficient at best, and more typically frustrating and unsatisfying experiences for everyone.  Basic questions like “What has changed?” or “What deals are going to close?” are left incomplete or unanswered.

Akoonu for Pipeline Reviews, a native app in Salesforce, is game changing for pipeline reviews. It gives sales reps, managers and executives quick access to powerful views in order to inspect and manage the pipeline they own or oversee. They can stop the guesswork, stop the spreadsheets and custom reporting, stop the endless clicking, and focus on winning.

Here are 5 things you may not know about Akoonu for Pipeline Reviews:

1. Immediately know what has changed

The first question in most Pipeline Review meetings is “What’s Changed?” , which is surprisingly hard for most teams to answer!  The Pipeline Flow view in Akoonu is built to clearly answer this question.  It is the perfect starting point for any sales manager or executive to dig into the pipeline.
In this view, the deal changes are analyzed for a specific time.  For example, it will summarize how the Current Quarter’s deals have changed in the last 7 days.   The results are presented in two easy to digest ways: 1) a flow chart depicts new deals, wins, losses, pushes, pulls and value changes, and 2) a waterfall chart clearly illustrates how these changes impacted the overall pipeline number.

2. “Cross Object” Filters and Groupings 

Sales Ops could spend all of their time creating custom reports, but never fully satisfy the needs of how sales management would like to view their pipeline.  Things change, different people want to look at things in different ways.  Two powerful capabilities in Akoonu allow users to focus on exactly what opportunities they want to review, eliminating the endless streams of custom reporting requests.

First, users can add any number of filters to their views.  They can select a part of their team hierarchy, and can include filters on any opportunity field, any field from related objects (like the Account or Owner), and even any Product field. For advanced users, Custom Logic can be applied to craft the perfect view.

Second, users can choose how to group and summarize deals in the List View.  Again, users have the choice of grouping on any Opportunity field, any field on related objects, or any Product fields.  Sub-totals summarize the pipeline value for each group, and users can use “nested groupings” and layer subtotals to an unlimited depth.

3. Support your Sales Process with embedded components and configurable Actions

One of the primary objectives of pipeline review meetings is to evaluate the status of each opportunity, guide and coach reps to the next appropriate action, and enforce compliance of the company’s sales process.  

Akoonu for Pipeline Reviews can be customized to deeply support any sales process, be it a variation of industry standards like BANT or MEDDIC, or something completely homegrown.  This is enabled through the use of embedded UI components.  Organizations can create new Lightning Components, or use existing ones, directly in the Akoonu user interface creating a seamless, guided experience for sales reps and managers.  

Additionally, user Actions can be created to trigger Lightning Flows, Lightning Components, record edits, and more to put the reps’ key activities directly in the app.

4.  Guided Setup and Configuration App

Akoonu for Pipeline Reviews is highly configurable, and comes with a fully featured setup and configuration app for system administrators.  Every setting and option are available in this UI with contextual help content, eliminating the confusion and errors of directly editing configuration metadata.

Starting with a “Click to Configure” launching point, organizations can be fully configured in no time.  

5.  Data Security:  Data never leaves the Salesforce Platform

Most tools that provide sophisticated analysis of Salesforce data work “off platform”, exporting or syncing data to outside systems and applications to do complex analysis.  Not Akoonu.  Akoonu for Pipeline Reviews works in Salesforce, in real-time, with algorithms specifically built to perform and scale within the limitations and restrictions of being native in the Salesforce platform.  

Customer data stays locked down, in-place, within Salesforce’s secure Cloud, and Akoonu users don’t experience any of the data-syncing headaches and Info Sec concerns typical when connecting to outside applications.

Want to see Akoonu for Pipeline Reviews in action?  Both a Test Drive and a 30 day trial are available from the Salesforce AppExchange listing.