Measuring a return on investment in Salesforce DevOps is a difficult undertaking, but a task that’s well worth the effort. An ROI evaluation is sometimes needed to convince senior management that implementing a new development process will bring financial benefits, especially when purchasing new DevOps tools. It also helps to assess the value added by your Salesforce team to wider organizational performance.
DevOps is proven to produce Salesforce ROI
There are many compelling reasons and business benefits that drive teams of Salesforce admins and developers to make the transition from developing and customizing directly within their Salesforce orgs to implementing fully fledged DevOps, with version control, continuous integration and continuous delivery. Getting a financial return on DevOps investments is certainly one of them, as Gearset’s State of Salesforce DevOps 2023 report shows.
How to measure the ROI of a DevOps transformation
The easiest return to measure is the amount of time (and therefore money) saved on each deployment, thanks to new tools and improved processes. But DevOps isn’t just about saving time on deployments. Our survey results show that teams value other benefits of DevOps just as much or even more, and over time businesses see more significant ROI from those DevOps improvements. Some of those benefits can be measured with common DevOps performance metrics, while other cultural benefits are harder to measure but are no less valuable.
Using DevOps performance metrics to calculate ROI
Measuring DevOps performance is usually done with widely-used metrics such as those from DORA. If you’re aleady using Gearset, you can measure how your team is tracking against the DORA metrics. In the context of Salesforce where some teams still spend hours manually deploying metadata, we recommend adding deployment time as well. That brings us to five metrics for measuring DevOps success:
- Time needed to deploy between development environments
- Frequency of releases to production
- Lead time of changes from completed development to release
- Change failure rates (percentage of releases with bugs or error)
- Time required to restore service
Measuring DevOps performance using these metrics is useful to understand if your team is improving. But the results can also be used as the basis for ROI calculations.
A team that spends less time on tricky, error-prone manual processes — thanks to automation — is spending more resources on generating business value. Salesforce deployments with Gearset are up to 12x faster than change sets, meaning businesses can free up their development team to work on other important or strategic projects. Even with version control and a DevOps process already set up, the choice of Salesforce deployment tool can make a big impact on deployment times by making sure deployments succeed first time. Gearset has an average deployment success rate of 91% and will automatically resolve over 60 common deployment issues.
When evaluating Gearset, most teams initially notice the time savings on each deployment and make those the basis of their first ROI assessment. The specific amounts saved can be worked out relatively easily on the basis of hourly employee costs per deployment.
There isn’t a catch-all model for how teams should go about calculating the dollars-and-cents impact of release frequency. But a faster release cycle built around continuous delivery means the Salesforce team are better able to jump between parallel workstreams and quickly incorporate stakeholder feedback without running into conflicts.
Frequent feedback also means less time is wasted on building features that don’t meet requirements. This way, teams can benefit from a ‘Shift Left’ approach to testing and releasing larger projects incrementally as multiple smaller releases. All in all, more frequent releases translate into increased business agility, where the value of a rapid release frequency will depend on how highly the company prioritizes its ability to adapt and respond.
From the company’s perspective, DevOps automation also helps the Salesforce team to reduce overall lead times, shortening the turnaround for the delivery of new features. A business that’s using Salesforce to help produce, promote or process the sales of new products and services will value the faster time to market. But it could equally be the rapid implementation of internal operational workflows that’s of high value and a priority for a company.
Change failure rates
Teams that release higher quality work into production save time that might have been spent on troubleshooting bugs and free themselves up for more value-generating work. A mature DevOps process helps teams to catch errors in advance thanks to automated testing, testing with real data, and validation of deployments. Keeping tabs on a DevOps performance metric like change failure rate isn’t just about measuring the efficiency of the Salesforce team. Issues in production can result in expensive business downtime or disruption that teams with lower change failure rates are helping to avoid.
Time required to restore service
Being able to roll back to a stable state, or in a more serious case restore from a backup, are both vital DevOps capabilities for Salesforce teams. Salesforce is a business-critical platform for most enterprises, and so the cost of each hour of downtime is severe.
Gearset’s change monitoring tool and smart alerts for backup jobs drastically shorten team’s ‘time to discovery’ for any issues. And with powerful solutions for data and metadata deployments, teams can also reduce their ‘time to recovery’.
Aligning Salesforce teams with business objectives
The business value of DevOps goes even further than the dollars saved thanks to improved development and release performance. Our industry reports consistently verify that businesses also value benefits such as improved team collaboration. And that’s no real surprise, since DevOps is first and foremost a way of working. But how do you put a value on DevOps culture?
One place to start is by recognizing that the culture of high-performing Salesforce teams reflects the culture of high-performing organizations. Your Salesforce team isn’t an infinite resource, so efficiency is key. DevOps enables teams not only to get more work done quickly, but also to produce higher quality work by collaborating effectively and not getting bogged down in repetitive, manual tasks.
Teams have seen a growing workload as businesses rely on Salesforce for ever more of their operations. And the volume of work expected from Salesforce teams will only increase as businesses request more timely customizations of Salesforce, so they can seize commercial opportunities and fulfill new operational requirements.
But all this leaves admins and developers juggling an increasing number of requests from business units and end users. As in any area of work with conflicting priorities, it’s then often the ‘loudest’ rather than the most strategic projects that get delivered.
As a response to growing workloads, just hiring new employees to get more work done won’t solve the problem unless the Salesforce team have a streamlined DevOps process in place. Teams using a traditional in-org development approach can quickly run into issues around the complexity of their processes, making collaboration, change tracking and conflict resolution more difficult, especially if admins and developers are dependent on each other’s separate workflows.
The adoption of DevOps empowers teams to release more often, making smaller but more frequent improvements to their orgs using a single, shared and easily scalable process. Crucially, DevOps allows both admins and devs to work in a more agile manner, with tighter feedback loops, fewer bottlenecks, better quality controls, and more input from stakeholders across the organization. In this way, DevOps gives teams the flexibility to respond rapidly to changing business requests and scale their processes dynamically as the business grows.
Benchmark your Salesforce team’s performance
If you’d like more advice on how to benchmark your Salesforce team’s performance, book a consultation with us today or reach out via the live chat on this page. We’d be more than happy to help you assess what DevOps process and capabilities would be the best fit for your organization. And to get a broad overview of current trends and the DevOps performance of Salesforce teams across all industry sectors, download your free copy of our State of Salesforce DevOps 2023 industry report: