Admins / Consultants

You’ve Inherited a Salesforce Org. Now What?

By Eric Dreshfield

Salesforce Admins face many challenges when inheriting a pre-built org, particularly when there are gaps in documentation and customizations have been done using code. If only they had a platform that provides a clear visualization of all the direct and indirect connections between the components in the org – one that helps to identify dependencies much faster than investigating them manually. This happened to “Frank”, a Salesforce Admin on his first day of work.

A Salesforce Admin’s First Day at Work

Frank is an experienced Salesforce Admin who just landed a new role at a big tech company. Frank is highly motivated and excited for the challenges that lie ahead. He is also feeling a bit apprehensive as he has always worked as part of a team and this is his first role as a solo administrator. 

Everything involving Salesforce at this company will rest on his shoulders. It’s a good thing the implementation was completed with the help of some external partners, right? (Well… maybe. But more on that shortly!) 

Frank created a detailed plan for his first week on the job, for when he’s not participating in those necessary HR  onboarding activities.

Meeting the Team

The first thing on Frank’s to-do list is meeting the business users. From Frank’s experience, he understands that it’s a good idea to get to know the people he’ll be supporting. The intent here is to get to know everyone’s job functions, how they interact with Salesforce, and what parts of their jobs are still being done outside of Salesforce. 

Frank had hoped to schedule at least one meeting with the implementation partner who has helped the company launch Salesforce. Unfortunately, he discovered their time at the company has already ended and there’s no budget to bring them back, leaving him on his own to figure things out based on the documentation left behind. 

Not the ideal situation, but he’ll have to make the best of it. One more challenge, as Frank’s continued his investigation, he has discovered that a lot of the customization of the org has been done using code, and not declarative methods, and he’s quite far from being a coder. Now what?

If all this sounds familiar, you are not alone! When the org is developed by an external partner, there is a good chance that you will not be familiar with all the ‘bits and bytes’ of the configuration. If you’re lucky, the integrator will leave you with a well documented org – however, this is not always the case.

What Now? 

When taking over the care of a Salesforce org, there are many things to consider: 

  • How many objects and fields are in use? 
  • What custom settings are active? 
  • Which metadata components of any type are lacking descriptions and documentation? 

Understanding and being able to quantify usage within the org is important as there are limits on many things within Salesforce. It’s very much like the quote that is often attributed to Peter Drucker: “You can’t improve what you don’t measure.” 

And thinking about that with a Salesforce Administrator’s mindset, perhaps the hidden meaning is that you can’t improve if you don’t know where you are starting from. 

The first approach would be to start filling in the documentation gaps. Some people would say the quickest and easiest method would be adding descriptions to objects and fields to indicate their use and purpose. And while the concept makes sense, that still leaves things like reports & dashboards, flows and other automations, as well as anything code-based, sitting in the dark. There are tools you can use to help build out the documentation you are aiming for.

You can use a chrome extension like Salesforce DevTools to quickly export details like object and field definitions. That could be a good start, but it will not provide the complete picture you are looking for. 

You can look at the AppExchange for free apps from Salesforce Labs, as you know those have been built by people at Salesforce. There you’ll find OrgCheck – an app that digs a little deeper than the Chrome extension. It also gives you visibility into things like the counts of Apex triggers per object, as well as a detailed look at role hierarchies including counts of active and deactivated users per role. 

So, you’re getting closer to where you want to be, but there’s still a lot of manual effort required and anything code-based is hidden from view.

Let me offer a slightly different approach. Documentation has always been your stated goal – but why? What you’re really after is a complete understanding of what’s in the org, how it’s being utilized, and for what purposes. This will arm you with the knowledge you need to increase efficiency, replace unnecessary code with declarative options, and set the stage for future growth. 

What you’re really searching for is impact analysis. And that’s when you discover ForeSight from Panaya.

It’s Time to Take Control

Panaya ForeSight aims to enhance your understanding of the structure of your Salesforce org. It is a SaaS platform that instantly helps you identify dependencies much faster than investigating them manually or using any other solution. 

The first thing you will notice when you start using Panaya ForeSight is the impact analysis graph – a clear visualization of all the direct and indirect connections between the components in the org. It even reveals those that you may not have been aware of!

With Panaya ForeSight, you no longer have to guess what will happen when you make changes to a component or automation, and you won’t have to fear that your developments will break a business-critical process. With just a click of a button, you can know precisely what the impact of your enhancements will be. Now, it doesn’t matter if the org was implemented by a system integrator or if the documentation provided was insufficient, you have all the knowledge you need – just as if you developed the org yourself.

Understanding your organization’s structure may be the initial reason for using Panaya ForeSight. However, over time, you will realize that this tool can help you in many other ways as you continue to develop your org. It can assist you in appropriately prioritizing workloads for all team members, understanding the root cause of any bugs and issues, reducing technical debt, ensuring governor limits are met, optimizing your automations, and managing your migration to Salesforce Flow.

Final Thoughts

It might be an overwhelming experience for a Salesforce Admin to inherit a Salesforce org from a third-party vendor. However, there are tools and best practices available to address this challenge. 

By using tools like Panaya ForeSight, you can understand the current state of the org and gain confidence in fulfilling business requests. You can also take a proactive approach to innovate and enhance the org. Review the existing configuration in Salesforce, identify areas for improvement, and maximize the value of Salesforce for your organization by going beyond day-to-day tasks. 

Interested in hearing more? Contact Panaya for a free demo of Panaya ForeSight today.

The Author

Eric Dreshfield

Founder, Midwest Dreamin'; Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame; Principal Consultant, Dresh For Success LLC

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