Imminent Challenges that face Salesforce Commerce Cloud
The balance of analysis is ideal in theory and difficult in practice. To begin with a disclaimer, I am a keen supporter of Salesforce Commerce Cloud. The fully comprehensive, cloud-based eCommerce platform retains powerful functionality that has been used to create and maintain some of the best brands in the world.
But like all good things, they do come with limitations. And in order to capture a clear-eyed view of the platform, it’s necessary to confront its challenges and consequences of its success. Before we take a look at them, most of them emerge from the sheer size and functionality of the platform. This may sound like a soft hit, but many companies look towards Salesforce and expect magic. But the technicality of the platform can hamper the growth and development of a company by not maximizing its potential. In many cases, companies look towards tech consultancies, such as United Virtualities, to take over the technical demands of a modern, big brand website.
So what are the challenges that face Salesforce Commerce Cloud?
Customer service support
Salesforce users often point towards the difficulty in finding the right service support. For the average user, the platform’s basics are easily navigable, and its core functionality is clearly identified. However, when average users spontaneously hit serious issues, they’re highly unlikely to resolve them. This is the moment when they reach out to find the help of specialized service support.
It’s an issue that the platform is trying to overcome by providing a free support plan for users, which includes a 2-day response rate. It also has online training resources, like guided journeys of the platform, a video library, as well as an active community forum that works as a problem-solving forum. Yet forums don’t always have the right answer for you, and depending on how specific the problem is, it is more or less likely to have been found and resolved. Of course, you could always hire a tech consultancy to handle all of these particular problems.
Salesforce comes with a strong arsenal of features and extensions that can be applied for your own customization. It’s built for a wide diversity of companies, which is reflected in its array of features. However, there are difficulties in customizing the platform for the specific needs of an individual company. Which extensions work best? How will it affect the current functionality? It can take a long time to figure out exactly what is best, and what is possible.
This one is not particular to Salesforce, but nonetheless, it is a commonality. Big houses have many doors, and many keys to access them. It’s likewise with Salesforce Commerce Cloud in regard to user permissions, with many companies assigning administrative access to users that probably shouldn’t have the level of access. But with so many doors and keys, it takes time and effort to configure the correct access to the correct users. Just think about it: if you were an admin of some accounting software, you wouldn’t assign full access to anyone other than top executives and the accounting team. That would seriously undermine data protection.
The best way to combat this is to clearly outline a division of labor in which the right people have the right access and to restrict these areas to only them. A structure of user permission means a certain level of complexity. It’s an overlooked issue but essential for work cleanliness.
Data has two forms: it is either highly valuable especially when coherent, or it is a bunch of incoherent numbers when they are corrupted. Salesforce is a deeply comprehensive platform that is truly alive with data. When there is a lack of rules problems emerge, especially in complex environments. Outdated data gets mixed with new, numbers that shouldn’t be grouped together sit side by side.
Much like the previous challenge, the best way to protect yourself from this is to develop a protocol to protect data integrity. Ensure that only relevant users have control over data management, so as to avoid the mixing of data.
If the data is corrupted then the reports that build on that will also be affected. If all of your users that crunch numbers have the ability to input data and compile reports, then we will have potentially hundreds of reports — inevitably some that are incomplete, and others that are irrelevant. This results in confusion and doubt around the integrity of your reports.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud essentially has two costs: an upfront sum, which is typically around $150,000, as well as a percentage of your total sales (between 1-2%). A business that earns $1m in profit pays $20,000 at a rate of 2%. If profits are $100m, the platform gets $200,000. So as your sales increase so does the actual amount you pay to Salesforce.
In the majority of cases, companies would benefit from taking the weight of these burdens from their shoulders and giving them to a tech consultancy that specializes in Salesforce and understands the inner workings of the giant eCommerce platform.