7Summits’ Principal Profiles
At 7Summits, one of the things we’re most known for is our people. We’ve undergone unprecedented growth in recent years, all while continuing to foster a collaborative, employee-centric culture. Some of the employees who best embody our core values become Principals within the company, where they get to showcase their expertise and teamwork throughout the business.
Learn more about Jon Balza, a member of our Principal program who earned induction into the program in the area of Competency Excellence for User Experience.
What is your name, position and time at 7Summits?
I’m Jon Balza, and I’m a Design Engineering Manager at 7Summits. I started at 7Summits in 2012, and while I had used Salesforce in the past, I started building on the Salesforce platform as part of our initial transition around 2014. I was the first “home-grown” Salesforce certification at 7Summits, getting the initial Force.com developer cert in February 2014.
What are some of your areas of expertise?
- User & Customer Experience
- Web & User Interface Design
- Front-End Development
- Product Development
- Salesforce Platform Solutioning
- 9 Salesforce Certifications, including: Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, User Experience Designer, Experience Cloud, Platform Developer
What types of challenges do you enjoy solving?
I love solving problems for our customers that really make their users’ lives (business or personal!) easier. Simplifying complex business workflows, helping users (internal or external) make better decisions and creating innovative, user friendly and intuitive solutions that align closely with the Salesforce platform are really what make working at 7Summits, and with our customers, so enjoyable and rewarding.
What project or work that you’ve done at 7Summits are you the most proud of?
The project that I’d say I’m most proud of was one I worked on for a large insurance company. That project combined all of the things I love about what we do at 7Summits into one solution. It was data-driven and tied really closely to all of the info we collected in Salesforce, and helped solve problems for two sets of users. For one, it made their lives a lot easier and enabled them to quickly get the information they needed to help coach their employees and become better managers and mentors. And then It also enabled these users to set goals for both their personal and business-driven activities, helping them use their jobs to enhance their lives.
So basically, we designed a coaching application that takes data, performs an analysis on it and then enables users to build better habits and achieve their individual goals.
What is your number one tip for a client undergoing a digital transformation project?
Digital transformation impacts every stakeholder and user in your business – internally and externally. Both your customers and your employees are going to see and need to adjust to those changes! Even if the process is easier, more intuitive, and more automated, moving a user’s “cheese” can reduce adoption, satisfaction and a user’s goals. Because a person’s work life can be tied closely to their personal life, don’t just introduce that transformation! Plan for, train and prepare your users for all of this change, by doing whatever you can to involve the users in the process, and help them feel a valuable part of that process.
What is your favorite part about getting to work with clients on a daily basis?
I love the fact that working with clients is always different. I’d sum that up in three ways:
- Simplifying complex problems
- The fact that no solution is the same
- User needs, desires, and expectations are changing constantly. What worked a year or even six months ago doesn’t work now!
Where do you feel you’ve made a significant impact at 7Summits?
I’ve made a significant impact at 7Summits in that I feel I’ve become a “T-shaped Designer.” What I mean by that is that I have a broad range of expertise in a variety of areas, with a much deeper knowledge in my true area of expertise. 7Summits lets me contribute to a lot of different things, like design, user experience, consulting and development. All of these things let me create a career that’s engaging and challenging and ever-changing. It’s never stagnant, and I get to be involved at 7Summits across different competencies. But I still have that depth of knowledge as a UX Designer, where I contribute. and show that higher level of expertise.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the Principal program?
I’d say that it’s great because I get to make an impact on our company, our people and our clients:
- Impacting 7Summits: I problem solve, refine processes and contribute to the business.
- Impacting other Sherpas: I help others. mentor, share and teach.
- Impacting clients: I get great results, create innovative solutions, look ahead and around corners and anticipate problems and user needs.
What’s one fun fact about yourself that people might not know that you’d like to share?
I got my start designing back in the early 90’s when my dad received an image scanner as a gift, and I figured out how to put my brother and my heads on our favorite player’s baseball cards. (Mike Schmidt, of the Philadelphia Phillies)