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Tip of the Week – Understanding Sandbox Types

Tip of the Week – Understanding Sandbox Types

Salesforce sandbox types

For just about every installation of Salesforce, a Sandbox will be used. What is a Sandbox? It is a copy of your organization in a separate environment that can be used for a variety of purposes (such as testing and training) without compromising the data and applications in your Salesforce.com production organization. However, the Sandbox is not a one-size-fits all sort of deal. In fact, there are 4 different Sandbox types and each of them have different levels of functions and features.

Developer Sandbox

A Developer Sandbox is the simplest and smallest Sandbox. Use this Sandbox for development and testing in an isolated environment. If using a Developer Pro Sandbox, a copy of the organization’s metadata is provided.

Developer Pro Sandbox

A Developer Pro Sandbox can handle larger data-sets than the Regular Developer Box. Use this one for more development and quality assurance tasks as well as integration testing or user training.

Partial Copy Sandbox

A Partial Copy Sandbox is primarily a testing environment. This Sandbox will carry over some records from your production environment, but not all. Tasks such as user acceptance, integration testing, and quality assurance are the best uses here.

Full Sandbox

A Full Sandbox gives you everything. Full sandboxes are a complete replica of your production org, including all data, such as object records and attachments, and metadata. Only Full sandboxes support performance testing, load testing, and staging. As the largest Sandbox, this one is not recommended for development, but rather full scale testing and QA. While using a Full Sandbox it is important to use a sandbox template, so it only contains the records that you require for testing, as well as other tasks.

These 4 different Sandbox types, when understood and used according to their strengths, give organizations the flexibility to develop and customize with ease.

Click Here for more info!

-Ryan and the Salesforce Guys

Changes to Salesforce Data Recovery Plans

Changes to Salesforce Data Recovery Plans

Starting July 31st, 2020, Salesforce will no longer provide data backup recovery services in the case of data loss. While this is definitely a big deal for Salesforce users, don’t worry, there are plenty of options to ensure you keep your data safe in the event of catastrophe.

data, big data, data recover

Our friends at SalesforceBen have put together a great overview article that explains what the data recovery service is, why you would use it, and what your options are for going forward.

In addition to the comments you can find on that site, at CloudMyBiz, we wanted to add the on that the best practice is to start planning for this change now.

  • Take a look at your processes and figure out what options will best suit your needs
  • Best practices include periodically exporting all of your data for backup, and also doing an export before any major development is deployed.
  • When it comes to choosing a data tool, the Salesforce Data Loader is a great, native option, but we recommend each business do their own research into tools, including 3rd part options, and find the one that best suits their individual needs.

Read the Salesforce Release Notes

 

-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team

 


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Essential Characteristics of a Quality Loan Origination Solution

Essential Characteristics of a Quality Loan Origination Solution

With the continued growth of FinTech and the Alternative Lending industry, systems and solutions that are tailored to these industries have also flourished. Loan Origination, that fundamental piece to any lending business, can be one of the biggest pain points as it involves a complex sales process as well as various documents, checklists and qualifications to complete.

Naturally, digitizing and automating your loan origination process will mean a huge savings of time, effort and investment. What’s more, because so many systems and solutions are available through the cloud, lenders no longer have to buy a custom built option or spend a lot on in-house hardware. 

What to look for from a Loan Origination Solution 

Replacing an outdated loan origination solution with a streamlined, automated and scalable system is not an easy decision, or one that should be done spur of the moment. Whether your company is coming from an analog process involving pen, paper, notepads and spreadsheets, or a computer system that you have simply outgrown, you know that moving to one of the newer and better options could be a huge boost for your business. If you’re dissatisfied with your current system’s performance or concerned about growing operating and support costs, then your company’s overall success and profit are taking a hit and it’s time for a replacement.

When browsing around for a solution, you will see that most of your solution options will have many of the same features, including automated deal submissions, renewal management, stips and document tracking and easy to use application pages. Further, with so many companies having slick, modern looking websites with well written copy, it can be hard to know who you can trust to really deliver a system that will take your business to the next level.

So, in addition to the features and price of your potential solution, here are some characteristics of the solution and the company that provides it, that will help guide you to a winning option:

  • Company Focus, Experience and Background
  • Cutting Edge Technology 
  • Quality Resource and Data Integrations
  • Scalability and Configurability
  • Quick and Efficient Implementation

Company Focus, Experience and Background

First and foremost you should consider where the company came from and what their focus is? Do their employees have experience working in lending and do they understand if from all sides? While a very large software provider may have some advantages, if they are providing solutions for dozens of industries, how can you be sure that what you get will really meet your needs?

What you are really looking for, at the end of the day, is someone who speaks your language, understands loan origination inside and out, and intimately knows the lending industry.

A team of highly-knowledgeable employees with a background in lending, or hands-on-experience using a loan origination system, can significantly enhance the design, development, and support of a lending system.

Another tell tale sign of this is the solution provider’s client list. Have they worked with just a handful of businesses similar to yours, or dozens? If some of the top players in your industry or vertical are using their software, it’s probably a good sign that the solution is a good one.

Cutting Edge Technology

Cutting edge technology for software and solutions isn’t exactly like a new phone, which usually equals a better camera and sharper display. For a loan origination system, it means not only being built on a solid foundation of proven architecture, but one that also has the capability to grow and adapt to whatever developments arise down the road.

Software platforms can only grow as much as their development company puts into them. However, when a loan origination solution is built on a robust, worldwide CRM platform, like Salesforce, which spends billions every year to grow, enhance and develop, you can be sure your system will stand the test of time. After all Salesforce isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and their arsenal of products, features and results only continues to grow.

Quality Resource and Data Integrations

Lenders rely heavily on 3rd party data providers to help them make quality decisions. With growing online support, this has become much easier than it was 15 years ago, however the next step is a quantum leap forward. A new loan origination system can integrate directly with your data provider, giving you instant access and sometimes pre-built automation, giving you a supercharged process. What was once a tedious, manual process, that could take hours of going back and forth between different screens and manually entering repetitive data, can be automated and reduced to just a fraction of the time commitment.

In addition, lenders can take advantage of Integrations with of Lender API’s, giving them direct access to some of the biggest players in the game, such as OnDeck and Kabbage.

When looking at a new system, take a look at which data sources and integrations you currently use, which ones are supported by the solution you are looking at, and which ones you might want to grow into in the future. 

Configurability and Scalability

No two lenders have identical procedures. Your process is something that you have worked with and developed based on your own experience, portfolio and the overall market. You want to remove pain points, not scrap the whole thing.

So when looking for a new system, you should make sure that the system can not only be configured to your needs, but that you have transparency into the process as well. Some questions to consider:

  1. Does every change and tweak need to be made by the developer, or can that be done by users as well?
  2. How technical is it to make changes?
  3. What level of support is offered and needed to ensure the longevity of the system?

Again, a system like Salesforce built its reputation on “clicks not code” meaning users everywhere were given the power to configure their system by clicking, dragging and dropping, rather than needing a coding background.

Going hand in hand with this is scalability. If you are going to make a big investment into a new solution, you don’t want it to break or be completely outdated in just a couple of years. So make sure to look for a system that is built on proven tech, built to last, and can be changed and configured without too much hassle. If you can meet these requirements, you should have a system that will grow with you.

 

Efficient Implementation and User Adoption

So you have done your homework and know which system will be best. Now comes the next challenge, the implementation. While you naturally want to have the system up and running as fast as possible, sometimes good things come to those who wait (at least a little).

Get a system that can be implemented at lightning speed and you might be running a risk that it isn’t robust enough to really handle your business needs for today and for tomorrow. Or there could be corners being cut when it comes to QA and testing, so while the system is up and running fast, it is full of errors and you end up wasting more time and money to get things right.

On the other hand, a solution that takes a long time to implement might end up costing you more than you expected, as you are stuck with your in-effective system while others get further ahead.

The Goldilocks zone is different for every company, and will change based on the project and level of customization. After all, if you are spending $5 million on a system versus $30K, your timeline and expectations will be very different.

Finally, there is user adoption to consider. How easy is it for new users to be on-boarded and trained? How challenging or cumbersome do employees find it to be diligent with their data and practices? No matter how good the software, how quick it is implemented or how great the price, none of it matters is your team doesn’t use it, or doesn’t use it the right way. So make sure you look for a loan origination system that is easy to adopt and use, and is built on a platform that is known for its usability!

 

-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team

 


 

Want to get started with Salesforce? 

Need custom development or consulting to enhance the Salesforce you already have?

 

Contact us

 

AgileCap

AgileCap


AgileCap provides insurance agencies with a simple, quick source of funding, making timely business growth attainable. Banks traditionally require large, tangible business or personal assets to secure loans. AgileCap does it differently.

AgileCap considers the entire book of business to be an asset. A substantial asset that allows them to provide the funding needed to grow. This paradigm shift in how collateral is defined has allowed AgileCap to provide financing to all ranges and types of agencies over the past 15 years.

The Challenge

AgileCap had leveraged their unique business model into many years of successfully providing funding to insurance agencies nationwide, and substantial company growth. However, they had reached a bottleneck in their ability to scale.

After many years of growth, AgileCap was using many disconnected systems for accounting, data processing, storage and more. Because none of these programs could share data through smart integrations, the AgileCap team was forced to do a lot of duplicate data entry, which is, of course, time-consuming and error-prone. Some other specific challenges included:

  • Lacking the desired variety and complexity of deal tracking tools
  • The invoicing process could have been easier
  • Desired overall increased visibility and transparency
  • Reporting could have been faster and more comprehensive

Overall, their disconnected systems were slowing down their underwriting process, weren’t giving them the tracking or metrics they needed to deeply analyze their business and lacked smart workflows and automation to that would save them time.

The Solution

CloudMyBiz is a certified Salesforce Partner. We develop and implement custom Salesforce solutions, integrate systems, enable user adoption and give businesses the foundations to reduce costs, increase efficiency and maximize ROI. CloudMyBiz gives clients access to what

Salesforce does best: innovation. Salesforce is more than just a cloud or software tool, it can be the foundation for developing and growing a business in just about any way imaginable. Salesforce was not entirely new to Agile Cap. In fact, they had actually installed Salesforce previous, however, the basic layout was not user-friendly, and borderline overwhelming to figure out. Consequently, Agile Cap had stopped using Salesforce and returned to their other systems. What they didn’t realize, was that they needed a consultant and developer who understood their industry, and could tailor the system to their specific needs.

Eventually, AgileCap contacted the reps at Salesforce to get a consultant recommendation, and they were then referred to the Alternative Lending experts at CloudMyBiz. After in-depth discussions and a proper Business Process Review, we established that AgileCap’s specific needs included:

  • A single, integrated system.
  • Reduced human error so they could better scale.
  • Enhanced reporting tools.
  • Better visibility on where deals are in the process and better pipeline management.
  • Improved ongoing monitoring of the loans.
  • Streamlined communication internally and externally to create a better user experience for their clients.

The Result

To meet the needs of AgileCap, we implemented our FUNDINGO Loan Management solution, built on the Salesforce platform and designed specifically for the Alternative Lending industry. The FUNDINGO Underwriting and Loan Servicing Apps gave AgileCap the functionality, automation and data insights they were looking for.

Moving them onto a single platform also allowed CloudMyBiz to implement direct integrations with DocuSign, Experian, Conga, and Quickbooks, meaning that all data was now shared by the system, and could be instantly accessed from within Salesforce. This significantly reduced the time it took to process deals, as well as the frequency of data errors.

CloudMyBiz also built a brand new, custom Amortization Schedule module for AgileCap. This custom build-out has been essential to allowing AgileCap to continue growing. It allows for the invoices to be automatically created, sent out, and collected upon, with minimal oversight. What’s more, amortization schedules could now be easily created, updated and reported on. Finally, one of the biggest benefits was that it allowed for invoicing automation (including interest and principal amounts) as well as reporting projected cash flow and revenue for the portfolio.

AgileCap immediately realized that the new system was a vast improvement upon their previous solution. In fact, when they began testing the initial version, they discovered that they were going to be able to save up to 3 hours for each and every deal they processed. In a very time conscious industry, when potential clients are shopping between 10 different funders, and often expecting a turn around time of a day or two, those 3 hours were a huge win for AgileCap! The overall result: AgileCap removed the roadblocks in their way, streamlined their process and are now growing and funding deals faster than ever before!

 

 

Interested in learning more?

Have specific questions or want to talk to a FUNDINGO consulting expert?

Contact us at info@cloudmybiz.com

 

What is Agile Methodology and Why Use It?

What is Agile Methodology and Why Use It?

If you have been around any software development since the 1970’s, there is a good chance you have heard of Agile Methodology. From very large companies, such as IBM, to businesses with only 2 or 3 individuals, Agile has become one of the most common and effective methods for developing and delivering software solutions to customers. 

At CloudMyBiz, we also use the Agile process to run our Salesforce development and implementations. From the beginning, we have found that Agile not only makes the most sense from an internal perspective but that it helps us deliver the best possible results for our clients.

However, not all of our clients are immediately knowledgeable or familiar with Agile when they begin speaking to us. So, in this post, we will be giving a quick overview of Agile, shine a little more light onto how we use it at CloudMyBiz, and then talk about how it helps us deliver high-quality results to our clients.

Agile vs. Traditional Development

Agile is basically a methodology and project management concept for software development. There is no single definition of what the Agile process is, rather, Agile is an umbrella under which many different methods live. Some of the various Agile Methods include Kanban, Scrum, XP, Crystal, and more!

Traditional project development can be thought of like a waterfall. It requires a thorough plan from the beginning, (which can take a lot of time) and then the different parts are developed from the top down. Which this process can deliver quality results, it has enough drawbacks that people began looking for new solutions.

Agile was a reaction to the traditional method, which developers realized was in-efficient, wasted resources and after all of the effort, didn’t always deliver the needed results.

As the name suggests, Agile methods allow developers to respond quickly to changing circumstances or new requirements. Rather than running from the top down, Agile processes allow for a fluid development, often based on levels of priority, and allowing for constant re-evaluation of how the project is doing and where it is going along the way.

What are some of the benefits and characteristics of using Agile?

  • Projects are completed faster than traditional development
  • Stakeholders and clients are actively involved, which helps ensure satisfactory results
  • Agile helps us develop the right product – and not be handcuffed to a project that won’t deliver the needed results
  • Project costs are predictable and can be regularly assessed or modified.
  • Results in higher quality results
  • Ongoing development and change allows the project to continue to evolve and meet whatever new requirements may arise
  • Agile creates transparency that holds all peers accountable for their actions.
  • The agile hierarchy is based on competence, not authority

For a comprehensive article on Agile, click here

Agile at CloudMyBiz

CloudMyBiz follows an Agile process that entails identifying high-level requirements and then prioritizing and defining these. We work on short “sprint” cycles, where developers are assigned work to be completed each week, with each week’s output adding up to key project milestones.

As mentioned above, there are many management practices that fall under the umbrella of Agile. At CloudMyBiz, we primarily use two of these, Kanban and Scrum.

Kanban

Kanban is primarily a way of organizing, visualizing and prioritizing what work is being done, and when. Kanban is always done on a ‘board’, either virtual or physical. Kanban boards are generally divided into 3 sections, “to-do”, “in progress” and “done”.

Each task that needs to be done will be placed into one of these divisions, allowing us to manage the entire project in this way. By being able to visualize everything in the scope of the project, we are able to prioritize what needs to be done and have an overall sense of where things are.

One of the best things here is that it helps us limit how much work we are doing at any one time – so nobody gets overwhelmed, and so work doesn’t fall through the cracks. Once a task is done, we simply can move on to the next one.

While the Kanban boards we use in our development projects are generally much more complex than the example above, the foundational principle remains the same no matter how complex and organized you make your divisions and tasks.

Scrum  

Scrum is where we get our practice of using sprints to divide and organize what is being done at all times. Sprints often range from 1 week to 1 month, depending on the project.

At the beginning of each sprint, our team sits down, discusses what was done in the previous sprint, what needs to be done in the next sprint (based on what is remaining “to-do”), and how we are going to go about it. Once roles are assigned and everyone knows what needs to be done, the team is able to break and get into their individual projects.

The Scrum process has a few major benefits:

  • It streamlines the project management process
  • It ensures everyone has something to do
  • It allows us to regularly evaluate what has been done, and make any changes to the scope or content of the project
  • The entire project gets done fast!

So there you have it. While no two projects are ever identical, we have found that the combination of Agile methodologies, talented team members and a dedication to providing quality solutions has been our recipe for success!

-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team