Like Harry Potter had to take on Voldemort to secure Hogwarts, operations teams are fighting technical debt to protect their Salesforce org. But unlike an epic wizard battle, ops teams lack the resources (and spells) they need to win the fight and eliminate the outdated data built up over months, years, or decades.
The struggles that come with tech debt are undeniable. And if you’re a RevOps “wizard” losing in the battle against tech debt… Your pain is being felt across your profession. On average, teams are spending up to 50% of their time solely on cleaning up tech debt. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re ready to have better data quality, less breaks, and more time to spend on bigger initiatives than Salesforce cleanup projects, you’re in luck. Below, we’re covering everything you need to know about tech debt and how to manage it more efficiently.
What is tech debt
Technical debt, also known as tech debt, refers to the accumulation of short-term compromises made to your systems that result in technical challenges or limitations over time. It can add up quickly, as duplicate fields are made, data is entered incorrectly, or turnover happens on your ops team. This all too common battle makes it difficult for revenue operations teams to navigate and manage change for your most critical systems, like Salesforce.
But, if you manage your tech debt proactively and properly, your organization will benefit from a multitude of improvements, including:
→ Streamlined onboarding: Taking on and learning to navigate a new Salesforce org is a challenge for even the most seasoned admins. But a little help from tools like a data dictionary, you can reduce tech debt and onboard new hires to your org faster and easier.
→ Keep your Salesforce data clean: By managing tech debt, you can avoid time-consuming cleanup projects to get rid of unused fields. And by keeping metadata clean, you also protect the critical processes that drive revenue.
→ Improve the user experience for your GTM teams: Technical debt can cause serious down-stream problems for your GTM teams including slow performance, unexpected errors or breaks. Having your admins mitigate tech debt will ensure that your org remains reliable and user-friendly.
→ Improved GTM team collaboration: If your marketing and sales teams are both qualifying a contact that has a duplicate record in your org, you are bound to have some issues– not only with reporting, but with miscommunication between the two departments. Collaboration roadblocks like this are common when there’s an influx of tech debt. Managing tech debt can help keep your Salesforce as the single and most accurate source of truth for your GTM teams.
→ Cost savings: Ignoring technical debt can lead to more significant expenses in the long run. By proactively managing tech debt, organizations can save money by avoiding costly repairs or automation rebuilds.
Types of tech debt
Tech debt can come in many shapes and forms, especially when it comes to your Salesforce org. And the worst part is, it’s pretty easy for tech debt to build up over time. To help you spot it quickly, here are the five most common types of Salesforce tech debt to keep an eye out for:
1. Data debt:
This refers to the accumulation of irrelevant, repetitive and inconsistent data within your Salesforce org. This can happen from poor data management practices, lack of regular clean up, or even just poorly trained GTM team members.
2. Code debt:
This occurs when suboptimal code has been added to your Salesforce org over time. It comes in the forms of duplicate code, inefficient logic or code that doesn’t follow best practices. This often occurs in organizations with poor onboarding and/or high admin turnover.
3. Customization debt:
Customization debt occurs when your Salesforce org has unnecessary customization among fields or your customized fields don’t properly map with other connected business systems.
4. Integration debt:
Salesforce has the ability to integrate with over 2,500 tools– making it really easy for admins to overlook removing old integrations. As more integrations get connected over time, it’s important for your team to go back and disconnect any third-party tools not being used to ensure data quality and security.
5. Security debt:
Integration debt transitions us to our next concern, security debt. This is when security risks have accumulated over time from outdated access controls or neglected data protection best practices.
How to eliminate tech debt (manage)
The truth is, eliminating tech debt all together is a pipe dream. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to minimize it and mitigate its risks. Here are three tips to help your admins keep your Salesforce tech debt to a minimum and reduce the likelihood of potential issues:
1. Schedule regular clean ups
It’s important that your admins implement a regular Salesforce data clean up routine into their monthly or quarterly sprints. These cleanup projects should include tasks like:
- Removing duplicate records
- Data enrichment
- Data standardization
- Data validation
2. Have the right tools
Using a Change Intelligence platform, like Sonar, you can easily manage tech debt by helping you:
- Get a clear view into your tech stack, so you can see how everything connects
- Gain a comprehensive understanding of your Salesforce org and how it was built
- See every field that’s in use in your org, so you can remove unused, incorrect, or duplicate fields
3. Follow data quality best practices
It’s important that your entire GTM team is properly trained and understands the importance of maintaining data quality– and the implications of poorly managed change in your org. Here are a few tips for following data quality best practices within your org:
- Define data governance: Establish clear data governance policies and procedures to ensure that data is consistently entered, maintained, and updated.
- Establish data validation rules: Use data validation rules to ensure that data is entered in a consistent and standardized format.
- Train users: Provide training to users on best practices for entering and maintaining data in Salesforce.
- Monitor data quality: Regularly monitor data quality and address issues as they arise.
- Enforce data quality standards: Enforce data quality standards to ensure that data remains consistent and relevant.
How Sonar helps other ops teams overcome tech debt
LendingTree knocks out 16 years of tech debt.
LendingTree wanted to transform its Salesforce org into a best-in-class platform that could power its 30 business units. But first, it had to tackle nearly two decades of tech debt. LendingTree brought on Sonar to provide its team of Salesforce Admins with a clear view into the tech stack and how it was built. Equipped with this greater visibility, the team reduced their tech debt cleanup time by 40%, saving nearly 500 hours per year.
SevenRooms frees up valuable space in Salesforce.
The ops team at SevenRooms had a problem: they ran out of available Salesforce fields. To make room for new fields, they had to delete outdated ones. But they didn’t know which fields were being used by their go-to-market teams. If they accidentally deleted a field in use, that could lead to data leaks and broken processes.
So they turned to Sonar. With Sonar’s Tags, SevenRooms received a 360 view of how each field affects their team, systems, and company. That visibility helped the team know which fields to delete, so they could finally add more fields to their system.
Conclusion: Manage tech debt stress-free
While tech debt is a necessary evil that comes with managing a Salesforce org, it’s critical to identify and clean it up regularly. By following best practices and implementing the right tools, your admins can spend less time managing clean up projects and more time helping your GTM teams thrive.
Sonar is enabling Salesforce admins and RevOps leaders to determine priorities throughout your system, manage downstream impact to change, improve GTM collaboration, and reduce tech debt. Sound too good to be true? See it for yourself. Try Sonar for free today.