What Are the Best Practices for Risk-Free Salesforce Deployment

Dec 27 2022

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How to Ensure a Risk-Free Salesforce Deployment

Large organizations have huge benefits when adopting Salesforce technologies to meet the emerging challenges of their business. Salesforce, with over 150,000 customers, is one of the most popular business applications. Its low code interface with point-and-click tools helps businesses achieve tremendous results. Though Salesforce makes application development a lot easier for different tech proficiency levels, but it can provide unpleasant consequences if not done in the right manner.

The CRM software segment is expected to reach 800 billion US dollars by 2023, however, every software deployment has its risks. With Salesforce, any change within the organization can pose risks to the entire infrastructure. It can affect business continuity, compromise security, and create compatibility issues within the existing setup. The key to minimizing these risks is to take into account all the aspects related to the deployment and decide how they fit in the overall Salesforce environment strategy.

In this blog, you will learn best practices  for risk-free Salesforce deployment.

Salesforce Deployment Best Practices

When it comes to Salesforce, it's important to have a solid plan in place. Not only will this help you avoid costly errors, it'll also make sure your team is prepared for the correct deployment process. 

Here are some best practices for risk-free Salesforce deployment:

1. Understand Your Needs - Implement Release and Iteration Planning

Before you begin the implementation process, make sure you understand your business needs and objectives. You should also identify any potential obstacles that might arise during the process. By performing an exhaustive discovery process before beginning a project so that you know exactly what needs to be done, who will do it, how long it will take and how much it will cost.

Identify the resources required for a successful implementation, such as training for users, consultants or both; technical support to assist with troubleshooting; and administrative support for ongoing maintenance tasks once the system has been implemented successfully.

Planning everything in advance is important to make sure that you have the right data as it may take a few days if the project is about legacy data migration. In addition, consider backing up your deployment strategy with a roll-back plan. Sometimes things don’t work out as expected and affect continuity, so with help of version control, you can go back where you’ve started and fix errors.

2. Test in a Sandbox - Develop a Sandbox Strategy

The most important thing you should do when considering a Salesforce deployment is to conduct thorough tests in a sandbox environment. Create an environment that’s separate from your live application and run tests on this environment. You can do this by installing the same version of Salesforce that you intend to use or by using another one with similar features. Test these features out thoroughly to ensure they are working as expected before using them in production.

Make sure the sandbox has all of the same features as your production environment and has all of the same data sources and integrations so that you can test everything before making any changes.

Create dummy data in your sandbox to represent real-world scenarios and see how they work in each scenario. For example, if you have an integration with Xero accounting software, create some fake invoices and accounts so that when they come through they work correctly on both sides of the integration. This will help ensure that everything works as expected once it's moved into production.

3. Create a Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)

A software development lifecycle (SDLC) is an organized approach used by organizations to manage their software projects from conception to retirement. An SDLC is a methodology for developing software. It consists of several steps, each of which has a specific purpose. The goal of an SDLC is to help companies manage their projects efficiently while ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations.

Since Salesforce is a no-code/low code environment, it is crucial to have a well-executed SDLC process for citizen developers as well. An SDLC allows companies to develop software in an efficient manner while ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations. It also helps companies avoid costly mistakes by providing them with an established framework for building their digital products or software applications.

The best way to ensure the success of your Salesforce deployment is through a well-executed SDLC process that meets all of your organization's needs. Use an SDLC to manage the entire Salesforce deployment process from start to finish. The SDLC should include tasks like gathering requirements, building quality into your code base, testing and deploying new features. This is how you ensure that your system is secure and reliable for your users.

4. Collect Deployment Metrics - Establish Continuous Testing

Continuous testing is an important part of any deployment strategy. It allows you to test your code against known scenarios, making sure that it behaves as expected before it gets into production. Continuous testing can also be used to identify areas that need improvement and inform future planning. You should also run these tests often, at least once a week, so you can catch any issues early on. Automated testing is ideal, but manual testing can also be effective if you have access to real users and real data.

Building a stable application architecture ensures that your code base is flexible enough to accommodate changes as they come up during Salesforce development or maintenance operations (such as upgrades). In Salesforce Developer Experience, you can apply continuous integration approach using scratch organizations. These are source-driven and disposable deployments of Salesforce code and metadata. Scratch organizations help developers to integrate standard automation testing tools like Selenium, Puppet, CircleCI, Jenkins, Travis CI, etc. These tools help run automated tests for new changes, check code coverage and push deployment to a target environment.

5. Implement Code Version Tracking

Code version tracking is one of the most important and easiest ways to ensure that your Salesforce deployment stays risk-free. The basic idea behind version control is simple: you log every change you make to your codebase. When you do this, you can track the history of your deployments and identify the source of any problems that occur.

Use static resources and static files whenever possible. Static resources include things like CSS files and JavaScript libraries — anything that doesn't change often throughout the development process. Static files are faster to load than dynamic ones because they don't require any processing by the browser or server (i.e., they're already compiled into a file).

It's important to track each change made to your code so that you can roll back to an earlier version if necessary. If something breaks after you've deployed a new release, it's much easier to identify what went wrong if you have a record of all of your changes. For example, if you're using Git, you can set up a post-commit hook that runs tests every time someone pushes changes to the repo. This will help ensure your code is stable before releasing it into production.

Once you've decided how to manage your code versions, it's important to make sure that all developers are familiar with the process. If one developer doesn't know how to use Git or Subversion, they'll likely end up breaking something during deployment and causing problems for everyone else on your team.

6: Establish Appropriate Permission Levels

Salesforce is highly customizable, which means that it's easy for users to accidentally or intentionally access data they aren't authorized to see. To avoid this issue, establish clear roles and permissions for each user account. This will help prevent unauthorized access and give your organization more visibility into who's doing what in the system.

Separating permissions by department, industry or other criteria makes it easier to manage access and permissions over time. For example, if you have a sales team that works across multiple territories but needs access to different information depending on where they are in the world, create separate user groups for each territory and give them different roles based on where they work.

Salesforce has the ability to create multiple user groups, each with its own permissions. With this feature, you can set up a group of users with access only to specific data, applications and features within your Salesforce instance. This is useful for limiting the capabilities of a subset of users who may not need all of the functionality available in Salesforce. The higher the level of permissions, the more risk involved in deploying and testing code changes.

In some cases, you may want to test your code on a smaller group of users before pushing it out to all of your users. You can also test by deploying different versions of the same feature to different groups of users. You should set up your users' permissions so they have access only to the records they need. This will help ensure security and compliance with regulations such as HIPAA and PCI DSS.

Salesforce Deployment Options

Modern companies are increasingly adopting the use of CRM to manage sales and customer data. They've also learned that CRM cannot be effective unless it's properly integrated into the existing business processes. This is why launching integrations with a Salesforce deployment strategy is  important. However, implementing such a system is not so straightforward, primarily because of the special requirements that each organization has.

Here are some of the best practices you should consider before launching your Salesforce deployment.

Change Sets

This is the most common way to deploy Salesforce. It allows for incremental changes to the system and can be used for testing and approval before full deployment. The process involves creating a change set, which is a collection of all of the changes you want to make to your organization. Change sets can include customizations, approval processes, fields, page layouts and much more. After creating your change set, you will then run it through a test environment where you can see how it will impact your current setup before deploying it into production.

Meta Data API

The Meta Data API is a RESTful API that lets you query metadata about objects in the Salesforce platform. This API requires the use of the Apex Class Toolkit, which allows developers to write Apex code that queries Salesforce metadata using SOQL (Salesforce Object Query Language). So instead of querying data directly from your database like regular SQL queries do, you can query metadata and get results back as JSON objects. This can be especially useful if you want to make changes without redeploying your entire application or if you’re using a third-party tool that doesn’t support SOQL queries directly.

The Meta Data API allows you to programmatically manage metadata like object types and fields. You can use this API to create new objects or update existing ones without having access to the Salesforce UI. This makes it ideal for automated deployments like continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD).

Ant Migration Tool

The Ant Migration Tool is another way to automate deployments using CI/CD tools like Jenkins or Bamboo. This tool allows you to perform complex upgrades automatically by running code written in Java against a development instance of Salesforce. It is possible to use this feature as part of a change set or as a standalone tool.

Choose a Partner Who Can Help You Make an Informed Choice

Remember that Salesforce is a business solution, and it's going to be used by real people working for an organization with its own unique culture. Salesforce will only succeed in that environment if you take the time to understand its users' pain points and account for them during planning and deployment. For example, SmileTrain, a nonprofit organization teamed up with Icreon to modernize their digital experience. The old website lacked in the flexibility and control to make custom changes for effective management. Icreon recommended Drupal for the CMS component and Salesforce for the CRM component - with plans to integrate them as a 'donor management system'. As a result of the development of SmileTrain's website and integration of Drupal and Salesforce, the team created a donor management ecosystem that enabled SmileTrain to start thinking bigger – including the next project, the development of a peer-to-peer fundraising platform.

Although there are a number of different factors to consider when deciding on an appropriate deployment strategy, you need to address these factors early on in your deployment plan—and not just before installation. You should partner with an experienced agency who can help you navigate the complex world of Salesforce implementations and deployments. Find someone who knows how to choose the right version of Salesforce for your business needs and budget constraints so that you don't make any mistakes along the way. A good partner will also help you choose a hosting provider with robust security features so that no confidential company data is compromised during or after deployment. Explore Icreon’s Salesforce Consulting Solutions