ABSI - far beyond system integration

On 14 February 2018     By Paul Ginsberg     

We’ve met amazing people recently:  
  • Students wondering how they were going to get their first job; 
  • Software engineers fed up with lack of innovation with their existing ecosystems; 
  • Those returning to the workforce after a break; 
  • Those with particular needs who want to unlock their potential but have struggled to date; 
  • Even someone that had retired and wanted to get a better understanding on what his son was doing – much to his own surprise, he’s discovered a new career!  

All of these people were more excited than they had been mere months ago(!); they had learned new skills and opened doors that they hadn’t realised existed, all without risk – what’s their secret? 

Astro - Salesforce Trailhead

Changing Lives 

There’s an English saying that “you don’t get nothing for nothing”, and this is frequently true, but perhaps those nay-sayers had never encountered the Salesforce way of doing things?  

Today we’re writing about Trailhead. Some new products take time to mature, to brew, to percolate, to get to their best. Trailhead was apparently incubated differently and was doing triathlons from Day 1; and it’s only improved since then!  

As a brief reminder, Trailhead is Salesforce’s free self-paced learning platform, currently with 280 modules with everything from having a first look at Salesforce, through to IoT design and rollout, or soft skills such as how to improve presentation techniques. There’s even curated learning paths (“trails”) combining appropriate modules for beginners through to developers. Launched to the public in Dreamforce 2014, it has been a huge success. At World Tours and Dreamforce people still queue around the block to get their first taste, but actually you can access it online from anywhere.  

Paul’s “moment” was at the end of the 2016 London’s Calling event (the next one is on 16th February, as it happens). It had been a long day, meeting up with lots of friends and learning all sorts of new things. He now had a choice - he could either socialise in the main event space, or collapse and hide in a small room off to one side. He chose the latter, and noticed that there was Trailhead loaded on the screen. A volunteer there encouraged him to take an Equality Badge. He thought to myself, “might as well” and proceeded to log in. 

On the screen was some well-written content about how being inclusive widens the talent pool and benefits absolutely everyone, written in a friendly, engaging, accessible fashion. Neither dry nor sounding like a university lecture. There was even a silly video to help get the point across. And then there was a series of four questions, each having four possible answers. 

And here’s the genius part, the answers didn’t take themselves too seriously!  

Paul says: ‘I clicked “Go” and I had won 100 points. I was no longer a Scout, I was a Hiker! I had achieved public recognition and I was hooked. This is (some of) what gamification is all about – a bit of fun, competition if you want it, and learning that is so easy it is almost subconscious.’  

Not all the Trailhead modules are as easy, but it still remains fun and accessible, with new topics being added regularly. 

ABSI is proud to say that Trailhead is a key part of our onboarding process for new members of staff; we use it to cover specific elements and lay the ground for opening up new concepts; also for staff that want to explore brand new areas of the Salesforce platform they were previously unfamiliar with. 

How can you get a piece of the action? 

You can go solo by logging into www.trailhead.com, clicking “login” and then choose your module or track OR how about doing this with friendly supportive company around? Why not join one of the Salesforce Saturdays groups? In Benelux alone, every week there is a group of around a dozen meet in the morning in Amsterdam to have cake, drink seriously good coffee and do some Trailhead modules too; alternatively there’s similar groups in Den Bosche, Utrecht and Brussels too. 

The other Saturday Trailblazers will be pleased to help you log in for the first time, discuss the challenges or be amused at the controversial answers, and help you earn badges. There might even be some free swag. It’s not even all about Trailhead – anything Salesforce-related is up for discussion, including knotty challenges at work or discussions about best practice.  

The sessions typically run from 09:30 until 12:30 but each group does things differently; people usually drop during the mornings in as their personal timekeeping or diary allows; a warm welcome is guaranteed regardless of when you show! What else can you do? Do you have friends who you think would benefit from getting into Salesforce? Or even might just want to improve their soft skills? Why not pay it forward and introduce them to Trailhead? Or are you annoyed, frustrated and exasperated that there’s no local Salesforce Saturday group in your area? Contact Paul and he’ll help you set a local group up! Curious as to what other community-led activities there are in the Salesforce ecosystem? See Beneluxusergroups.com for more information! 

My Trailhead 

As a final note, last November saw the launch of “My Trailhead”. You can now customise trailhead and bring its possibilities directly to your organisation: you can either use existing Salesforce content or create your own, you can empower employees and make learning. If you want to learn more about this please contact us.