Unless you personally had the privilege to be part of a brand new salesforce implementation, chances are you have run into tech debt – and avoided doing anything about it until it’s absolutely necessary.
According to Stripe, 33% of time is spent working on a backlog of technical debt. The worst part is, CIOs believe tech debt is increasing– but generally allocate less than 20% of their tech budget to paying it down.
RevOps managers and teams overseeing Salesforce realize this is a major hurdle for their organization and if you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place to find solutions. Read on as we give you a list to help manage and mitigate your tech debt.
What is Technical Debt?
Technical debt is the extra work that’s caused by choosing quick and easy solutions today, instead of a better approach that takes longer to develop.
A Forrester study once identified the build up of technical debt in an org as “the artery cloggers” that eventually kill the agility.
The report quotes, “In addition, the complexity of scale crushes Salesforce’s responsiveness. As Salesforce use grows, innovation slows and flexibility evaporates. Why? Every app change risks breaking one of hundreds of data and process customizations, integration links, and third-party add-ons. The result: every change requires long and expensive impact-analysis and regression testing projects – killing the responsiveness that made Salesforce attractive at the start.”
Technical debt occurs over time in your Salesforce organization. It can happen when duplicate fields are made, data is entered incorrectly, or turnover happens among company admins. If you aren’t proactively getting rid of your tech debt, a build-up will happen and make it increasingly difficult for your marketing, sales and operational teams to perform efficient and effective work.
Tech debt can have a variety of negative impacts on your organization. A few of the most common are:
- Long load times and errors
- Lack of access to features, reports, records, and more
- Being unable to correctly navigate your systems
- Unorganized pages
- Inactive or out-of-date workflow rules or process builders
- Previous, outdated solutions appearing
- Solutions becoming buggy
- The overall environment becomes unstable
These issues may seem trivial initially, but over time, they will build and worsen and can severely damage your software, efficiency, and credibility.
So how can you identify if tech debt is hurting your organization? Let’s dig in.
Five Signs Tech Debt is Hurting Your Organization
If your company is facing struggles that are draining your IT budget, here are five signs that will help you determine whether you need to take action against tech debt.
1. Things are constantly breaking
“This automation isn’t firing” is something that all operational teams dread hearing. The team has to drop what they are doing immediately to reverse engineer the break.
If you see an increase in broken automation, this may be a sign that your tech debt is wreaking havoc throughout your tech stack. You should consider testing old or outdated processes to determine if that is a culprit.
The first time you notice an issue, start working on ways to fix it. The deeper the breaks go, the harder it can be to reverse the issues and get your systems functioning correctly.
2. Time is wasted building out new processes
In a brand new organization, chances are you are not building from scratch. So when creating new automation processes or setting up custom fields, you must take into account what has been developed before you.
Pro Tip: Use these rules and workflows to better develop your own automations. Make proactive changes when setting them up initially to increase efficiencies in your processes.
3. Your end-users are experiencing issues
Technical debt can affect end-users across all fronts. In Salesforce, your end-users will see more error messages when inputting data and other forms of information.
When your reps can’t seamlessly add accurate data due to Salesforce tech debt, they will add only what they can at that time. They may add half of the data or none at all, depending on the severity of your Salesforce tech debt. This causes your company to lose valuable data that can hurt your efficiencies, processes, and even your bottom line.
One tell-tale sign that your end users are experiencing issues from tech debt is complaints. If you start seeing an increase in frustrated Slack messages you know that you’ll have to put an emphasis on fixing the tech debt in your organization so that your processes and systems can run how they were designed to.
4. You experience coding issues
Poorly written code can manifest in multiple ways. The two we see most often are:
- Changes that would normally take two weeks to implement and see can take upwards of one month, wasting time and reducing productivity across the board.
- In some instances, the original author of the code may be the only one who is able to make changes in the future; if they have left the company, this could result in terrible losses for your company.
5. Slower productivity
Too much technical debt can drain your productivity, resulting in subpar bottom lines. Whether this is seen on the front-end or back-end, reduced productivity will negatively affect your software, your business, and your reputation.
Don’t let something so trivial as tech debt ruin your business. You must find ways to proactively fix the issues and properly handle your tech debt.
3 Tips for Handling Tech Debt
We’ve discussed the best ways to eliminate tech debt in a previous blog, but as a refresher, you’ll want to follow three main steps.
1. Split into projects organized by priority
We suggest starting at the object level that are highest leveraged at your organization, and using tools like FieldSpy to uncover population percentage and usage. This will quickly identify and flag deletion candidates.
2. Create a strategy for tackling priority projects
Ask yourself three questions before planning out your strategy:
- What is the opportunity cost if we choose not to dedicate time to tech debt clean up?
- How will capped data storage limits impact our salesforce spend or inability to implement any new technology we purchase?
- As we scale and introduce change, how will I/my team be able to mitigate risk?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can start your plan as to who is responsible for what and how to proceed.
3. Document everything
Ensuring there are written records of everything will go a long way in ensuring these issues don’t pile up again. And if they do, you will have the steps and plans to solve them. Record who handled what, how long it took, and what loopholes you needed to jump through to fix the problems.
A proactive approach is the best one when it comes to limiting your technical debt, especially Salesforce tech debt. Many companies don’t have policies or practices in place to take an offensive front, and instead fall to the defensive and only make changes or updates after everything starts breaking.
Sonar: A Clean View into Your Tech Stack
Change Intelligence platforms, like Sonar, are enabling Salesforce Admins and RevOps leaders to take charge in the following areas:
- Determine priorities throughout your system. Instead of manually exporting metadata, maintaining a static document and spending even more time doing trial and error in a sandbox, leveraging Sonar gives line of sight into your Salesforce org so that you can easily uncover where, how and frequency of use.
- Manage the downstream impacts of change. Automating your documentation is easy with Sonar. As a by-product, Sonar will enable you to be proactive when mitigating risk as change is introduced. By having a living blueprint of your org, daily digest of the historical and net new metadata changes, and labeling for your external systems.
- Improve Collaboration Across Departments. Change Intelligence provides uniformity in your change management process for every department involved. In a single pane of glass you can reference the statement of work, deletion candidates, and all parties impacted.
Tech debt is, unfortunately, something that will never completely vanish, but there are ways to decrease its effect on platforms like Salesforce to ensure your systems function as they were designed. Try Sonar for free to see how we can help you manage your tech debt.