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The Brookings Institute

The Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, a leading public policy nonprofit based in Washington, DC, delivers research that helps metropolitan leaders build an advanced economy for all.


The Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, a leading public policy nonprofit based in Washington, DC, delivers research that helps metropolitan leaders build an advanced economy for all. They originally purchased Salesforce to track content, contacts, and grant funding. The deployment failed to ignite the changes the Metro team had hoped for and so they hired Synaptic AP, an experienced Salesforce consulting partner, to help rectify the situation. In the end, Synaptic led a successful Salesforce overhaul aimed at increasing user adoption among a team of 40 people in the Metro program.


Brookings Metro, one of five research programs at the 100-year-old think tank, began using Salesforce in 2015. The group erected the CRM platform because it needed an easier way to trace funding streams, manage the lifecycle of their research initiatives, and keep track of key contacts. What's more, they needed a way to measure the impact of their work.

Despite the enthusiasm and large investment, the outcome of the deployment fell well short of expectations. The implementation partner had configured Metro’s Salesforce org in a way that made it too complex to use. To make matters worse, the Metro team received poor training. Adoption levels sank as a result. Management realized they had put a lot of money into software that simply was not reaching its potential.


Brookings chose Synaptic's consultants for the Salesforce overhaul because of their reputation for giving clients highly personalized service. Leveraging their time-tested SynoV8™ development methodology, the Synaptic team audited Metro’s Salesforce environment and realized they needed to re-engineer the entire system. Over six weeks, a nimble team at Synaptic worked with the Metro program’s core team of junior and executive staff. During that time, among other things, Synaptic:

  • Transitioned Metro's Salesforce org from Classic to Lightning.
  • Got Metro’s leadership and staffers up and running with key reports and analytics dashboards.
  • Created Salesforce Chatter channels that merge all team communications within the Metro program.
  • Reconfigured Salesforce to make it as easy to use as possible.
  • Devised an efficient process for managing media inquiries within the case management feature of Salesforce.

The Salesforce relaunch was an incredible amount of work over a relatively short amount of time. We basically had to re-engineer the entire platform from the ground up while still maintaining the integrity of our normal workflows and processes. At the same time, we had to find creative ways to increase user adoption and to measure, analyze, and codify ‘impact.’ If Ray and Doug (at Synaptic) hadn’t been with us to coach, support, and bolster our efforts every step of the way, I don’t think this would have been at all feasible.

Anthony Fiano

Sr. Communications and Engagements Coordinator

Metro Policy Program, Brookings


Brookings maximized its Salesforce investment with our custom redesign and implementation. Synaptic completed the project on time and on budget, enabling Brookings to:

  • Increase Salesforce user adoption among its team of 40 people.
  • Give its decision-makers deeper business intelligence on research projects, donor trends, and the organization's broader impact among key audiences.
  • Foster better internal collaboration on research projects.
  • Arm key Salesforce users with the training and knowledge to lead internal Salesforce initiatives.
  • Get on a path to achieving the goals they had originally envisioned for Salesforce.

Brookings is a highly respected name in the public policy sphere. It's been a privilege to use our expertise in business optimization within the Salesforce ecosystem to help such an influential organization. The Metro team’s dedication to building a successful Salesforce program played a big role in us meeting the project objectives in such a short time frame.

Tom Boosinger​


Synaptic Advisory Partners

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