Where have all the good Admins gone?

Over the weekend I read a great blog post by JP Seabury entitled “Where have all the good Admins gone?” JP picks up on an interesting recent trend where some of the top Salesforce Admins have left their roles at companies that use Salesforce and moved across to consultancies that implement Salesforce.

I read quite a few blog posts each week, and normally I’ll find something interesting and move on – but this post has had me thinking about it for five days. And I think its because I have two conflicting opinions about what it means.

It makes me sad

Lets’ start with the downside! Those of us in the Salesforce eco-system are passionate about the company, the product, and the possibilities for changing the way that a business functions. There is huge input into the development of new features and we look forward to each release and feel proud to deliver these new tools into the business. This is not just a ‘bit of IT’ – this is improving the way we run an entire Company.

So it is sad when the Companies that are using Salesforce cannot keep up with the pace of innovation. For years businesses have complained that Enterprise software moves too slowly, that it doesn’t listen to customers, that its too difficult and costly to upgrade. Well here is a firehose of development and some businesses can’t handle it.

I feel sad for Admins who see Salesforce advancing at a rapid rate, and yet their employer will not implement best practice and push Salesforce across their business (into Service, into Finance etc). By definition you are falling behind and it will be even harder to catch up. This has to get great Admins thinking about their options.

It makes me happy

The post makes me happy because it reminds me of the first time I saw a Salesforce event broadcast live on the internet – Cloudforce New York just over 12 months ago. Peter Coffee was interviewing people in front of a bustling crowd, Kings of Leon was playing loudly in the background, and then on comes Marc Benioff to cheers. It was more rock concert than tech event. I was sold. I was bought into the culture and the community that Salesforce is building.

Whoever I have spoken to since then that has something to do with Salesforce, either as a customer, a partner, or developer has this magical dotted line into Salesforce. Although they might work for their employer they feel part of the Salesforce community. This is especially prevalent on Twitter, where Admins from across the globe use the hashtag #askforce to ask and answer questions from the each other. It’s easy to see that many in the Salesforce community have ‘gone native’.

Its only natural therefore that people want to get closer to this exciting, fast paced, community driven business and to spend time innovating with this platform every day instead of having to fight to release the smallest of changes.

I can’t believe that many people that implemented Sage, or Navision for their employer said “this is so awesome, I want to build my life around it.” To see what I mean – check out Darth Garry (@darthgarry) getting ready for this year’s Dreamforce!

In summary

I’m an optimist, so I’ll come down on the side of this being a positive trend. Getting these great people to be able to touch more businesses, and spread the Salesforce message wider than they might have been able too before is a great thing. It is exciting that this trend exists as it shows that implementation partners are bringing in experience which is something you cannot train in a week. Customers will benefit, and the original employers can always hire them back in when needed!

Do you think this is a positive trend? Have you experienced it in another industry or with another vendor?

Charlie Cowan inspires and enables partners at NewVoiceMedia, a Salesforce Appexchange partner routing inbound calls based on CRM data. Unusually for someone in the IT industry, Charlie holds a degree in Rural Land Management from The Royal Agricultural College. He lives and works in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, with his wife and three children.