Introduction: Astro360 Salesforce Case Study

This is the first article in the Astro360 Salesforce Case Study, a fictional account of how AstroLift used Salesforce to manage their customer relationships in the most cost-effective way by putting them at the centre of everything they did.

Jill McCaw, is the Chief Operations Officer of AstroLift. She heard of Nelson Stirling’s past successes with implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems for telecommunications companies, and has taken Nel on to head up the team that will deliver Astro360, AstroLift’s futuristic new CRM system.

AstroLift and AstroLink

AstroLift is a company that specialises in transporting small-medium sized payloads to low-earth orbit. While continuing to to take significant market share from its competitors in the commercial payload market, In 2018 the company started launching its own communications satellites. This is the start of a space-based internet system named AstroLink that will bring broadband internet to every corner of the Earth. Near the end of 2020, AstroLink customers started using this service in specific areas of Canada and the United States.

The fifth batch of AstroLink satellites being catapaulted into orbit

Jill’s main motivation for sponsoring and investing in the Astro360 system is knowing that AstroLift’s legacy systems have been designed to provide B2B products and services for commercial clients paying for launching payloads into orbit. However, the company is looking at taking on millions, maybe billions, of new B2C AstroLink customers over the next few years, so they need to build a system that will provide their customers with excellent service, at low cost. AstroLink currently has no dedicated CRM system and uses a variety of disparate systems to sell and provide service to customers, which can affect the customer experience. As Eli Howell, the CEO of AstroLink, says:

“our mission here is to create incredible products and services, and customer relationship management is a central part of that”.

Project Phases

Nel’s chosen to go with a hybrid agile approach, with the project split into phases:

  • Discovery
    • Where the development team looks at the current state systems and processes, future state requirements, and estimates how much effort and what skills will be needed to meet the requirements
  • Build
    • Where the development team further defines what’s needed for each requirement, accepts work for development, and unit tests their work
  • Test
    • Where the testing team tests the work to make sure the functionality lines up with the requirements
  • Go Live
    • Where the development team releases functionality into the Production environment for the end users to start benefiting from
  • Production Support
    • Where the development team helps resolve bugs or implement enhancements to the released functionality

Project Streams

As the Astro360 CRM system will be built within an existing enterprise landscape, a number of existing systems will be impacted by the new system and will need to be modified in a timely manner to ensure timelines are met. Nel’s split the project into three streams based on the domains involved in the project:

  • Salesforce stream
  • Digital stream
  • Billing stream

These streams will have their own development team members, scrum masters, and project managers, but will meet regularly to align across the streams to make sure development dependencies are managed effectively.

Project Roles

While Nel’s organisational title is Senior Project Manager, his role on the project is Product Owner. The Product Owner is the person responsible for getting the most value out of the work of the project. So, to give the project the highest probability of success, Nel chose to bring in the team from Arcturus Consulting, a consultancy specialising in CRM projects, and a team he worked with on a couple of his previous wildly successful CRM projects. During the Discovery phase, he figures he only needs:

Nel also knows that the Salesforce system will fit within a larger Architectural landscape within AstroLift, and that the outcomes of the project depends on input from the AstroLink business and IT departments, so for the Discovery phase he’s brought on:

  • Florence Braithwaite (Senior Business Analyst)
  • Art Jennings (Program Manager)
  • Chris Aoyade (Enterprise Solution Architect)
  • Roy Frau (Developer)
  • Katherine Barber (Subject Matter Expert – Customer Sales)
  • Zoe Jackson (Subject Matter Expert – Customer Onboarding)
  • Maynard Stilwell (Subject Matter Expert – Customer Support)

While Nel intends on running this project in an agile, iterative manner, he knows that it’s very important to put some documentation in place to make sure the team knows where they are, where they want to be, and how they plan on getting there.

We’ll cover project documentation in the next post in our Salesforce Case Study series.

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