Many large Salesforce customers struggle to identify opportunities for cost reduction in their estate as they prepare for their renewal negotiations. Optimizing Salesforce assets is often a cross-functional collaboration exercise. But many enterprises don’t have vendor management functions to assure that procurement, IT and business stakeholders are working together well in advance of renewals to establish a shared vision of the renewal process and targeted outcomes. It’s further complicated by the mixture of metrics that are used for various Salesforce product lines.
The Basics of Salesforce Optimization
Salesforce has three primary pricing models for its products:
- License-based Products (Such as Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Health Cloud, etc.)
- Consumption-based Products (Such as Marketing Cloud Super Messages, Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud CDP, etc.)
- Percentage of Net Spend Products (Such as Sandboxes, SHIELD, support, etc.)
Optimizing each of these is done differently. Let’s focus on License-based Products since these typically are the largest spend for Salesforce customers.
The first step is establishing a consolidated view of the licenses you’re currently paying for. Given the way the Salesforce product deployment works, in addition to how it is sold and supported, it’s not easy for customers to assemble a complete picture of their estate. Salesforce doesn’t provide a robust set of tools to help customers manage deployments, and this gets more challenging for enterprise customers that have multiple orgs and multiple product sets.
Once you muscle your way to a consolidated view of your License-based Product footprint, the next step is to validate (a) which licenses are actually being used, and (b) that the SKUs for the items you’re using are the most economical fit. For large orgs (typically consisting of 1,000 licenses or more) it can be helpful to right-size the edition and the type of use by specific users and groups. In many cases, certain user groups are candidates for restricted use licenses (what Salesforce has traditionally called Platform Licenses).
NPI calls all of this a “License Optimization Assessment” – it spans collecting consolidated license information all the way through to identifying license waste at the user ID level. It’s detail-oriented analysis which yields material savings and validated usage that’s a critical foundation of good Salesforce cost management.
Cost reduction that’s identified in a License Optimization Assessment can have a double benefit if you have Percentage of Net Spend products on top of the License-based Products. For example, if you have platform encryption on your Service Cloud, every dollar you save on Service Cloud generates corresponding savings on SHIELD.
The Savings Potential of Optimization
NPI has a great deal of experience helping clients optimize their Salesforce estate. On license-based products clients often realize between 10% and 20% reductions, with some clients realizing as much as 30%. Since most Salesforce renewals are for three or more years, the reduction becomes even more meaningful.
Get Started Immediately
Regardless of when your current contract term ends, NPI recommends that you begin an analysis of your Salesforce estate immediately. Your first optimization effort will require partnership across multiple Salesforce stakeholders, and it is important to establish the foundation for productive cross-functional collaboration.
There can be some organizational resistance and even a bit of defensiveness, especially if your company has not embarked on an effort like this in the past. Set the tone early that the purpose of the optimization analysis is to gain understanding and support each other in establishing best practices for cost optimization of the Salesforce estate. And if you happen to have a renewal coming up, the analysis will provide a fact-based usage baseline to feed into demand definition.
NPI’s team of Salesforce, procurement and optimization experts are available to help. Reach out today to get an estimate of what it will take to evaluate your Salesforce estate and begin your optimization journey.
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