Assess Any Dependencies and Plan Salesforce Changes Efficiently [In-Depth Overview]
Manage and test Salesforce metadata changes in a smart, comprehensive way, while offering the entire team a faster route to understanding even the most complex Salesforce implementations.
- Reduce planning and impact analysis time (and effort) for any change or new implementation with a comprehensive, user-friendly view of dependencies between any metadata elements in your Salesforce org, including CPQ. You can also receive real-time notifications about changes over email or Slack.
- Leverage the full text search capabilities within the metadata components, from email templates to specific error messages.
- Reduce technical debt and ensure governor limits are considered while accessing clear and up-to-date information to proceed with the deletion of redundant or inactive components safely.
- Use ForeSight’s Automation Overview tab to map, plan, manage, automatically document, and thoroughly test your automations as you optimize your processes or migrate existing automations to flows.
It is common knowledge in the ecosystem that keeping track of multiple Salesforce changes through various sandboxes or production organizations can, at times, be extremely tricky. If not properly organized, this can cause significant damage to existing processes, as well as the user experience. What if this could easily be prevented?
Panaya’s change intelligence solution for Salesforce, ForeSight, has been around for quite some time, and continues to evolve to meet more challenging business needs. For example, CPQ support, alongside risk-based testing, was launched last year.
ForeSight could become the ultimate ally for the entire team involved in your organization’s change process. Proprietary algorithms power the analysis of components and help you understand the downstream impact of every single metadata change. As a result, your team is sure to gain full visibility of all dependencies, along with a massive confidence boost for new hires trying to understand your current implementation.
This in-depth overview will showcase the main features ForeSight will bring to your organization, ideal use cases, and setup effort, as well as how fast your users can (and will) adopt this end-to -end change intelligence tool.
ForeSight is a web-based tool that you will have to connect to your Salesforce production and sandbox instance(s). It is sure to help with identifying dependencies (far faster than you would by going through each component), testing your changes, and properly prioritizing workloads for all the team members – take full 360 control of your Salesforce org!
The Ultimate Dependency Map
Perhaps the most important part of ForeSight as it relates to the impact of potential changes, is the creation of an Analysis for the components that are going to be updated. This analysis takes place as part of the project you are currently working on, by simply clicking “New Analysis” at the top. You can then search through all your components, or filter down by the component type, as needed.
Even if you do not know the exact name of the component, for example, you can search by a keyword, then make use of the fields directly available on the search results page to further narrow the list down.
Also keep in mind that you do not have to analyze the components one by one; you can select all the necessary components before starting the analysis for the changes you’re working on.
In this case, I settled on the standard Stage field from the Opportunity Object before getting started with the analysis. Once this is done, ForeSight instantly generates the list of dependencies, as well as the type of impact, with an array of options available for you to use – on top of simply having a list of components. Check out the video below!
Remember that you can choose to analyze or search for any standard or custom Salesforce object, even if it’s from a managed package. One perfect example is Salesforce CPQ, which is fully supported by ForeSight – this means that impact can be analyzed across the board, for all CPQ specific objects and related components as well.
One of ForeSight’s goals is to ease the entire impact analysis process while helping you to understand the core structure of the organization you are making changes in. That being said, while the list of components you notice above is definitely helpful, the readily available graph view is sure to provide a true X-ray view of the organization.
You can easily select individual components from the graph or the type of component from the legend on the top left, in order to zoom in precisely on a certain component or group of components. Impacted reports and dashboards will be captured as well!
Moreover, you can click on any component from the chart and benefit from similar actions which were available in the list view as well.
What’s more, if you want to switch back to the list view, it’s literally one click away – use the toggle from the top-right corner of the page.
Regardless of the view you choose to go through the components, you can review and mark changes on anything that should be updated. A list will automatically be created containing everything that has been identified as a change, so you can proceed with creating User Stories and generating Tasks (and assigning them accordingly).
Text Search Through Your Metadata
The second option after clicking on the “New Analysis” tab is to search for a string within your entire organization. The advantage here is that you will be able to easily identify components such as error messages or email addresses that need updates following different process or organization changes.
What I searched for was simply “Test”, as the end goal was to identify all fields with this word in either their Label or API Name. Filters are also available for these search results pages, making it extremely easy for me to reach the items I was looking for without having to scroll through all the occurrences of the keyword in the organization.
Make sure you check out the list of components supported for text search here.
As if having the entire ForeSight functionality directly in your browser wasn’t already easily accessible, Panaya has also brought to the table a handy Chrome Extension to take your impact analysis journey up a notch!
Simply put, all you have to do is install the extension, choose the ForeSight URL and Project Id, then jump right into your Salesforce instance to further analyze components you are interested in changing to assess their dependencies. All components that are supported will reveal an “Analyze” button, as well as the ForeSight logo when hovering over them.
As you will notice below, key information such as direct or indirect dependencies, is provided within the extension without you having to leave Salesforce. Of course, you also have the option of opening the more detailed view in ForeSight, which will generate a new Analysis for you.
The Automation Overview tab is one feature that will surely become your ‘best friend’ while working in ForeSight, especially in an enterprise environment with a very high number of automations spanning across both standard and custom objects.
A perfect example of a task is the current need to migrate existing business automations into Flow as Process Builder and Workflow Rules are being deprecated. Through the use of filters, you can choose the Object, environment, and perhaps most importantly, the type of automation.
You will be able to see key details, such as the fields being updated or when the automation is triggered, and you can also click on any of the processes to deep dive into all components.
It’s very useful that the fields being updated are displayed right away. Of course, you can filter on the specific field(s) you need, but you can immediately spot not only the custom, but also the standard fields as well.
For example, you’ll know exactly how many flows are updating the Opportunity Stage from this page. However, since the “Where is it used?” button is not available for this field in Salesforce, it would imply that more work is required to find this information directly in your org.
Of course, once you have found the process you would like to deep-dive into, you can start an analysis right away and kick off the project.
As we all know, testing is always recommended to discover potential bugs or missing items before deploying the changes to production and impacting end users. ForeSight offers the possibility of creating Tests related to every single change, assigning owners and due dates, and also documenting the potential defects discovered while testing.
Additionally, the testers can record their Salesforce screen while performing the tests – this way, they can document what was tested and also obtain evidence that the testing took place properly. You can find out more about how to use the Panaya Recorder here.
In case something does not work as expected, testers can immediately log Defects in a very organized manner, which is sure to capture all required information. Say goodbye to not having a screenshot of the error!
You will also notice that Tests within Panaya are grouped in Cycles. You can monitor the progress of each of the Cycles with analytics available out of the box – consider all of the Tests and Steps to be performed, as well as the Defects.
Change Management and Analysis
When starting your change intelligence journey with ForeSight, there are a few concepts you will become familiar with within the tool, such as Systems and Projects, as well as Project specific ones like Analysis, Tests, and Defects – all of which we will cover during this overview.
Simply put, the System represents the Salesforce instance ForeSight is connected to – where it will fetch metadata from. Depending on your plan, multiple systems can be used to offer the possibility of further analysis when it comes to monitoring changes you or your team are planning to make.
One very insightful offering for the connected production org (unless otherwise mentioned) is a full org overview. This provides key information pertaining to all components from within the organization, with the possibility of further exploring items such as how the organization’s complexity has fluctuated over time.
Widgets such as the number of fields per object, the number of Process Builders per object, or the component distribution we zoomed in on below let you know at all times exactly how you’re standing in areas that could potentially require improvement or clean-up.
As you would expect, the Project is the umbrella that covers all of the changes that will be analyzed and actioned in relation to a specific initiative. The screenshot at the beginning of this section shows that you can give your project any name, and it can represent either smaller changes or very complex ones such as a CPQ Implementation.
For the defined project manager, as well as the rest of the team, the Project’s Workspace tab will be the one-stop shop for all the Work Items, Features, Previous Analysis, and even User Stories related to the Project. The list can be filtered based on quite a few different attributes, while also allowing quick actions such as re-assigning one or multiple items to users.
For each item, there are a lot more details to log and fill in (if needed), so let’s take a closer look at one of them!
As you can see in the above video, anyone – from business owners to Salesforce professionals – can be assigned as owners. In addition, development time and work can be properly tracked at the most granular level, scope and sub-tasks or tests (which we will explore later) can be related accordingly, and of course, progression can be tracked through predefined statuses.
Additionally, in order to keep the project on track, Dashboard can be easily built and shared with all team members. The Widget Gallery provides a good variety of potential metrics to track, and they are also interactive – you can click on the information in the widgets and will be redirected to a prefiltered and more detailed view of the item you clicked on.
Make sure you further explore all possibilities with reports and dashboard within ForeSight, as explained in these articles.
As you can see from the functionalities above, ForeSight is sure to keep growing as new updates are added and existing features are improved.
In the near future, Panaya will include (as part of ForeSight) a seamless integration with Jira. The purpose is to ensure a smooth transition from the planning phase – which starts with the Analysis in ForeSight – to the execution phase that usually takes place in Jira, as well as to enhance cross-team collaboration.
On top of this, a new Security Overview module is in the works, to better analyze Salesforce permissions, permission set groups, and profiles.
And finally (perhaps the most exciting part!), ForeSight will soon be able to provide insights on change intelligence directly within the DevOps tool of your choice. This adds yet another layer of possibilities towards the end goal – a flawless Salesforce deployment.
Surely by this point you have already thought of a few ways to use one or more of ForeSight’s capabilities. There are numerous potential ways to leverage any of them, but we will focus on two main use cases, which you can also explore right from the get-go.
ForeSight provides a great way to mitigate potential issues and blockers, especially for new hires, while also improving collaboration. When a new administrator is tasked with deprecating unused fields, we all know it’s not as simple as just deleting them and ‘calling it a day’.
Below is a simple example of a random Case field that was created a long time ago and is no longer used. However, while analyzing the potential impact, it becomes obvious that a developer should be involved in this exercise as well, considering the direct dependency with an Apex Class. Of course, this is an ideal scenario with a low number of dependencies, but it can become much more tricky once Record Types are involved, or perhaps even Digital Experience sites.
On top of this, while I’m quite sure you will have thought about the “Where is it used” button to obtain the same information about the above field, ForeSight can actually analyze the impact directly for the entire object. It also allows you to drill down at component level, be it for fields or others.
This way, the Salesforce Administrator can complete the task at hand to deprecate the unused fields, while also being able to discover and analyze everything that is going on with a certain standard or custom object.
This insight is extremely important, as it mitigates potential errors or affected components being forgotten about when a change is happening. It also gives confidence to any new hires involved in the change process – they have everything they need to become accustomed with the org’s complexity, all at their fingertips.
Another great out-of-the-box functionality ForeSight has to offer is the ability to recommend components to be analyzed for potential technical debt. After accessing any project you create, the Potential Technical Debt option will be available under the Overview tab.
As you can see below, each component on the list receives technical debt indicators, and you can also filter out the list to narrow it down to exactly what you might need. In this case, the list shows primarily old fields which are either not used in other components or could be a duplicate.
This can be very handy during clean-ups or simply as a regular team exercise, both to keep the production org tidy and to deprecate the components that are no longer needed or have been replaced.
You can also use the All Components option and apply the filters to create custom predefined views to share with everyone working on a project – quickly obtain valuable insights on components you’re looking forward to deprecating or changing.
Also note that you have the option to go as granular as you need to with the filters. For example, you can choose to see only the Picklist values, or you can focus on those components with a larger number of impacting components associated.
Similar to the Salesforce List views you are most likely already familiar with, you can switch at any time between these lists by using the side menu.
Without a doubt, ForeSight is here to make a significant difference in your day-to-day life as a Salesforce Administrator constantly building new functionality for your users. From identifying, grouping, and displaying all potential component dependencies in an easily readable graph, to automatically documenting test steps, this tool has the potential to become the new one-stop shop for the entire team.
Setting up ForeSight, along with the dedicated Chrome extension and Salesforce managed package, takes next to no time. Of course, this might vary depending on how you choose to explore all the possible options and different settings.
The key to properly setting up ForeSight is making sure you’re connecting to the right Salesforce sandbox and production orgs, as well as choosing the correct active project when starting to use the Chrome extension.
As you would expect, there is also thorough documentation available to help you get started, which covers everything you’ll need to become comfortable with all aspects of the tool in relation to Salesforce.
On top of the written documentation, Panaya has included guided walkthroughs within ForeSight for a hassle-free tutorial. From the same in-app help menu, you can also access the latest product updates and the rest of the knowledge base.
As you may have noticed from the screenshot above, the same help menu also allows you to reach out to support, either with a specific question pertaining to your use cases, or with a product suggestion – from wherever you are within ForeSight. You can also send an email to [email protected] for inquiries.
There are currently three packages available to choose from, depending on the functionality you want to be available for your teams during the change process. You can reach out to Panaya for a quote based on your organization’s needs, and you can also calculate your return on investment via their website – you just need to answer a few simple questions about your current state.
From producing detailed dependency analysis to properly planning and testing Salesforce changes, ForeSight’s functionality can be used by everybody – from junior admins and QA testers to experienced architects.
Start your free 14-day trial to see how easily ForeSight will not only save you precious time, but also ensure that the changes you and your team make are properly managed before reaching the production environment.