#SalesforceQA – Vinay Sail, Salesforce Enterprise Architect & Salesforce Certified Technical Architect

In our most recent #SalesforceQA, we caught up with Salesforce CTA and Enterprise Salesforce Architect, Vinay Sail.

Vinay offers his top tips to others looking to begin their #JourneytoCTA, discusses the key traits needed to succeed as a Technical Architect, and mentions which is more important in the debate of certifications vs experience.

Salesforce Republic (SR): To start, could you tell us a bit about your career journey? 

Vinay Sail (VS): After finishing my computer engineering degree, I went on to do my diploma in advanced computing at C-DAC. Which is like military training in software, you get an opportunity to learn various software languages all in the space of less than six months. This gave me a strong technical foundation before I started my career.

I started working in product development and later moved into business process management and integration which helped me to understand how to solve business challenges and bottlenecks using technology. This really stimulated my interest in the integration space which allowed me to understand integration concepts in depth.

One of the systems, I was asked to integrate was Salesforce and that’s was the first time I came across the platform, back in 2017. Initially, I began with integrations but later I got the opportunity to grow into the Salesforce ecosystem covering B2B and B2C aspects of the business.

SR: What are your top 5 tips for others looking to succeed as a Technical Architect in the ecosystem?

VS: First and foremost you need to understand business challenges. In order to do this, you need to articulate the right questions to business stakeholders to get to their real pain points. You need to be a good listener. Immersing yourself within the business, is a great way to learn the value that the business is trying to get out of the implementation.

Broadening your knowledge is also key to success. Learn from peers, students, or even from your children. Learning new things allows you to have multiple solution options at your disposal to solve business challenges. It might even be worth exploring other technology solutions besides Salesforce to allow you to broaden your technology portfolio.

One of most the underestimated topics, with regard to fulling the business challenge, and succeeding as an Architect, is the human aspect. Think about an end-to-end business process and the people involved in it. Change Management, Compliance regulations, CX all come into play which impacts the solution.

One size does not fit all. You can not apply the same solution for small and large enterprises. It’s fundamental to think about the different variations, time to market, bureaucracy, project timelines, project costs, licensing impact, etc. Your solution might be the perfect technical incarnation but make sure it is deliverable.

My final tip is that IT strategy plays a very important role while making technical choices. Although you are providing a solution for a project, make sure that the solution aligns with the overall IT strategy laid by the enterprise architecture team.

SR: In your experience, what are some of the key traits that you need to succeed as a Technical Architect? 

VS: As I mentioned before, Technical Architects need to be good listeners. Business domain knowledge coupled with a strong technology focus is key to success.

The ability to negotiate is also an important characteristic. As a Technical Architect you are the connecting bridge between business stakeholders and the development team, meaning you need to understand and consider both the business and the complete software development process.

SR: What advice do you have for those looking to start their journey to CTA?

VS: Firstly, you need support before starting your journey to CTA. Talk to your family members or friends, and convey your vision.

Secondly, planning is everything. List the topics that you need to study and define the time frame of when you will study each topic. Always take notes that you can re-visit when your exam is approaching.

Join and contribute to various CTA groups where you can, listen to the mock exams of others, or even present a mock scenario. Define your own artifacts template which is comfortable to you and keep practicing your presentation.

Clearly focus on providing solutions in a precise, concise, and succinct manner, with proper justifications covering each and every problem statement mentioned in the scenario.

Manage your time wisely. 

SR: You are 16x Salesforce certified, in the debate of certifications vs experience, which do you think is more important?

VS: I think, certifications count, but knowledge and experience matter. Certifications are the validation of the knowledge that you have. There are people in the ecosystem who might not have a large number of certifications but possess the knowledge and experience needed for a successful career in Salesforce. On another hand, there are people who might have a number of certifications against their name but during the interview, they might not able to exhibit their knowledge.

Certifications might have expiry dates but knowledge does not. My advice is to use each and every opportunity to gain knowledge and build experience, certifications will follow automatically.

SR: Do you have a particular process that you go through to achieve your certifications?

VS: I planned my CTA certification before getting a single designer certification exam. I created a plan to complete each designer certification every month. I spend 20% of my time planning for each certification. For example, which Salesforce documentation I would read, topics to cover, hands-on, notes, revision, etc. The rest of the time was spent on executing the plan. Before I study for any exam, I always book my exam in advance to keep reminding myself about the target.

SR: Finally, what are you most excited about seeing from Salesforce in 2022 and beyond?

VS: Salesforce’s portfolio is getting rich every year. From Sales Cloud, Service Cloud to industry-specific solutions, Salesforce is creating a wide range of products that work for large enterprises as well as small-medium business. 

The recent announcement of Slack makes Salesforce a collaborative platform among employees, partners, customers, and agencies. 

But with billions of records stored in the Salesforce platform, it’s time to put more of a focus on artificial intelligence/machine learning. Salesforce already has those features, but taking it to next level would benefit organisations as it would enable them to provide true customer-centric behaviour.

You can visit Vinay’s blog at https://forceenterprisearchitect.com/

If you’re a Salesforce professional and would like to join Vinay in our Q&A series, please get in touch with us today!

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