CBA eyes central oversight for Salesforce instances

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CBA eyes central oversight for Salesforce instances

Begins talks to bridge 19 ‘orgs’ under single centre of excellence.

The Commonwealth Bank is exploring ways to bring the 19 instances of Salesforce spread across the bank under a central governance structure.

Senior business analyst Brenden Wells told Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference that the bank is “looking at [a] centre of excellence setup” to centralise governance, and may seek to consolidate some smaller Salesforce instances, depending on the outcome of discussions.

“We have 19 Salesforce instances or ‘orgs’ across the bank, which vary in size,” Wells said.

“We do know there’s a few orgs out there that we can consolidate [because] they’ve either been under-utilised or under invested in.

“We need to sit down and work through what needs the attention first and then we can build that centralised [governance] model across the bank.”

A centre of excellence is a Salesforce-recommended governance structure to “promote collaboration and best practices”.

It typically involves “a few stakeholders from different functional groups working together to ensure that changes support business goals and follow IT best practices and processes”, according to Salesforce documentation.

It could also enable CBA business units to learn from each other and reuse code or apps developed in one org in other Salesforce orgs more easily.

Wells supports one of the larger instances of Salesforce at CBA – a CRM system used by the institutional banking and markets unit for strategic planning, relationship management and the tracking of business opportunities or deals, among other functions.

The instance spans nine countries and around 900 users, and has been in place for about six years, he said.

Wells is part of a team of 20 – 10 staff each from CBA and Salesforce - that recently “re-platformed” one of institutional banking’s “major” Salesforce apps to take advantage of advances in encryption and the new Salesforce Lightning UI.

In Salesforce parlance, an app is a collection of standard and custom tabs that work together to serve a particular function.

Re-platforming the app enabled CBA to reduce the amount of custom code it relied on.

“It was six years of us building on top and on top and on top of the same thing, and the problem with that was that because it was heavily code-driven we were unable to take advantage of new features that [Salesforce] release three times a year,” Wells said.

The entire project took 4.5 months to complete. Work was broken into two-week sprints, and the bank piloted the new app to a subset of users before putting it into production a month later “with very good results”.

“We can now create Lightning apps to add new tabs onto our account pages [whereas] previously we would have had to code a custom page for everything,” Wells said.

“The fact we don’t [have to] do that now means it’s a lot faster to work with.”

Ry Crozier attended Dreamforce as a guest of Salesforce.

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