One of the best things about Salesforce is the flexibility of the platform. For an enterprise-ready application, implementations can be done relatively quickly. But this flexibility comes at a cost — much of the discipline to keep an org well-maintained falls on the admins and internal developers. In the heat of running a business, it’s easy for Salesforce orgs — both production and sandboxes — to become messy.
Messiness may seem like a trivial issue. But unmanaged, messiness can drain many of the advantages you get from the Salesforce platform. Migrating changes to production can become a nightmare. Reports become meaningless. Security is compromised. Training up new users becomes more difficult, and the users you do have will distrust the system.
I polled Appirio’s Business Analysts on Chatter on the signs of messiness they’ve seen in Salesforce orgs. One of the great things about consultants is that they have seen many different orgs, so their list grew quickly. They included:
- Too many roles and profiles that are nearly indistinguishable from one another.
- Too many record types. Some are unused, and some are redundant.
- A lack of naming conventions for metadata and reports.
- A lack of descriptions populated for items created in setup/configuration.
- Open orgs without proper security.
- Unused functionality that’s not hidden or locked down.
- Permission sets for any and every possible permission available.
- Custom objects for processes/functionality that could have been solved with out-of-the-box functionality.
- Unmanaged report folder structure.
- Below-acceptable code coverage.
- Multiple copies of the same report or similarly named reports.
- Stale data (opportunities past close date, accounts not updated for years).
- More custom fields than records on an object. (This is a big clue something’s wrong.)
- Multiple triggers per object; often these are written by developers no longer with you.
- Too many users with system admin profiles. (This one can lead to disaster.)
- Too many custom fields with no idea of their use or quality.
- No process around the deactivation of users. (“Hey, didn’t she leave 2 years ago?”)
- Disparities between your various orgs.
- Finding a field whose database name is drastically different than its label. (This often means people are repurposing the field for reasons for which they were not originally intended.)
What to do about messiness
The first step is to admit there’s a problem. A good way to start diagnosing what kind of mess you have is by using Appirio’s free Cloud Metrics report on the Appexchange. This report will help give you insight into your org’s complexity and problem areas.
Fixing the mess and keeping things neat is a long-term, ongoing project. Salesforce MVP Dale Ziegler outlined some of the tools available to fight messiness that can help you get started. Dale also joined Mike Gerholdt in a very useful webinar back in April called “So You Inherited (or Created) a Mess…Now What?” This webinar is 26 minutes well spent for anyone managing a Salesforce org.
If you don’t have 26 minutes to watch Dale’s webinar, it’s a good indicator that you may be overwhelmed. An overstressed internal staff often leads to a messy Salesforce instance, simply out of necessity. If you are on one of these overstressed internal teams, check out Appirio’s Cloud Management. Cloud Management is a managed service offering built for the cloud. Our team of certified Salesforce experts will help you get the most out of Salesforce, and manage your messiness. Best of all, Cloud Management gives your Salesforce org continual oversight for quality and risk. This way, internal teams can focus on strategic business initiatives while knowing their Salesforce instance is being properly governed.