Inheriting an Existing Org: Challenges Faced by Salesforce Architects

Imagine this:

You are a Salesforce Architect starting a new position at a company using Salesforce for over 5-years. They self-implemented, with a little help from a consultant. On your first day on the job, you discover they have not one but two Salesforce instances due to a recent company acquisition. Your challenge is to merge the two instances into one, clean up technical debt, simplify the org structure, and improve its performance. To accomplish all this, you need a complete understanding of just how complex the org is; the makeup of all the custom objects; how standard objects are being used if not in the expected ways; how automation plays a factor; as well as all the third-party apps and integrations that are deeply ingrained in existing processes. Oh – and you also discover a great lack of documentation to help you gain the knowledge you need to accomplish this monumental task.

What should you do? Where do you start?

The best solution includes a three step approach:

Step 1 – Document

  • Create a Data Dictionary or Salesforce Workbook – this consists of a list of all objects and their respective fields, and allows users to document how they relate to each other.
  • Create Process Flow Diagrams – this involves mapping a process visually to describe the flow and order of work processes and includes Salesforce aspects such as screen flows, dynamic forms, Lightning Web Components & web forms on community pages.

Why is Documentation so Important? It’s super helpful when onboarding new team members for them to understand processes and how interrelated departments work is; it helps set a benchmark to make tracking of technical debt easier; and it’s great for helping a new Admin or Super User to understand the current state of the company’s Org and why certain things were built the way they were.

Step 2 – Identify Technical Debt

  • What is Technical Debt? It’s the implied cost of additional rework caused by choosing an easy or limited solution instead of a well-designed, complete solution that likely takes much longer to build and implement. It occurs when speed is the top priority in creating a solution.
  • How can you identify or discover technical debt? This can be accomplished using free tools like Schema Lister, the Salesforce Dev Tools Chrome Extension, and using applications like LucidChart to create diagrams to help identify where issues exist. This can also be accomplished when you use one of the best tools to analyze existing Salesforce orgs, like Panaya ForeSight.
  • Panaya ForeSight is different from the previously mentioned free tools in that it extracts the org’s metadata and analyzes it on a regular & predefined basis. This gives organizations much more visibility, control & insights into effective Salesforce org management. ForeSight also tracks all inactive components, helps expose all automations with relevant field data, tracks unassigned profiles, and much more. And for applications that are already complex, like Salesforce CPQ, ForeSight ensures safe and smooth roll-outs of CPQ changes and can quickly trace the root cause of bugs or failures. ForeSight makes it incredibly easy for Salesforce Administrators to foresee the potential risk and complexity of a planned Salesforce change BEFORE going live. Just imagine all the issues you can prevent from happening by having a complete look into the complexity of your Salesforce org.

Step 3 – Eliminate Technical Debt Where You Can

  • WIth the help of the data analysis supplied by ForeSight, better and more complete solutions can be built.
  • ForeSight makes it easy to see potential technical debt by consolidating it all onto one screen and showing the potential impact based on the number of indicators found within Salesforce. Within the Panaya portal, it’s easy to drill down and see detailed information to determine how deeply connected any field is and how often it has been used.
  • Unused automations, both no-code and code-based can be part of technical debt. ForeSight has the ability to expose workflow, process builder, and flow (no-code automations) as well as Salesforce Apex triggers (code-based automation.)
  • Once the technical debt has been reviewed and removed, the solutions in Salesforce are updated and more efficient.
  • Eliminating technical debt impacts a company’s bottom line by enabling faster time-to-close on new deals, requiring less manual effort to process important business transactions, and even helps provide validation that time and money are being invested in areas that will have the best impact.

What’s Next? Community Events!

Panaya had the pleasure of attending Cactusforce 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona January 19th & 20th. The event, which started as an in-person event in 2019, was back in-person for 2023 after being a virtual event for 2021 & 2022. Attendance was strong – an estimated 250 people were at Events on Jackson across the two days, with a few hundred more joining online.

Panaya was a proud event sponsor and enjoyed many conversations with customers and prospects alike. In addition, Panaya’s own Alex Zlidin, Salesforce Product Manager for ForeSight, co-presented a session, “The Path to Smart Salesforce architecture: Plan. Simplify. Document.” along with Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame member, Eric Dreshfield. During this session they walked through the challenges we just discussed and showcased some of the solutions that Panaya ForeSight can help create.

Panaya looks forward to spending more time with the Salesforce Community at future events. Watch for those announcements to know where you can find us.

Curious about what Panaya Foresight can do for your organization? Check us out on the AppExchange to learn more and request a demo.

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