Blog Posts

Cloud Computing Predictions for 2018

For the 8th year in a row, it is time to look deep into the crystal ball and make some cloudy predictions for 2018.
Cloud Computing Predictions for 2018

Cloud Computing Predictions for 2018

Last year I made some pretty crazy predictions, including Salesforce buying a Learning Management System (LMS), Apple releasing a Dot, and Amazon buying Slack. Gotta say, I feel like I get half credit for two of those. Salesforce is all in on Trailhead and is expanding it as an LMS and Apple did announce (but failed to release) the HomePod.

With that great success behind me, let's see what we can cook up this year. Once again I will be adding my confidence points because, well, @JustEdelstein said I should.

Bitcoin Bites, Blockchain Bounds

The Bitcoin insanity over the last few months has been all over the headlines. The price has just skyrocketed to over $15,000 and seems to have a huge trajectory. My prediction is that Bitcoin comes back to the ground and ends 2018 under five thousand dollars but leads to the Blockchain technology becoming a household name. By the end of 2018 there will be Blockchain-backed products from over half of the top 10 major financial institutions.

Confidence: 10

Electric Cars are Driven

Tesla is currently leading the way in electric vehicles, with incredible technology, speed, and a charging network that keeps it all afloat. Next year will be a major year for electric vehicles, where the landslide of car manufacturers will be laying down the plans to phase out gas cars in favor of an all electric roadmap. The writing is certainly on the wall for that one. Next year there will be a jump into the future, with fully autonomous driving cars that will get both the technology and legislation in at least one state to go fully self driving.

Confidence: 7

Apple Doesn't Go to Eleven

Predicting an Apple update to the iPhone is pretty easy; there will be one. Predicting that Apple doesn't update something is risky and going against a 10 year trend. This year I expect Apple to double backwards and release an iPhone 9 and refresh the iPhone X but NOT release anything over that. There will be no 11 in 2018. You heard it here first.

Confidence: 8

Amazon Buys Salesforce

I know, I know. I like to make big merger predictions each and every year, but they almost never come true. This one, though, is for the ages, as the largest cloud-company company in the world uses some of that $20 billion in cash to put down a deposit on Salesforce. Amazon enters the huge enterprise software market, and Salesforce gets almost unlimited scalability on the Amazon cloud. This one might take awhile to get through all the legal sign off, but this will send shock waves through the computing world for years to come.

Confidence: 2

The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

1.4 million people in New York City face hunger every day and many, including a rapidly growing number of seniors, have little to no access to food. West Side Campaign Against Hunger is combatting this with their Mobile Pantry Program.
The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH) is a nonprofit organization based in New York City whose mission is to alleviate hunger and create a culture that promotes self-reliance and works for change. In the basement level of the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew on West 86th Street, the WSCAH operates a supermarket pantry that serves their customers, allowing them to choose the food they need for themselves and their families.

In October of 2016, WSCAH came to Arkus with the idea of expanding their customer reach by launching the Mobile Pantry Program at their organization. The Mobile Pantry Program is designed to bring food into new communities and serve food to individuals who cannot travel to their brick and mortar food pantry. This new program would essentially bring the pantry to their customers.

Fast forward a year later and Salesforce now serves as the backbone of their Mobile Pantry Program operations by tracking customers along with their household information, relationships, and their pantry participation.

Used in blog post The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

The Mobile Pantry Program

WSCAH works with external organizations scattered throughout Northern Manhattan and the Bronx to create new access points to fresh produce and healthy staples. These external partnering organizations host WSCAH once per calendar month, on a specific day, and refer customers that may need their services. On the specified days, WSCAH arrives with a truck filled with food and sets up a pantry, resembling a farmer’s market, for the day. Referred customers then attend the Mobile Pantry event and choose their food, as if visiting a mobile farmers market. In addition to the pantry itself, customers also have access to a variety of resources, such as cooking demos, recipes, and nutrition education.

How Was It Accomplished?

Implementing the Mobile Pantry Program started with customizing Salesforce. It was necessary to develop clear program requirements  and configure Salesforce to meet the program’s needs.

In order to compensate for the unique pantry conditions, a logical workflow to the program needed to be developed. It started with scheduling the days that the Mobile Pantry Program would be visiting the organizations. Once that had been completed, the event records could be created inside of Salesforce and organizations could begin sending their lists of referrals. The referral list represents people who will be attending that day’s Mobile Pantry event. Upon receiving the list, WSCAH would work to import referred customers and their key information into Salesforce. The import process would automatically create relevant records related to a customer, including a referral to a Mobile Pantry event of a certain date. At that point, there would be a record inside of Salesforce for the program, its events, the customers, and their referrals to those events.

Used in blog post The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

Once there was a record of customers inside of Salesforce, we worked together to develop an automated check-in process, where referred customers would receive a program card that is unique to them and be able to check into the Mobile Pantry by scanning it upon arriving at the event.

The check-in process utilized several third party applications, all created by Scout Inc. It started with TuBarcode, which automatically generates a barcode that contains the ID relevant to the person inside of Salesforce. TuLabel is used to generate the label, which contains the previously generated barcode on one side and WSCAH’s branding on the other. TuLabel generates PDFs of each label that can then be printed. These labels will ultimately be the face of the cards. Using an AlphaCard printer, each card is printed. Once the cards have been printed, they are ready to be given out and scanned.

On the day of the Mobile Pantry Event, referred customers attending for the first time receive their card. Once they have received their card, it is theirs to keep and use at future program events.

Used in blog post The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story

To compensate for the mobile environment, a tablet logged into Salesforce and a wireless scanning device was decided upon for the check-in execution. When a WSCAH staff member scans a customer’s card, Scout’s ZapIt application will recognize the barcode and create an attendance record inside of Salesforce for the customer. This attendance record automatically links to both the referral and the event record. Also upon scanning, key information about the customer is displayed to continue a personal, seamless experience.

Once a customer has checked in, they are free to navigate through the Mobile Pantry and make use of its services.

Recurring customers, who would receive separate referrals ahead of each event, would undergo a separate referral import process inside of Salesforce to create referrals for existing customers. From there, they would be free to use their existing card and attend the event. In order to facilitate walk-in customers who had not been referred, a manual entry process was developed to get them recognized in Salesforce and a card created for them.

Used in blog post The Mobile Pantry Program: A Client Success Story


It has been two months since the successful launch of WSCAH’s Mobile Pantry Program. In those two months, WSCAH has reached and served almost 2,000 individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have access to their pantry. WSCAH works tirelessly to fight hunger across New York City, and we at Arkus have been grateful to work with WSCAH and assist in expanding their reach and impact with the Mobile Pantry Program. To follow West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s initiatives and/or donate to their worthwhile cause, please visit their website at

Want to know more about the implementation or share your thoughts? Let me know what you think on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @RyanOwensRPO.

Tips to Prepare for Data Migration

If I could go back in time and tell myself a few tips to prepare for a data migration to Salesforce, I would. But since Salesforce has not invented a time machine yet, I’ll pass this knowledge on to you.
Tips to Prepare for Data Migration

Tips to Prepare for Data Migration

Many moons ago (2010 to be exact), I found myself face-to-face with Salesforce, which at the time was a new cloud-based CRM I had heard of but never had direct experience with.  However, I was very experienced with Raiser’s Edge and Convio from my past experience as a Development Coordinator/Data Services Manager for several non-profits, where data was my main responsibility.  When we migrated to Salesforce, it was a successful migration, but it could have been much easier had I been aware of what was necessary.  Now that I sit on the consulting side of the table, I want to pass on a few tips to help you prepare for an upcoming migration.

Organize Your Data

When I think of data migration, I always think of moving to a new house.  As I prepare to move, I usually need to get boxes, organize my things, label those boxes, and throw out anything that I don’t intend to move with me.  Well, a data migration is similar.  You really want to clean up and organize your data before a migration begins.  You will want to make sure constituent and gift records are clean and concise, just to name a couple This can include tedious things such as filtering an Excel file to clean up picklists and values, or even a larger conversation around what should be migrated or left behind.  This could also represent pulling a file of all your constituents and going through that data to correct typos or merge duplicate records.  The reason I recommend doing this before a migration is that nobody knows your data better than you.  I’ll be the first to say it’s a tough process, but once you move into your new system, it will all be worth it.  This leads me to my next point.

More is More

You normally hear people say “less is more,” but in terms of a migration, I believe more is more, as long as it is clean and organized.  What I mean by this is sometimes you have a tendency to choose not to migrate data because you’re not sure if you’ll need it.  I would advise you to migrate that data anyway.  It’s much easier to hide certain fields in Salesforce than to realize you need particular fields that you did not migrate and move that data after the fact.  It’s also an understatement to make sure you check with all stakeholders to ensure you are not choosing to leave data behind that may be critical to others.  Obtaining buy-in for a new system really hinges on the premise that all parties involved will have the tools necessary to continue to do their jobs, and access to data is at the core of that.   

Don’t be a Hoarder

On the flipside of More is More, you have to be honest and realistic with your data.  If you have records that nobody within the organization understands because they are from 3 migrations ago, it’s time to let that go.  I know it sounds funny, but by the same token as above, if your stakeholders cannot find a good use for the data, and nobody knows what the “1999 XXX Excel conversion attribute” means, you might want to save the data storage for migrating that one, or store a copy of that data somewhere else to reference if needed.  You want to make sure that all the data you are bringing over is useful, functional data.  A migration gives you the unique chance to come together internally and make decisions on what is important and what is not.

Plan for Down Time

Another important aspect to consider is what to do with the down time between when your data is actually being migrated and when the new instance will go live.  You will want to implement a cut off time for people to stop entering in new data in the old system.  If you have a large pledge drive or donor event/campaign coming up, you will want to schedule your migration either before or after that time, since it may not be possible to stop data entry during high-volume times.  A good suggestion is to try to schedule your data migration during a slow period for your organization if possible.


My final suggestion is the use of Trailhead to familiarize yourself with Salesforce Architecture.  If I had a better understanding of Salesforce objects and capabilities going in, it would have helped me understand and formulate ideas of how to use Salesforce to shape my data structure.  Some modules that are good to review are Salesforce Basics and Salesforce Basics for Nonprofits.  Going through those modules will help you to begin to understand how objects relate in Salesforce and how to apply those possibilities to your data.

Good Luck!

Data migration is actually one of my favorite parts of a project, especially when moving to Salesforce.  I remember the first time I was shown Salesforce and being blown away with the open-ended nature of the platform and all the possibilities.  Hopefully with preparation and “getting your house in order” beforehand, you will have a great migration.

Do you have any tips or suggestions to help with data migration?  Feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @berkeley_t_b

One "Soft" Skill Every Salesforce Professional Needs

Learning how to identify projects and break down next actions is an indispensable skill for all Salesforce professionals to cultivate, both for career success and personal satisfaction.
One "Soft" Skill Every Salesforce Professional Needs

One "Soft" Skill Every Salesforce Professional Needs

Projects, Projects Everywhere

Are you a project manager? Your job title or description may not say so, but all of us are managing projects all of the time. They may not be big (or small) implementations or even be Salesforce projects at all. Projects are everywhere in our work and our lives, and learning to identify projects and break down next actions is as key to your health and happiness as it is to your career.

So what is a project? Fundamentally, it is anything you want to accomplish that has more than one step. At work, this is pretty much everything except the most rote of tasks. Testing out a new App? That’s a project. Updating some code? That’s a project. Putting together some reporting for stakeholders? Conducting a training session? Doing some data cleanup? These are all projects. Even if you are not “the” project manager for a larger project like a Salesforce implementation, considering the elements within your responsibility as a project or series of related projects will help you organize your own work to be as efficient as possible.

I challenge you to also consider your personal and professional development as projects. With the Salesforce release cycle, certifications to get and maintain, new products to learn and explore, events to attend, and opportunities to volunteer and give back, Salesforce professionals have a lot to keep up with in the professional sphere. Many of us set goals to get a new certification or do some pro bono work, etc., but how are you going to make it all happen? When we identify these as projects, we start to set ourselves up in a framework to actually reach the goal.

Projects aren’t all work either. Taking a vacation, sending holiday cards to your friends and family, buying a gift for that special someone, these are all projects in our personal lives. Treating them as such can help you give them the appropriate amount of your attention and even help you maintain a better work life balance.

Why is this so important?

Personally I like accomplishing things. If you’re reading this, I bet you do, too. It is very hard to accomplish anything, though, unless you define the thing you are going to accomplish and take specific actions to move toward your goal.

Once you identify something as a project, you can start to break it down using what we Getting Things Done (GTD) devotees refer to as the natural planning model. At the core, this is the concept of moving a project along by identifying the next available action. Even if you are not going full-on GTD, you can incorporate this into your everyday approach by simply asking yourself “What is the next thing I need to do for this project?” and writing down that as your task. In this way, you give yourself the opportunity to take meaningful, manageable steps toward your goal and avoid feeling overwhelmed by thinking about everything you have to do to accomplish it at once.

We are all busy. There is a near endless stream of possible tasks. It’s very hard to effectively manage your time, if you’re always having to think about what you need to do. There are a lot of opportunities in the Salesforce ecosystem at a variety of skill types and levels, but every single one of them requires the ability to effectively manage your own work in some way, even if that is simply to ensure you are up to date on your own knowledge of the platform. Breaking down projects and next actions helps you optimize your time and manage how stressful these demands can feel. Being in control of your personal portfolio of projects is peace of mind as much as it is professional prowess.

Also, as you look to move forward in your career, you will want to be able to speak to projects you have completed. It is much easier to articulate what you have accomplished when you have defined it well for yourself, and the confidence you can repeat these successes comes with clarity on the steps you took to get there.

How do I get better at it?

Like all skills, project management is something you improve with practice. Explore the tools and methodologies that resonate with you. Write things down. The first step is to start thinking about the things you do in terms of projects. If you’re already an ace project manager in your work, try applying these skills to other areas of your life. Practice articulating your accomplishments and current undertakings--all projects--to yourself and others. Practice identifying next actions. And most importantly, consider this as a way to be good to yourself, not just better at your work. As the new year comes upon us, think about your projects for next year rather than your resolutions. With this mindset, I hope we can all accomplish our goals, whatever they may be.

How has project management been part of your career and life? What methodologies do you practice? Feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @ifitfloats.

Building Good Health Habits with GTD

Here is a look at how you can use GTD to build good health habits.
Building Good Health Habits with GTD

Building Good Health Habits with GTD

The GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology by David Allen has been critical to how I manage my work and home life responsibilities. After a number of years practicing, I became aware that I wasn't really using GTD for my health and wellness goals. I realized that many of my goals to build good habits never had a real end date. I would just say I was going to do something and then tried to remember to do it.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.  So after some thinking I came up with a good process and tried it out.  I have seen some really good results.  Here is an overview of my GTD process for health and wellness.


Awareness is the most critical step in changing anything about ourselves. Before we do anything, we have to scan ourselves, both mentally and physically, to find what we would like to change and write them down. This is an exercise I do weekly. Once we understand at a high level what we aren’t happy with, we can come up with ideas on how to change things and prioritize. I am a firm believer in a crawl-walk-run approach to anything in life, so I would pick maybe one thing for mental health and maybe two things for physical health (one for nutrition and one for exercise). Pick ones that just feel right and go. By starting with small changes, we can convince our egos it's not a big deal, and we will be more willing to commit.

Belief and Commitment

What is the point of doing something, if you don't have a reason?  Are we really willing to commit to doing something if we don't have a compelling one? More often than not, we are not. Once we identify what we want to change, we need to evaluate the WHY.  This deeper awareness will help us build a compelling argument to change our behavior.  Many times with our health it takes bad news from a doctor to get us to commit, but if you take the time to be aware of yourself and relate it to why you aren’t as healthy as you want, it will give you a boost of motivation to make a change. Trust me; it works! This exercise got me off anxiety medicine. I did the awareness exercise as described above and realized that I didn't believe the side effects and potential long term risks were worth it anymore. At one point they were but that changed. Once I realized that, I got motivated to change. That boost of motivation made me commit and take action. So if you are ready to go join that gym, stop reading this and join one right now.  Even though this may take more than two minutes do not create a GTD project and set next action to tomorrow. Once we take the first action, now we can use our tools to set next actions and a way to measure our progress.

OmniFocus to Achieve Accountability

Now that we joined the gym, how are we holding ourselves accountable to actually going?  This is where OmniFocus (my GTD tool of choice) comes in. It is the perfect tool to help hold yourself accountable for the habits you want to create. One of my habit goals was to meditate every day for 5 minutes.  I have a daily project that has a list of a few things I do on a daily basis.  I added meditation, and because I will not cross off the action as completed unless I actually did it, I found that extra 5 minutes to get a meditation session in.  After 6 months or so of doing it, meditation is now an unconscious habit in my daily routine and no longer needed in my daily project. The tool brings awareness to what I need to do and can hold you accountable for doing it if you let it.  


So there is a quick look into how to use GTD to build good health habits.  This can be applied to any good habit you want to create.  Try it out and see for yourself.  How you set it up in your tools is up to you, but the key is to maintain the awareness and hold yourself accountable.  If you find yourself deferring a bunch, it might be an indicator you need to evaluate your WHY.  Then you can make educated decisions and achieve the goals you want to achieve.  

Please feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @Salvatoriello