Running client Org Health Checks
You can engage new clients, or re-engage existing clients by offering them a free "Org Health Check". Simply install the Elements Catalyst managed package into their full Sandbox using the 14-day trial. Why a full Sandbox? You want to have their data for the "field-trip on steroids" analytics. To be safe you probably want to allow 2-3 hours to run the sync. Often a sync from a Sandbox takes slightly longer as Salesforce prioritizes Production API calls.
Once you have run the sync and have had a chance to look through the analytics, you can invite the Admin into the Space as a viewer and walk them through their Org.
You should focus on a couple of areas of the Org Analytics Report with the client. If you remember, you launch it from the top bar of the Org Model. The 2 areas to focus on are:
How well documented is the Org:
- % descriptions completed
- % help text completed
- Descriptions for objects and related items
Size and complexity of the Org:
- No of custom fields by object
- No of records by object
- % field filled
- Report usage
- Users logged on by profiles
How well documented is the Org
(in Org Documentation section)
% descriptions completed
Documentation by object
Size and complexity of the Org
(in Org Size & Users sections)
% fields completed by object
Custom fields by object
Records by object
Process Builder Workflows by object
Users logged on by profiles
Winning project work - giving you more options
How many times have you started a project where the client claimed that their Org has very little customization? When you start digging a little deeper into Setup you find a ton of custom objects with undocumented process builder workflows and validation rules. Now you have a difficult conversation with the client on Day 2 of the project about scope, cost and delivery date.
If you'd had a better idea of the state of the Org before you quoted you might have taken a different approach to bidding and estimating the project. Here are some of the options:
- increased the budget
- quoted to help clean up the Org alongside the project scope
- added more contingency to mitigate for the risk
- walked away from the project.
The Org Model and Org Analytics give you these insights for free using the 14-day trial.
"But our client won't let us run this on the Org"
Really? You are about to start a deep and meaningful relationship with them. It takes so little time to set up and run the Org Model sync, that this is a poor excuse.
So what is the real issue?
Perhaps it is security. The sync doesn't look at any data - it simply syncs the Org metadata. Here is the Elements Data Security and Compliance document. Perhaps they are scared of their Org and don't want to see the results. What is more likely is that they've not heard of Elements Catalyst. In which case use it as differentiator to win the work. You can use the positive reviews on the AppExchange to give them confidence.
This leads us to the next section: Selling the benefits of using Elements Catalyst on the project.
Selling the client on a clean-up project
It seems obvious that clients need a well documented Org for it to be easy to maintain and agile. But often your client's management is not aware of how easy it is to lose control. The power of “clicks not code” and speed of development means that documentation lags development and often never catches up. Sometimes it is assumed that Salesforce documents itself.
Therefore it is important to spell out the importance and benefits of clean-up and documenting the Org to your project sponsors:
- Agility: the lack of understanding about the configuration of the Org is slowing down the ability to make further changes.
- Risk mitigation: there is always the risk that making a change breaks the Org and causes disruption to the business operation.
- Performance, usability and limits: eventually the customizations loaded on top of existing customizations have a technical impact; pages are slow to load, usability goes through the floor, you hit system limits, the app starts to fail.
There are number of places to look for hard numbers to justify the project:
- Lost productivity due to delays to Lightning upgrade due to the time required to do the analysis.
- Analysis work and testing required before implementing any new change.
- Emergency rework required when changes that are made inadvertently break the Org / affect other areas of the business. Also factor in the impact on the business.
- Effort to identify fields that need to be deleted to avoid hitting limits.
- Cost to upgrade to next Salesforce tier to raise field limits.
- Debugging effort to work out how Apex triggers, validation rules, approvals, Process Builders etc etc are not working
- Wasted work building new customization because existing customizations that could have been used are too complex to understand.
Building a justification / business case
Clients want to be sure you have considered the options. You don’t have to use the paid version of Elements Catalyst. Below we give you alternatives. You will still need to build a case for the effort it takes to run a clean-up exercise and document your Org from an operational perspective.
Let’s consider each of the HOW, WHAT, WHY in turn and look at the options. Then we'll look at the power of the combination of the 3 elements; the ability to link HOW, WHAT and WHY. This is why it is called Catalyst!
You could use a free Elements Catalyst mapping, whiteboard, Powerpoint, Visio, Lucidchart, Draw.io. The key is keeping it simple.
The considerations are:
- What are the costs of editors and viewers?
- How will you manage version control and access rights?
- Do the tools help you engage end users to rapidly get shared understanding?
- How do you link them back to the changes made in Salesforce?
- How are you going to govern and manage the content going forward - keeping it up to date, reflect change so that people trust this is still correct and relevant to your operational reality?
There are utilities that can export your Org into a spreadsheet. You could even use the free Elements Catalyst trial and then run a report to export the Org Model. That gets you the metadata. Then you need to do the analysis. And keep it up to date.
Some of the utilities are free because they are side projects run by Admins. There are some commercially available utilities. Elements is a combination of many of these utilities delivered at enterprise scale with a roadmap of cool new features requested by users.
The considerations are:
- How will you keep the various spreadsheets up to date as the Org is constantly changing?
- Which Org do you export - Production or Sandbox? How can you keep them aligned?
- Much of the analysis will need to be performed by discrete utilities and the results combined.
- Some analysis will need to be done by hand.
- What level of support, what is the development roadmap and financial strength of these utilities, if you are basing your documentation strategy on them?
Spreadsheets, wikis, and custom objects in Salesforce, are the most commonly recommended approaches for creating documentation for those that have not yet discovered Elements.
The considerations are:
- How will you keep the spreadsheet/wiki up to date as the Org is constantly changing?
- How do you know when new things have been added to your Org?
- How do you link the documentation back to items configured in the Org, and which Org - Production or Sandbox?
- How do you encourage collaboration so that you highlight potential conflicts?
Power of linkage
The ability to see the line of sight from business requirements through to what was configured in Salesforce and why is very valuable. Therefore, there is a value for having the HOW, WHAT and WHY all delivered in a single view supported by powerful analytics. This dramatically reduces the analysis effort and risk associated with clean up and implementing changes.
First project and estimating the effort to document
Sitting here, it is impossible to estimate the time taken to document or run a clean up project. It depends on the complexity of your Org. The 14 day trial is intended to enable you to get some really great insights into your Org to help up you create those estimates. Even those will be a bit of a leap of faith.
I suggest the first project that you choose is small and tight in scope and offers the opportunity for some really quick wins. That way you can get senior executive support, prove the value of the work you are doing, and build a case for further work.
Alternatively, align the documentation approach to an existing, well funded project - such as Lightning upgrade.
The power of Elements Catalyst on a project
There are benefits for the client, but also for you as the consultants.
First for the client:
Our experience is that they don't need to be sold on the benefits:
- they get an Org - or at least the app you are developing - documented so that they can maintain it. THIS IS HUGE.
- the documentation can also be delivered as training material, increasing user adoption.
You need to give the client some documentation and in the next few modules you will see that it really isn't difficult or time consuming. And there are benefits:
- delivering a project with great documentation is a major differentiator vs. other consulting firms
- the project will run more smoothly as there should be a better understanding of what is being configured across the team and therefore fewer conflicts
- the client will be easier to support after the project has finished
- it will be easier to sell and deliver follow-on work