“Salesforce is a strategic partner for Zurich - we’re building huge projects on it. If we didn’t have a solution to help us manage source control it would be very difficult. Gearset makes it easy.”

John Quayle | Salesforce Delivery Manager | Zurich
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For global insurance company Zurich, Salesforce is a strategic platform on which huge business-critical projects are built.

With increasingly complex business needs in 2021, Zurich began partnering with Gearset as the solution to help manage its deployment process.

In 3 years Zurich’s Salesforce team has grown from 8 to a team of 27, managing 5 orgs. In this short timeframe Zurich’s Salesforce Delivery Manager John Quayle and Salesforce Developer Jonny Harris have been instrumental in driving the development of this team’s processes forward as it has scaled. We talked to them to find out about the evolution of their process and future ambitions.

Slow deployments and no scalability

Before they adopted Gearset, the Zurich team used a mix of deployment tools and relied on delivery partners. Some developers were using ANT and Bamboo, which didn’t handle the nuances of Salesforce. These tools also weren’t easily accessible for admins and entry-level developers who used change sets instead. And for Salesforce Industries deployments, the team used Vlocity Build Tool. As a result, there were three development streams, with no consistent use of source control for replicable builds.

It wasn’t a scalable or efficient process. As Jonny Harris recalls “deployments were taking 3-4 hours on a Friday night” and in one case a colleague spent 8 hours deploying profiles over a Saturday.

An efficient, scalable process

John Quayle began to look for a solution and after evaluating options chose Gearset. He felt Gearset would solve the issues his team were encountering.

With Gearset they can manage the deployment process in one platform designed for Salesforce and the entire team is able to use it. The team is more efficient, deploying quickly and reliably enabling them to scale and deliver big projects internally.

John explains Gearset stood out as:

“There was a real understanding of the challenges we had. Gearset is easy to deal with and has a very straightforward pricing model. We liked the UI and it was obvious there was continued investment in the product.”

Easy onboarding

John and Jonny remember there was initially a little hesitancy about the change, but as soon as people tried Gearset the whole team adopted the compare and deploy process very quickly. Jonny says the adoption was high as “with Gearset deployments take 20 minutes” compared with the hours it was previously taking. The team found the ability to deploy partial profiles very powerful and being able to see the whole deployment history.

John believes:

“Anyone would be able to get value from Gearset’s deploy function instantly. The compare and deploy process was a huge step forward.”

Delivering business impact

By implementing Gearset, Zurich could scale the team and increase productivity to deliver big projects.

John explains: “Salesforce is a strategic platform for Zurich - we’re building huge projects on it. If we didn’t have a solution to help us manage source control it would be very difficult. Gearset makes it easy.”

He gives the example of a large project that was delivered in an hour with Gearset. The team were especially pleased that they only had two bugs to fix - and neither were caused by deploying the wrong thing. Another big project was to reduce the time it was taking to get a quote to brokers from several days to two hours. The first part of this not using Gearset took an entire weekend to deploy. The second phase of the project was delivered using Gearset and took under two hours. This had a huge positive impact on the business, with the conversion rate for one product increasing by 50%.

“Gearset has increased the quality, efficiency and reduced error. It has given us the confidence that what we’re delivering is what we should be delivering.”

A partnership

With a process set up that enabled the team to deliver quick, quality releases, John’s team had the foundation to build out an even more mature DevOps process, adding Pipelines to 3 of their orgs.

John says, setting up Pipelines has been a “collaboration, a partnership.” Gearset provided support to work out the right solution and setup for Zurich. Jonny, in partnership with Gearset, refined a Pipelines process on one project which formed the model to be rolled out across all. Along the way he made suggestions for Pipeline features that were then implemented into the product on the next release cycle.

Jonny explains the Gearset team “take a genuine interest and help us to get the best out of the product”. The live chat function allows him to quickly talk to the knowledgeable team, who provide help as well as a sounding board for ideas and guidance on best practices.

“We never regretted onboarding Gearset and with the addition of the Pipelines it’s even better.”

Ambitious future plans

In partnership with Gearset, the team have ambitious goals for the future and are working to establish a true CI/CD pipeline with automated testing across all their orgs.

John and Jonny know they’re on a journey with the process. To get to the next point of true CI/CD, the immediate plan is to upskill the team using Gearset’s online training platform, DevOps Launchpad, as well as bespoke sessions with their Account Manager.

“The support is great. The product is great and it’s still evolving. Gearset has added huge value!”

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