Where on the org chart do Administrators fit?

I have lots of tweeps who are Salesforce Administrators.  In title, or job description or both.  We are a feisty lot with strong opinions.  I’m can’t wait to hear how they weigh in on this one.

In what department should a Salesforce Administrator work?

I suppose the quick, easy answer is “it depends”.  If the organization is large and only one or a few of the departments is using Salesforce, perhaps it makes sense for the Salesforce Admin to work for the department in question.

If, however, the organization has adopted Salesforce in many, if not all, departments, it probably makes more sense for the Administrator to report up through the IT organization.  Me and my teammates are in this category. (We each have our own specialities.  I came to my role from the Customer Service side of things.  Our Analyst comes from a Sales and Marketing background.  Finally, our Developer comes from an IT world.  Between the three of us, we can handle anything!)

Here’s where I get controversial! On some level, this type of decision comes down to corporate culture.  Is the IT team in your organization responsive to the needs of the business?  Can they leverage the flexibility and extensibility that Salesforce offers to meet the ever-changing needs of the business users?  If not, then the administrator role should probably live outside IT!

The only way a Salesforce Administrator can do right by the business is if they are unconstrained by titles and org charts.  They have to be able to push back on even the most hardened and crusty VP.

VP: “I want a checkbox on this page and I need it yesterday!”

Administrator: “No, I’m not going to put a checkbox there.  The process is broken and needs to be reworked.  Let’s do that instead.”

How does this work in your organization?  Please fill out this unscientific poll and weigh in via the Comments.

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5 Responses to Where on the org chart do Administrators fit?

  1. It is difficult, especially in the nonprofit world where administrators are often “slash administrators” meaning Membership Services Director/IT Administrator.. etc. etc. I still think though, that proper IT administration should transcend any org charg, just because someone wants something done (i.e. checkbox yesterday) and they are above you, it does not mean their idea is a good one, and an admin will hopefully be able to veto such things.

    Thanks for a great blog!

    Garry

  2. Rhonda Ross says:

    Great question and one that many organizations seem to struggle with in my experience.
    Curious Amber, how many Salesforce users is your team supporting in your company?

    • Amber Neill says:

      Rhonda, We have 234 Unlimited license users and 19 Partner Portal users. There is movement afoot to add a Customer Service portal which could add hundreds of users. My job is never dull, and for that I’m grateful!

  3. mikegerholdt says:

    I think this is a really good question given how Salesforce gets implemented into a company. Some companies it starts as a tool for sales and it only stays there. Some embrace it as a holistic solution right away. And others migrate, its the latter that can make it tough for an admin who has a vision but can’t execute fast enough or doesn’t have the power to transcend divisions.

    Also, I would like to have this phrase etched in stone “The only way a Salesforce Administrator can do right by the business is if they are unconstrained by titles and org charts.”

  4. Rob says:

    Salesforce admins and Force.com devs should just report directly to the board. 🙂

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