Offshore Developer to Onshore Consultant

Over the recent years, there has been a big focus on having more professionals in the Salesforce ecosystem, mainly to support the huge growth of the platform. With the introduction of Trailhead and other accessible means of training, this goal has received a much needed boost in the right direction. With Salesforce, Customers are at the centre of everything we do, and becoming a consultant  is no different.

Within this post I will talk about some of the elements that helped me switch to become a consultant, the key is to develop the “business consulting” mindset as early on a possible.

Roles & Needs

To learn about moving into a more varied role, you must first understand the different parties involved in a consulting project and what they are all looking for..

Developer/Admins seek..

– Client facing role

– Onsite opportunities

– Opportunities to explore and learn on Job

– Guidance and support to upgrade skills

– Value for their skills

Partners/System Integrators looks for people who can..

– Handle Client effectively

– Communicate well

– Show Technical Expertise

– Be a Problem Solver

– Be a Team Player

– Travel whenever needed

Customers want Consultants who can…

– Engage with business/IT (Techno-Functional)
– Suggest best practices at each level
– Solution mapping within the Salesforce ecosystem
– Provide alternatives/ Quick POC’s
– Be a trusted Technical advisor

Consultant Responsibilities

A lot of people I’ve spoken to have tried to become a consultant, but have stopped due to a few common reasons. 1. Lack of opportunities, 2. Confidence is low due to lack of knowledge, 3.  Technically very good, but communication skills are not satisfactory. These can be overcome by working on a mixture of technical, as well as personal abilities.

1. Upgrading your technical skills – be proactive in learning salesforce

2. Trailhead is a great starting point and persistence is key

3. Find a mentor – be inspired and get motivated – observe and follow

4. Learn to build professional relationships

5. Email communication is the key!

It’s important to understand that the success of these Salesforce project depend on you, the consultant.

How effectively you can understand the customer’s business process, map it to the Salesforce platform and articulate it well so that other team members around you can understand. Not everyone in the team is privileged to be with the customer, effective at documentation, and transparent at communication. This is all very important when working with an offshore team.

Onsure Responsilibities

Onshore consultants wear multiple hats in a customer facing role. Primarily they are the face of your company at the clients side and they have to carry professional ethics, behaviour and knowledge. They are also the face of client business for your offshore team.

Traditionally, clients hired Database admins, Business Analysts, Project Managers and architects at client side to carry out their respective activities.

With the rapidly changing world and cost sensitive clients, all of these roles are expected to be carried out by one SUPERHERO – Techno – functional consultants.

While a Consultant wears multiple hats and there is obvious pressure to keep up the engagement and bring in more revenues for the employer.

The One Team concept is often ignored and pushed to back burner, thereby causing several issues which impacts the quality of deliverables.

Offshore Responsibilities

When working in an Offshore team, delivery pressures are very serious at times. You are often expected to deliver putting in late hours.

Understand the business objectives, relating the business requirements with those objectives, the moment you start thinking on these lines , it makes a whole lot of difference to what you have been doing as a dev/admin. It makes me feel valued and also understand the impact it creates in end user’s life.

You are a HERO in true sense since you are mobilising someone’s business.

Pre-Sales Life Cycle

Typical Pre-sales activities would be to draft a Response for an Proposal…

– Understanding high level requirements
– Solution mapping
– High level – To be architecture/Design
– Our Approach
– Delivery methodology
– Estimates & Timelines
– Risks & Mitigation
– Assumptions

Statement of Work follows an RFP response and it is legally binding with your employer. It is common for delivery teams to face issues with what the Pre-sales team have sold. Be a part of this team to understand what effort and expertise goes behind to win Salesforce projects. Let me tell you, it’s a sweet experience when you are part of the winning team. It’s even more awesome, when you get a chance to lead and implement the same project since now you are in total control of what was committed and what you have to plan.

In your current/previous projects, try to go through the RFP documents and analyze what went well and what could have been improvised based on your Salesforce knowledge.

Project Life Cycle

You are familiar with Build & Unit testing phase of any project implementation lifecycle.

Adapt and develop the consulting mindset so that your peers, mentors or managers would consider your capabilities and allow you to contribute in other phases of the projects like Requirement Gathering ,Design,UAT and User Training.

The more you interact with clients stakeholders, the more exposure and experience you’re bound to gather. Developing a consulting mindset is a process and it’s not limited to your current project, make it your habit.

Consulting Mindset can be developed by any role, any level of experience. More you think about business world, more you would value your skills and derive more from your Salesforce investment.

Thanks for reading through this article and Keep Learning Keep Sharing !!

You can reach out to me @RupeshBhatia85 or rupesh.bhatia@gmail.com

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