“The first thing I did after joining Spotter was set up Gearset. I knew it would make everything so much easier.”

Mike McNeeley | Director, Salesforce Program | Spotter
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Amazing results from one DevOps platform 

Spotter started using Gearset in 2023 when Mike McNeeley moved into his role as Director, Salesforce Program. The company was looking to establish a formal release management process, so Mike set to work building and implementing a strategy that would scale with the team.

With unique knowledge of how Creators work, the resources they need to grow, and the challenges they face, Spotter is empowering top YouTube Creators to succeed and to continue to grow their channel via bespoke capital partnerships. Spotter also works with brands and ad agencies, delivering a unique scaled media solution and creating an opportunity for them to play a more active role in the Creator ecosystem.

We spoke to Mike about his move to Spotter, how he introduced DevOps to the team and what the future looks like for the company’s use of Salesforce.

Changes being made directly to production

Spotter currently has 150 Salesforce end users working in orgs that are full of rich data — weaving together the creators, channels, and the analysis of their content’s performance. The customer success team relies on this data to make sure they’re making the best recommendations they can to their carefully picked creators.

Mike heads up the Salesforce development team which currently has five team members. There are two administrators, a business analyst, and an associate director who’s responsible for non-Salesforce systems and how they integrate with Salesforce.

When Mike first joined the company, he was tasked with understanding the company’s use of Salesforce after a hefty migration from another CRM. The migration was done using consultants and, because Mike hadn’t joined the company yet, he wasn’t able to advise on what the company needed or any specific settings that would benefit the company once the consultants had left. 

“There was an expectation that features would break when first deployed — it was just the way it was.”

When Mike joined, the orgs were up and running, but they were in need of additional structure and process. As well as improving the state of the orgs, he needed to implement a release process that worked for a scaling team and company. 

“Nearly every single change was being made in production — with perhaps the odd change set. Features were tested in one environment, and then rebuilt in production. There was no quality control.”

Something absolutely had to change

Mike had used Gearset for 4 years before moving to Spotter and had previously spent time exploring other tools in 2018. “When I was originally looking at other tools, Gearset really stood out to me and would help at every stage of our process. At this point, I don’t even know what I’m missing with any other DevOps platforms, and to be honest I really don’t care. I feel like Gearset keeps up with Salesforce — and everything that their customers want.”

“Gearset was the first thing I implemented in my new role. There was absolutely no way we were going to continue doing what we were doing.”

With Mike’s Gearset experience, he knew onboarding would take no time at all. “I knew I could get it up on its feet very quickly and feel comfortable doing so. Saving time was the number one goal at that moment.”

And since implementing Gearset, Spotter’s deployments take significantly less time.

“Deployments using Gearset are so quick I can barely even measure them in time. The fastest we can get a deployment through the whole process is about 10–15 minutes — maybe even less.”

Releasing to production every single day

Since implementing Gearset, the team has grown in maturity and is now releasing to production at least once a day. By automating deployments and adopting CI/CD, the team is able to tighten feedback loops and improve visibility and collaboration. As a manager, Mike relies on Gearset’s Pipelines to help visualize deployments and “see the state of the environments” and review PRs.

“What I love about Pipelines is the ability to back propagate PRs. Once we’ve merged we can keep all the other environments in sync. I don’t have to refresh my sandboxes half as much as I used to.”

Each team member has their own dev org that’s fed into an individual sync branch to manage merge conflicts and back propagation. There are then two pre-production environments: SIT and UAT. 

The team’s UAT sandbox is offset and only really used if they’re creating a feature that requires user testing or a bug fix.

Leveraging backups for auditing

In an ideal world you don’t want to use your backup solution very often to restore lost data or metadata — but having the option there is critical for business continuity and security. At Spotter, Mike finds the access to his backups most useful when the company is auditing. “If we need to understand what’s happened to a field which doesn’t have any tracking history on it, I’m able to go into a high-frequency backup and we can dig into it from there. You can pinpoint it hour by hour.” 

The Spotter team is able to answer questions they previously wouldn’t have been able to. “There was an instance where we needed to investigate a problem and it was a few weeks before we started using Gearset for backup so we just couldn’t even begin to look into it.” 

“I feel safe and confident that if there’s a data or metadata problem, I can trace the history and always restore.”

Support that’s second to none

One of the main things that Mike likes about Gearset is the “near immediate” support he receives to get his processes back up and running again. 

“I can’t tell you how nice it is to have near immediate response time for any problem I’m having. If you come up against an error, your entire workflow just stops — you can’t wait for days for a ticket resolution. To know someone is around to help quickly, through chat or hopping on a zoom, is really incredible.”

When training his team on Gearset’s Pipelines and DevOps in general, Mike found that Gearset’s learning resources helped everyone to where they needed to be to get started. 

“I basically told my team, ‘watch these Gearset webinars and you’ll get right up to speed’ — especially the Git for Salesforce Admins series.”

Making Gearset part of the company’s DNA

Spotter has invested in Mike’s team, making sure they’re taking the right steps to automate deployments and be able to quickly recover data or metadata if they need to. Mike said “Gearset is now just part of the DNA of the company”.

“I recommend Gearset all the time. I was doing demos to friends and wouldn’t shut up about it. One of them has now implemented Gearset at their company and even uses it for CPQ configuration deployments. They love it as much as I do!” 

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