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Salesforce Health Check

The Rise of the FrankenOrg: How to Know Whether You Need a Salesforce Health Check

It started out as a normal Salesforce org. It didn’t stay that way

On a dark and stormy night at a company retreat, your director cackled out an idea for an addition. At the next full moon, the marketing team demanded more functionality. A sales manager, drunk on power and two bottles of reisling, screamed that he wanted a new feature, and he wanted it now.

You hired one consultant to add this feature, and another to add that. Igor—the receptionist’s hunchbacked nephew—knew how to code, so he did bits and pieces. Some consultants did a good job. Others, whether thinking about Friday beers or pressured by a deadline, took some shortcuts, or ‘smart Salesforce hacks’ as they called them. Perhaps they even gamed the test class rules. It happens.

Code, configurations and apps were stitched, glued and bolted onto your Salesforce Org over the course of years. No single person was responsible for the monster being created. Slowly, the error messages started coming in, at first every once in a while, then daily, then hourly. Your Org began to slow. New apps didn’t work. Your process builder intermittently failed.

Thunder clapped outside your office window, lightning split the night sky.

You’d created a FrankenOrg.

The rise of the FrankenOrg

FrankenOrgs are everywhere. In fact, if you don’t create a coordinated plan for building your Salesforce Org, and if you don’t give someone the responsibility for seeing that plan through, they are all but guaranteed every three to five years.

The most simple and seemingly meaningless decisions at the beginning of your Salesforce Org journey can have huge ramifications later in the piece, like hiring a slightly green consultant or innocently installing an incompatible app. But these issues breed more issues, and over time a cascade of troublesome dominoes make your Salesforce Org all but unusable.

So, how do you avoid a FrankenOrg, or overpower one that you’ve already created?

Avoiding a FrankenOrg

Your doctor is right – prevention is better than cure. If you’ve just begun your Salesforce Org journey, you’ll want to avoid creating a monster. If you’ve already gone through a FrankenOrg experience, you’ll want to ensure you never give birth to such a monster again. Remember Frankenstein II: Electric Boogaloo? Neither do I, because sequels are a really bad idea.

The most important step is to put plans in place, and make someone responsible for those plans; what goes into the org, when it goes in, and that a process is followed every time. Whoever you put in charge should know what they are doing, or get access to someone who can advise them, even if that expertise needs to be bought, like a salesforce expert who reviews your decisions and deployment plans.

The plans shouldn’t be set in stone, nor should they reach too far into the future, as your Salesforce needs will change with your organisation. Any decision should be carefully thought through, and processes should be put in place to guard against creating a Salesforce Org with a bolt through the neck.

In your quest to avoid a FrankenOrg there will be certain factors that are outside your control, including:

Admin and developer churn

With admins and developers who have stayed put for 12 months considered ‘veterans’, it’s fair to say that the Salesforce ecosystem has a high churn rate. This is caused by the high demand for skilled professionals know that they can shift to a new and often better paid position almost whenever they’d like. The result is low accountability.

While there’s nothing you can do about the high demand for professionals, there are some things you can do to mitigate its effects. If you find a quality worker, retain them by treating them as the asset they are. And when a transition happens—which it always will, no matter how many chocolates you stuff in the worker’s desk drawer—ensure that the work is properly handed over.

The ‘clicks not code’ myth

The Salesforce marketing department is perhaps too good at their job. Their ‘clicks not code’ mantra has been taken to heart by many, who see it as a licence to do everything in Salesforce with clicks alone. Unfortunately this is far from the advisable; there are cases where something can be done with clicks but really shouldn’t be, and only battle-scarred Salesforce veterans can tell the difference. Before long you find yourself hovering above an operating table yelling “it’s alive... IT’S ALIVE!!!” A true understanding of when and where Salesforce code is needed can only be gathered with experience, so a qualified, knowledgeable hire is one of the best anti-FrankenOrg investments you can make.

A true understanding of when and where Salesforce code is needed can only be gathered with experience, so a qualified, knowledgeable hire is one of the best anti-FrankenOrg investments you can make.

Repairing the damage

Perhaps it’s too late for avoidance measures. Perhaps you’ve got a train wreck of a FrankenOrg on your hands. How do you repair the damage?

Inspiration can be taken from those who deal in real life train wrecks – transport safety investigators. After a train crashes they conduct a thorough damage assessment. They go through the wreckage and identify what went wrong in order to fix it, and to ensure the same mistakes won’t happen again.

That’s exactly what a Salesforce Health Check (SHC) aims to do.

A SHC is undertaken by Salesforce professionals. The goal is to evaluate an existing org's configuration and determine its impact on reporting capabilities and business objectives. This helps answer questions like:

  • Why are leads not qualifying?
  • Why are reports not showing the right information?
  • Why are SLAs not being met?
  • Why are odd error messages popping up?
  • Why can we not gain any insights from our data?
Once completed, the results of the Salesforce Health Check are outlined in an inventory, presented in a user-friendly format. The document includes:

  • How the process was approached
  • An inventory of the org's configurations, apps and data
  • The major issues that were identified
  • The consequences of doing nothing (including metrics where possible)
  • A list of recommendations to solve the issues
The recommendations will depend on the depth of the issues at hand. If your dog walked across your keyboard and created FrankenOrg Lite™, you may only need a small amount of Org remediation. If you’ve created a full strength FrankenOrg over the course of five or more years, a complete rebuild may be necessary. The decision will always be made with the business in mind—which is the most efficient and effective way to get your Salesforce Org working, and for the long term?

Why it happened, how it happened and who made it happen doesn’t matter. You’ve got a FrankenOrg, and you need to perform a de-FrankenOrg-optomy, if we can coin a (totally useless) phrase.

AdminBuddy by Cloud Masons does just that. Beginning with a Salesforce Health Check, we obtain a holistic view of your Salesforce Org, before identifying issues and their causes, and recommending ways to fix them.

Ready to turn your Org from a monster to a sleek Salesforce machine? Contact AdminBuddy now.

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Visit the Admin Buddy site to check out the full range of services we offer.

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