For most organizations, Salesforce data is the lifeblood of their business, driving customer transactions, relationships and decisions. It is no surprise that any disruption or downtime has negative consequences.
Recently, a well known financial services institution had an update made directly in the production org by a business analyst. These seemingly innocuous and minor change resulted in the catastrophic corruption of their Salesforce production org. IT had to resort to emergency help from Salesforce to recover their system, but unfortunately not before their bank had ground to a complete business halt with the outage. If the right policies and controls were in place, making a change directly in the production org would have been prohibited and avoided.
While similar instances occur somewhat regularly, they seldom are made public for obvious reasons. A recent survey of Salesforce customers, conducted by Bluewolf, shows that only 18% of the customers are using an application lifecycle management (ALM) solutions today. Without a governance strategy, the correct change management policies in place, and the ability to enforce them, the risk of disruption during the Software Delivery Process is real.
From the perspective of an IT leader responsible for their company’s Salesforce implementation, what is there to lose?
- Agility to respond to business needs
- Predictable software delivery
Research indicates that the most successful companies are implementing a Governance Framework to ensure that their Salesforce Software Delivery is on solid ground.
Governance is much more than security, compliance or simply risk management. It is all of these AND how an organization uses its data to benefit and protect itself. With the critical importance of Salesforce for most businesses, governance should be on the agenda of every IT leader.
What are the objectives of a Governance Framework?
Metrics provide an objective data-driven perspective into the state of affairs at every level– enterprise, organizational, code and user. What are the trends, risks and priorities?
There are many moving parts to shipping a successful release. Solving integration and deployment challenges, test failures, code coverage and issues related to manual steps all to converge quickly and are critical for predictable software delivery.
Accountability and traceability are essential ingredients of good governance. Knowing who modified what code and when is very important? When was the code deployed and was it tested adequately prior to deploying it?
- Consistent Processes
Oftentimes, large companies have multiple different release management processes even for the same org. For one division, they may be using one set of processes and for another division they could be using a totally different set of processes. It is necessary to streamline and standardize the processes across the various groups and users for effective collaboration.
- Improved Relationship between Business and IT
When business groups and the IT organizations have a shared prioritization methodology, it increases the chances for innovation and real business/IT alignment. Without governance, a lack of prioritization inevitably exists too.
A governance framework has to ensure rigor around who has access, what data is available and provide security controls. Best practices recommend there be clear roles on who has what access from both a security and process streamlining standpoint. Only the designated and authorized release manager should have the ability to deploy changes to another organization, especially the production org.
- Simplified Audits
Auditing of a Salesforce environment is a laborious and expensive proposition. With governance, generating the relevant reports and data is easy and reduces the cost of audits.
- Keeping Costs under Control
Ad hoc and inconsistent policies drive unpredictability and cost. On the other hand, streamlined policies — for requirements management, environment management, release management from deployment into production — lead to repeatable best practices that drive down costs.
Establishing a Governance Framework
Two things are essential in establishing a structure of governance:
- Enterprise-Grade Tools
Salesforce customers need enterprise-grade Application Lifecycle Management tools that are designed specifically for Salesforce, not an eclectic mix of third-party tools cobbled together. The other major CRM platform providers, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle provide ALM functionality for their customers and partners.
- Successful Software Delivery Process
IT leaders need processes and insights to understand the risks that exist throughout the release management process so that they can plan for success and make good decisions.
Flosum’s Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and Data Migration (DM) solutions enable and empower governance and best practices. Flosum’s enterprise-grade tools are built 100% natively on the force.com platform, providing the extensibility and seamless experience that Salesforce developers and administrators expect.