Hi, and thank you for your visit and attention.
My Salesforce journey started in 2009. It was early in my tenure running the Columbia MBA Alumni Club in DC, I learned about Salesforce Foundation’s donation program and presto: I had myself an instance. I had always been a data geek, mind you, using MS Access to analyze pricing for Coach leather-goods and its competitors as far back as 1998, and then specializing in non-profit fundraising management as a Raiser’s Edge DBA. But Salesforce was a dame changer. Versioning worries? Gone. Collaboration? check. Have an idea? Crazy that within 5 minutes you could be testing an offering in your sandbox. I was kid in a candy shop happy!
Raiser’s edge was solely a fundraising database. Salesforce Non-Profit Edition (NPE), as it was known back then) was intuitive, with superior reporting capabilities and as an enterprise platform enabled the alumni club to do more than fund-raise. We organized conferences, happy hours, and educational/cultural tours with Salesforce Labs Milestones and EventBrite integrations. Salesforce’ customization capabilities rendered it flexible, and its power enabled our small group of volunteers to create the illusion that we were a real full time organization. Pretty nifty.
But let’s be realistic: the Columbia alumni base for the region was around 1,300 constituents, and our volunteer Salesforce user base about 4. So it must have been my integration experience with Novell’s Cambridge Technology Partners that accounted for being hired to work on a Convio Luminate (white-label Salesforce instance) at AARP for the grass roots advocacy database of 11MM constituents. Only at AARP would that be considered small, but it’s true: the main householding database, Konnex, had about 120 million in it — causing us to quip: about 90 million of whom are alive. It wasn’t surprising that the 3-system 2-full-cycle data propagation integration between Konnex, Luminate/Salesforce and Convio Online Marking would be complicated and messy, with lots of test cases. But what was odd about that instance was: how large the cloud data storage was (rumor had it that we were second only to Komen Foundation) and how few users there were. It was basically a centralized campaign assignment and response tracking tool (with Jaspersoft integration).
Since then, I’ve de-fiddler-crabbed my exposure to Salesforce, balancing my non-profit expertise with solid commercial instance experience in Wealth Management, Software Sales & Licensing, and Real Estate.