• Date: November 2022 •
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Chief Technical Officer at Twistellar
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Your company may have had Salesforce for some time already, having poured financial and human resources into its maintenance. There are several clouds, plenty of customizations, and a team responsible for its administration and support. And all of a sudden, you notice that people still use spreadsheets and notes to keep track of customer interactions.
"Why should we pay for Salesforce if employees prefer notes to the world's #1 CRM?" That's an imaginable question to ask oneself.
There are lots of reasons for that. Users can be reluctant to change their habits, or aren't fully aware of Salesforce capabilities, or... the system is too complex.
Duplicates, forgotten automations, connected apps for which no one remembers the purpose, customization to support another customization, and, of course, no documentation to guide you on this journey into the unknown.
Of course, your org will become more complicated with time, but this complexity shouldn't make your processes more cumbersome and the team's productivity lower. In this guide, we'll walk you through some tips on how to understand if your system is not optimized, what tools can help you on the way, and how to avoid it in the future.

Signs That You Have Run Into Technical Debt

It wouldn't be a mistake to assume that every SF org has data quality issues. People come and go, leaving your org with countless users; lots of development projects take place on different stages with no clear descriptions; new integrations and add-ons are implemented.
And over time, Salesforce stops being the responsive and innovative platform that you used to have at the beginning.
Unoptimized org => low productivity => money loss
So what are the signs showing that it's time to ring the alarm?
  • The performance of the org has slowed down
  • Changes to apps affect other data flows, so there's need of lots of testing in advance
  • Lower productivity (remember those spreadsheets, hah?)
  • A bigger team is needed to maintain the org
  • Lost leads and deals, as processes don't run in the pre-mapped order
The result and reason for that lies in the technical debt.
To put it simply, technical debt is the cost of additional work implied by choosing a limited solution now instead of a more time-consuming one that will, instead, be future-proof.
This "here and now" approach is totally understandable. Who'd want to perform expensive impact-analysis and regression testing projects each time there's a need to implement a new flow or add a new package?
Sometimes it is even impossible to estimate the impact of potential customizations, so a new one is added in the hope that it will work as planned. And if it doesn't work, a "patch" is built to support the solution for some more time.
Technical Dept Salesforce
Technical Debt Accumulation
However, if this situation sends a chill of anxiety down your spine, you're at the right place.
First, let's take a look at some common examples of technical debt that can cause performance issues:

Unused assets

Every instance has stuff that just accumulates dust without bringing particular value. These could be:
  1. Email templates, groups, profiles, and permission sets that have been left unassigned
  2. Validation rules, flows, and processes that have become inactive
  3. Deactivated or hidden workflows and fields
  4. Underused and outdated reports, lists, and dashboards
  5. Non-relevant data relations
This list can go on.

Zombie users

You're probably aware that you can deactivate a user, but you can't delete one. This way, each org is collecting information on the users that aren't and won't be active. However, they are still connected to the Salesforce org in multiple ways, such as being team members, receiving system emails, or being assigned to reports.
Another problem is that admins can simply forget to deactivate users. While these abandoned users are still active, it leads to uncontrolled access points to the system and low security.
Even though locating and cutting off all the ties that exist between inactive users and the Salesforce org can be a tough task, it is still the best course of action.

Legacy solutions

Over time, you can store a lot of hard-coded references in your configuration, or solutions and features that are outdated but play a part in other processes. This way, the system architecture is just about applying a patch to the old patch, which can slow down the performance or even impede potential customizations.
Most legacy solutions can be optimized or replaced by new ones, however, without a thorough architecture audit, drastic changes can be too dangerous.


More is not always better. We quite often see businesses that buy Salesforce editions without any consultations, and then find themselves with solutions that don't fit their business needs and requirements. It's not rare to overspend on extra licenses that aren't used or buy products that don't bring any particular value.
So what to do?

Action Plan: Improve Your Salesforce Performance

Investigate. Do the cleaning. Build new processes.
Of course, the best course of action is to build a strategy, amend and document all the processes in your org. But the reality is that we rarely have all the time in the world, and the results had to be already seen yesterday.
That's why let's focus on some steps that could help you minimize the effects of the technical debt quickly:
How To Improve Your Salesforce Performance
Steps To Optimize Salesforce Performance

1. Investigate

Start with the org's business and technical goals. What is it used for? What was the ideal plan when the implementation just started? This step is necessary to guide you through your optimization plan in order not to expect from Salesforce to replace everything.
Salesforce is extremely customizable, but it is meant to help you deal with customer relations, and this should be the priority. Yeah, sometimes sticky notes win.
You can divide your plan into three main components, such as auditing your technical performance, user adoption, and security permissions. Keep reading to find a list of tools that can help you quickly analyze vulnerabilities in your Salesforce org, and identify unused data and the level of user adoption.

2. Do the cleaning

Once you have all the reports in place, start the cleaning. It's obvious that you won't be able to fix everything at once, so it's good practice to prioritize the changes in the order of importance, such as those that affect customer relationships, or things that block potential customizations, and security.
Make sure to discuss the changes with the teams, and prepare the documentation while fixing the mess. It will definitely pay off.

3. Build new processes

Building new processes is actually the step you have already started. While you're doing the audit, you're also creating new documentation standards that will save your team's time.
Apart from recording all org changes for potential troubleshooting, there are some other habits to help you stress less about potential performance issues:
  • Make sure to review integrations and managed packages to remove outdated, pointless integrations from your org
  • Develop standardized procedures for data model design and refactoring together with the team
  • Don't underestimate Salesforce's standard functionality. Over-customization can lead to poor code that fails Salesforce's basic validation standard to promote your modifications
  • Maintain data quality with an accessible protocol and standard naming conventions
  • Conduct scheduled audits and surveys among users to spot the needed improvements
  • If you're not sure about the best way to review your org's architecture, turn to a consultant for an optimization strategy

List of Salesforce Optimization Tools

Salesforce Optimization Tools
Examples of Salesforce Auditing Tools
Luckily, there's no need to do all the auditing work manually. There are plenty of tools that can help you spot the issues and even guide you towards the solution without any coding skills needed.
Let's see some of the most powerful ones:

1. Salesforce Optimizer

You can run the Salesforce Optimizer report to spot the functionality that can be improved. It evaluates sharing rules, field usage, profile assignments, unassigned permission sets, unused reports, etc. Not only will you have a list sorted by type, but also the statuses to help you prioritize your future actions.
Salesforce Optimizer Report

2. Salesforce Lightning Inspector Chrome Extension

Salesforce Inspector is another useful tool in terms of auditing your technical performance that allows you to quickly see the event firing sequence, field information right from a record detail page, view limits, and test the fault tolerance of your app.

3. Salesforce Org Health Check

While the Optimizer inspects the underutilized functionality, Salesforce Org Health Check evaluates your org's security settings on a scale from 0-100 according to Salesforce's recommended settings, dividing the risks into High, Medium, and Low.
You can also have a Security Center add-on that provides you with some useful insights on the users, such as those who are logging in with multi-factor authentication (MFA) and which users have admin-level permissions.
Salesforce Org Health Check

4. User adoption dashboard

In terms of user adoption, there are different ways to be creative about measuring how well your instance is perceived by teams, including surveys and AppExchange apps.
However, there is also a nice way to create your own tailored dashboard to keep an eye on the level of adoption and user activities within Salesforce.

5. AppExchange Tools

If you don't have time to use different tools for auditing your org, you may always turn to AppExchange for an all-round solution that will collect the needed information for you.
Such tools as Technical Debt Center or ForeSight give you visibility into your Org metadata dependencies, asset usage, or licenses underuse, identifying the risks and vulnerabilities and ensuring sustainable growth of your org.

To Wrap Up

The good news is that, with some time and a strategic mindset, lots of risks connected with technical debt can be mitigated.
Here's a real example of a company that managed to rebuild their processes and improve performance with the help of Twistellar's audit services.
If you have additional questions on how to set it up for your business, feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation
CEO, Co-founder of Twistellar
Our deep understanding of Salesforce platform ensures successful handling of projects in any domain
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