Today, United Virtualities’ chief wordsmith (and CMO), Morgan Friedman, rests his feet and opens his laptop to check in via Zoom on Production Director Maru Lopez La Rosa, an indefatigable figure around these parts of town. Want to absorb yourself in Salesforce chatter, Commerce Cloud integrations, and order management systems? Today’s your lucky day.
(… If videos are not for you, and you prefer the written word, we’ve got you covered. Check out the transcript of the interview below. Enjoy!)
Morgan Friedman: Hi everyone! Welcome back to the latest edition of Recursive Business, as we are calling the UV podcast. We’re going through really interesting people, talking to them about interesting stuff and today is one of the most interesting of all. The famous Maru, as she is known within UV, a Production Director. Glad to have you on today Maru!
Maru Lopez La Rosa: Thank you, thank you glad to be here.
MF: Here’s today’s topic: We recently finished a super interesting project where we integrated Salesforce Commerce Cloud with the Salesforce OMS, Order Management System and Maru is the Production Director. I’d love to hear about the process of choosing the solution, how it went…Let’s go, I’m in your hands.
MLLR: So this client already had a platform where they are operating right now. Where they have, you know, the storefront and some like report section, where they could follow the orders…so they were looking for a way to scale in their operations and be able to process more orders and find a way to, you know, they kind of have like a frankenstein in their current site. It was this panel with a lot of colors and numbers and things that you needed like three days training to understand what you were looking at. When we started talking with them about not only what their needs were for the storefront and the e-commerce piece and what is the user experience and all of that, we started discussing in a lot of depth their operations, like, how they work, what they do, what what happens after an order comes into their system. It was super interesting because they have a very streamlined process, with multiple people, like, they have the fulfillment. It’s not that they have a storage with products that they just pick and they pack and ship. They have to create the products that they sell, so there is also a production process in the middle that needs to be considered. Everything is also super streamlined in terms of logistics because they are able to produce these products and ship them on the same day if it’s needed, so there were very strict rules for when it was possible to create orders, for which areas of the country depending on their operations. So we had to get involved in all of these details to provide a solution that was tailor made for them.
MF: Going into this, did they have a different Order Management System and an e-commerce, so creating the rules involved, figuring out the old one and moving it to the Salesforce platform?
MLLR: Correct yeah they are currently using Magento and they decided to move to Salesforce platforms, in this case the combination of Commerce Cloud plus the OMS, which is a new tool from Salesforce. This is probably one of the first clients going live with this OMS system so it was challenging for all of us, learning and discovering the powerful elements besides this integration. So it was super interesting as well to learn.
MF: This is great. What is one of the challenges from the client’s eyes and how did we overcome the challenge?
MLLR: Main challenges is that their team is super used to to working with their current platform and they are used to using all of these color coding and the different views that they have created throughout the years. Their CEO and their operations leaders are the ones that were more, like, pushing this change because they have this need to scale, so one of the challenges that we had was not selling but making sure that their team feels comfortable with the change. So we had numerous trainings where we got together with a specific team from their company. And we first listened to all of the things that they needed, what are their current challenges, what are the things that needed improvement, how could we help do all of that…They had these two sides: on one side they were comfortable working with what they had and they feared the change but on the other hand they had a lot of ideas of things that they wanted to implement. So we had to balance those two and also as we discovered what the OMS could support we had a lot of these sessions discussing with them “Okay now you do it like this but when we switch to the new platform you’re going to do it like this” so you think like, this is okay…we even analyzed the amount of clicks that the production team has to make <laughs>
MF: That’s great. And did it go down a lot?
MLLR: Yeah so, well…there are cases and cases, and there are some cases where if we are using OMS out of the box it will require maybe three clicks instead of two. But then they gain speed in other processes. They now can create a lot of different views and features that are super specific for their needs like someone in the team that you know works with a specific group of clients… So, there are places where things are going to be faster, there are some specific actions that may require one or two clicks more, but the interesting thing was to understand how this impacts them like saying “yeah, you know, when we have to process two thousand orders in a day, going from two clicks to three clicks is something that we would like to improve” so we continue working on a roadmap with them to make sure that these enhancements get added at some point, maybe not for the MVP version but for the future.
MF: That makes sense. Especially since this is such a new system, the MVP will always be a bit more bumpy.
MLLR: Yeah. Then we had these sessions with their team but they were still afraid of switching. So something that the team came up with that I thought was a great idea, and the client loved it and I think it’s something that we’ll probably implement with other clients is, they were really concerned about the switching platforms moment…
MF: It’s a high-risk moment.
MLLR: Yeah, if we go live on Tuesday, they have to finish up with the orders on one system and then start running with the new system, so we had multiple conversations with them about this moment and the idea that we came up with was doing a soft launch where they could test the the new system with a lower amount of orders. So what we did using Cloudflare, what we did was send just a small percent of the traffic of the website to the new site. So both platforms were live at the same time but maybe 10% or 15% of the traffic was being sent to the new site. This allowed them not to take so much risk in switching one off and the other one on. And help for a smooth transition. So what we did was, we left it working for a couple of days. Their team started working and processing all of the orders that came into the new platform. But this number was a smaller number so it was easier to manage and this was also great because it reduced their anxiety in the go-live process and at the same time allowed us to find additional points, you know, each feedback or things that needed to be adjusted that didn’t come up in the UAT process when they did their internal testing and when we did the testing. So with real cases, these things started to come up and it was great because we decided to stop the test and work on those updates, so we are going to do a full launch two weeks from now. But the test was super helpful because it allowed us to find those fine-tuning things that were needed for the client to feel comfortable about going live and with their whole operation.
MF: This is great and I’ve used Cloudflare many times but I didn’t know that Cloudflare included the functionality to do this, but it’s very powerful.
MLLR: Yeah, exactly. We have a second url that was, I don’t know, production dot something…
MLLR: For the users it was transparent, so there’s only a specific portion of the traffic that went to the new site and since we already synced users and all of that, they were able to log in, so for users it was transparent.
MF: This is great. I love this little anecdote because with our podcast I’ve been talking mostly to our developers, it’s great to hear the more human side and understanding the client’s fears, changing our strategy, and our tech strategy, and our launch strategy to reduce the business risks, the tech risks and also the emotional fears of the client is super important, so your perspective is awesome.
MLLR: Yeah, it’s their business. We have to understand that it’s a lot of risk. If something goes wrong it may cause them not to have any revenue for days or even weeks depending on what happens and in these particular years with the pandemic and everything…We’re we’re trying to be super helpful and if we can assist and mitigate any of those risks, we’ll search for ways…
MF: Although for the record, even before the pandemic and after the pandemic we’ll continue being helpful.
MLLR: Of course, but I mean everyone is super sensitive…
MF: Yeah, I agree. This was great. I love the little story. Let’s do this again another time soon and you can share with us and your millions of fans watching this, another little demo of insider little story.
MLLR: Perfect, happy to do it!
MF: Okay thank you Maru, have a great day and bye bye everyone.