This is true about most things. You can implement all the technology you like, but ultimately it is a combination of that technology, focused strategy and discipline (aka management) that moves the needle and all of these aspects involve people.
So what's the point? The point is that when it comes to investing in technology, whether it be Salesforce or any other, it is critical to remember that success will largely be driven by people. How people use the system. How they choose to perceive the system. Do they view the system as something that will assist them in achieving their goals or will they view it as an obstacle? These are not new questions and they are not specific to technology roll outs. They apply to any large scale initiative that affects large numbers of employees. Ever heard a co-worker say "Oh I think that's a silly idea. Nobody ever asked us what we thought."? My analysis of a comment like this has very little to do with the initative been disparaged. Rather it has everything to do with the fact that the employee feels disconnected from the initiative They don't have a stake in its success and they don't understand the reasons behind it.
The bottom line is that as human beings we support initiatives we feel we have a stake in. Successful advertising and political campaigns are examples of this from the public sphere. I hear the skeptics out there saying "But you can't have the whole company on the implementation team." Ok then, think about it like this. The most successful example of this 'stakeholder' mentality are sports fans. Ultimately the fan has very little physical connection to the team but any of us that are one or know one realizes how vested they can be in their teams' success. Think of a Steelers Fan with their little yellow towel or the most loyal of all, a Dallas Cowboys fan. So let's remember how important it is to develop a strategy that encourages the user base to take a stake in the success of the project, whether it be Salesforce or any another important company wide initiative.
Now, I will be the first to admit that this is not an easy goal to achieve and it won't be solved with a few glossy posters in the hallways. It will take a lot of work. That said, however, the payoff in terms of adoption if you can achieve 'buy in' are huge and will pay off for the life of the project. So when it comes to technology projects, sure think about customization, code and workflows but don't forget your people.
Andrew Bartels has been recognized by Salesforce.com as one of the leading innovators with regard to implementing Salesforce.com in the insurance vertical. As a CTO for a Top 100 Independent Insurance Agency, he oversaw the deployment of a Salesforce.com system in 2010. Over the next three years, he focused on customizing the system and implementing best practices for the insurance industry, ultimately generating a significant ROI for the firm. Andrew brings years of hard fought experience to our clients so that they can accelerate their ROI in implementing Salesforce.com.