Have a Messy Org? Have no Fear!


There is no such thing as a pristine org.  Every org has a few stray text fields here, or close-to-duplicate security profiles there.  But what if your org is fraught with issues…like, let’s say a custom object where the same 13 questions are asked 30 times (13×30=390 fields), or a formula field whose compiled character size is 3,700…out of 4,000 allowable characters? Messes happen, and from the perspective of an admin, they are the result of one of two things: inheritance or creation.  Regardless of the cause, they can be fixed!

When did it start and by whom? 

Every entity in Salesforce has Created By, Created Date, and Description fields.  If you’re lucky enough to have access to who created the entity (or activated your org), go seek as much contextual information as possible.

Analyze your current data and metadata

There are many cost-effective (i.e. FREE) tools at your disposal to learn about what exists in your org today.

    1. Field Trip (an app found in the AppExchange) queries field usage per object to return a percentage of records where each field is populated. Look for fields with lower percentage usage to determine if they are still necessary. 
    2. Reports & Dashboards are standard components that come right out of the box!  Build your own reports to find and attack exceptions.
    3. DataLoader and Workbench allow you to transport data to and from your org via Excel (.csv) for more advanced querying and refinement.
    4. Octopus (another app found in the AppExchange) allows you to view metadata like fields, workflow rules, Apex Classes in Word or .pdf.  

Meet with your stakeholders  

Load up your calendar to meet with your current stakeholders, as well as those who have expressed interest in being part of your Salesforce process.  When shaping the future, be mindful of but not dependent on the past.  Remember, those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it! Also, don’t forget to schedule your offline “me time”.  Meetings are exhausting.  Allow yourself adequate time to decompress, recharge and take note of everything you learn in those stakeholder meetings. 

Attack the issues!

    1. Too many fields on objects?  Use your Field Trip data to reconsider the lower percentage fields. Think about employing parent-child object relationships, particularly Master Detail Relationship fields for Rollup Summary capabilities.
    2. Too many characters in your formulas?  Think about shortening API Names in your fields.  Those changes will automatically update all references in the standard declarative space (i.e. not anything code-y or referenced on templates from purchased apps).  Also, review your nested IF() statements for potential redundancies.
    3. Too many profiles?  Review your profiles for redundancies and explore the possibility of using Permission Sets, which allow you to assign additional permissions to individual users.  The more profiles you have, the more scrutiny required when any new functionality is built in the future, so Permission Sets come with significant ROI on the front-end.

By cleaning up the mess, your org can become more structurally sound, which will make it a better host for new processes that are vital to the success of your company.  You also get to employ the feel-good pay-it-forward model to future colleagues or successors by giving them a cleaner space to play in!

Want more resources to help you clean up your Org? Check out the on-demand webinar I gave: So You Inherited (or Created) a Mess…Now What?

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