The state of Salesforce DevOps in the tech sector

Eliza Pepper on

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DevOps has become the approach to Salesforce releases, and the tech industry is leading the way. Drawing on our annual State of Salesforce DevOps report, we’ve dived into the current practices of over 1000 respondents to understand how the tech sector shapes up.

Illustration of technology

In 2021 the tech sector had a clear lead. Tech teams reported more mature DevOps processes and were already starting to work with advanced DevOps practices like CI/CD. But the results in 2022 are a surprise — this year, Salesforce teams in the tech sector are falling behind on some metrics. So what’s happened? Can it really be that Salesforce teams in the tech industry have stalled and fallen behind their counterparts in other sectors?

Closer analysis reveals the opposite. The DevOps knowledge of the tech industry has led to a simple case of the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. Tech teams do have more mature DevOps processes than those in other industries, but this maturity is accompanied by larger aspirations. Although the DevOps practices of tech teams are still ahead of the curve, these teams are more likely to be critical of current practices because they’re setting themselves such high targets.

A minority of tech teams are struggling with DevOps adoption and bringing down the average results for the sector. Rapid adoption of new practices is characteristic of the tech sector, and largely yields huge pay-off, but for some teams this has prevented rounded development and decelerated growth.

Speed shouldn’t mean haste

Our 2021 report found that Salesforce teams in the tech industry were 50% more likely to be in the elite category of DevOps performers than those in other sectors. This DevOps maturity was largely due to their speed of releases, adoption of third-party DevOps solutions, use of source control, and creation of CI/CD pipelines.

Our 2022 data proved that tech teams are still quick to build new features and adopt new practices. 75% of teams reported that their average lead time on feature requests was less than a week, a quick pace that is characteristic of the tech sector. As Denise Dresser pointed out at Dreamforce ’22, the tech industry has been ‘quick to pivot’, leading the ecosystem ‘forward into the future’.

But moving quickly doesn’t always produce lasting DevOps success. You need to consolidate each practice before moving onto the next step. For 16% of teams in the tech industry, the DevOps process has become more difficult to manage, perhaps due to the haste of early adoption.

What’s more, when it comes to releases, tech teams are falling behind other sectors. 73% of teams in other industries are able to release a new feature to production in under a week compared to only 56% of tech teams. It’s clear that the speed of adopting new practices has largely been focused on accelerating development, which has left the speed of releases behind. Lead times have been shortened by building work faster, not releasing it more efficiently. Tech teams need to keep in mind that DevOps is an all-encompassing approach to Salesforce development — maturity is only possible when the entire process is improved.

DevOps ambition is paying off

The focus on reducing build time is part of the tech industry’s ambitious plans for DevOps maturity. While only 45% of Salesforce teams in other industries reported that their business was prioritizing investment in scaling operations, 65% of teams in the tech industry listed scaling as their key priority. These teams are hungry for greater growth, perhaps with an eye to preparing for IPO.

This willingness to invest in DevOps is explained by the standout metrics on ROI from Salesforce DevOps. Over 81% of tech teams are confident that they’re benefitting from a huge ROI on their DevOps processes, with over 11% reporting that this was greater than $100,000 per month. However, that leaves around ⅕ tech teams who are either unsure what their ROI is, or unconfident that they are yielding one at all. This may be a result of hastily implementing new build practices alongside the slight lag in improving release processes.

A higher standard for DevOps success

Though Salesforce teams in tech are generally excelling in their DevOps performance, they reported lower satisfaction with their performance than other industries. Almost 38% reported that process changes had failed to deliver, demonstrating both the desire for instant returns and some struggles with rapid adoption.

This may not sound positive, but it actually suggests a higher level of DevOps maturity. Teams in other industries were most concerned by a lack of collaboration, experience, or support from decision makers — these seem to be issues at the foothills of the journey to DevOps maturity. By contrast, the tech sector benefits from experienced teams and the all important buy-in for new practices from decision makers.

The tech industry has set itself a different standard for DevOps success as it generally moves to higher DevOps maturity. The opportunity for reflection on current processes and push to continually improve largely comes from a low-blame, high-collaboration culture in Salesforce tech teams. And this suggests tech teams are tackling the really important challenge of building a DevOps culture. To turn to a key conclusion of our report:

“Adopting DevOps is about taking on new tools, implementing new processes, and establishing a new mindset about how colleagues work together."

A collaborative culture has helped teams in the tech industry accelerate their Salesforce DevOps and is a key factor in achieving DevOps maturity. Google’s 2022 DORA (DevOps Research and Assessment) report reiterated this common theme: ‘culture is foundational to an organization’s success and the well-being of its employees.’ It is collaboration, coupled with the support of decision-makers, that has enabled Salesforce teams in the tech industry to question their current practices and experiment with next steps. This drive to keep improving will mean the tech sector stays at the forefront of DevOps adoption in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Which are you?

We’ve seen that most tech teams are DevOps trailblazers, but some are struggling with adopting new practices and rounded progress. Want to find out which one you are? Take our DevOps Maturity Assessment for an insight into your team’s performance, and download our State of Salesforce DevOps 2022 report for a fuller picture.

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