What Salesforce implementations can learn from the evolution of the car ownership
When you try and sell a car, whether it is a $20,000 city car or a $200,000 luxury sports car, the car is more valuable if it has FSH (Full Service History). That is a record of every service, every smog check, every accident, every repair and every modification.
The full service history used to be a shoebox of receipts and smog check certificates. Now all of that information is logged electronically by the garages, smog test centers and car repair shops so companies like CarFax can make it available to prospective buyers.
The other radical change in car ownership is servicing. What used to happen is that you remembered every 5,000 miles to take the car in to be serviced. Or if you were mechanically minded you did it yourself. At college I remember rebuilding 2 car engines in our house – much to the dismay of the landlord. If your car wasn’t running right you’d take it to the garage. The garage would apply years of experience and factory produced manuals on micro-fiche to be able to identify and fix the problems.
Now what happens is the car tells you when it needs to be serviced. It has a dashboard full of warning lights when something goes wrong. You take to the garage where it is plugged into an analyzer and a set of fault codes come up that pinpoint the issues.. This is lucky as the cars are now so complicated that it is almost impossible for anyone to work out what the problems are just by “poking around” and applying years of experience.
Let’s consider those same two principles and how they mirror Salesforce implementations
The FSH equivalent is the documentation about how Salesforce has been configured. Just like a car, it is clear that a well documented Org is more valuable than a poorly documented one. Yet very few Orgs have even the minimum level of acceptable documentation. Some of that Salesforce documentation can be generated automatically by analyzing data from the APIs. Other documentation can be added from different sources throughout the life of the Org. The Elements metadata dictionary is the equivalent of CarFax.
Orgs are now so complex that it is impossible to “poke around” in Setup to see what has been configured. Just like modern cars, you need to plug the Org into an analyzer which can do the impact analysis. It will help you pinpoint the areas of technical debt that need to be resolved, and highlight the impact of changes before they hit development or production. Elements is that analyzer.
You would never spend $20,000 on a car without a FSH and the ability to automatically analyse faults. But organizations are spending millions of dollars on Salesforce implementations that have none of this.
Maybe it is because it needed a company like Elements to be the CarFax and Analyzer for Salesforce Orgs to show what is possible. Maybe the message is “Never work for an Org that doesn’t have a FSH”