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A beginner's guide to Salesforce release readiness

Salesforce isn’t just any software. It’s a game-changing customer relationship management (CRM) platform that’s like a secret weapon for handling customer interactions like a pro.

 

The platform comes with tools that businesses can use to make sales go smoothly, boost their marketing, and seriously level up their customer support game.

 

This post will cover the Salesforce readiness release approach that savvy businesses use to turn features and updates into gold. If you’re ready to supercharge your Salesforce software platform, you’re in for a treat.

Date: Jan. 25, 2024

What is Salesforce release readiness?

Salesforce release readiness provides a structured and proactive approach for organizations to effectively prepare for and adopt new features and updates to their Salesforce platform. Its main purpose is to ensure a seamless transition to the latest software version with minimal disruptions, maximizing the benefits new functionalities offer. A good example is SFDC software application, popularly known for its regular release schedule that typically enforces three major releases per year. These releases often include new features, enhancements, and improvements to its salesforce platform.

Think of Salesforce release readiness as the secret sauce that helps businesses smoothly switch gears.

Business man using devices with digitization graphics

Why Salesforce release readiness?

Think of Salesforce release readiness as the secret sauce that helps businesses smoothly switch gears and embrace all the updates, features, and enhancements that Salesforce brings to the table.

  • Maximized benefits. Organizations can leverage the advantages that come with innovative features, improved functionality, and enhanced performance.
  • Minimized disruptions. Avoid unwanted disruptions within existing workflows and processes.
  • Optimized user adoption. Well-prepared organizations can train their users how to use new features.

What are the key features of a Salesforce release, and how can an organization leverage them?

Salesforce releases typically introduce a range of new features, enhancements, and improvements. While the specific features vary with each release, here are some types of features that Salesforce releases often include:

  • New functionality. These refer to new features such as modules, tools, and applications that expand the capability of Salesforce. Organizations should identify use cases where the new functionality can optimize its processes and train users to use it effectively.
  • Enhancements to existing features. Existing features often receive updates to improve usability and performance or to add additional options. Organizations should strive to implement such improvements in their workflows and train users on updated features to ensure their full adoption.
  • User interface improvements. Salesforce releases may change the user interface to enhance navigation, aesthetics, and the overall user experience. Businesses should train users on the new UI to ensure they can easily navigate and perform tasks.

How do you prepare for Salesforce releases?

Preparing for Salesforce releases is crucial to ensure a smooth transition to new features and enhancements. In the following use case scenario, we’ll consider a company named EcoTech Solutions that’s gearing up to implement a new recycling program tracking feature through a Salesforce release.

EcoTech Solutions will follow a proactive and structured approach adopted from SFDC’s seasonal releases to prepare for its salesforce releases. SFDC’s salesforce releases typically bring a multitude of new features and changes which EcoTech Solutions needs to prepare for these updates to ensure a smooth transition.

Preparing for Salesforce releases is crucial to ensure a smooth transition to new features and enhancements.

  1. Stay informed
    EcoTech’s Salesforce administrator subscribes to Salesforce release notifications, blogs, forums, and emails to receive timely information about upcoming releases.
  2. Review release notes
    The Salesforce administrator thoroughly reviews the release notes for the upcoming version, focusing on the details related to the new recycling program tracking feature.
  3. Assess impact
    Recognizing the significance of the recycling program tracking feature, EcoTech’s Salesforce administrator should arrange a meeting with the environmental compliance team to assess potential impacts and benefits.
  4. Sandbox testing
    EcoTech’s Salesforce administrator uses sandbox environments to test the new features in controlled settings. The environmental compliance team and users from other relevant departments conduct comprehensive testing of the recycling program tracking feature to verify its functionality and compatibility with existing processes.
  5. Address customizations
    During testing, it becomes apparent that specific custom fields and workflow rules need adjustment to work seamlessly with the recycling program tracking feature. The administrator collaborates with the development team to make necessary updates.
  6. Training
    EcoTech’s Salesforce administrator organizes training sessions for the environmental compliance team and other impacted departments. Training includes practical exercises to ensure that users are comfortable with the new feature.
  7. Deployment
    EcoTech Solutions deploys the new release to the production environment in a scheduled maintenance window. Feedback from sandbox testing and UAT guides any final adjustments.
  8. Monitor and support
    EcoTech Solutions closely monitors the post-release production environment to promptly address any issues. The support team is on standby to assist users with any queries related to the recycling program tracking feature.

 

Following this structured approach, EcoTech Solutions successfully released the recycling program tracking feature. The environmental compliance team experiences enhanced efficiency in managing recycling programs, contributing to the company’s sustainability goals.

Tips for effective Salesforce release preparation

  • Start early. Begin your preparation well in advance so that you’ll have sufficient time to test, train, and address any challenges.
  • Prioritize. Focus on the features that align with your business goals and bring the most value to your organization.
  • Test thoroughly. Comprehensively test new features, customizations, and integrations before deploying to the production environment.

Some common mistakes to avoid

  • Skipping testing. Neglecting thorough testing can lead to unexpected issues in the production environment. To mitigate such mistake, the organizations should strive to implement automated testing. Remember, Salesforce is highly customizable and complex platform with various components and integrations. Each Salesforce release introduce new features, changes, and updates that can potentially affect your existing configurations and customizations.
    Organizations should develop a well-defined testing strategy, identify critical test cases, and continuously maintain and update their test suite to align with Salesforce releases and their evolving requirements.
    Automated testing ensures the reliability, stability, and quality of your salesforce application during and after a release thereby reducing testing effort and the risk of post-release issues.
  • Lack of communication. Failing to inform users about upcoming changes can lead to confusion and resistance.
  • Overlooking training. Not providing adequate training can result in underutilizing new features.

Who is the Salesforce release manager, what is their role, and why are they important?

A Salesforce release manager oversees the planning, coordination, and execution of Salesforce releases within an organization. The role is crucial for maintaining a stable and efficient Salesforce instance while maximizing the benefits of new releases.

Role of a Salesforce release manager

  • Release planning. Collaborates with stakeholders and ensures that everyone understands the organization’s business objectives and requirements for each release.
  • Coordination. Works closely with cross-functional teams, including developers, administrators, business analysts, and end users, to ensure alignment and coordination throughout the release process.
  • Testing and quality assurance. Oversees testing activities, including functional, integration, and user acceptance testing, to ensure that new features work as intended and do not disrupt existing functionality.

Importance of a Salesforce release manager

  • Efficient release process. Ensures that releases are well organized, timely, and executed with minimal disruptions, thereby preventing productivity loss.
  • Maximized benefits. Ensures that organizations make the most of new features and enhancements, driving innovation and improving business processes.
  • User adoption. Facilitates user adoption of new features. Through clear communication and training, users can leverage the full potential of Salesforce updates.

The role of a Salesforce release manager is pivotal in maintaining a stable, efficient, and innovation-driven Salesforce environment. Their expertise helps organizations navigate the complexities of new releases and makes sure the platform remains a valuable asset in achieving business objectives.

Wrapping up

Salesforce release readiness is about being strategic and staying ahead of the game. By embracing this proactive approach, organizations can seamlessly welcome new features, updates, and enhancements from the Salesforce software platform.

Remember that success lies in the details. When businesses take the time to plan, prepare, and expertly manage the deployment process, they’re setting themselves up for maximum benefits from new releases. And the icing on the cake is that they’re doing it all while keeping disruptions to their operations at bay. It’s a win-win strategy that leads to smooth sailing and thriving outcomes.

This post was written by Verah Ombui. Verah is a passionate technical content writer and a DevOps practitioner who believes in writing the best content on DevOps, and IT technologies and sharing it with the world. Her mission has always remained the same: learn new technologies by doing hands-on practice, deep-dive into them, and teach the world in the easiest possible way. She has good exposure to DevOps technologies such as Terraform, AWS Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Ansible, Kubernetes, Docker, Jenkins, Linux, etc. 

Date: Jan. 25, 2024