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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.

Before refreshing the sandbox(es), use Eclipse to make a complete metadata backup of the sandbox images and your main system image. You'll thank me when somebody asks for a report deleted two months ago.

Refresh the sandbox(es). Coordinate the timing of these updates with the work of any developers who are using the sandbox, lest you blow away some of their work.

Navigate toSetup>App Setup>Develop>Apex Classes and push theRun All Tests button. It may take an hour or more for this to complete, but if you find any new test failures, log them in the system wiki/Google Drive area and troubleshoot. Some failures may go away if you push theOptions button and click theDisable Parallel Apex Testing box. You may have to file a case with third-party vendors (checkSetup>App Setup>Installed Packages), but that usually starts a finger-pointing exercise, so make sure you have your act together first. Causes of new test errors include the following:

New validation rules that fire.

Changes to workflow rules, particularly when they change field values or generate outbound messages.

Modified pick-list values or record types.

Changes to the security model that make some things inaccessible to code.

Changes to the software modules that blew up.

Read about high-priority fixes from Salesforce.com. These fixes will be installed by default within a few weeks, but it's better if you do the patch installs at a time of your choosing, when you have time to react to and fix any problems you discover).

Install the high-priority updates that may have been pushed into your Salesforce.com instance. It's best to rerun the "run all tests" exercise after enabling the updates. If something goes wrong, disable that update and notify the relevant vendor(s) of the issues.

Create an archive copy of any error logs kept in your integration server and any connected applications.

Run a full system backup (data, metadata and error logs, if possible) on any system or application that is integrated with Salesforce.com.

Quarterly Salesforce.com Administration Activities

There are a lot of items in the following list, which will occupy you for one to three days per quarter. However, the first two are mission critical, and the resulting files should be kept forever. You thank me when a pesky plaintiff attorney goes into a discovery process on Salesforce.com data.

Download the CSV from the user login history.

Download the CSV from the system administrator setup audit log.

Read the release notes for any third party application or plug-in connected to Salesforce.com. Typically, changes and upgrade cycles will be harmless but, occasionally, several configuration and operational changes will be required as a consequence of external changes.

Run the Force.com IDE to get a copy of Salesforce.com's full system metadata. Create a new "project" every time and archive them for at least a year. You'll thank me later.

 

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