By Sivakumar Anna, Infostretch and Jeff Pigatto, Saggezza
Over the past couple of decades, Salesforce.com has carved out an impressive slice of the global enterprise software market and has long been the go-to CRM system for salespeople globally. Part of its success was its somewhat prescient move to become a platform and support an ecosystem of partner applications, years before anyone coined the term “API economy”.
Yet, this ecosystem arguably represents the biggest challenge that enterprises face when they put Salesforce at the center of their organization.
Positives And Negatives
Extensions like nCino, Tier1 Financial Solutions, Conga, MapAnything, and many more combine with powerful data integration tools like Heroku, Snowflake, Boomi, Informatica, and Ab Initio to not only map onto current sales needs but also forge a path toward innovating new revenue streams. All this comes at a cost, however.
Salesforce’s extensibility and customizable integrations create a complex and demanding QA and testing environment. Thanks to the business-critical nature of CRM systems, optimizing the test environment must also be a priority. After all, a seamless customer experience with end-to-end visibility can be a crucial competitive differentiator. And when customer relationships and sales are at stake, organizations can’t afford to have components that misfire.
The Need For Automation
Enterprises that are serious about Salesforce testing should expect frequent code deployments, complex code management and versioning, high-frequency regression cycles, and a fluid computing environment. Over time, enterprises will realize there is an acute need for automation to tackle these defined challenges.
From a digital engineering perspective, the shift from predominantly manual Salesforce testing to streamlined, intelligent automation is gratifying. At first, teams are surprised at how much time they can save when they are not lumbered with manual, repetitive testing. Next, they are usually shocked at the further productivity gains possible when automation tools are finished with sanitizing, optimizing, and de-duplicating their test scripts. Simply put, test automation enables teams to focus on the strategic “big picture” goals.
The Same, But Different
Generally, the benefits of test automation that you hear elsewhere apply equally to Salesforce test automation. It is the steppingstone that helps enterprises transition from piecemeal, manual processes to a system of intelligent, continuous testing. It’s a noticeable shift that modern digital businesses need to perfect if they are to capitalize on the benefits of digital evolution.
At a tactical level, however, traditional test scripts need to be handled a little differently within Salesforce.
To streamline Salesforce test automation into the wider DevOps process, enterprises need to integrate updates from Salesforce and its partners alongside the testing cadence for the organization’s other connected apps, systems, and cloud environments.
When done successfully, Salesforce automation speeds up release cycles and improves end-to-end business performance, leading to a smarter, faster sales cycle. In addition (and even more so than other forms of test automation), Salesforce testing assures the way that businesses connect their employees with their customer base. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
The Business Impact Of Automation
Apart from the immediate advantage of cutting down on time-intensive manual test processes, Salesforce test automation brings benefits that can be felt across the whole business. A good example of the impact that it can deliver is from a billion-dollar modular space leasing company that recently went through the process. By streamlining its Salesforce environment, the business was able to speed up its sales and quote cycle by 20 percent and decrease the time taken to launch mass marketing email campaigns by 50 percent.
Taking another real-world example, this time from a very well-established retailer, it was aiming to improve the customer experience enabled by its Salesforce solutions and needed to evolve and update its customer processes. By reducing over 250,000 inaccurate or duplicate records, the company increased productivity by a staggering 33 percent, an improvement that can be directly linked to the reliability of the data.
The Final Word
It is a testament to Salesforce’s technical and business proficiency that they have managed to become a critical service to so many organizations globally. But, as with any other platform, simply having it without optimizing it is never going to be enough. Nonetheless, the businesses that have put in the effort to test, then automate testing, of their Salesforce environment have delivered a multiplying effect on their business fundamentals, increasing productivity, and speeding up responsiveness to customers. It’s a sometimes challenging journey, but one that is well worth starting.
About The Authors
Sivakumar Anna is Vice President, Quality Services, at Infostretch (www.Infostretch.com), a Silicon Valley digital engineering professional services company. He has more than 20 years of experience developing and managing QA strategies for Fortune 500 companies.
Jeff Pigatto is Vice President and Global Head, Salesforce Practice at Saggezza (www.Saggezza.com), a Salesforce partner and digital technology services company. He has more than 20 years of Business and IT experience in consulting, financial services, and Cloud solutions.