Flow / Admins / Consultants

Migrating to Flow? Getting Buy-In from Stakeholders

By Mike Bogan

It’s clear to everyone in the ecosystem that Flow is the automation tool of the future, and a migration from Workflow Rules and Process Builder is inevitable. But your stakeholders may still need some convincing about how soon this needs to be done.

However, for every second you wait for Salesforce records to update, you directly impact business productivity. In this article, we calculate the impact of hanging onto legacy Workflow and Process Builder automation and look at the 1-5 year ROI of migrating to Flow.

Why You Should Be Migrating to Flow… Today

As you likely know, Salesforce has deprecated the ability to create new workflows. And as of Summer ‘23, you can no longer create new Process Builders. This means you’ll only be able to build declarative automation in Flow. However, Apex triggers are not impacted, so they remain available to organizations with access to custom code developers.

It’s clear declarative automation’s future is in Flow, so what’s your strategy? Keep all your working workflows and process builders until Salesforce pries them out of your org with a crowbar? While this may seem attractive to some, this approach does come with a productivity cost.

Users like fast Salesforce orgs. Fast orgs increase adoption – and just make everyone happier. The well-architected team at Salesforce ran a detailed set of experiments on Flow runtime that shows, quantitatively, you need to rip out that old workflow and process to speed up your org – right now.

The gist of it is old code = slow org = unhappy users

Clearly there’s ROI in migrating from workflow and process, but what are the numbers? How much longer does an end user need to wait for a record to save? What is the total impact on my organization?

Converting Data into ROI Impact Statements

The Salesforce experiment measured the amount of time to update the Amount field on an Opportunity record: 

  • Process Builder: 150.4 ms
  • Workflow: 18.76 ms
  • Before-save Flow: 1.16 ms

Great, we have quantitative numbers. However, you can’t approach your executives and say, “you’ll save fractions of a second if you migrate to Flow”. How can you communicate this in a way that business executives will understand?

Let’s break it down.

1. Dollars Saved in Record Updates

We’ll start by calculating the cumulative waiting time saved (Process Builder vs. Flow). The results show that for every 10,000 records that have a field update driven by Process Builder, users wait a total of 25 minutes for the records to update. For Workflow, they wait 3 minutes.

Of course, every org gets to 10,000 record updates at different paces. For example, an enterprise Salesforce org might have 100 users update 100 records per day. That means they wait a cumulative 3 minutes (Workflow) to 25 minutes (Process Builder) for legacy automation to run while records are saved each day. Over the course of a year, with 14-108 hours of lost productivity, that is 1.7 to 13.5 working days!

Now, apply a resource rate of $100/hr for the user waiting, and we can convert the Salesforce experiment numbers into dollars saved by your company. Migrating a single workflow rule can save ~$1200 and a single process builder saves ~$10,000. 

Note: These numbers are for a single field update to the amount on an Opportunity. It gets worse once you stack multiple automations and types on an object.

2. Dollars Saved in Inefficient Automation

If you haven’t noticed yet, there’s a lot of automation out there. Salesforce notes:

  • 150 billion actions were executed by Workflow, Process Builder, and Flow in one month (April 2020).
  • 100 billion (67%) were same-record after-save field updates.
  • 50 billion (23%) were other record updates, email alerts, outbound messages and invocable actions.

Some recent benchmarking of Salesforce org metadata shows each object that has an active workflow rule, typically has 6 workflow rules on it. Since 65% of workflow rules are the slow field updates, that means on average each object has 4 workflow field updates on it. Thus, each record update could have 4 times the wait for a total of ~7 working days of waiting on the typical object with workflow.

This is the equivalent of $5000.

3. FTE Hours Reduced

In this era of cost-consciousness, Salesforce’s Flow innovation has created a way for admins to be heroes for their executives by increasing the speed of their orgs and potentially saving FTE level costs. 

Benchmarking research also found that only 12% of declarative automation is in Flow and the typical org has >100 workflow rules in it. For 100 workflow rules updating fields in the average enterprise org, Salesforce users in that org are potentially waiting a cumulative 160 working days for records to update. That’s 0.6 of a full-time equivalent (FTE) employee for the year. 

For Process Builder, we found orgs typically have about 25 processes. This pushes productivity lost to 339 days or 1.3 FTE. The combined productivity loss would be 475 working days or 1.9 FTE.

4. Time Saved in Training and Resources

Beyond the quantitative productivity cost arguments for migrating workflows and process builders, note that all new admins in the ecosystem will be focused on learning Flow. 

Leaving Workflow, and more importantly, Process Builder, in your org will create training overhead for incoming resources. In order to maintain your old code, these new resources will need to do training on a defunct declarative approach when they could be spending their time producing meaningful work for your organization.

So, What’s the Bottom Line? 

If we assume it takes one full working day to migrate each piece of legacy automation in this example, the one year ROI for Workflow is $47k and Process Builder is $250k. However, like all debt, your ROI on paying it down will compound over years. The five year return on migrating 100 workflows and 25 processes that update 2.6M records per year is roughly $1.8M.

Legacy Automation Impacts Users and Customers

Now you might say, wait a minute, I’m at a smaller company and we don’t update that many records and have less legacy automation. However, remember that each user experiences this waiting period – and user experience is paramount. 

Apply these wait times to a customer service scenario, where every second counts, and you can see how the need to migrate off legacy automation is critical – it impacts your customer’s experience with your brand.

Final Thoughts

The Workflow Rule and Process Builder retirement is pressing on all Salesforce Admins in the ecosystem. To get key decision makers in their corner, admins need to readjust their language.

Accepting push back like, “but the workflow just works!”, is not going to cut it anymore. Executives are impacting their customer experience by not migrating to Flow. Even worse, they will be falling behind their competitors that are more agile than them. 

The key lies in effectively communicating ROI – the longer you wait to migrate, the more it will cost your organization. Admins need to build strong ROI impact statements that speak to either:

  1. Dollars saved.
  2. Hours saved (or FTE saved).
  3. Impacts on organizational objectives.

Everyone’s org is different. The number of automations, how they are structured, and their types can all impact the speed of an org saving a particular record. To help, org optimization solution Hubbl Diagnostics, offers a free basic org scan functionality, that allows you to see how much workflow and process you need to migrate in a snapshot and track your migration to flow. Hopefully this helps you convey the real cost of maintaining workflow rules and processes in your org.

Check out Salesforce Ben’s free Migrate to Salesforce Flow course!

The Author

Mike Bogan

Mike joined the ecosystem with Traction On Demand as the first presales solution engineer, growing ToD from 20 to >1500. Now with Hubbl Diagnostics, Mike leads product strategy efforts.

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