Cover image for 3 Key Lessons from Gearset's The State of Salesforce DevOps 2024

3 Key Lessons from Gearset’s The State of Salesforce DevOps 2024

Gearset recently hosted a DevOps Summit to outline key findings from their latest report: The State of Salesforce DevOps: 2024 (SoSD). In this post, I’ll overview three of the key findings from the report. 

Setting the scene

Salesforce can be a source of business value and advantage, but must be tailored to your specific needs. It is no surprise that Salesforce teams play a critical role; translating business needs into solutions. The solutions must flow freely, and with sufficient quality. This is essential to drive adoption and optimise return on investment. 

However, this need can increase pressure on Salesforce teams who must balance innovation, quality and speed. For this reason, empowering Salesforce teams by adopting and refining DevOps processes is important.  

DevOps: What is it and why does it matter?

"DevOps is a set of practices, tools, and a cultural philosophy that automate and integrate the processes between software development and IT teams. It emphasizes team empowerment, cross-team communication and collaboration, and technology automation."

DevOps is not just tooling; it is a way of working. By integrating working practices from development and operations, teams can increase efficiency and ensure smoother releases of new features. This is helped by a combination of suitable tooling, improved collaboration, frequent releases and continuous improvement across the entire process. 

Effective DevOps practices can yield significant ROI. For example, the 2023 SoSD found that 45% of respondents reported ROI of >$20k+ per month. In the 2024 report, 60% of respondents with a unified DevOps process state they are achieving this return

Two cartoon penguins working on a computer

Gearset's State of Salesforce DevOps (SoSD)

Since 2021, Gearset have created an annual DevOps report, geared towards the Salesforce market. The 2024 SoSD summarises the insights of 1,296 respondents from a range of locations, industries, business sizes and roles. This provides a snapshot into the DevOps experiences, successes and pain points of Salesforce professionals across the ecosystem. 

Lessons Learned

The 2024 SoSD report is full of insightful findings. For me, the three main lessons from the report are as follows:

Image summarising the three key lessons learned from the Gearset State of DevOps Report 2024
Three of my key lessons learned from the Gearset's State of DevOps 2024 Report.

Lesson 1: The role of backups in DevOps

DevOps tooling encompasses many features, such as CI/CD, Version Control, Static Code Analysis, etc. One outcome of the report I found noteworthy was the prominence of backups:

  • 87% reporting to either have, or planning to implement data backups.
    • 85% for metadata backups.
  • 55% felt data and metadata backups were the most important tool for fulfilling org compliance obligations (highest % category).
  • 35% rely on third-party Salesforce-specialist solutions for backup (highest % category).

The analysis also shows how users of third-party Salesforce-specialist backup solutions tend to recover from metadata and data loss faster (45% within hours). Interestingly, they also tend to be less likely to encounter a loss incident in the first place.

As mentioned at the start, Salesforce teams are under-pressure to release early and often. These results illustrate the value of a robust backup and recovery solution. The results may also indicate how some of the nuances of the Salesforce platform lend themselves to specialist tooling. Click here for more information on backup and recovery, and here to see the full report

Lesson 2: DevOps Democratisation and empowerment

DevOps is sometimes viewed as a specialism for developers. This is due to the learning curve of tooling (e.g. command line interfaces) and concepts such as CI/CD and version control. However, this is changing. Salesforce, and specialist third-party solutions are making tooling more accessible with graphical user interfaces. 

One statistic from the DevOps summit seemingly supports this. 73% of respondents reported that their teams deploy metadata changes in the same way. Whilst factors may influence this (e.g. team size and working practices), it indicates the democratising and unifying of deployment processes through DevOps.   

Image showing how teams are deploying metadata types.
Based on Gearset: The State of Salesforce DevOps 2024. Showing how metadata types are being deployed across teams.

This is important for several reasons. As exemplified by the Intercom case study in the report, unifying deployment processes across a team can yield multiple benefits, such as: 

  • Increase the release cadence (improve the flow of features and value).
  • Reduce risks (associated with disparate release processes) and enhance quality.
  • Increase auditability and visibility of changes.
  • Reduce cross-team friction.
  • Empower all team members and foster collaboration.

The availability of training will strongly influence the success of DevOps processes. However, as DevOps processes within teams mature, benchmarking against industry metrics (e.g. DORA) will highlight the importance of empowering team members to release in a unified way. The report includes the DORA performance stats of Salesforce DevOps teams and ways to measure your own performance

Lesson 3: Metadata: Permissions and DevOps

It is no secret that deploying permissions in Salesforce can be tricky. This is particularly true with Profiles, which are often monolithic and can be challenging to deploy consistently between environments. Previously, it was announced that permissions on Profiles would be made ‘end-of-life’ for Spring ’26. However, this is no longer being enforced

Despite this:

  • No improvements will be made to Profiles moving forward.
  • Salesforce recommends using Permission Set Groups and Permission Sets to manage permissions.
Whilst the immediate ‘time-pressure’ may be off, the direction of travel remains clear. Migrating to Permission Sets Groups / Permission Sets will help to avoid baking in technical debt. It is also key in permitting greater flexibility in org permission granting. However, it is also interesting to see how: 
  • 80% of teams are planning to migrate to permission set models by 2026.
    •  45% by the end of 2024.
  • Teams that have migrated to permission sets are reporting faster overall deployments.

As mentioned above, teams are increasingly seeking to release early and often, whilst also needing to fulfil compliancy obligations.  These factors seemingly highlight a strong benefit of migrating to a Permission Set based model sooner rather than later. The report dives into the performance differences between teams who have already migrated and those who haven’t further.  

Thank you

Thank you to the Gearset team for the insights from the report and the accompanying DevOps Summit.

Summary

The State of Salesforce DevOps 2024 report brings to focus many factors influencing DevOps in Salesforce. For me, the three key lessons were the importance of: robust backup and restoration, the democratisation of DevOps and the benefits of transitioning to Permission Sets to improve release cadence. All of these items help to underpin team empowerment, collaboration and facilitating the flow of value.  

If you wish to read Gearset’s report in full, click here

Until next time, thanks for reading! 🐧

Bonus Penguin Fact 🐧

Earlier this year, two penguins at Birdworld in Farnham (UK) made the news. The penguins called ‘Penguin’ and ‘Squid’ have formed a close bond. Specifically, Penguin is helping Squid around the enclosure, after Squid developed cataracts. Click here for more info!

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