Wed, 8 July 2020
Today, we’re joined by Wade Wegner, SVP Developer Platform at Salesforce and Product Leader for Work.com. We learn about the new collection of tools and resources, built on the Salesforce platform, to help businesses navigate the reopening process safely and responsibly.
Join us as we talk about how Wade and his team were able to build out Work.com in a matter of weeks, the new considerations companies face as they look to reopen, and how Work.com’s suite of tools and resources can help you.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Wade Wegner.
Why Salesforce is the perfect tool to help with reopening.
“About a month and a half ago, I started having conversations with some of our internal leaders around how Salesforce was going to start thinking about reopening our offices,” Wade says, “and given the global pandemic, this is a topic that is on everyone’s mind right now. How do we reopen and do so safely?”
As they were working through all of the challenges that that entails, they realized that the answer was right in front of them the whole time: the Salesforce platform. “We have an amazing platform that can do just about anything you can imagine,” Wade says, “and so we started imagining a lot of the ways that we could use the platform to help reopen Salesforce.” At the same time, the executive leadership started talking to customers and realized that everyone was going through the same process, and could probably use some help. Those conversations turned into Work.com, a comprehensive set of resources and tools to help you reopen your businesses and offices safely.
New Employee Standard objects to help.
The Work.com team was able to go from an idea to a full-fledged solution so rapidly because they built it 100% on the platform. With all the information you need to track, Salesforce makes a lot more sense than cramming everything across a hundred different spreadsheets. For one thing, you’ve got all sorts of compliance and privacy concerns with health information. For another, you need to compare a bunch of data about your employees while also keeping track of key metrics, applications where Salesforce is the perfect tool for the job.
The one thing they’ve added into core is an employee data model with a set of standard objects to help keep track of all of the new information. It’s been backported so it will be available as part of the Summer 20 release. “We’ve met with the CDC and other medical experts to code and create survey templates that define the questions you should ask and the type of information to collect,” Wade says. There are flow templates, a page layout for a command center with key information from both what you collect and public data sets, dashboards for facilities managers, and more, all of it customizable to fit your individual needs and mobile-ready out of the box.
How reopening impacts the ENTIRE organization.
There are many challenges facing companies looking to reopen in a safe responsible way. “The experiences we’re going to have in the office will be different,” Wade says, and training and enablement will be key. Built-in to Work.com are content kits that provide best practices (again, customizable templates) that will help those who can return be ready to do it safely. How do you properly social distance in an elevator? What happens if and when someone gets sick, and how do you notify your employees? “You don’t want to manage this through spreadsheets,” Wade says, “you need a set of best practices and tools that facilitate this.”
“Pretty much every company in the world is thinking about this,” Wade says, so you can be sure pretty much anyone in a management position is eager to talk about this, whether they run facilities, HR, or are scheduling shifts. “I think there’s a real opportunity to talk to them about a solution that brings this together and provides the platform to reopen on top of,” he says, and with a different set of stakeholders than admins are usually used to thinking about.
Listen for the full episode because there’s so much to learn in this ever-changing situation and there’s a lot of information here, including how Wade’s team pulls public health data into Tableau, new considerations facing companies, and why not everyone might want to come back to the office. “We’re all a part of our community, we’re all part of this company,” Wade says, “so many people have contributed and worked so hard at this because we want to see people be able to return safely.”
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Full Show Transcript
Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt.
Gillian Bruce: And I'm Gillian Bruce.
Mike Gerholdt: Joining us today is Wade Wegner, SVP developer platform and product leader for work.com. This is super important for admins, so I'm glad that Wade was able to take time out of his day and come on the podcast. So Wade, welcome to the podcast.
Wade Wegner: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
Mike Gerholdt: So let's start. Work.com, what is it?
Wade Wegner: Work.com, well, I think... Let me start by actually stepping back a little bit, and to say that about a month and a half ago, I started having conversations with some of our internal leaders on the HR side and real estate, and around conversations for how Salesforce was going to start thinking about reopening our offices. Given the global pandemic, this is a topic that is on everyone's mind right now, is, how do we start to reopen our businesses? How do we reopen communities? Just, how do we reopen, right, and I think, importantly, do so safely.
Gillian Bruce: I love how quickly that all happened, Wade. I mean, and we've all been in this together. You described, it was just a month ago where you started these conversations. Can you tell us a little bit about how you're able to kind of put together this incredible, kind of, product with such a short amount of time? Like, what was that like? How did you get Teams to swarm on it?
Wade Wegner: Yeah.
Gillian Bruce: Tell me a little bit about that story.
Wade Wegner: Well, we built it on the platform. I don't know any other way to say it. It is a hundred percent built on the platform. When we deploy work.com command center, for instance, it is actually a managed package. It is a collection of metadata that describes how all of this will operate. And all of the ways with which the componentry and the solutions and the apps in it function are based on the technologies that exist today in the platform. Whether it's different components communicating via events, or taking advantage of a lightning web component to provide a rich, actionable set of things that you need to do as, kind of, a checklist. All of this stuff is built in the platform.
Mike Gerholdt: I would love for you to touch on that more, because as I hear this, I think, well, just to be the bad guy in the conversation, I could just do that on a spreadsheet, Wade. I don't need your fancy app.
Wade Wegner: Yeah. So one of the things interesting here, Mike, is that this is employee data that we're starting to talk about, right? So think about one of the first things that's going to happen when we reopen, is we're going to have to understand everyone's wellness, and how they are feeling, and what... Have you been sick? And have you been exposed to symptoms? And so forth.
Gillian Bruce: Well, I'm always a fan of getting rid of spreadsheets.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, absolutely. We all are.
Gillian Bruce: Boo, spreadsheets. So you mentioned that the platform kind of already had this infrastructure in it. Can you tell us a little bit more detailed about some of the specific features that are in, basically, this package that you've helped lead the team to create, that specifically help accomplish these things that people are right now probably doing on spreadsheets?
Wade Wegner: Yeah. Totally. First of all, I realized, I did lie. So the first thing I did as you invited me on this podcast, and then I lied to everyone. So apologies. We did actually check one thing into core, and that was, we're actually releasing an employee data model. So it'll be a set of standard objects that will be inside a core. I think everyone kind of hopefully understands the value of doing that. It gives us that central place to start modeling all of these activities around employee-centric information, right? So you can define relationships, managers, all of that kind of stuff. So we did actually check that in, and actually back ported it so that it will be available in our summer release.
Gillian Bruce: I love that a lot of those tools sound like things that admins are already very, very familiar with. I mean, you're talking about page layouts, you're talking about flows. I mean, surveys, I know plenty of admins have already kind of dabbled in the survey arena. Powerful, very declarative first, or low code tools that I think a lot of our admins would already be familiar with.
Wade Wegner: Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: And you talked about checking in, so there's also a mobile component of those as well, which is just native to the platform. I mean, I remember back in the day when, as an admin, I used to have to think about mobile consciously. And now, it's just, no, it's just part of it and the app just adjusts.
Wade Wegner: Absolutely. Totally right. The surveys, they are mobile friendly. The dashboards for executives or operations and facilities managers, just any kind of manager, those are also mobile-ready. So you will get a mobile rendering that you can just open it up on your device and away you go. So absolutely. It's incredible, the value that the platform just provides. You don't have to think about targeting all of these different unique scenarios.
Gillian Bruce: I think one of the things that is really valuable, the more that I hear you talk about this, is a lot of organizations, they need to do this, but it's like such a gargantuan effort. They're not going to try and develop their own tools to do this. They are going to use whatever they can and go as fast as they can. So the fact that this is something that is already on a platform, which organizations who are using this are familiar with, I think is such a great benefit. I mean, I can imagine a small business, right? Maybe you're not functioning at full speed, full resources, and here you go, you can now kind of use the existing tool that you're using to run your business to really get everybody back to where we need to be.
Wade Wegner: Yeah.
Gillian Bruce: Very, very cool, I think.
Wade Wegner: One of the things that I don't know that I appreciated until we started really working on this, is how tightly connected all of these things need to be. So imagine, understanding employee wellness is like, step one, right? Let's say we're all ready to go back. The experiences we're going to have in the office will be different. How are we all going to be prepared for those new experiences, the new normal? This is where that training and enablement is key. And so built into work.com, there's these new content kits that we're providing, that provide what we believe to be best practices. The encoding of the things that people should expect, we'll give it to you as a template, as a starting point, and you can then customize it and then deploy.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, and I'm thinking of, as you're walking through that, I'm thinking of... as a smaller business, even a larger business. So I got an employee app, which I probably had already, right, something to manage my employees. Now I need a survey app. Then you were talking about learning, and data management. So on top of me trying to retool my entire business, right, to keep it afloat, I'm thinking like restaurants, all of a sudden now it's drive up curbside or delivery. I'm running all that. To have to go through... I think, the biggest part for me is that learning and enablement part, right, which I saw that in the work.com video. It's just, I think that's such a huge differentiator, because now I put this in place and I have a way to teach people native within it, as opposed to seven or eight different apps that I have to log into and try and piece mail, "Okay, Susan is Susie here, but Susan in this app," and try and keep that all together. It just like, it's the stuff that you just take for granted now.
Wade Wegner: Yeah. No, absolutely.
Mike Gerholdt: The part for me, I think there's a lot of it and... When you mentioned the employee data, and you mentioned the surveys, that's all employee-offered, right? It's like the employee opts in, the employee's giving that employer that information, employee chooses to fill out that survey, right?
Wade Wegner: Yup. Yeah, absolutely. If you look at some of the demos that you might find of work.com online and in various videos, and so forth, you'll see that we at least ask for consent and acknowledgement with every survey and every interaction with that employee, so that we can document that you've given the consent for this information to be captured. You can decide not to. And there's an option. In the survey, it's built in. You can say no and you just, you won't be asked to come back to the office initially. Then it's up to you if you want to keep saying no. I mean, we'll let you and the employer figure that out.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. When you said, when offices do open up, I might not want to go back to work. Believe me, I've got a nine-month-old. I am ready to get back to the office.
Wade Wegner: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Actually, here's what's really... Another interesting thing is, as I've talked with customers, there are customers that have other sorts of criteria that they want to use with respect to determining who should return. One customer was talking about how they have found certain teams, or even certain individuals have actually been more productive remotely than they were otherwise, but then some teams aren't as productive.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's more than... I think the biggest thing that dawned for me on all of this return to an office, because I don't want to say return to work, is it's not just whether you're well or not, but it's also what's that journey getting there. Because you may have somebody at home that is a high risk, right? So the journey to the office might be harder for you, and back home, than just being able to stay at home and work and be productive.
Wade Wegner: Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: I'm hearing this and I'm internalizing it, and maybe my boss has missed everything because they're busy. I'm the Salesforce administration, I want to bring this to him. Within my organization, where do I start this conversation?
Wade Wegner: Well, we alluded to it earlier. I think, pretty much every company in the world right now is thinking about this, right? Again, it could be reopening and keeping employees safe. It could be reopening and keeping employees safe in the context of customer interactions. At one level or another, almost everyone is already talking about it. I mean, I would encourage to talk to someone in your organization, in the HR department, if you have people responsible for offices, facilities, restaurants, maybe their managers, general managers and so forth. They're all talking about this. They're all thinking about this. People who are responsible for defining shifts. How are you going to define a shift? I mean, how are you going to do that when you need to be cognizant of who's available, and are they healthy and so forth?
Gillian Bruce: So you're saying admins can save even more people from spreadsheets?
Wade Wegner: Yes.
Gillian Bruce: Because these, I mean, these are not the typical business partners and stakeholders that I think admins typically think about.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Gillian Bruce: HR facilities, they are definitely someone that is part of building an app. But this is entirely focused on those personas and those kinds of leaders. I think, it's an interesting opportunity for admins to maybe get exposure, kind of create those relationships, strengthen those relationships with different parts of the organization as well.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Wade Wegner: Just thinking about this, too. One of the partners we have, engaged with us now, is building out inventory management and supply chain management. Think about it. Supply chains are disrupted right now and they will be for a while. There's probably someone in your office that thinks about supply chains. Even at Salesforce, I was learning from a supply chain perspective, as well as a contracting perspective. We plan to do three to four times the cleaning that we did in the past, continual cleaning. That's a lot of additional cleaning supplies, right? That's another dimension to this, is based on how many people you bring back at what rate, it's going to impact supply chains, it's going to impact all of these things. So you're right. It's a great observation that it's a different set of personas and individuals that could really benefit from a solution like this.
Gillian Bruce: One of the things I know that is part of, kind of, the command center, we talked about the page layouts, is it's also a hot topic that I know a lot of admins are interested in learning more about, is Tableau.
Wade Wegner: Yes.
Gillian Bruce: Can you talk to us a little bit about how Tableau is part of work.com and what that means, what that kind of looks like?
Wade Wegner: I'll actually step back a little bit. One of the things that's really neat, and you can actually Google and search for this right now, is you can look at the COVID-19 Tableau data sets. We have started to aggregate trusted data from many different sources and allowed you to start to really visualize this data. That is kind of independently available today. So you can take a look at that. We are looking to take it to the kind of the next level, in that we want this data source, all of this data, to be available in the context of our decision making.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow.
Wade Wegner: Now, you can think about actually just making decisions based on data that is local to employees. So what is happening in the community? What is happening in the state? You might want to respond to those things differently. And so, with that data available as objects... And I don't want to promise if it's an external object or what not yet, because we're figuring a lot of this out still.
Gillian Bruce: Forward looking statement.
Mike Gerholdt: Forward looking statement.
Wade Wegner: Very forward looking. Yes. Yes. But, having that kind of data available is key, right? So you can start making decisions. So that's what's really exciting about all of that. That is actually based on work that's being done by the Tableau team, by the MuleSoft team, by Einstein Analytics. A really neat way to think about the power of data, and how having that data available is going to be a differentiator for people as they think about reopening and returning.
Gillian Bruce: That is awesome, Wade. That makes me... Like, my data nerd is ignited inside of me and I can't wait.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Wade Wegner: Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Looking at the Tableau aspect of it, to me is just like, it so brings everything that you do right to the forefront and helps you understand because, I think, it's one thing to understand. Okay, you talked about elevator flow and shift scheduling, but then you have to consider this in the context of the world that you live in.
Wade Wegner: Yes.
Mike Gerholdt: Like, is your county busier than other, right? Like the county Gillian lives in is very different than the county I live in Iowa, you know?
Wade Wegner: Yeah. Yup. Yeah.
Mike Gerholdt: It's fascinating.
Wade Wegner: What's going to happen is, we're going to see as communities start to reopen, some are going to open and then they're going to start to close down a little bit, right? And you're going to want to be able to respond to what is happening. That is the intent of this data, and being able to visualize what is happening helps you to make decisions as well. And so, it's going to be critical in terms of making sure that employees are safe.
Mike Gerholdt: Very cool.
Gillian Bruce: That's awesome.
Mike Gerholdt: Very cool, Wade. Well-
Gillian Bruce: I mean, I think I will...
Mike Gerholdt: Go ahead. Gillian and I have only been doing this for like six years together-
Wade Wegner: You're great.
Mike Gerholdt: ... and any time anytime we have somebody on the podcast that we're just stumbling over to ask questions about, it's because we're both just giddy over the product.
Wade Wegner: No, that's great.
Gillian Bruce: Yes. This is true. Well, on that note, I was going to say, Wade, I'm going to thank you on behalf of like all people who are going to be using work.com in the team, because this is so cool. And I think it's going to be so helpful for so many people. I know I'm excited to see how we use it at Salesforce. And I know that there's a lot of people that are listening that are going to do what they can to get their leadership to buy in and use this to help them get back to whatever the new normal is.
Wade Wegner: Yeah. I think, this is the thing that I've taken from it, is so many people have contributed and worked so hard at this. And I think we all have a vested interest in seeing this work, right? We're all a part of our community. We're all a part of this company. We want to see people be able to return safely. And so I have to give a huge shout out to just hundreds of people that are literally, they have set aside their day jobs, they have set aside their priorities to be able to help us deliver this. It's been humbling. It's been inspiring. It's been awesome to see.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. To me, it fits right within the culture of Salesforce, but overall, it's just one of those things where it really makes us all considerate and caring of each other.
Wade Wegner: Yeah. Yup.
Mike Gerholdt: Like thinking through how can we all get back to our offices, being around our coworkers, people that we know and love the best, and being considerate and safe. It's a great thing.
Wade Wegner: Absolutely.
Mike Gerholdt: If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And as a reminder, if you love what you hear, be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. I promise, I share them with the whole team. You can also stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no i, on Twitter. And you can find me, I am @MikeGerholdt and Gillian...
Gillian Bruce: @gilliankbruce.
Mike Gerholdt: So with that, stay tuned for our next episode.
Gillian Bruce: And we'll catch you next time in the cloud.