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Phil Walton, CEO – Meet the Galacticos

In our Meet the Galacticos series so far this year, we’ve met project managers, COOs, Senior Salesforce Consultants, and Developers. And as 2020 draws to a close, we meet the man behind the magic at Cloud Galacticos, our CEO, Phil Walton. I caught up with Phil via email to find out more about him and his experiences.

 

Phil Walton, CEO

Hi Phil, thanks for finding a few minutes in your busy schedule to help people learn a bit more about you. Can you give us a bit of background about yourself and your history with Salesforce?

I started using Salesforce back in 2004. It was simple back then. There were help files and a 250 page ‘Salesforce for Dummies’ book which covered EVERYTHING! So I see myself as rather fortunate, that I got to experience Salesforce early, and learn in steps as Salesforce grew. 

After attending Cloudforce events and User Group events in London, I kept asking why there weren’t similar events happening elsewhere in the UK. One day someone called my bluff and said I should set one up in my home city of Manchester, so I did. I also spent a lot of time on the Answers forum, working with Appexchange, writing my Salesforce blog, and because of this was first awarded as Salesforce MVP in Christmas 2013. I am now in the MVP Hall of Fame as ‘MVP for life’.

 

Cloud Galacticos at Salesforce World Tour London 2019

What made you decide to set up Cloud Galacticos?

I had been a freelance Salesforce Consultant since 2005, so the company has been going since then. But with a few rebrands and updates, we re-launched as Cloud Galacticos in 2017. I wanted a brand that reflected the high skillset of the team. The term ‘Galacticos’ can be used as superstar, or in the football/rugby world as an exceptionally skilled and celebrated player. A bit over the top, but it made a point. 

It was also a great chance to work together with like-minded people. When you have a small team like this, you can work a lot faster, and smoother, and in a friendly and respectful environment.

 

You’ve worked on a lot of Salesforce projects through the years, can you tell us about some of your favourite or memorable ones?

I have lost count of the hundreds of Orgs I have looked at and worked upon, the number of Clients, Users, and industries. There’s been so many great people and experiences. But I feel you only learn from the difficult situations – the easy wins are a bonus, but don’t help you to grow. I look back at some global rollouts where a year of work all hinged on a go-live in an evening/weekend. Where the deadline was tight but we all piled in to make it happen. Or where a mis-communication could nearly have ruined a project and a working relationship. These things happen in business! But it is how you react to a potential issue that marks you out. And having an experienced team that has battled through the tough times, makes us ready and prepared for whatever lies ahead.

 

Phil at Punta Dreamin

Looks like you’ve done a lot of travelling and have been to a few Salesforce events around the world, can you tell us some of your highlights?

Yes, I have been very lucky to speak at Salesforce events on five continents in the last few years. Some of the team went to India Dreamin in 2018 and 2019. It was a fantastic experience to travel with friends and colleagues, meet people in person that we had ‘e-met’ on social media and Trailblazer Communities, and spend time with some of our extended team. I travelled to Uruguay and Argentina for Punta Dreamin in 2018, my first trip to South America. Everyone was so welcoming, and the steaks and red wine were amazing.

Closer to home, I am looking forward to the chance in 2021 to get back to in-person meetings with the local Salesforce Communities. You can’t beat them!

 

Aside from Salesforce and running Cloud Galacticos, what else do you enjoy doing?

Normally I enjoy running. When the first lockdown happened, it didn’t feel enjoyable anymore, so I tried weight training. I am not sure if it will last, but I have already had to buy new t-shirts to fit! 

I enjoy spending time with my family (my wife and two young sons). There is always something going on. Last month on a bike ride we ‘discovered’ the remains of a 5th century Saxon defensive fortification.

 

Cloud Galacticos Christmas Zoom 2020

What tips would you have in working with clients remotely, or working remotely in general?

The ‘new norm’ has been just ‘norm’ to me and most of Cloud Galacticos for the past 10 years. I think the key is communication. You don’t get those visual signs that you get from being sat next to someone in an office – verbalise them. If you need something, be prepared to ask. When you have done something amazing, be prepared to tell people. If you are unavailable, feel free to show a notification. Reinvent the water-cooler/coffee break moments. 

While I believe 90% remote is great, 100% is not so great. We all need that in-person catch up, with clients, colleagues, friends, and family. For those hospitality businesses that can survive Covid, I think they will be very busy when the coast is clear and we can all meet in person. See you at the party! 

 

ABOUT CLOUD GALACTICOS

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. We have people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and London. If you are looking for a Salesforce partner with experience who can help you make the most of your org, why not give us a call?

Phil's Salesforce Tip of the Week

MVP nominations & Dreamforce updates – Phil’s Salesforce Tip of the Week #425

Salesforce MVP Nominations

The annual window for nominating your favourite Salesforce community heroes is now open (until December 1st). The MVP award is given for Expertise, Leadership, and Generosity. Read the full blog post here. It is a great way for all of us to recognise and reward those that have helped us and helped others. Maybe it is someone that answered one of your questions on the Answers forum or Stack exchange, or someone who organises your local User Group Community events? It may even be a Salesforce blogger (don’t worry, you dont need to nominate me), podcaster, or author of Salesforce book. The important thing is, these are all people who volunteer their time, to help the people around them.

It has been noted that this year’s process may be a bit different to previous years. Some people will have found themselves with much less time to focus on Community work, where as others may have found they had lots of free time available and in fact benefitted more from giving back whilst they had the chance. Either way, I think helping is helping! The process always looks at contribution over a decent length of time. So feel free to nominate someone even if they haven’t managed exactly the same as previous years. Note the form does seem to get longer every year, but I think it is worth setting aside some time to do this.

MVP Nominations

In other news…

Master Detail reparenting

Something I noticed this week and thought I would share…By default, records can’t be reparented in master-detail relationships. Administrators can, however, allow child records in master-detail relationships on custom objects to be reparented to different parent records by selecting the Allow reparenting option in the master-detail relationship

Reparenting

Rebranding

More rebranding of the Clouds this week, with Salesforce CPQ being renamed ‘Revenue Cloud’.

Dreamforce To You updates

Details of ‘Dreamforce To You’ are starting to be announced, including personalized meetings, the Keynote with Marc Benioff and friends (Dec 2nd), and a virtual TDX (Dec 14-17th). Sign up and keep an eye on this site for more details as they are announced.

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Paul Battisson, COO – Meet the Galacticos

This is the start of a new series in which you get to meet and learn more about the Cloud Galacticos team. We thought we start off with our COO, Paul Battisson, who is fast approaching his third year with us. I caught up with Paul via email to find out more about him and his experiences.

Paul Battisson, COO

Paul, thanks for volunteering to be the first participant in this series. Can you give us a bit of background about you and your history with Salesforce® ?

Sure, my name is Paul and I have been working with Salesforce now for the past 11 years. I started off in Salesforce® as a developer at FinancialForce where I got to learn about the platform from some of the best developers around. Andy Fawcett (now VP Platform Product Management at Salesforce) was my manager and showed me a lot. I also had the pleasure to work with other superstars like Carolina Ruiz, Stephen Willcock and Agustina Garcia which helped me pick a lot up fast. I then moved on to a consulting role as a senior developer focused on financial services. Since then I have held a number of different roles for different partners across product management, architecture, innovation and delivery management. I’ve been lucky enough to work on a variety of roles and get to see most of the platform.

You’re also a Salesforce® MVP and lead the Leeds Developer Group in the UK?

That’s correct. I am fortunate enough to have been awarded as an MVP for the past 7 years. I have been running the Leeds Developer Group for about 8 years now. It was through the group that I first met our the Cloud Galacticos CEO Phil Walton. I also run a site called CloudBites.tv where I share videos about Salesforce topics and am midway through writing some books on Apex.

Paul discussing the Blockchain at a Leeds Developer Group

Paul discussing the Blockchain at a Leeds Developer Group

So with all that going on I’m not sure you have time for anything else, but in the time you do have outside of work what do you enjoy doing?

Haha, yes it is a bit full on. At the moment a lot of time is spent on writing, blogging etc. but I do really enjoy that. I also love reading although I am a bit of a nerd and it is a variety of non-fiction topics. My PS4 is my go-to relaxation device, as well as cooking. I try to exercise a bit as well but I can’t say I am consistent in that as I am with playing the PlayStation!

A nice mix of things there. Can you share a little more about your role as COO and what you enjoy most about it?

I describe myself as “everything other than delivery – most of the time”. We are still a growing organisation so I do spend my time moving across a few things. Primarily my role is a combination of sales, marketing, strategy and back office stuff. I also help clients on a number of projects as an architect as well. I like a good mixture of things and my role definitely gives me that. In one day I can be discussing a new marketing campaign, talking to potential clients, discussing an integration between systems and then reviewing our HR policies. It can be a bit manic but I love it.

A nice variety there. To me you are the ‘travelling Galactico’, and I know your role and work involves a bit of travel. Where has been your favourite place to visit with work?

I am definitely on the road more than the rest of the team, but that’s because I get to meet new customers and telling them how wonderful we all are! I visit Leeds, Manchester and London a lot. Manchester has a special place for me, it is a big city but a nice community feel to it. To me it also feels open and spacious more than many others. I have also been lucky enough to head to Malaga, San Francisco and New Delhi with the Galacticos team and would recommend them all. I have been to San Francisco many times and can always find something new and interesting to enjoy. It is such a crazy place so definitely worth going if you can.

I know you have visited San Francisco for Dreamforce, what has been your favourite Salesforce event?

Yes I have been lucky enough to attend and speak at Dreamforce a number of times. It probably is my favourite event overall because of how long it is. You have enough time to attend a number of sessions, meet people from all over and generally have fun. I do have a soft spot for the community events that have sprung up as well – in particular London’s Calling and DreamOle. They are smaller in scale but have always have great talks and are much easier to get to!

Paul Speaking at Dreamforce 2018

Paul Speaking at Dreamforce 2018

Obviously at the moment everyone is working remotely but you have been working remotely for a while. Have you got any tips for everyone?

My biggest tip would be to have a dedicated space. I’ve got an office where I can work away and focus without disruption. It can be tough to switch off if you always have the laptop around and also hard to resist looking at another email. Having a dedicated space means you can focus when needed and close the work away at the end of the day.

Paul's office setup

Paul working from his home office

And finally, what tips would you have for someone starting in the Salesforce eco-system?

Join your local Trailblazer Community groups! They are full of knowledgeable and friendly people who want to be your friends. You will also get to hear a much broader set of talks, topics and ideas than you would otherwise and really ramp up your knowledge. Plus most provide some free food and drink!

Thanks Paul for your time and an insight into your life. We’ll be chatting with some of the other team members at Cloud Galacticos in due course. Watch this space!

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1 Year Down Here’s To Many More

Back in 2012, I setup the North UK Salesforce Developer group and began meeting more members of the wonderful Salesforce community across the north of England. At some point I also attended the North England User Group for the first time and met its leader Phil Walton. Over the next few years we would work together on the groups and ran a number of combined events.

An Interesting Discussion

A little over 12 months ago at the end of an event Phil and I were having a beer together and began talking about Cloud Galacticos. He told me what they were doing, where he was taking the business and what they were looking to achieve. We also started discussing if this might be something I would be interested in helping with and where I might fit in.

Over the next few weeks we kept chatting and putting some plans together along with our CTO Neel.  I actually worked with Neel in a different IT role nearly 15 years earlier – it’s a small world after all! After some discussions we came up with a plan and a year ago I joined the Galacticos team as COO.

1 Year Down

It’s been a whirlwind year involving travelling across 3 continents, developing relationships with Cloud Galactico’s existing customers and helping to drive our growth with new clients. As I look back over the past year I am extremely proud of what we as a team have achieved including:

  • Hitting Silver Salesforce Partner status
  • Launching our Managed Services offerings
  • Growing our team with some amazing people
  • Delivering the same consistent quality for a range of clients – from FTSE 100 to brand new startups
  • Supporting the Salesforce Community across a number of events including Inspire East, London’s Calling, DreamOle, YeurDreamin, North Africa Dreamin and India Dreaming
  • Expanded into new specialisms such as Healthcare and Life Sciences
  • Began delivering training courses on behalf of Salesforce

Here’s To Many More

I’m extremely excited to build on this success next year. I can only imagine some of the great things we will be looking back on in 12 months time.

It’s been a fantastic first year and I want to thank everyone I have worked with and spoken to. The entire CG team, our customers and our partners have all made it unforgettable.

In what can only be fate, Phil and I were together at a User Group in Manchester on anniversary date! We managed to enjoy a beer together where the conversations all started from and began plotting the next 12 months.

So cheers! 1 year down, here’s to many more

Phil's Salesforce Tip of the Week

Phil’s Salesforce Tips – A Special Week #150th Edition

To celebrate my 150th consecutive week, I reached out to fellow members of the Salesforce community, to ask what Tips they would like to share. And I am excited to share these with you all today! Here are 10 GuestBloggers, and a special 11th guest, who has influenced me over my years as a Salesforce blogger. Thank you to you all for contributing, and reading, here’s to another 150!

Tip #1 Sarah Burton (Clear Channel UK) – “Salesforce Administrator of 5 years experience but still learning every day”

It’s ok to say No*

Admins need to ensure that we question ideas and processes that we get asked to implement. There are 3 questions I ask – ‘What’s in it for the users?’, ‘Is it Simple?’ and ‘Does it stick to the original Vision?’

*as long as you back it up with a good reason!

Tip #2 Tracey Morris (Jisc) – “Awesome Admin for UK wide non-profit digital technology in education & research charity”

As a busy Admin I have to prioritise what I’m doing – be it training, support or development (or all 3 at once) – so having a process in place where users can make change requests without interrupting me is a no-brainer. The user is happy because they’re being listened to and I’m happy because I can look at their requests when it’s convenient for me.

Tip #3 Naveen Gabrani (Astrea IT Services) – “Salesforce architect responsible for mapping business problems on Salesforce”

Focus on actionables after Dreamforce. Keep a notebook or a smartphone handy at the event. As you attend a session or a keynote, or meet a vendor at the cloud expo, make a quick note of anything you like, a useful tip for the users, an app you need to try out, a technology you need to build expertise on. After you are back follow up on these items. Give a presentation to the management or the users on interesting things you learnt. To get best returns on the investment you have made at Dreamforce, the most important time is the month after the Dreamforce.

Tip #4 Laura Guenther (Apttus) – “Certified Admin at Apttus”

Be smart about solving problems – utilize the Success Community:
Browse the Success Community for Answers, if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, post your own question. More than likely, someone out there, somewhere, has had the same issue as you and has solved it. You will get a response in less time than it will take you to troubleshoot. Be sure to join groups to participate in discussions and gain access to additional resources. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and precious time.

Tip #5  Rachel Natik (Cloud 4 Good) – “Cloud Consultant at Cloud 4 Good, 3X Certified”

Try this free App called ‘List Browse‘. I haven’t come across another app that does this functionality. You can select records in a list view, click browse and you can go through them one by one (and edit them!).

Tip #6 Selina Suarez (New Leaders) – “2015 Awesome Admin Award Winner at the Salesforce World Tour, New York City”

When starting a new project, prior to formal Salesforce Requirements gathering, ideally your first conversations should revolve around business process and not technology. Take the time to find out what people actually do on a day to day basis. Observe and ask questions.  This is your opportunity to uncover opportunities to offer solutions perfectly matched to the client’s needs.

Tip #7 Simon Edwards (Color Consultancy) – “Playing around with all things Salesforce since 2006”

If you are like me, and end up with lots of similar long report names this little ‘undocumented feature’ will allow you to display the report name on 2 separate lines when viewing the report. Just add a colon (e.g. Accounts: Most Recent) to your report name! Many thanks to Scott Hemmeter for this great trick.

Tip #8 Randi Thompson (Apex Revenue Technologies) – “Solo Admin using Enterprise Sales & Service Clouds for 60 users”

I love the capability to create custom URL buttons. Even though Process Builder and Publisher Actions have made a lot strides, there are still many instances (especially on the Task object) where a custom URL button is invaluable.

Tip #9 Steve Williams (BigKite Consulting) – “Salesforce Admin gone Consulting”

When dealing with a request for a new email notification respond by asking your user what immediate action the email will trigger. If they cannot think of one they will likely be better served by a Report or Dashboard. That way you have saved then from having to delete an unnecessary email and provided a way for them to access the information when they are ready to do something with it.

Tip #10 Mike Arthur (RiverUsk) – “Certified Admin, Consultant, Developer in Edinburgh”

I recently had a situation where a Visualforce page was exactly what was needed to solve a requirement.  Except I had never written any code in Salesforce and Cobol wouldn’t cut it.  I had heard of Trailhead, Salesforce’s free, online learning resource, and it helped me learn the skills to build my page!  The topics range from basic to advanced, including ‘Reports and Dashboards’, ‘Chatter Basics’, ‘Data Security’, ‘Apex Triggers’, ‘Visualforce Basics’, ‘Change Management’ and many more. Modules typically take 20-30 minutes to complete. Head on over and get learning!

And finally, a bonus ‘Tip’ from Salesforce Admin Evangelist…THE ButtonClick Admin…Mike Gerholdt 

My advice for being a great Salesforce Admin- don’t  overindulge on tips and tricks. It’s like having cake for breakfast, sure it sounds good- and probably fixes your hunger problem- but it’s not sustainable. Great leaders, philosophers, and visionaries didn’t change the world on a trick they learned. They did it by mastering their craft, by learning habits, applying those habits, and sometimes failing. You can’t be afraid to try something new and fail. Failure is how we learn and how we grow. Don’t be afraid to do the work- it’s easy to just ask for help right away, but try a few solutions first, see what works, and go from there.

 

Thanks to our friends at Apttus !

Phil's Salesforce Tip of the Week

Phil’s 100th Salesforce Tip of the week

Phil’s Salesforce.com Tip of the Week

This week is my 100th ‘Tip of the Week’ post, and for week #100 I wanted to reach out to the Salesforce community for their thoughts and ideas on what their Tip of the Week would be. So here is a ‘longer than usual’ set of Tips from 11 special guests.

Everyone who has attended Dreamforce or the Salesforce1 World Tour knows that Peter Coffee starts off these events, and so to kick things off…

Tip #1 Peter Coffee (VP for Strategic Research, Salesforce.com) 

“Don’t let “the cloud” be positioned in people’s minds as “that which replaces everything else.” Rather, position cloud as the new nervous system: an added “innovation layer” that lets everything else, especially legacy systems of record, become more valuable. Make silo’d information more useful in more ways, without compromising security, and introduce mobility and collaboration as platform services rather than costly new projects. This makes cloud a win-win for every constituency in the organization.”

Tip #2 Mike Gerholdt (Salesforce Admin Evangelist, and Button Click Admin hero)

“Find and join a user group near you and make friends in social. It’s easy to feel like you are on an island, but there are a lot of incredibly helpful people at user groups and on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. that like to solve problems. It’s a great way for you to see new features, and hear about problems that admins are solving, as well as helping others learn the platform.”

Tip #3 SteveMo (The legend of the Answers forum with over 33,000 Answers)

“The Pitfalls of Notes & Attachments – Notes&Attachments are like the Panda bear of SFDC (an Evolutionary Dead End) You can’t access them with an out of the box Report, Formula, Workflow, etc, they also can’t be uploaded via Salesforce1. A lot of SFDC Admins get rid of them and hide/remove the Notes&Attachments section from the page layouts and replace them with Custom Fields, Custom Objects, or use Chatter and Files instead.”

Tip #4 Bill Greenhaw (MVP and Sacramento User Group Leader)

“Going to Dreamforce ’14? You should take a look the wide range of DF14 specific Community Groups. There is even a Salesforce Success Community to help lose a few pounds or get a little more active before the huge event, join the DF ’14 Health and Weight Loss Challenge to challenge yourself and motivate others to get healthier leading up to Dreamforce.”

Tip #5 Eric Dreshfield (MVP and Southern Indiana User Group Leader)

“Tip for surviving your first Dreamforce – My number 1 tip for Dreamforce attendees is  NETWORK!! Talk to people, don’t be scared…talk to everyone you can. The person on your right when waiting in line to go into a session, the person sitting to your left once you get inside a session. When you go to breakfast or lunch (the one that’s included with your conference pass) pick a table with a few people and ask to join them…then introduce yourself. If you are shy, quiet or not very outgoing, take the high-tech approach to meeting people: hang out at the charging stations, or even at an outlet on a wall in the hallways with a surge strip to charge your tablet…share your power. One surge strip = five instant connections / friends!”

Tip #6 Jeff May (MVP, and top community contributor)

“How to troubleshoot a formula field formula:
Formula fields can sometimes be tricky.  Create a tabular report and add the formula field, as well as each of the fields referenced in your formula field.  You can create additional formula fields to specific values like #UserRole.Name.  Run the report to see which data combinations work, and which ones cause problems.”

Tip #7 Jen Nelson ( MVP and Chicago Suburban User Group Leader)

“My Tip is to let Admins know that they can add extra branding to their Salesforce.com Org by creating a Custom App that includes their own Company’s Logo. For further info take a look here ”

Tip #8 Caroline Renard (MVP, and Technology Interpreter for Arts Groups)

“The big news from the Salesforce Foundation is the release of the new version of the NonProfit Starter Pack. Any nonprofit/charity that signs up for a Salesforce trial from this week will get the new version, and existing customers can get details about upgrading from the Power of Us HUB. NPSP3 comes with lots of new features and fixes: there is a new Household Account model option, clever customizations around household naming and noting affiliations, and tools to manage seasonal addresses, amongst many other things. The installation process has been simplified, with one download now instead of six! My colleague Judi Sohn has more details here.”

Tip #9 Deepa Patel (MVP, and San Jose User Group Leader)

“Three tips for DF14. Invest is a good backup battery charger, wear comfortable shoes, sign up for HOTS!”

Tip #10 Jason Atwood (MVP, and Podcaster)

“My tip is an old school configuration one, which is to standardize the page layouts for all objects so that certain fields are in the same sections and locations. For example, while Salesforce sometimes puts “System Information” in its own section at the bottom of a page, when I customize an org I do this on every page layout on every object. The reason is that studies have shown that good user interface design includes consistent placement of the same functions, as the brain actually memorizes the hand eye coordination from tasks to task. So, putting this into practice in SFDC helps lower the learning curve, increase adoption and cut down on support calls.”

Tip #11 And last but not least, a word from Parker Harris – Salesforce.com Co-Founder 

“Make sure to take advantage of our IdeaExchange. We started the IdeaExchange to create a community where customers can suggest new product features and connect with product managers, developers, partners, other users and admins. Our team monitors the site and keeps the community updated on which ideas have been chosen and when they’ll arrive. You have a voice and we want to hear it. Visit ideas.salesforce.com and let us know what you think!”

Thank you

A huge thank you to everyone who reads my blog, you keep me motivated to dig for news, and to try new Apps and Salesforce functionality!
And massive thanks to all my Guest Bloggers this week, it is amazing that this community will pull together for each other, you guys are all officially #AWESOME!