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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.

Run the Reports Report to identify reports that haven't been run in 6 months. Hide them from users, but don't delete them.

Run the Roles by Profile Report to identify which roles or profiles have no active users in them. This identifies candidates for consolidation.

Examine any new validation rules and workflows that have been added to the system to make sure that Boolean conditions have been set correctly. Fix them so they don't cause new APEX errors to be thrown.

Examine any new pick-list values that have been modified or added to any fields in the system, and using the Force.com IDE to identify the impact of those changes across all the Booleans, formulas, and APEX/JavaScript/VisualForce code in the system. Correct any elements that have been impacted.

Run Field Trip and EasyDescribe, two free tools that give you an overview of the health of your system's object model.

Read the release notes for the upcoming version of Salesforce.com to see if any of your existing features or APIs you depend on are being changed significantly. If so, you need to test the pre-release features in your sandbox and do the "run all tests" exercise there. It's getting increasingly common that code, formulas and buttons need to be reworked to accommodate version changes.

If you're a certified SFDC administrator, study (hours) and take (minutes) the admin recertification test. This is typically a 15-question, multiple-guess online test.

Archive (or maybe delete) weekly data snapshots that are more than 90 days old.

Annual Salesforce.com Administration Activities

The main responsibility here is to capture data that will fall "over the horizon" or need to be archived for compliance reasons. These tasks will take three to six days per year.

Create an archive of all the system's field history tables (typically spanning no more than 18 months) to ensure that you have an audit trail that goes beyond a year.

Archive or purge documents (all four forms), emails and tasks to reduce the storage charges in your system or to adhere with your document/email retention standards.

Archive Chatter histories for audit, compliance or regulatory reasons.

Update system roadmaps that summarize upgrades and new feature additions that are needed to achieve business goals.

Attend DreamForce.

Remember, the time you have to spend on these activities will vary. Unfortunately, there's no easy way to estimate how long each individual one will take. If all goes well, everything outlined here will occupy no more than 19 work weeks, leaving you plenty of vacation time. That, of course, is if all goes well.

David Taber is the author of the Prentice Hall book, "Salesforce.com Secrets of Success," now in its second edition, and is the CEO of SalesLogistix, a certified Salesforce.com consultancy focused on business process improvement through use of CRM systems.

 

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