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Best practices for Salesforce.com administrators

David Taber | Sept. 19, 2014
The lists below summarize which tasks need to be done at standard intervals, including a pro-forma time budget. While the terminology and specifics focus on Salesforce.com specifically, the general administrative principles apply to any modern CRM system.

The lists below summarize which tasks need to be done at standard intervals, including a pro-forma time budget. While the terminology and specifics focus on Salesforce.com specifically, the general administrative principles apply to any modern CRM system.

Administrators will occasionally need to resolve user problems in real time. Expect to devote two hours per week to these activities for every 100 users you have.

Unlock user accounts or resetting passwords due to user forgetfulness.

Add new whitelisted IP addresses.

Troubleshoot email campaigns or auto-responders that generate excessive bounced mails.

Expand or refine sharing rules so records can be properly viewed and manipulated.

Fix data records that have somehow been set with record types or ownerships that make them inaccessible to users.

Weekly Salesforce.com Administration Activities

Many duties seem to follow a weekly cycle. A lot of things will go wrong Monday morning don't ask me why and a couple of tasks need to be done once a week on the day of your choice. Overall, these tasks require two to six hours per week. Keep in mind, though, that's just an estimate, as the time devoted to individual activities will vary.

Run and store the weekly snapshot (data export) of the system data and attachments.

Run data deduplication tools such as RingLead or DemandTools. (These are dangerous if not used correctly, though, and their UIs are clunky at best. Read the user guide as well as a how-to guide on data deduping tools to improve your odds.)

Run adoption dashboards.

Deactivate users either due to departure from the company or transfer to a new job that does not require Salesforce.com access or reassign their roles and profiles to reflect their new duties.

Transfer record ownership due to changes in job responsibility or territory coverage.

Modify roles or record-sharing rules.

Import leads and contacts.

Modify price lists, particularly if your company does a lot of promotions and limited-time offers.

Change delegation and escalation paths to account for absences or extended travel.

Monthly Salesforce.com Administration Activities

A few activities can only be done once a month but nonetheless need to be done more often than once a quarter. In all, this will take one or two days per month.

Make additions and changes to picklist values and other fields. It's important that these kinds of metadata changes not be made on the fly, as innocent changes can cause surprising changes in system behavior.

Run data quality reports to identify any new sources of data pollution. If fields are consistently blank more than 30 percent of the time, consider removing them from page views. If you find a set of bad data records, don't delete it; instead, quarantine it until you're able to troubleshoot the problem and fix its root causes (both technical and user/process issues).

 

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