Five Tips for Controlling Salesforce® Development Costs
Tip # 1- Development vs. Administration
Many ‘Development’ Items are tasks that can likely be performed by experienced Administrators at a lower cost
Job descriptions for roles or projects seeking Salesforce Developers are frequently filled with a laundry-list of tasks, many of which fall into categories other than development.
Creating fields, objects, roles, profiles, workflows, reports and dashboards can be performed by a Salesforce Administrator (at much less expense) rather than hiring a Developer.
Developers are not necessarily System Architects
System Architecture is a competency that is not a typical skill for a Salesforce Developer.
While some Developers may also be System Architects, the System Architect is a distinct role with requires a different set of competencies. Tip # 1- Development vs. Administration
Third-Party App Install and Configuration is not a Development Project
Installing and configuring tools such as Pardot or CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) are not typically development tasks, but rather, are more of an activity.
Some individual applications (while easy to install) can be very complicated to configure and require specialized knowledge of the App, rather than development skill.
Tip # 2- Avoid Unnecessary Development
Use Standard Functionality First!
Before undertaking any custom development, fully explore Salesforce standard functionality to determine if it can accomplish your desired goal.
Many new standard features within Salesforce have eliminated the need for custom development and coding.
Many Developers are Unaware of the Full Extent of Salesforce Standard Functionality
With each new release, Salesforce continues to evolve the features and functionality included with your subscription.
Developers who are used to customizing may be unaware of a newly released feature that that can accomplish your needs at the setting and configuration level with no need for development.
Too many users are too quick to resort to customizing when standard functionality will provide the solution.
Research Apps Relevant to Your Business Needs
There are now over 3,000 Salesforce.com Apps in the AppExchange.
Many Apps have been built by Developers solving similar problems or developing similar functionality you are seeking. Many of these Apps are free or available at a very low cost.
Identify Software with Pre-Built Salesforce Connectors
Outside of the Salesforce AppExchange products, there are hundreds of established software providers who have created inexpensive standard connectors to Salesforce.
Technology with pre-built connectors provides you with a less-expensive, and often, more proven software solution on the application side, than undertaking your own application development on the Salesforce platform.
Tip # 3- Know Your Developer's Core Competencies What does Your Developer like to do?
Developers often have specific interests, skills and come from all types of backgrounds. Some are programmers, while others like to troubleshoot errors; some enjoy data migration tools and projects, others prefer to focus on building Apps.
Understand what type of development you are undertaking and ensure that the personality and interest of the Developer matches the project.
With development, the clock is always running, so finding a Developer with the exact experience you need for your project saves you time and money.
Understand Your Stage in the System Lifecycle
There are multiple stages in the system lifecycle (Plan, Build, Test, Deploy, Maintain, Train, Support, etc.).
Developers who may be experienced with building and testing may not be the best choice for the training and support stages.
A Variety of Skills can be Valuable
Salesforce credentials are essential in vetting potential Developers. But other attributes such as specific business experience, cultural fit and system lifecycle familiarity can be critical to the success of your efforts.
A Developer with an actual understanding of the business can save a tremendous amount of cycle time and preempt many errors.
Communication skills are also important; does your Developer listen to what you are saying?
Does he or she actually understand the request? There is often an enormous communication gap between a business user’s desired goal and the Developer’s understanding of their task.
Tip # 4- Know Where Your Developer is Located
Are Developers Offshore?
‘Offshore’ Developers are those based outside North America or Europe. This typically includes countries such as India, Nepal, the Philippines, China, South America but can also now include dozens of other places.
Offshore Developers often have a very high level of technical skill, but the distance can present many problems:
A cultural disconnect - since your business’ product or service may be completely unfamiliar to the person developing your application.
How can someone really provide an insurance solution if they don’t know what ‘ insurance’ as a concept is?
Communication challenges due to language and time-zones.
12 and 14-hour time-zone differences make real-time collaboration and conversation impossible. Not everything can be adequately explained in an email. The back and forth required for clarification all adds to your development cost.
Are Developers Dedicated or in a Team Structure?
Many Developers work in teams to provide ongoing availability. But a dedicated Developer may be more effective than a team where each new person you encounter requires an explanation and may have a different approach to meeting the goal.
Be sure you understand the number of layers between you and the actual Developer doing the work. These layers include Business Analysts, Project Managers, Techno Functional Consultants, etc. You are paying for the time each project participant spends discussing your work with a colleague.
Tip # 5- Hire a Techno Functional Consultant
Bridge the Divide between the Business Analyst and Developer
The Techno Functional Consultant is a unique specialty. They map the functional requirements into a solution architecture.
They are typically a bridge between the Business Analyst and the Developer The Techno Functional Consultant is the expert having the knowledge of the code, coding standards and implementation life cycle.
Their main role is to do customizations, extensions, modifications, localizations or integrations to the existing product. The Techno Functional Consultant bridges the technical gap of an organization through their expertise and provide a level of insight that is different than that of the Business Analyst or Project Manager.
A good Techno Functional Consultant can save you time, money and errors (which result in more time and money spent) by providing precise documentation which will require less clarification time.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect those of Salesforce.com, Inc. or related vendors. Examples cited in this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world situations as they are based only on limited and dated open source information. Salesforce, Salesforce.com, AppExchange and Pardot are trademarks of Salesforce.com Inc. © 2017 Edgemont CRM, LLC. All Rights Reserved – July 2017