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Salesforce harmony for Helsinki Music Centre orchestrated by Sofigate virtuosos

The Helsinki Music Centre is a buzzing event venue located in a prime spot in downtown Helsinki right next to the Parliament House. As a multi-user facility, the Music Centre provides spaces for permanent residents such as symphony orchestras and the students of the Sibelius Academy music school, but also hires out rooms and halls for different types of external users, such as companies looking for venues for corporate events.

”We host nearly a hundred events each month. Three quarters of our external events are corporate affairs: seminars and meetings,” says Robin Lindeberg, Head of Finance and Development at the Helsinki Music Centre. ”For our business to run efficiently, we need our supporting systems to swing in harmony. It is essential for us is that our venue reservations calendar is synchronized with our offers database: this way we can actively seek to hire out vacant spaces.”

The Music Centre had been trying to consolidate its operations around Salesforce, but personnel changes and other factors had lead to insufficient development work. In the spring of 2017, the organization decided to find a new partner to provide fresh vision and take things further.

”Sofigate impressed us with their strong experience of bringing together similar content on the Salesforce platform. Their honest and open way of working and communicating also valuable to us,” says Lindeberg, stating the reasons why the Music Centre decided to select Sofigate as their Salesforce partner.

Space = sales

As the first step, Sofigate and the Music Centre brought the production management and the sales processes together in Salesforce. This helped to open up the potential in Salesforce, so the partners continued towards their grand ambition: combining the Music Centre’s venue reservations calendar with its sales function.

”The reservations calendar is the key tool for us. For it to function in the sense we require it to, it has to be able to manage various components, such as active and pending reservations, the queuing statuses, and invoicing. In addition to these, we must take into account what I call ’human logistics’, meaning the smooth organizing of simultaneous events in the building, and managing suppliers in areas such as catering and sanitation,” Lindeberg says of the demands for the calendar tool.

The Music Centre’s in-house IT team is considerably small, with currently only three members. Additional brain and manual power provided by an external partner was thus very much needed.

”We at Sofigate have very experienced consultants in the Salesforce area. We have done a major amount of development work in the Lightning environment and this enables us to apply the best practices from that area for the benefit of our clients,” says Timo Suonperä, Business Executive at Sofigate. ”Our method of being a partner is not to sit on the opposite side of the table, but to truly work together with our client with the aim of growing their business.”

”Although we at the Music Centre have only around a dozen fully licensed Salesforce users and are in essence quite a small client in Salesforce terms, Sofigate treat us with enthusiasm. They hooked us up with talented consultants who were able to allocate their time flexibly for our use and to challenge us positively in our development,” Lindeberg analyses.

”Not a pipe dream”

The flexibility and versatility of Salesforce as a platform means that once the reservations calendar tool is up and running, there are still plenty of opportunities for further development. A short-term goal for the Music Centre is to expand their Salesforce so that the current B2B-focused data is augmented by B2C elements such as marketing and ticket sales data.

”Every organization aims to have all its data in one place. For us, this is not a pipe dream, but a realistic goal. In the near future, Salesforce will act as the engine at the heart of the Music Centre,” states Lindeberg.

The daily work in any organization gets easier and more profitable when digital systems serve the business side and collate information to an easily accessible view. Although each organization is different in its needs, Lindeberg’s general advice is not to reinvent the wheel each time:

”A skillful partner like Sofigate can assist by bringing the best practices from their previous projects. There are also a plethora of open Salesforce events where one gets to benchmark other companies that use Salesforce. We value this openness of the community and hope to share our own findings from the reservations calendar project once it is fully completed.”

Photo: Aki Rask