Compared to hiring an in-house team, managed service providers will almost always generate a more immediate benefit for small and mid-sized firms. These benefits include a reduction of administrative burden, access to a wider breadth of Salesforce expertise, and the implementation of key industry benchmarks.
Private equity firms and hedge funds of all sizes should leverage customer relationship management (CRM) software to drive fundraising, maintain investment pipelines, and establish seamless operational processes. Salesforce is the leading and best CRM platform to help you achieve these goals. Each organization that uses Salesforce has its own instance that can be customized in powerful ways to meet its investor relations and operational requirements. Because of Salesforce’s customizable nature, specialized skill sets are required to get the most out of the application. This means that the firm’s size will dictate the resources required to ensure its Salesforce instance is utilized to its full potential.
As smaller firms grow their assets under management (AUM), it often finds that Salesforce will require more customization to meet its growing needs. Additionally, the administrative burden of managing users, data, and the user interface will grow beyond what most small firms can provide without a dedicated Salesforce resource. These firms then find themselves at a crossroads. Do they assemble a team internally to maintain the system, or do they engage with a managed service provider?
This article details the pros and cons of both options and outlines how FinServ’s Salesforce managed service can immediately benefit growing firms.
How to Know When You Are at The Crossroads
A few key indicators often arise when a firm has outgrown its current Salesforce administration process. The factors listed below highlight the most common reasons that firms need to reevaluate their current approach.
Data and Reporting Gaps – Salesforce has a powerful, user-friendly reporting engine that is relatively easy to leverage to gain huge benefits and invaluable business insights. However, the way that your Salesforce data is set up and organized will dictate how much value you will get from your reports. Therefore, it is critical that when first designing your system, you have a specialist who understands alternative investment data as well as Salesforce data modeling. Leveraging a managed service provider like FinServ, a Salesforce partner specializing in alternative asset management, ensures your success at this critical step.
Administrative Burden – New user creation, access management, user deactivation, and user profile customization are just a few of the day-to-day tasks that need to be carried out. Salesforce has one of the most powerful security models in the software marketplace. It allows you to ensure users only have access to the data they require while ensuring compliance with all regulatory agencies. However, with this power comes a level of complexity that requires someone who has been trained in Salesforce’s security model. Trying to use an internal team member without the proper training and expertise could be costly, not just because of compliance issues but also because of the amount of time they will spend trying to configure the system. Using a Salesforce-certified administrator will help to ease this burden at a reasonable cost.
Automating Key Business Processes – Salesforce has an incredibly powerful workflow engine called Flow, which can be used to automate your most important business processes. However, setting up the automation requires specific Salesforce skills and some development-level expertise. In addition, FinServ consultants have the advantage of seeing many other private equity and hedge funds and knowing how they have automated their key business processes. Leveraging best-in-class solutions provides priceless benefits to your firm.
Lack of Integrations – Often internal firm resources will not be aware of other 3rd party applications available through the Salesforce App Exchange that can quickly and easily enhance the power of the Salesforce instance. Since your managed service provider is a Salesforce Partner who spends their time making sure they are up on the best solutions in the Salesforce environment, they are in the best position to recommend cost-effective 3rd party applications to integrate with your Salesforce environment. Integrations with commonly used generic systems like SharePoint Online, or industry systems like Preqin are critical to ensuring your Salesforce instance is operating in the most efficient way possible. If your firm’s Salesforce instance lacks key integrations, engaging a managed service provider like FinServ will provide an immediate benefit.
What Does a Salesforce Managed Service Provide?
In order to compare a managed service provider to in-house resources, the scope of the provider’s services must be outlined. A Salesforce-managed service provider will generally perform the tasks listed below:
|Account Maintenance||This category includes responsibilities such as new user setup, access management, account deactivation, and many more day-to-day tasks the firm would typically perform internally.|
|System Configuration||Growing firms often require the creation of new objects, fields, and other metadata within Salesforce’s structure that can be utilized to store and report on data. This can be as simple as a basic object with only a few fields or involve complex structures such as many-to-many mappings and junction objects.|
|Systems Integration||Managed service providers will help your organization integrate Salesforce with other software such as SharePoint Online, Google Cloud, Teams, Preqin, Slack, and many more systems. This service will greatly increase operational efficiency and decrease the time spent switching between software platforms.|
|Data Management and Backups||Proper data management and backups are necessary aspects to ensure your firm has a disaster recovery plan. Managed service providers will ensure your data backups are running properly. Additionally, they will assist with loading data into Salesforce from Excel spreadsheets and other sources.|
|Customization||Customization can entail many aspects, including creating unique dashboards, generating reports utilizing custom objects, developing automation workflows, coding various lightning web components, and much more. However, depending on the scope of the customization, these projects might fall outside of the purview of the managed service agreement. In these scenarios, firms can engage their providers to perform an a la carte project for in-depth customization.|
While many firms without dedicated Salesforce resources can handle their account maintenance and some aspects of their system configuration in-house, most do not have the expertise to deal with the other aspects included in a managed service agreement. Some of the largest firms may choose to hire a dedicated Salesforce resource or build out an entire team. However, hiring dedicated resources is not always a feasible option for firms that are growing rapidly from small to mid-sized. This is the most common scenario in which FinServ’s Salesforce-managed services can provide an immediate benefit.
Overview of Managed Services Compared to In-House
The table below analyzes utilizing a managed services partner compared to developing an in-house team to maintain your Salesforce instance. These are all factors to consider when surveying your potential options.
|Category||Managed Service||In-House Resources|
|Cost||Utilizing a Salesforce-managed service offering will almost always be more cost-effective compared to hiring dedicated resources. This is partially due to the greater flexibility that managed services allow for.||Hiring dedicated resources will lock you into a fixed-cost expense. Generally, this will lead to a higher annual cost and the potential for more wasteful spending. However, if your organization is large enough to have a consistent stream of work, dedicated resources may make more fiscal sense as compared to small or medium-sized firms.|
|Hiring and Selecting||
Managed service firms like FinServ Consulting can provide various Salesforce certifications, qualifications, and case studies to assure your team that they have the necessary skill set and resources to handle all your needs.
FinServ, unlike most Salesforce partners, possesses extensive experience in the alternative asset sector and has a deep understanding of the specific Salesforce requirements for that industry. Using a Salesforce partner who does not understand your business is a costly mistake most funds make.
Hiring internally can be a bit more challenging for various reasons.
Candidates should be able to provide their Salesforce certifications; however, it is difficult to attract and vet experienced candidates possessing knowledge of how Salesforce should work within your specific industry and sub-sector.
This process will generally take longer than hiring a managed service firm and will involve a training period in which the new hire will not benefit the firm.
Managed service firms employ various resources that cover a wide breadth and depth of expertise. This means that your firm will benefit from the diverse pool of knowledge that will be available when they sign up for a managed service agreement.
The provider can always assign the most suitable resource to complete the required tasks.
The breadth of expertise comes down to the capabilities of the in-house staff.
For small or mid-sized firms, their limited in-house teams may not have the expertise to take on some of the more arduous tasks required.
Larger firms can more easily employ larger teams and, therefore, diversify their in-house expertise.
However, leveraging a diverse team through a managed service provider is much more cost-efficient.
The demands of maintaining a fully utilized Salesforce instance are not uniform.
There are months when little maintenance is needed other than data backups and user administration.
However, there are other periods in which more in-depth services are required. A managed service provider will always be more beneficial in this scenario as contracts can allow for variable hour usage.
In terms of scalability, in-house resources cannot compete with managed services.
Due to their fixed-price nature, firms need to have a consistent stream of work in order to utilize their staff fully.
Additionally, when bigger projects with greater requirements materialize, these firms may also need more resources on a short-term basis and may be forced to outsource at that point.
Due to its expertise in the alternative investment industry, FinServ’s Salesforce managed service offering can help your team determine best practices used by the leading firms in the alternative investment space.
FinServ will provide strategic guidance that will enable your processes to run smoothly and allow your firm to enhance the efficiency of those processes.
The benchmarking provided by your internal resources will be entirely dependent on their individual expertise and past experiences.
Typically, in-house benchmarks are less rigorous than those adopted by an experienced Salesforce administrator, potentially compromising the firm’s performance.
Recognizing when a lack of proper resources is limiting your alternative investment fund is critical. Once the firm has come to this realization, the next step is to engage a managed service provider or build a proper in-house team. Compared to hiring an in-house team, managed service providers will almost always generate a more immediate benefit for small and mid-sized firms. These benefits include a reduction of administrative burden, access to a wider breadth of Salesforce expertise, and the implementation of key industry benchmarks. Additionally, engaging a managed service provider is more cost-effective and allows for greater scalability. Growing firms will have their service grow along with them, which reduces wasteful spending and potential resource chokepoints.
FinServ Consulting is an experienced Salesforce partner and managed service provider who is always available to help growing firms identify their best path forward for Salesforce administration.
About FinServ Consulting
FinServ Consulting is an independent, experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks, and industry service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle, and back-office. FinServ provides managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience working with the world’s largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks.