Ninety One

“We couldn’t go back to our old process. I can’t think of a day where I don’t use Gearset multiple times.”

Marco Pinder | Technical Lead | Ninety One
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Ninety One is using Gearset as part of its Agile transformation

The Ninety One team has been using Salesforce since 2011, when they were part of asset management firm Investec. In the years since, they have continued to develop their IT strategy to build on the exceptional foundations Salesforce provides. While some development is outsourced to a technology partner, the contractors are part of the team.

The team first started using Gearset in 2017, and Ninety One’s most recent strategic evolution came in 2019 when its CTO initiated the company’s transformation to an Agile approach.

Ninety One before adopting Gearset

The company’s previous approach to release management was to use tools ad hoc. Their technology partner would look after the programmatic development and run deployments to production using the Eclipse IDE and Salesforce’s Metadata API. At the same time, the company would make their own configurations directly in production or deploy them between orgs using change sets. Zelda Kloppers, Technical Business Analyst, told us that prior to Gearset this was manual, slow and error-prone work:

“Adding one field at a time when building change sets was a nightmare!”

Marco Pinder, the team’s Technical Lead, remembers how the complexity of deployments was exponentially increasing the amount of work needed to make releases a success. Ninety One also found that a lack of an audit trail led to countless times when they would “accidentally overwrite someone else’s changes, or miss out something important and have to rebuild the change set”, as Marco puts it. In Zelda’s words:

“It used to take forever to build deployment packages; then you’d try to deploy and discover half of it’s missing.”

Ninety One after adopting Gearset

Gearset has saved the Ninety One team loads of time by providing the ability to build deployment packages quickly and clone packages rather than rebuild them. They now work with user story numbers to correlate items and deployments into easily searchable collections. Marco estimates that Gearset is “at least 5 to 10 times faster than change sets”, with Zelda adding:

“Gearset is hugely, hugely helpful! We can see if someone else ran a deployment, and who made what changes to items in the package.”

Ninety One’s deployment problems were solved when the team adopted Gearset and the branching strategy for source control we recommended. Ninety One now uses Azure DevOps and a single Kanban board for all work, with a 3-week sprint cycle – two weeks to build and transfer items from the development branch into UAT, and then one week to focus on the release. The team uses GitHub for source control, adding more visibility and security to their release process, and giving them a single source of truth for development.

They also use the CI, monitoring and unit testing tools provided by Gearset, making full use of Gearset’s toolkit. As Marco says, “Gearset can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be.” He confidently believes Gearset has added value to the business:

“If you’re concerned about slow deployments, overwriting changes, and no audit trail, Gearset ticks every box.”

The team now delivers more value in less time. Sumit Kumar, Salesforce Developer, was particularly impressed by the ease with which the team could use the features: “one of the best things about Gearset is that you don’t need to install anything; you just open your browser and go!” Speed to resolution has also improved, with enhanced visibility over changes and potential problems. To Marco, “it felt like magic to see the effect of the deployment before you ran it”.

“Gearset gives you visibility into your changes that removes the fear of breaking something. It gives you a safety net.”

Ninety One recommends Gearset

It’s not just the product that has impressed Ninety One. Marco commented on how well Gearset has embedded customer success into every part of the business. The customer support team have been quick to reply and extremely knowledgeable, and feature requests have been turned around within a couple of days.

Having experienced how Gearset facilitated their transformation to Agile development, Marco says he would recommend Gearset to any other business.

“I would recommend Gearset, without a shadow of a doubt. Once you use it, you sing its praises.”

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