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The Mentor Network (Part 1)

Investigating challenges with Salesforce through an interactive workshop

The Challenge

The Mentor Network is a health and human services provider, offering quality services and support for thousands of individuals across the country. Providing high-quality care is, and will always be, The Mentor Network’s top priority — and to do that effectively and successfully, those responsible for providing care must be able to track, record, and analyze key data points.

Several years ago, The Mentor Network decided to move its largely paper-based system for tracking data about the people they serve to Salesforce. With roughly 30,000 employees across the country supporting different business lines, this was a big implementation that was handled in stages and rolled out slowly to employees to ensure enough time for training and the opportunity to act on feedback from employee users.

When The Mentor Network reached out to LookThink, they were looking for strategies to streamline the user experience because the initial rollouts resulted in lost data and/or revenue as employees struggled to adapt to the new system. With many more upcoming rollouts and additional business processes slated for migration into Salesforce, The Mentor Network knew they needed to make improvements now to bolster user adoption and beat the clock on potential future revenue losses.

The UX Workshop not only got our entire business and dev team on the same page, but forced us to have a hard look at our current Salesforce implementation and realize we had a lot of work to do to create a user-centered application. LookThink managed the audience easefully, and everyone walked away inspired about the possibilities.


The Solution

After an initial conversation with the team responsible for the platform’s success at The Mentor Network, we knew we had a lot to learn about The Mentor Network’s business, the people they serve, the users of the platform, the data they track now (and want to track in the future), and the business processes that were suffering most due to challenges with the platform.

We immediately suggested an intensive one-day workshop that we would facilitate at The Mentor Network’s headquarters in Boston — allowing us to convene a group of key stakeholders from all relevant departments and the four key business lines (support for the elderly, youth and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, youth and families at risk, and youth and adults with brain and spinal cord injuries). Each of these staff members would have a unique perspective on Salesforce and represent the needs of the user and the business — allowing us to envision a system that would support both and improve key business metrics.

The Mentor Network enthusiastically agreed to this plan and off to Boston we went. Before the workshop, we spent time familiarizing ourselves with the platform itself via demo and sandbox access — so that we’d be in the know as stakeholders relayed their thoughts and experiences during the workshop. The workshop proved to be an incredibly valuable starting point to understand the business model and how we would shape a research project to investigate the business lines, their unique needs, and how the platform can support the business and employees moving forward. Here’s a high-level version of the agenda that guided us through the day:

  1. Introductions and high-level visioning
    • Desired outcomes
    • Pain points
    • Success definition
  2. Department-level analysis of pain points and success metrics
  3. Technology and platform deep dive
    • Salesforce customization versus configuration assessment
    • User Interface (UI) layer discussion
    • Unique features and functionality identification
  4. User experience deep dive
    • User types
    • Training
    • Interactive best practices
    • Look and feel requirements and aspirations
  5. Closing

The workshop was highly participatory as stakeholders all had thoughtful feedback on the current system and plenty of ideas on how to improve it in future releases. We headed back to Washington, DC with a lot of notes — ready to marry what we heard in Boston with our own best practice analysis of the platform.

The Result

The outcome of the workshop was a comprehensive recommendations document and robust strategic plan that has served as our collective guide moving forward. Key areas of this roadmap included:

  • Further definition of challenges and success factors
  • Deep dive user analysis
  • Heuristic analysis of key screens
  • Recommended user research plan, as well as follow-up analysis and prototyping
  • Estimated budget and timeline

The key heuristics the team tested for and against were:

Small illustration of a laptop computer with an orange chat bubble emerging out of the center.

Match between system and the real world

Small illustration of a modal window design.

User control and freedom

Small illustration depicting a circled pencil icon being equated to a circled pencil icon.

Consistency and standards

Small illustration of a fork-in-the-road sign with the top sign colored blue.

Recognition rather than recall


The Mentor Network workshop was an incredibly valuable springboard that allowed us to understand their Salesforce implementation at a very deep level and plan out a detailed approach for implementing validated changes to the system that will result in happier users and better ROI. Read about the next step in The Mentor Network journey here.

Additional Case Studies