A survey of 201 executives who work in organizations that have adopted the Salesforce Lightning platform finds a surprising number are employing DevOps practices to customize Salesforce software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.
Conducted by Beagle Research Group on behalf of Copado, a provider of a commercial continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform for Salesforce SaaS environments, the survey finds 48% are using open source platforms to drive those DevOps processes, while 26% are relying primarily on in-house developed CI/CD toolchains. Another 36% are using commercial platforms developed for the Salesforce platform.
Andrew Leigh, senior vice president of marketing for Copado, said DevOps has gained traction in Salesforce application environments because most digital business initiatives revolve around customer records and marketing applications. As organizations attempt to drive new digital customer experiences, they find they need to frequently update what have become highly customized SaaS applications.
Many of those organizations are surprisingly agile. A quarter (25%) said they release code to their Salesforce production environment multiple times per day, while another 29% said they can implement changes in less than one day. More than half (53%), however, said deployment can take between a day and a week.
Ambitions in terms of DevOps capabilities are running high. A total of 19% want to be able to deploy multiple times per day; while another 16% would like to release between once per hour and once per day. One-third (33%) want to able to at least be able to release customizations once per day to once per week.
More than half, (54%) said their lead time for making changes to their Salesforce environment is between one day and a week. However, 21% said lead time is less than a day and 8% said they need less than an hour. Collectively, 83% said they can make changes in a week or less.
Overall, 77% described their Salesforce DevOps strategy as being as mature as the DevOps strategies for other technologies in their companies. However, only 42% are consistently employing automation to drive DevOps processes.
Like most organizations that have adopted DevOps, it doesn’t appear customers who rely on Salesforce are immune from their share of DevOps issues. Almost half (43%) said they have performance problems after a deployment up to 15% of the time. Only 2% said they had issues between 76% and 100% of the time. One-fifth (21%) said the time to restore service levels is less than an hour, while 43% said it could take up to a day to rectify an issue.
As far as future plans are concerned, the top three priorities identified by survey participants are increased speed to market and increased developer productivity (tied for first place), making applications more customer-relevant and continued innovation (tied for second place) and increased employee satisfaction and release quality (tied for third place).
Salesforce may not be getting its full due for being a provider of a SaaS platform for building customized applications. However, it is clear that most Salesforce customers have come to recognize that SaaS applications are just another type of platform for building and deploying customized applications using best DevOps processes.