Salesforce is a strong pillar of digital transformation. With the limitless possibilities of customizations and apps, Salesforce is a huge upgrade from decaying legacy systems and replaces outdated, inefficient ways of working.
Adopting Salesforce DevOps alongside digital transformation overhauls stale processes by promoting an agile and collaborative culture that shortens feedback loops and gives end users exceptional value from fast and reliable releases.
Our ebook Salesforce DevOps at enterprise scale focuses on the best practices that businesses can follow while mapping out their DevOps implementation, to fast-track them to success.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Salesforce and the role it plays in digital transformation. So how can businesses get started — and where exactly does DevOps fit in?
What’s the aim of a Salesforce digital transformation project?
Digital transformation is all about using technology to create new — or enhance existing — business processes to meet the demands of the company and stay competitive in the wider market.
The ultimate goals for businesses when they start the process of digital transformation are to accelerate the overall growth of the organization, improve operations and enhance customer experience. The customer’s experience is crucial to the success of any business transformation, and driving further adoption of Salesforce plays a vital role in strengthening this relationship between businesses and their end users.
What are the key elements of a successful digital transformation project?
Digital transformation projects are so specific to organizations’ business goals that a cookie-cutter approach won’t work — there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy. But there are a few different elements that, if done well, will propel the transformation forwards. By transforming their use of technology and utilizing powerful platforms like Salesforce, businesses can also transform their performance.
Setting out a clear strategy
Nail down a clear and strong strategy with focused goals, such as adopting new clouds or packages to replace legacy systems that are starting to show cracks. Whatever this strategy is, it should be clearly communicated to all members of the team and time set aside to check how implementation is progressing. Having digitally focused leaders in place will also help keep the project on track.
Promoting cultural change
Perhaps one of the most challenging parts of implementing digital transformation across a company is breaking down the barriers to change and gaining the cultural buy-in from the whole enterprise. It not only means updating some software and tools, but also changing the whole mindset which the company is used to. If some team members are reluctant and continue to use the old system, this can undermine the success of the new way of working.
Adopting an agile approach
Being able to adapt quickly to any issues or challenges will allow your digital transformation implementation to be as smooth as possible. Going a step further and adopting an agile approach means shortening the feedback loop and breaking the process up into smaller steps — with time to reflect, test and learn after each one. Keeping up constant communication and iterating on past steps will enhance collaboration across the whole team, with a stronger likelihood that digital transformation will be successful.
Leveraging knowledge from internal teams
Communication and collaboration are key and therefore should take center stage in your digital transformation initiatives. While keeping everyone who’s involved motivated and communicating, you can begin pulling in and leveraging the knowledge of other teams. If you’re proposing to bring in technologies to solve business problems, then you’re going to need the opinions and direction of those who are going to be using this technology. For instance, introducing Marketing Cloud will likely involve a lot of input form the marketing team about how they can most successfully leverage the platform. This can also fuel innovation and force developers to solve problems that they didn’t know existed until these conversations.
Fortifying security and data privacy
By its very nature the process of digital transformation revolves around the adoption of new technologies so it’s critical that security and data privacy becomes an elevated issue for organizations. Adopting digital transformation without a well thought-out security plan can open up the business and its technologies to data breaches.
Enterprises need to pre-empt how new technologies could be used as vectors for attack. As a business becomes more digitized, compliance issues can also arise. To mitigate these issues the organization needs to take part in regular auditing, stay on top of any regulation changes, and implement a robust data protection plan that evolves alongside the entire project.
Sharing data and insights
Keeping track of KPIs across the whole project will motivate teams to see that the hard work is paying off. Storing all of the metrics in a transparent and easy-to-access repository will create a trusting environment where teams can access the data that can drive business decisions throughout the process of digital transformation. Tracking your Salesforce performance can be done with Salesforce itself. Dashboards are a powerful tool that allows users to visulize their data in a more digestible way. They can be a great way to back up data-driven decisions and keep the project on track.
Keeping an eye on all changes
Implementing digital technologies can be quite a long and stressful project so keeping an eye on how everything is going will help minimize any disruptions and keep you on course to complete within the agreed timeframe. A well orchestrated change management strategy works hand-in-hand with your digital transformation but it’s not fail-safe. When issues crop up, being alerted to them quickly will help minimize any risks or disruptions as soon as possible.
There are many other areas that can be considered key elements of a successful digital transformation, but even taking these few into account will make the whole process easier to manage. One way to guarantee a smoother digital transformation for any business using Salesforce as a CRM — is to adopt Salesforce DevOps.
How does DevOps play a part in digital transformation?
DevOps is fast becoming the main catalyst of digital transformation success.
If a company is going to stay ahead of the curve, then they need to adopt technology sooner, rather than later. Salesforce is an incredibly powerful platform but the implementation of it, and it’s many strands, can take a lot longer than expected. This is where DevOps comes in. Adopting a DevOps process can unleash Salesforce’s potential and accelerate progress towards digital transformation.
Moving to a highly automated Salesforce release pipeline with continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) will dramatically speed up your whole release cycle. This source-driven way of working allows the whole team to track changes across the entire release process. The end user also sees constant improvements. And with easy rollbacks on releases, things can be reverted easily if needed. Delivering changes quickly and frequently to the end user via an automated pipeline reduces the risks with a big release. Taken together, CI/CD takes the manual work out of releasing and allows you to tighten the feedback loops between the development team and the end user.
Salesforce teams who use agile development methods are far more flexible and better at avoiding bottlenecks in the process. By having smaller, frequent releases teams are able to give value back to the end user far more quickly and remain reactive to any bugs or issues than make their way into production.
Changes in production can happen either as a hot fix or because a user sidesteps the usual release process. Either way, you’re going to want to know about it as soon as possible. By adopting a Salesforce DevOps solution that allows you to closely monitor your environments you’ll make sure only the right changes are being released. DevOps tools allow you to set up a change monitoring job and easily see who’s changed what, and when in your org.
Adding automated testing to your development and release process is an important part of modern Salesforce DevOps and can be a powerful way to dramatically improve your releases. Once your releases are consistent and repeatable then you’re ready for automated tests. Not only will this save a huge amount of time, but takes away the risk of human error introducing a bug or error into production. .
When adopting DevOps as part of your digital transformation strategy, it’s crucial to think about how you would get your data and metadata back if your orgs were to suffer from a disaster. Treating your backups as part of your DevOps process and embedding them into the workflow will allow the team to focus on other matters knowing that their orgs are secure. Scheduling these backups to happen daily gives further peace of mind and means a shorter time to recover should you suffer a data loss.
DevOps encourages teams to break down barriers to open up continuous streams of communication. Making the transition from in-org development to source-driven pipelines will open up a world of collaboration opportunities from introducing version control as the source of truth and creating automated workflows that the whole team can see and benefit from. Establishing a high level of collaboration should become the default when working towards developing a strong DevOps culture.
As a business sets out on their course of digital transformation, it’s simply not enough to update and change processes once and carry on as they were. Adopting a culture of continuous improvement and iterating on processes often is the only way that companies can stay competitive in the digital landscape. Learning from each other and trusting that everyone is working towards the same goal is a key characteristic of DevOps. That’s why one of the core pillars of DevOps is continuously improving processes to be the best they can be. Being open to this feedback and learning from others in the team lends itself heavily to the iterative development environment that DevOps thrives on.
Drive your digital transformation using Salesforce DevOps
Salesforce is an excellent tool to have when going through digital transformation — but DevOps is the key to make sure Salesforce really delivers. Not only will teams begin to see the many benefits of DevOps has to offer, but the wider business will begin to see increased revenue and a significant return on investment too.
To get started on your Salesforce DevOps journey and see how you can accelerate your digital transformation download our ebook Salesforce DevOps at Enterprise Scale.