Technical debt is a concept that describes the cost and complexity accumulated in the maintenance and improvement of software systems. It arises when developers look for a quick and easy solution or take shortcuts while building software, usually because of insufficient resources or time constraints. In the context of Salesforce, technical debt can appear in a variety of ways. For example, having numerous customizations, workflows, and integrations that make the system excessively complex and difficult to maintain. Components and processes may be disorganized or duplicated.
What Happens When Plans Meet Technical Debt: A Solution Architect’s Tale
To understand Salesforce technical dept in-depth, let’s meet Tom, a savvy Salesforce Solution Architect that just started a new job. Tom was thrilled when he was offered the role of solution architect at a large financial organization that uses Salesforce as its primary customer relationship management (CRM) tool. He had grand visions of optimizing the organization’s Salesforce instance, building out new functionality, and making the user experience more intuitive for everyone. Tom had extensive experience as a Salesforce consultant, and he was confident that he could leverage that experience to make a real difference in his new role.
On his first day at the new job, Tom hit the ground running. He met with the stakeholders, analyzed the current Salesforce configuration, and started working on a plan to optimize the system. However, as he delved deeper into the organization’s Salesforce org, he realized that things were more complicated than he initially thought. The organization had been using Salesforce for over a decade, and over time, the Salesforce org had accumulated a significant amount of technical debt. With multiple Salesforce admins managing the org, the system had become overly complex and cumbersome, with numerous customizations, integrations, and workflows. The org’s architecture was disorganized, and the user experience was suboptimal. Tom realized that before he could implement any new solutions, he needed to address the technical debt and simplify the system.
What does Technical Debt have to do with Salesforce?
Technical debt can also occur when solutions are built to work one way, but business needs evolve over time. This can result in solutions that are bolted on with small tweaks, rather than being fully re-evaluated and redesigned to meet new requirements. This can result in a patchwork of solutions that may not integrate well with each other.
One common example of technical debt is inactive automations, such as Validation Rules, Flows, Workflow Rules, and Apex Classes. These are often created to meet specific business requirements, but over time, the rules may no longer be necessary or relevant. Leaving these rules in the system can cause clutter and slow down performance, as the system continues to process them even though they are no longer needed. Another example of technical debt is active users who have not logged in to Salesforce for a significant period of time. These users take up space and resources, which can negatively impact system performance.
Each of the following examples will eventually lead to higher long-term costs for maintenance and updates, slow performance, cumbersome user experience and substandard quality.
Tackling Technical Debt in Salesforce – Quick Wins with Panaya ForeSight
By now, you probably realize that when technical debt is being ignored, it can lead to severe problems down the line. Fortunately, you can take steps to remove technical debt from your Salesforce platform. When you start tackling technical debt, it is always recommended to start with some easy wins. There are a few quick actions you can take to remove technical debt in your Salesforce org. For example, you can start decluttering your Salesforce instance by removing unused fields, page layouts, and customizations. You can also consolidate duplicate data and standardize their data entry processes to improve data quality. Additionally, organizations can prioritize critical workflows and integrations and simplify or streamline them where possible.
The best ways to start reducing technical debt is to perform an audit of the existing Salesforce implementation. This audit can identify areas where technical debt exists and can help prioritize which areas to tackle first. This audit can include an analysis of the code base, customizations, and integrations. A thorough analysis can reveal areas where best practices were not followed, where code was not optimized, and where redundant or unnecessary customizations exist.
This sounds like a huge project. Right? Well, using the right tools it doesn’t have to be! Luckily for you, Panaya ForeSight can help you easily identify and reduce technical debt in your Salesforce org.
The easiest and quickest way to start is to look for Salesforce Custom Fields potentially serving as technical debt within your org. Panaya ForeSight has a special feature that helps you do that. With just one click, you can get your first win! The platform will present a list of all the fields that has “Technical debt indicators”. For example: Fields with names that include the words ‘OLD’/‘TEMP’/’TMP’, Fields that are not used by key any component types, Fields with names that is very similar to others, and fields that were not modified in the last two years.
Obviously, that’s a good start for your org technical debt audit, but with Panaya ForeSight there are a few more easy wins for your org cleanup project. As previously mentioned, inactive components are among the primary causes of technical debt. Whether they are “no code” automations such as Flow, Workflow Rules and Process Builders, code-based processes like Apex Triggers, or any other inactive components such as email templates, approval processes, and validation rules. Panaya ForeSight enables you to map all the automations and components in your org and easily filter the list to show only the inactive components, allowing you to identify and delete them if necessary. And just like that, you have the second list for your cleanup project.
The next thing you can do with Panaya ForeSight is to find unused components, which are clearly good candidates to be removed in your journey to simplify and optimize your org. The platform enables you to easily find components and third-party packaged applications that are not impacting any other components in the org.
With ForeSight you can easily run an impact analysis and check if a component has any dependencies within your org. This means that before you delete a component, you can rest assured that you won’t break anything. Plus, with just one click, ForeSight will present you with a list of all the dependent components, so you can make informed decisions. So go ahead, start decluttering your Salesforce instance with confidence and reduce technical debt in your org!
To learn more about how you can use Panaya ForeSight for managing technical debt watch this video.
Back to our story…
Remember Tom, our solution architect? With the help of Panaya Foresight, Tom was able to get a clear understanding of the technical debt and its impact on the Salesforce org. He quickly got to work, prioritizing and addressing the most critical issues. Tom worked tirelessly to simplify the org’s architecture, streamline workflows, and reduce customizations. As a result, he was able to significantly reduce the technical debt and simplify the system.
With the system optimized and the technical debt under control, Tom was able to focus on developing amazing things for the business users. He built out new functionality that made the user experience more intuitive and streamlined. He implemented Salesforce best practices, which improved the system’s reliability and scalability. Tom became the go-to person for all Salesforce-related queries, and he was widely recognized as the person who had saved the day.
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