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Cloud Galacticos 2021 Highlights

Welcome to our Cloud Galacticos 2021 team highlights blog

Even though it’s been an eventful year for many reasons, at Cloud Galacticos we had plenty to be grateful for. From getting married to passing certs, and climbing mountains, to finally getting to meet each other in-person.

Here are some of the Cloud Galacticos team’s 2021 highlights.

 

Pippa Cox, Project Manager

Pippa Cox Art

I think my work highlight for 2021 has to be finally meeting some of my colleagues face-to-face after spending a year building relationships and working on zoom. I am looking forward to more opportunities to meet up in 2022.

On a personal level I have enjoyed the time to start being creative again and trying new crafts like embroidery pieces. Although the majority of my creativity has probably been spent decorating and gardening.

 

Vetri Manoharan, Developer

Vetri

The best thing happened to me in 2021 is joining the Cloud Galacticos team. I am so grateful to Phil for providing me this opportunity. Before joining the company, my career was more leaning towards project and team management. It’s almost 8 months now and the journey is still very exciting. I got to chance work on LWC (which I never learnt or got chance to work on before), worked on multiple projects, and so happy to be back on the development side of things.

On the personal front, I really feel that I am able to manage work-life balance (work from home really affected me big time), able to spend time with family, reading books, meditating, being mindful with the thoughts. Also I got engaged and going to get married in 2022. Looking forward to an exciting journey the next year hopefully!

 

Kully Dosanjh, Business Analyst

I think my highlights for 2021 would be joining the wonderful Cloud Galacticos team, I have already learnt lots and have lots more to learn from such amazingly experienced people.

Amazingly, outside of work my main highlight for 2021 has to be ‘climbing Ben Nevis’ with 2 kids in tow! This was by far the most challenging undertaking of all time for me. I had to have many pep talks with my poor legs to keep me motivated to finish.

I’m glad to say I smashed it and reached the summit!

 

Mark Jones, Salesforce Consultant

Mark Jones's User Experience Designer Cert

It’s been a really big year for me in the Salesforce ecosystem, to say the least, so it’s hard for me to pick out just one highlight.

Over the course of this year I’ve become a 5x Ranger on Trailhead, earned three different Salesforce certifications and spoke at a number of community events spanning four different countries (all done virtually).

To top it off, I became a Salesforce Consultant working with the team here at Cloud Galacticos. This has been a great year. Here’s to a good 2022!

 

Luke Menzfeld, Salesforce Consultant

Luke Menzfeld's wedding

This year has certainly been a year to remember. It marked my first full working year at Cloud Galacticos after joining in October of 2020. I’ve had lots of great opportunities to tackle interesting business challenges and learned a lot through my practical experiences.

Meeting the majority of the Galacticos team in London recently was my biggest professional highlight. I’ve developed virtual friends and colleagues throughout 2021, but to get together face to face was great.

On a personal note, I also have a number of highlights. Firstly, my wife and I got married in June with an intimate mix of family and friends. We made the best of it despite the Covid restrictions.

In July we moved house, and to top it all off we found out in September that our family would be growing in size in 2022! Overall a great year.

 

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. Our Salesforce consultancy has 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?

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Cloud Galacticos 2021 Company Review

Welcome to our Cloud Galacticos 2021 company review. We started 2021 after a challenging 2020 due to the pandemic and various lockdowns. Therefore, our aim for this year was to stay strong, bring the team together, and make sure we keep on delivering for our customers. Here’s the thoughts from our board on this year, 2021.

 

Phil Walton, CEO

Looking back it almost seems like a different world…Christmas 2020 was ‘cancelled’, the new year was still led by watching Joe Wicks and Rob Biddulph with the kids, we applauded the spirit of Sir Tom Moore, and we still had one lockdown to come. 

We were determined to battle though as best we could and ensure nobody would need to be furloughed… And it’s fair to say as we reach the end of 2021 we exceeded our goals! Not only did we keep all our team together, we expanded massively, we skilled up, we climbed the Salesforce Partner ladder, and feel like we have come out of a tough time in an even healthier position. 

Although Covid, Zoom, Tiger King, and remote working are here to stay, it is great to meet people again!

 

Cloud Galacticos Zoom Coffee Breaks

Cloud Galacticos Zoom Coffee Breaks

 

Paul Battisson, COO

For my Cloud Galacticos 2021 review, it’s has been a year that has driven a lot of optimism, both personally and in my role as COO. There is no escaping that the past two years have been extremely tough for everyone. 

I am extremely proud of the entire Cloud Galacticos team for the way we have managed to continue to deliver great work for our customers and grow the organisation throughout the pandemic. For me the biggest highlight of the year has been starting to visit customers and spend time with team members again. Nothing beats face to face interactions to ensure everyone is happy and on the same page, and it has been great fun getting to do this again in a safe way. I am hoping that things will continue to open up and return to “normal” next year to spend even more time catching up with people properly.

 

Cloud Galacticos York Catch Up

Cloud Galacticos York Catch Up

Neel Meghani, CTO

Coming out of 2020 both personally and professionally my mind frame was very much “OK that was a difficult year and we did very well. Now things can only get better!”. Then we went back into lock down. At that point I put to the back of my mind all of the things I was looking forward to….traveling, seeing clients and colleagues, getting back to normal…

BUT despite all of that we continued to grow through the year, ending the year in a fantastic place. We managed to win new clients and recruit some amazing new people. Despite being apart I felt the company coming together even more. I could not be more proud of the people that make up Cloud Galacticos and the work they do. The vision we have of the Galacticos ethos is now a reality. So I guess the hard times of the past year have made us be even better.

In recent months we have now begun to meet the team face to face. Even though we spent plenty of time on Zoom, the in-person meetings we have had so far have really left me on a high. Looking forward now to even more client and colleague meetings and keeping up the momentum of growth!

 

Cloud Galacticos London Catch Up

Cloud Galacticos London Catch Up

Some poignant words from our board for their Cloud Galacticos 2021 Company review. We’ll also be asking our team members their highlights from 2021. Watch for the blog coming soon!

 

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. Our Salesforce consultancy has 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?

 

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How Can You Give Back to the Trailblazer Community

At Cloud Galacticos we are a growing team of Salesforce geeks and are big fans of the Trailblazer Community. So we’re glad that one of our latest recruits, Mark Jones, fully believes in this ethos. He’s already an active member within the Salesforce community. He’s one of the co-leaders of the Salesforce Newcastle User Group, along with Luke Menzfeld (another of our Salesforce consultants). And he’s even got his own Medium blog page – Ragamuffin Admin. It has articles covering his thoughts and opinions on a variety of Salesforce topics.

 We thought we’d give you a taster of his latest blog ‘How can you give back to the Trailblazer Community’…

 

How Can You Give Back to the Trailblazer Community

Mark Jones Salesforce Community Blog1

When I first started working in a role that used the Salesforce Platform for its chosen CRM system I honestly had no idea the Salesforce Community was even a thing. Fast forward to five and a half years later – I find myself as someone who is quite heavily involved in the community in a number of ways.

In this post, I will highlight some of the ways that you (yes, you) can get involved in the community. This is not by any means an exhaustive list. Rather, this list are areas where I am actually involved in the community, so I feel I can speak on these relatively well. I want to share this list to hopefully act as an encouragement to those in the ecosystem, as well as possibly acting as a bit of a signpost for those who are a bit newer and are trying to figure out their place in the Salesforce Ohana.

Here are my four ways you can get involved in the community.

 

1. Get Involved in the Trailblazer Community

The Trailblazer Community is most certainly the primary way you can give back to the community. There is always a need for Trailblazers to come and give back. Whether it be through leading a Community Group, speaking at a Community Event or Conference or be it through simply just attending events held throughout the community and being there to be a supporting presence. There is always going to be something you can help with in the community. 

At the time of writing, I’ve had the pleasure of doing a number of different things within the community this year. This includes speaking at three different Community Group events (not including ones ran by the group I co-lead), speaking at two different Community Conferences, and participating in two sets of event series’ covering a couple of different topics. 

I’m just a guy from a small town in the North East of England, there’s nothing all too special about me. So if I can do all of this, then you certainly can do it too.

 

2. Take Part in a Salesforce.org Community Sprint

Mark Jones Salesforce Community Blog3

Honestly, the Salesforce.org Open Source Commons Virtual Community Sprints are one of my favourite things to do in the Salesforce Ohana.

If you’re in the Nonprofit space and have worked with some of the additional NPSP Modules such as Programme Management and Outbound Funds what you might not know is that those were built through previous Sprints. They are routinely worked on and enhanced at the Virtual Community Sprints.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of great people through the Sprints. I’ve also got to know people through Salesforce.org #CoffeeChat, and EMEA AMA’s a bit better. Plus people I met when I spoke at Nonprofit Dreamin’.

 

3. Become a Mentor to Somebody

Mentorship is a really great way in which you can give back to the community. If you’ve got the time to offer to help someone, you might just help someone to find their next job.

 

4. Go to Mark’s Medium page…

Want to know Mark’s fourth and final tip? Why not go to his Medium blog page to read the full article? And don’t forget to give him a follow!

 

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?

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Service Cloud Consultant Certification Tips

We like to encourage our team to keep on developing and learning new skills. And our new Salesforce Certification Help page is continually being updated. One of the latest exams to be included is the Service Cloud Consultant Certification. It was one of our newest recruits, Luke Menzfeld who passed this exam. Below are his thoughts and tips on passing this Trailhead cert.

Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Certification

 

What made you decide to take the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant exam?

Mainly to test my knowledge of Service Cloud having worked on a number of practical client projects. 

 

How did you approach the prep for the exam?

Assess: I started with a detailed review of the exam guide and evaluated my strengths and weaknesses pre-preparation. I then prioritised the development areas based on the topic weighting.

Study: To study I used Focus on Force, Salesforce Help, Salesforce Answers and YouTube. I found a mixed method approach helpful. 

Test: Mainly it was testing my knowledge using Focus on Force in the initial stages, but this exam suits practical testing. Ask yourself, could you configure it, could you evaluate one function vs another, or could you make an informed recommendation given a scenario? If you’re unsure, it’s good to get hands on and test the functionality out for yourself. 

Repeat: I repeated the assess, study and test cycle multiple times to ensure that I felt confident prior to taking the exam. If there are questions or topics which wasn’t 100% clear, start from the beginning and work it through until it was clear

 

Was it a difficult exam? And any tips for people planning on doing the exam? 

The Service Cloud exam covers a broad range of topics, don’t underestimate the time involved in preparing for the exam. Be comfortable with what each section of the exam is assessing using the exam outline, then prepare accordingly with that in mind. I would never say there’s an easy exam. It’s much more a case of being sufficiently prepared. If there’s something you’re a bit rusty with or haven’t experienced first hand then get hands on in a developer org. Establish escalation rules, build/customise a service console. Don’t forget to test out Onmi-Channel skills routing to make sure you’ll have no surprises.

 

What does passing the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Certification exam mean to you in terms of your daily work at Cloud Galacticos? 

Passing the exam was really just the beginning. The Service Cloud offers great business value for clients in terms of what it can deliver out of the box. I look forward to working on additional projects for further knowledge and practical delivery. Formalising the exam means that I can pass that knowledge on and make informed recommendations to help service organisations run efficiently.

 

Do you have any other certs you plan to take in the future? 

Yes. There are a number of the Consultant Certifications I’m interested in. I have a goal of completing the Platform Developer certification in 2021 to enhance my project delivery.

 

Anything else you want to add?

Book the exam! The rest will fall into place. It all starts with that first step…

 

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, York, 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?

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Emma Frost, Project Manager – Meet the Galacticos 

Continuing in our series in which you get to meet and learn more about the Cloud Galacticos team, say ‘hello’ to Emma, Project Manager at Cloud Galacticos. I caught up with Emma via email to find out more about her and her experiences.

Emma Frost, Project Manager

Hi Emma, thanks for finding a few minutes to help people learn a bit more about you. Can you give us a bit of background about yourself before you joined Cloud Galacticos?

I’ve been working in the Internet industry, and on Internet projects in other industries (not for profit, higher education, public sector), for over 20 years in various different roles, all of them requiring project management skills. On joining Cloud Galacticos back in 2015 I started revising for my Salesforce Admin certification and really enjoyed learning a new platform. I think that’s what has kept me in the industry for so long, I love anything new! 

Can you tell us more about your role at Cloud Galacticos?

As project manager I’m responsible for various things including liaising with the client, keeping track of tasks / bugs and ensuring that we are on time for our deadlines. One of the advantages of working for a smaller company rather than a large corporation is that you can be more flexible and less constrained by your job title. So my role within each project varies according to the client, life stage of the project and the team (internally and externally) that I’m working with.

You’ve worked on a lot of Salesforce projects through the years, can you tell us about some of the ones that you particularly enjoyed?

I always like getting to know new people and getting to a point where you can share jokes and personal information about families etc so my favourite projects are always the longer ones with lots of regular meetings throughout the week so you can build a real rapport.

Emma with one of her paintings

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

I have a young family but when not spending time with them I also run a social enterprise in York called Bikes in Need, getting donated bikes and giving them to refugees, homeless hostels etc. And when I’m not doing that I paint, I work with acrylics and paint mainly landscapes.

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

I think it’s all about communication. As long as you have frequent communication (it doesn’t have to be lengthy) then you can make sure nothing escalates. It also helps to build that rapport I was talking about, recreating the little chats you have in the workplace, but online. 

 

Thanks Emma for your time and insight into your life. We have quite a few other team members to interview in due course. Watch this space!

 

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, York, 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?

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Mike Gill, Technical Architect – Meet the Galacticos

Continuing in our series in which you get to meet and learn more about the Cloud Galacticos team, say ‘hello’ to Mike, one of our Technical Architects. I caught up with Mike via email to find out more about him and his experiences.

 

Mike Gill, Technical Architect

Hi Mike, thanks for finding a few minutes 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 am what you would call a ‘career consultant’. For my entire career I’ve been working and consulting across a range of technologies and platforms; working directly for the software vendor or with partners of the software vendor. I am now in my third decade of working, which includes more than a decade with Salesforce. I sure feel old now!

 

Wow, that is a long time working with Salesforce! So how did you find Phil and Cloud Galacticos?

It’s fair to say I’ve known Phil for almost the same amount of time as I’ve been doing Salesforce. We started crossing paths regularly when I was involved in the running of the London Admin User group. We have always said ‘Hi’ and grabbed a beer when our paths crossed. He has been on my case since transitioning from Phil Walton Consultancy to Cloud Galacticos. I guess the stars aligned and it happened!

 

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

I enjoy spending time with the family and our dog Astro (yes, named after the Salesforce mascot!). When I am not spending time with the kids, I play competitive hockey for my local team.

Mike Gill with his Hockey Team

I know you have been involved in a number of projects for us as a Technical Architect, can you tell me more about what the role involves?

My time with Cloud Galacticos I’ve been lucky enough to work across some very different and challenging projects. One project the client was a fast moving Fintech. My role involved designing an application based around the latest cutting edge Lightning Web Component framework. 

On another project, my role leaned me more towards mentor and adviser. helping the team and the client to think like Architects, understand the technology, and make some difficult decisions in order to move forward. As an Architect you can’t have everything and no two projects are the same, therefore all you can do is make the least worst decision at the time and move forward.

 

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

For me, I think one of the most important aspects of remote working is to try and always have your camera on. It’s a bit like presenting, it’s only hard for the first 5 seconds and then it’s easy, people don’t really care what you look like, but it definitely helps you to build relationships and make a closer connection with your audience. 

Astro WFH

 

Thanks Mike for your time and insight into your life. We have quite a few other team members to interview in due course. Watch this space!

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Team Galacticos Salesforce Event Highlights

Anyone in the Salesforce ecosystem will know, we’re one big ohana. And before the Covid-19 situation affected us all, events and conferences were a big part of what we do (from local user groups and community Dreamin’ events, to large scale World Tours and of course, Dreamforce).

With all Salesforce events for 2020 now being re-imagined, some of the team members at Cloud Galacticos tell us their event highlights from previous years.

 

Neel Meghani CTO – India Dreamin 2018

Neel at India Dreamin

“My second time attending India Dreamin was back in December 2018. Representing Cloud Galacticos was Phil Walton (CEO) and our new (at the time) COO Paul Battisson, along with myself. This was also a very memorable event for me as it was the first time speaking at such an event.

From my experience of Salesforce related events, India Dreamin stands out above and beyond all others. There seems to be much more passion for learning about the platform. The entire two days had the feel of something special happening and that the Salesforce community should take notice!” 

 

 

Paul Battisson, COO – Dreamforce 2014

Paul presenting at Dreamforce

“This was my second Dreamforce, so I had learned a few of the newbie lessons from my first Dreamforce and was much better prepared for the craziness. The reason this is my favourite Dreamforce is that I did my favourite ever talk for the first time – ‘Building Machine Learning Systems With Apex’ with my then colleague Jen Wyher.

Why is this my favourite talk? Firstly, it took a tremendous amount of effort to get the system working. Secondly, this means Jen and I hold the record for being the first people to discuss doing AI/Machine Learning on Salesforce, years before Einstein. We got such great feedback from the talk. It started so many conversations with people that changed how I spent the rest of the event.”

 

Phil Walton, CEO – Punta Dreamin’, Uruguay 2018

Phil at Punta Dreamin

“Salesforce events have taken me around the world! I am proud to say I have spoken at events on five continents, and Punta Dreamin was a great excuse to travel to a whole new continent for me. I had never been to South America, so my trip to Uruguay – via a few days in Buenos Aires, Argentina – was an amazing trip. 

Great food, great wine, and Aldo was a great host. Also I was training for the Manchester marathon at the time, so I running in the heat of Buenos Aires and Punta was amazing. I always say running is a great way to see the sights of a new city.

Phil running in Buenos Aires

I look back on international trips like Uruguay, India, Morocco, USA, and around Europe with fond memories. Hopefully they will be back soon and we’ll meet again!” 

 

Val Southern, Senior Consultant – Salesforce World Tour London 2019

Val at World Tour London

“At Cloud Galacticos, we work remotely so it’s always good when the team gets a chance to meet up at Salesforce events. And for me, one of my annual highlights has been the Salesforce World Tour London in May.

Last year’s conference was great. We held our first ‘Client and Partner Drinks Reception’ the night before. It was at a fabulous rooftop bar near Salesforce’s London office. As one of the  sponsors of the conference, we had a stand which meant our day started at 7am, and didn’t finish till 6pm. But as usual, the day flew by, especially as we had a special guest keeping us company at the stand in the way of Paul Sturgess, Britain’s Tallest Man!

It’s a shame that the event couldn’t happen this year, but fingers crossed for 2021!”

 

Nkosi Ncube, Developer – Mulesoft Connect 2019

Nkosi Ncube at MuleSoft CONNECT 2019

“I have been to a few Salesforce events, the most notable ones being the Salesforce World Tour. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 most events were not to be this year. 

However, I did manage to attend the Mulesoft Connect event in London in October 2019. The main highlight was actually finally meeting a fellow Galacticos, Mike Gill. And of course I can’t forget the swag (very important at events!).

We hope and pray these events will be back soon!”

 

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Neel Meghani, CTO – Meet The Galacticos

Continuing our series in which we get to meet and learn more about the Cloud Galacticos team, say ‘hello’ to Neel Meghani, our Chief Technical Officer. I caught up with Neel via email to find out more about him and his experiences.

Neel Meghani, CTO

Hi Neel, thanks for finding a few minutes 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 was first introduced to Salesforce around 2004. I was working on a large migration project at a national newspaper on the very new force.com platform. I then transitioned from general IT to concentrating on Salesforce, even then I saw the potential for the technology could have. I then moved into the world of finance in the City where I bumped into Phil Walton. Since working with Phil, I have experienced working with many of the various clouds in different industry sectors, from potato farms to health care!

Wow, that is a long time working with Salesforce! You were also the first official Galactico that joined Phil. How long ago was that and how did you start working together?

I first met Phil in 2010 at an asset manager where we worked together on a couple of projects. We both put our heads together and managed to overcome major challenges with a very large data migration including attachments. Since then I have been known as the man to go to where data is concerned! 

Neel and Phil at India Dreamin 2018

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

I’m known by my friends, family and colleagues as the go to guy for all things fitness and nutrition. I have been a keen bodybuilder since the age of about 16. It my way of letting off steam and pushing myself. Although in recent times I have taken tips from our CEO Phil and started running. I’ve not found it easy! 

Also, I am also always hungry for technology and gadgets. I always jump feet first when something new and shiny comes out! 

Can you tell us more about your role as CTO and what it involves?

Officially I am responsible for delivery of all projects. But I’m glad to say that every day is different. With a small leadership team we cover all roles from sales all the way through to developing and delivering projects. 

So it sounds like your day is spent with a lot of time interacting with clients. What would be your top tip for working with people when remote?

Working remotely means I spend a lot of time on the phone. I find I need to have a dedicated space for work without distractions. I also recommend ensuring you have a good connection to the internet and a headset is a MUST! Also ensure you keep regular hours and take regular breaks. I have found over the years it is almost too easy when working from home to stay at your desk thinking “I’ll just get these few bits done” and then before you know it it’s 8-9pm! 

You recently passed your non-profit consultant certification. I know you have given us a write up of some tips, but do you have any study tips for exams in general?

I used a mixture of Trailhead and focus on force training guides. I especially like to do a number of practise exams along the way to see where I am lacking knowledge. Also, never assume you know the basics/fundamentals. Brush up on that knowledge also just to be sure! 

Neel with the team at Salesforce World Tour London 2019

Finally, what about tips for anyone starting out with Salesforce?

I have been asked this question many times! As Salesforce has become more popular, friends and family who have largely ignored what I do have come to me down the line as they are now using Salesforce in their place of work.

Firstly developer orgs are a brilliant! When I first realised I could have more or less the full product for FREE to learn on I was blown away. That along with Trailhead, the learning path is free and fantastic. Remember to also take advantage of the community and the user groups. There is a whole world of friendly people out there who are more than willing to help you along the way!

 

Thanks Neel for your time and insight into your life. We have quite a few other team members to interview in due course. Watch this space.

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Rhiannon McCorkindale, Lead Developer – Meet the Galacticos

Continuing our series in which we get to meet and learn more about the Cloud Galacticos team, say ‘hello’ to Rhiannon McCorkindale, one of our Lead Developers. I caught up with Rhiannon via email to find out more about her and her experiences.

Rhiannon McCorkindale, Lead Developer

Hi Rhiannon, thanks for finding a few minutes 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 working with Salesforce over 12 years ago when the nonprofit I worked for implemented it to replace an onsite server and custom-built CRM. I was involved in the requirements gathering process and quickly trained up to become the Systems Administrator. Since then I have learnt Apex code and other programming languages, and recently sat one of the Architect exams.

Wow, that is a long time working with Salesforce! So how did you find Phil and the Cloud Galacticos?

I met Phil through my colleague (and fellow Galacticos) Neel when I was working as a Salesforce Developer at an Investment Management company in London. I wanted to do something different so moved into consultancy and started working for Phil.

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

I moved house recently so most of my spare time has been spent decorating and learning how to garden. I also play an instrument called a tzouras (a small bouzouki). It is used to play rebetiko music, which is also known as the ‘greek blues’.

Rhi, Emma, and Val at World Tour London

Can you tell us a bit more about your role as a Lead Developer and what that involves?

At Cloud Galacticos we can sometimes wear a few different hats and it is different for each project too. I can be involved in requirements gathering, architecture and design, implementing declarative development, documenting systems and then of course coding.

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

I think it is important to have a routine and a separate space for working if you can. I always make time for a break to go for a walk in the day. Communication when working remotely is key. Some meetings definitely require a face-to-face approach, although at the moment this all has to happen over zoom or other conferencing tools. We generally keep in touch using messaging systems such as slack. 

With all your experience of working with Salesforce do you have a favourite and least favourite feature?

As most of my earlier experience was really coding on the core CRM modules, I think using a Trigger Handler Framework brings a lot of benefits especially for clients who don’t have them implemented and therefore don’t have much control over the order of execution. I wouldn’t say least favourite, but there are always challenges when clients have previously used a combination of process builders, flows and code.

Paul, Neel, Rhi, and Phil at Inspire East

Finally, what about tips for anyone starting out with Salesforce?

Trailhead is really useful. It didn’t exist as a resource when I first started using Salesforce, the hands-on modules and trying things out in playgrounds means you can gain some experience in things you haven’t used before.

 

Thanks Rhiannon for your time and insight into your life. We have quite a few other team members to interview in due course. Watch this space.

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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!