As Salesforce organizations strive to improve IT delivery, making it faster, more quality-focused, and secure, they continue to face deployment challenges. Increased customer demands and high velocity releases every now and then are creating bottlenecks for Salesforce enterprises. This is where you need to recognize the Salesforce deployment challenges your team is facing and finding ways to address them.
In this article, we will dive into Salesforce deployment challenges, how to orchestrate Salesforce DevOps tools, and techniques to enhance efficiency and speed while maintaining the quality and security of your applications.
The 4 Biggest Challenges in Salesforce Release
1) Unable to Keep Up With Multiple Release Cycles and On-Demand Changes
Salesforce organizations often struggle to keep up with multiple release cycles and their high velocity. This happens because Salesforce is not fully automated, making it more time-consuming and labor-intensive, especially for larger organizations. Besides, there may be overlap between different teams, causing friction points and resulting in handovers, along with longer feedback loops.
2) Complexity in Business Needs and Salesforce Ecosystem
At the core of what makes Salesforce so powerful is its low-code approach, which allows users with minimal or no coding skillset to build applications and customizations. But this comes at the expense of making source control and release management highly challenging due to its complexity.
3) Lack of Quality, Security, and Compliance
It’s difficult to move the metadata objects permission profiles, ensure both quality and security along the process, and maintain compliance in Salesforce. Security teams need to thoroughly test environments and applications to ensure they don’t overlook any vulnerabilities, issues, or bugs. However, this puts them at odds with the Salesforce teams aiming for faster release cycles. This often leads to the dev team taking security shortcuts to reduce integration issues and quickly deploy the application.
4) Lack of Visibility
“How many components have been backed up?” “What’s the status of unit testing?” “Do we have visibility into apex code scanning or testing?” Companies may have high-level visibility across different departments, but they lack end-to-end visibility into the Salesforce platform. If they have siloed visibility into their software development lifecycle, they are unlikely to maintain frequent delivery for long.
DevOps Automation for Salesforce Release: Why Do You Need It?
Salesforce organizations have been taking note of the growing trend of DevOps adoption and embracing more DevOps best practices. From changing mindset to “shift left” to taking an incremental and iterative approach to development and using automated processes to bring down manual errors, Salesforce teams are using DevOps tools and practices.
DevOps has two main aspects. First, it’s a culture, a way of working, and a mindset that truly unifies the development and operations teams. It leverages automation to empower them to collaborate better and manage releases more efficiently. Second, DevOps is a set of tools and practices that replace repetitive, time-intensive tasks with more reliable, repeatable automated ones.
“When you don’t automate your Salesforce pipeline and have too many manual handoffs, people end up spending days or even weeks, depending on where they are and how they process the releases.”
Kumar Chivukula, Co-founder & CTO of Opsera
DevOps automation helps address the most pressing Salesforce release challenges. It aims for improved efficiency while maintaining the quality, security, and compliance of your applications.
It strengthens your team’s ability to build and deploy faster, solve critical issues quickly, and manage changes seamlessly. It focuses on increasing your release cadence by eliminating repetitive, manual dominant tasks which are complex and time-intensive, leading to a tighter feedback loop.
At the same time, DevOps automation helps ensure that security and quality are baked into your software development lifecycle right from the get-go. It includes automated quality checks and security tests to identify vulnerabilities early in the software development lifecycle to quickly mitigate them. Fewer bugs and errors are shipped to production, all thanks to frequent and automated testing.
The Maturity Model for Salesforce DevOps: Crawl, Walk, Run
The ultimate goal of Salesforce DevOps adoption is to streamline and automate the software development lifecycle while unifying the dev and ops team. Yet, many organizations struggle to complete the full adoption journey for Salesforce DevOps from a single application level to an enterprise level.
Among our clients, those who successfully adopted DevOps took a more holistic approach spanning three layers, each with its own set of tools and measurable practices that must be streamlined and synced together.
Enterprises often “just start with DevOps” with hand-picked tools and processes based on the idea of “start small, scale quickly” This philosophy presents a win-win situation as it aims to provide early benefits and assurance before an organization invests fully and scales their DevOps transformation.
Teams begin by deploying a few DevOps suites, selecting source code management, and starting with release management metadata. Note that there’s little automation at this point to help teams familiarize themselves with it first before deploying it on a larger scale.
The “walk” stage is the heart of Salesforce DevOps adoption. You have experimented and measured your success at the first stage and now have a way to optimize this process. Your applications are selected, tools and processes are in place, and you have a strategy to scale this further. For example, you can integrate with API connectors, like Microsoft Teams Collaboration Suite, and ITSM tools.
Another critical process here is to infuse quality, security, and compliance aspects into your software development workflow. Automated quality scans and security checks help ensure that you’re able to pick up vulnerabilities early on in the development stages and reduce errors and bugs.
By now, you should have end-to-end visibility of all your applications, clusters, development lifecycles, testing phases, release cycles, and any changes in the applications. Automation is one of the most critical success factors in scaling a DevOps transformation.
The best part is that DevOps expedites adoption at lower levels with standardized governance, continuous monitoring, lightweight processes, regular scans and checks, and faster release cycles. You’ll be able to do the releases every hour every day, and maybe a week, depending on how you want your processes structured, without any manual intervention.
Salesforce DevOps Orchestration: Final Thoughts
When you’re adopting Salesforce DevOps, you need a well-built orchestration tool that can make the process easier and faster for your team. So, the key is to identify the right Salesforce DevOps orchestration platform that fits your needs and budget. Now, there are plenty of solutions out there in the market, but they deliver semi-automated, black box solutions, which aren’t the best when it comes to scalability, efficiency, and cost.
Most of the time, organizations approach Salesforce deployment challenges at a high level and then ask delivery teams to increase velocity. But it’s important to recognize bottlenecks in your software development pipeline and draw insights into how the entire process impacts the deployment.
Considering these Salesforce release challenges, start your journey towards DevOps adoption in stages: crawl, walk, run. Quick wins such as version-controlled code, automated release management, and small automation will help realize the value delivery of DevOps within no time.