Jan 13, 2018
This podcast transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Andy: Welcome to The Andy Forbes Files. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily the opinions of my employer or the employer of my guest. For more episodes or to find me in other parts of the social media landscape go to www.TheAndyForbesFiles.com .
I'm talking today to Mark Kovacevich, a Salesforce Architect for Capgemini North America. Thank you for joining me today, Mark.
Mark: Thanks for having me here.
Andy: What is Conga Composer and the other Conga tools and what do they do?
Mark: Conga Composer is a piece of software built on the Salesforce platform. It takes Salesforce data and marries it up with Office documents - PowerPoint, Word, and Excel - giving the customer a great way to present that information to their customers or to other stakeholders inside their organization.
Andy: Can you give me an example of a business need that can be addressed by Conga?
Mark: There are lot of different ways that you can utilize Conga and Salesforce to give you a great solution. I think probably the easiest example is to build out Account reports. I'm a sales person and I want to have a report on the Account I am taking over. I want to hit a button on my Salesforce account page, have Conga bring the information together, put it in a nicely formatted report, and give it back to me so that I can edit or send it as needed. Conga is also great for putting together proposals. These are some examples of what Congo Composer can do. Another Conga product is Conga Conductor that gives you the ability to schedule these documents to run on a certain schedule - daily, weekly, or monthly. When we get right down to it Composer is Conga's main offering and is to my mind they are one of the premiere partners on the Salesforce Appexchange.
Andy: A couple of years ago I used Conga Composer to generate offer letters. That means my Conga experience is limited to Word. You mentioned "Office" - can Conga be used to generate Excel or PowerPoint documents as well?
Mark: Absolutely, and to my mind that is the real strength of Conga. Word documents are fairly standard but for presenting information to customers and leadership PowerPoint is still the preferred method. With Conga Composer and PowerPoint you get the ability to put key Salesforce information in a PowerPoint deck. As a user we can then take that generated PowerPoint with the Salesforce information and update the format and content and have a superior document to present to leadership or to a customer.
Andy: Can you give me an example of a recent Conga implementation you did that would help me understand the project management approach from planning through deployment of Conga?
Mark: We did a rather sophisticated implementation of Conga for a major manufacturing client in 2017 centered around a very large custom application. We built a platform to do account planning, so several custom objects within Salesforce, lot of relationships, very specific user interface look and feel, colors and logos and so forth and then they wanted us to take all that and present it in a PowerPoint deck, then Word document and later on we built an Excel document as well. So we had three of the Office document types. What really made the Conga implementation powerful was that the merging of the account information into the documents is pretty simple but because it was on the Salesforce platform we were able to extend the application rather effectively. With Conga composer in its normal mode you get a dialog box where you can make some selections from before you select the document. What we built for the client was a series of buttons on the account planning page where the user would hit one of the buttons and then they would receive an email with the selected document. So a very straightforward user experience but under the covers utilizing a lot of Salesforce functionality combined with a call to that functionality. The overall impact of the solution was the fact that it was a combined Conga and Salesforce offering with all three documents provided to the user at a touch of a button.
Andy: What process should a project go through to evaluate Conga as well as some of the other options to decide whether or not Conga is the right fit for their Salesforce reporting? Clearly it's not one size fits all and it's not going to solve every problem so how does a client decide if Conga is the right fit?
Mark: When we were evaluating the requirements the key requirement of this particular project was to render a Powerpoint document. That's what I'm always looking for to see where Conga fits in. Is there a requirement for a document to be produced in whatever form and they want to populate that information from Salesforce? That's when I immediately start thinking of Conga. It's that combination of Salesforce data and documents in an Office format - something everybody's familiar with: Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. People have been using these formats for a lot of years so you put them together with Salesforce and you've got a great solution. Also, if you've got people that aren't necessarily going to access Salesforce but they still need that information Conga can help you generate those documents so that you can get that information to those people.
Andy: How can people get in touch with you if they have questions or want to learn more about Salesforce or Conga or the combination thereof?
Mark: My email address is Mark.Kovacevich@Capgemini.com . I am on LinkedIn - Mark R Kovacevich. My twitter handle is Cloudkovo - a little play on my last name. I would love to help people solution, tell them more about what we did, and show them an example of how we put it together.
Andy: Fantastic! Thank you for your time today.
You've been listening to The Andy Forbes Files. For more episodes or to find me on other parts of the social media landscape go to www.TheAndyForbesFiles.com .