Saving 75% of deployment time with Gearset
Since first implementing Salesforce at the end of 2017, the UCLA Business and Finance Solutions team has been developing customizations for a whole range of departments across the campus. The plan is for Salesforce to become one of the organization's primary back-office tools and a strategic application for the entire university. We caught up with Joseph Zabaglo, IT Manager, and Vijay Aswani, Salesforce Technical Lead, to find out how Gearset is helping with this transformation.
Vijay's busy team of three are responsible for managing an end-to-end Salesforce process. They work on everything from building, designing, testing, architecting and deploying solutions to two main production orgs. Whether it's for HR, Tax, Legal, Treasury, Real Estate, General Accounting or Global Operations, it's down to Vijay and his team to make sure the necessary Salesforce-driven solutions are implemented.
Before Gearset, confidence levels in deployments were very low
With a large backlog of projects to implement, the team was struggling with deployments. Vijay had identified a critical need:
"We were spending days on change sets and managing our Salesforce landscape!"
Issues with change sets were slowing down the team's ability to progress new work items from a partial sandbox, to a full sandbox and on to production. There was a lot of manual preparation work before each deployment - tracking changes and figuring out what to include in each change set, as Vijay explains:
"Tracking changes was tough - it was a big headache! The system didn't tell us what changes we'd made. The next biggest headache was making sure the changes were included in the change sets."
Knowing what to include wasn't the only challenge, knowing what to exclude was also tricky: "During development, you have all these awesome ideas that you think will work in a certain way. Sometimes those ideas don't pan out, but, hey, who goes and deletes them, right? We just kept on building: we'd build this, we'd build that, and put all that stuff in there."
The team also had an issue around bugs and errors being shipped to production. This resulted in features being broken and yet more time spent on fixing releases:
"It took us two days to add and push everything. We'd test it, and figure out, oh, it's not working! What happened? And then we'd have to go back and see what we'd forgotten to add."
Impressed with Gearset from the get-go
Vijay had seen a demo of Gearset at Dreamforce and was starting to think about adding version control to the team's process. From the start, he was impressed by Gearset's unique metadata comparisons because it tells you the lines that have changed:
"If I changed a field, if I changed a list view, why did I do that, what did I change? That stood out for me with Gearset - it can compare and tell you what has changed."
The team had evaluated another third-party tool but, compared to Gearset, it still seemed much closer to what they'd experienced with change sets because it didn't tell them exactly what they needed to deploy:
"You need to know what you want to deploy, and I don't know what I need when it comes to deployments. That's why we went with Gearset: it makes knowing what you're going to deploy so much easier."
Gearset gives you a process you can trust
Vijay is very happy with Gearset and sees the overall benefits in terms of his team having confidence in the deployment process:
"There's more trust in the process, more trust in the deployments, knowing what Gearset can do for us."
The tool has helped the team save up to 75% percent of their deployment time. Vijay himself spends less time reviewing his team's work and now feels confident about allocating tasks to others:
"I don't have to spend much time reviewing the work or worry that, even after two days of reviewing, it's going to bomb. I get peace of mind knowing the deployment will work with Gearset - at least if I do everything right, which Gearset empowers me to do."
As well as knowing exactly what's going to be deployed, Vijay and the team benefit from Gearset's problem analyzers, which flag up and resolve more than 60 common deployment issues to make sure deployments succeed. The team will also consider implementing version control, as Vijay hopes to generate more time-savings from Gearset's CI capabilities at some point in future if the team expands. Following a recent Salesforce outage, Vijay is keenly aware of the need to have a complete backup solution in place.
Recommending Gearset for better Salesforce ROI
Gearset is helping the team at UCLA deliver more value to end users, save time on deployments and prevent errors in production. As Vijay explains, this translates into benefits for the team's internal customers: "I told my manager that, instead of two weeks, I will take a week or less using Gearset. And if you save two weeks, even the customers get that we can do things faster, so we can add more value to what we are building."
For Vijay, Gearset is the tool to use for deployments, especially if you're unsure about the deployment process. And he would absolutely recommend Gearset to other Salesforce teams:
"If someone said they were going to take Gearset away from me - oh, no, they can't!"