Governance: What’s to Lose?

For most enterprises, Salesforce data is the lifeblood of their business, driving customer transactions, relationships, and decisions. It is no surprise that any disruption or unavailability to this has negative consequences for an organization.

Recently, a reputed bank had their business analyst make an update directly in the production org. The seemingly innocuous change resulted in a catastrophic corruption of the production org. IT had to resort to help from Salesforce to recover their system, but not before the bank had ground to a halt with the outage. If the right policies and controls were in place, making such a change directly in the production org would have been prohibited.

While many such similar instances occur, they seldom get reported for obvious reasons. A survey of Salesforce customers, conducted by Bluewolf, shows that only 18% of the customers are using an application lifecycle management (ALM) tool today. Without a strategy of having the right policies in place, and the ability to enforce them, the risk of disruption during the Software Delivery Process is real.

As an IT leader responsible for the Salesforce implementation, what keeps you awake at night? What do you have to lose? Is it:

  • Security
  • Compliance
  • Agility to respond to business needs
  • Predictable software delivery
  • Innovation
  • Auditability

or several of the above issues?

There are indications that some of the most successful companies are in the midst of implementing a Governance Framework to ensure that their Salesforce Software Delivery is on solid ground.

Governance is much more than security, compliance, or risk management. It is all of these and about how an organization uses data to benefit and protect itself. With the importance of Salesforce for business, governance is on the agenda of every IT leader.

What are the objectives of such a Governance Framework?

  1. Visibility

Metrics provide an objective data-point into the state of affairs at each of the levels – enterprise, organization, code, and user. What are the trends, risks, and priorities?

  1. Predictability

There are many moving parts to shipping a release. Solving integration and deployment challenges, test failures, code coverage, and manual step issues to converge quickly is critical for predictable software delivery.

  1. Traceability

Accountability and traceability are essential ingredients of Governance. Who modified what code and when? When was the code deployed and was it tested completely prior to deploying it in production?

  1. Consistent Processes

Sometimes, large companies have multiple different release management processes, even for the same org. For one division, they may be using a different set of processes and for another division, they could be using a totally different set of processes. It is necessary to streamline and standardize the processes across the various groups and users for effective collaboration.

  1. Improved Relationship between Business and IT

When Business groups and IT organizations providing integrated technologies have a shared prioritization methodology, it increases the chances for a plan for innovation to exist. Without governance, this non-technical complexity results in a lack of prioritization.

  1. Compliance

A governance framework has to ensure rigor around who has access, what data is made available, and providing security against vulnerabilities. Best practices require that there be clear roles on who has what access from both a security and process streamlining standpoint. Only the designate release manager should have the ability to deploy these changes to another organization, especially the production org.

  1. Simplified Audits

Auditing of the Salesforce implementation is a laborious and expensive proposition. With governance, generating relevant reports is easy and reduces the cost.

  1. Keeping Costs Under Control

Ad hoc and inconsistent policies drive unpredictability and cost. On the other hand, streamlined policies — for Requirements management, Environment management, Release management all the way to Deployment into production — lead to repeatable best practices which drive down cost.

 

Enabling Governance Framework

Two things are essential to enable this structure of governance:

  1. Enterprise-Grade Tools

Salesforce businesses need enterprise-grade ALM tools that are designed specifically for Salesforce, not a mish-mash of commodity tools that are cobbled together. SAP and Oracle CRM platforms have done just that to make their customers and partners successful.

  1. Successful Software Delivery Process

IT leaders need processes and insights to understand risks throughout the release engineering cycle so that they can plan for success.

Flosum administers the Governance Framework with its Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and Data Migration (DM) solutions. These enterprise-grade tools are built 100% natively on the force.com platform, providing the extensibility and seamless experience for Salesforce developers and administrators.