At 2019 London’s Calling, the BrightGen stand was buzzing with activity. Our very own Salesforce MVP, Keir Bowden (a.k.a. @bob_buzzard) answered any questions tweeted to him throughout the day with #askbob. Everything from starting out in Salesforce Lightning Experience, to whether dogs get excited about Lightning web components. No question too big or small for Bob! London’s Calling 2020 was very different.
London’s Calling 2020
To start with, there was no physical presence at our stand. But we were excited to host a virtual room and sponsor the event’s first ever caricaturist. To bring some relief to the COVID-19 situation, we ran a competition for best caricature with the tweet @brightgen #BrightME.
What didn’t changed was #askbob. Attendees were able to tweet @brightgen @ldnscall #askbob and get Bob to answer their Salesforce questions. We delved into one of our top rated 2019 questions about inheriting a bad Salesforce org to inspire 2020 questions. Bob added his top tips for fixing some common Salesforce issues, and their importance to get right. We followed up with what we thought people might ask in 2020.
Inheriting a bad Salesforce org
It’s a familiar scenario: you acquire a new company, or you join a new company. They use Salesforce. You dig deeper… the org has evolved over years. Lots of people have built applications and code all over the place. What do you do if you inherit a bad Salesforce org?
Bob says: “Get help”! If you’re not an experienced developer, you’ll put plaster on the cracks but not fix the overarching structural problem. You need a partner (like BrightGen, for example) or to hire an architect. They can do health checks and will be able to look at your code and configuration holistically. When you target bigger issues, you can fix first and set up your infrastructure for success.
If you’re wondering whether or not you need to get help with your Salesforce org, here are some warning signs:
- Hundreds of profiles
- People can’t see data they need to access
- The opposite of the point above: inability to restrict access to data
- Frequently breaking governor limits
Some suggestions from Bob to improve your Salesforce org
- Hundreds of profiles
Historically, if your Salesforce users had multiple responsibilities, you would create additional profiles for one person to fit their needs. Now you can choose the option of creating permission sets instead of profiles. Permission sets are more flexible than profiles. Now you can use permission set groups, which allows you to associate multiple permission sets for a specific business purpose. Setting this up will save you time in the long run – and you can delete all those obsolete Salesforce profiles.
- People can’t access data they need
Usually a sign that your sharing model is too complex. It’s common in older orgs where the sharing model has grown organically. This really requires an overarching point of view. Take a step back from the problem and work out who needs to see what to do their job. You cannot assess this at an individual or team level – you need to think about each function of the company.
- Inability to restrict access to data
The opposite problem to your Salesforce users not being able to access data they need: people can access too much. Your sharing model is too wide open. You won’t be able to put enough restrictions on sensitive data. With privacy becoming ever more important, you should follow the principle of least privilege. Only let people see what they need to see to do their jobs. Again, this means you’ll have to take a step back and look at this at a company-wide level.
- Frequently breaking governor limits
This is usually caused by mixed automation, such as workflows or triggers, being added without considering automation already in place. Automation in one area can also interfere with the needs of other teams. Another area to take a step back. Get governance in place so that requested changes are considered in the light of the entire organisation and existing solution. You might need to rework existing processes to help ensure changes are tested holistically.
“Thanks for the advice but I’ll paper over the cracks, it’s quicker and easier…”
It’s not! If you don’t solve the disease of an org, you will forever be coping with the symptoms. Over time, people will become increasingly scared of change because of unforeseen side effects. You could fall foul of a few regulatory rules on data too. Ultimately, you won’t get the ROI that you could out of your Salesforce implementation.
Companies don’t take action to holistically fix a bad Salesforce org will see knock-on effects to the entire business. Firstly, admins and devs will be blamed. Admins and devs will keep change to a minimum to avoid unexpected breaks and hard-to-make changes. This risks their reputation becoming blockers to business transformation.
Secondly, it gets hard to hire new permanent staff who will want to deal with a big problem like this. No one wants to be firefighting all the time. Existing hires won’t hang around, as they will want to progress and use the latest features of the platform. If the system keeps breaking, your existing employees will quickly become frustrated with their lack of progression and learning.
Thirdly, most crucially, the business will be frustrated with being stuck in a static system. Forever on the back foot it will affect the business’s ability to grow, compete and progress.
Anticipated questions for London’s Calling 2020
We expected a fair few questions around the Spring 20 updates. Especially as “before record save flows” were introduced. This was something Bob had already written a couple of popular posts about.
A lot of people asked about migrating to Lightning Experience in 2019. Salesforce had talked a lot about Lightning since then, so we saw it as less of a concern in 2020.
One question Bob hoped to answer was about the BrightMEDIA Lightning Bolt, which went live just before the event. BrightMEDIA is a second generation managed package on the AppExchange. Bob offers advice on second generation unlocked packages in general, as well as the BrightMEDIA Bolt.
Finally, Bob was prepared to answer questions about how to operate in this new world of work for many. He shared tips for up-front organisation and rules of engagement. We saw that, for many, working remotely exaggerated the issues of a bad Salesforce org. Simple tasks became anything but simple.