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How to identify risky objects in Salesforce

How to identify risky objects in Salesforce


Director of Product Strategy

Last Updated:

September 6, 2022

Have you ever started a Salesforce development project only to get derailed by an object saddled with overlapping automations—workflows, processes, triggers, and flows that are extremely complex to unravel? Now your stakeholders are getting antsy and that go-live date is getting pushed. What seemed like a straightforward set of user stories turned into something more complex. 

You just ran into a risky object…

Don’t let risky objects derail your Salesforce project

You don’t need to be a Salesforce wizard to know that Salesforce orgs are incredibly powerful. The ability for businesses to configure process automation on top of custom data models is why Salesforce has been adopted by hundreds of thousands of organizations across the globe. However, with the immense capabilities that Salesforce brings, a Salesforce org can become a complicated tool for people to manage. 

As a Salesforce consultant or administrator, you may come across a new org and wonder, what’s going on in there? What was left behind? Where are the riskiest spots that have developed in the org? 

To start, let’s talk about Salesforce objects. 

What is a Salesforce object? 

To put it simply, Salesforce objects are like database tables that allow you to store your specific data. There are two types of objects: 

  1. Standard objects: These objects are the ones provided by Salesforce out-of-the-box with your licenses. For example, these include accounts, contacts, cases, and opportunities.  
  2. Custom objects: These are the objects that have been created by users or installed in AppExchange packages. If you’ve hired an external Salesforce admin, chances are that you have these within your org. These objects are the heart of any application and hold your organization’s unique information while providing the structure for sharing data. 

What is a risky Salesforce object? 

Risky objects are objects that contain high record counts combined with high levels of automation. Basically, a highly automated object that gets used a lot. 

This combination can be a supernova ready to ignite—creating a mess of data within an org or causing delays to a critical project. 

What are the consequences of risky objects in Salesforce?

  • Data quality: The addition of new automation or modification of existing automation on these risky objects can significantly impact business processes and data quality. 
  • Out of-sequence triggers: If admins aren't familiar with the automation and triggers attached to particular objects, making changes may result in triggers causing unintended consequences that result in poor data quality or performance issues. Basically, when there are multiple triggers on an object firing off the same event, Salesforce doesn’t know which trigger to fire first so it is random.
  • Inaccurate project estimates: Consultants are expected to estimate projects without understanding the complexity of the objects or the org itself. Should a consultant discover a high level of risky objects, estimates can be off-base, resulting in change orders, slipping timelines, and worst of all, a bad customer experience.
  • Technical debt: Salesforce is retiring workflow rules and process builder. Risky objects often carry a large amount of this technical debt that must be migrated to flow or triggers, hampering a company’s development agility and slowing down their org. 

How are risky Salesforce objects identified? 

Hint: They often aren’t

Identifying risky objects in Salesforce must be done manually, which requires a HUGE number of steps in the setup menu and must be done on an object-by-object basis. To identify them, consultants have to work through the manual process of the following five steps: 

  1. Identify object
  2. Review data storage tab, and identify the number of records (total data/2kb per record)
  3. Review each automation tab to identify whether the object has this automation type associated with it (Workflow, Triggers, Process Builder, Flow, Approval Processes, Sharing Rules)
  4. Tally up the combined automation
  5. Once they’ve done this, this process must be repeated for ALL objects in the org. 

This process is so time-consuming and tedious that most admins do not even attempt to do it. 

How can we resolve this? Wouldn’t it be great to have a single view of all objects and how risky they are for your entire org? Even better, one that can be created for all objects in minutes? 

Understand the complexity of a Salesforce org instantly

Hubbl Diagnostics is a Salesforce org intelligence solution that accelerates the technical understanding of how any Salesforce org was implemented. It replaces tedious manual inspection with a single scan to generate a holistic understanding of a Salesforce org.   

“Hubbl Diagnostics provides a quick glance at the risky objects in an org, empowering admins and consultants with a holistic view.”

Hubbl Diagnostics scans an org’s metadata and analyzes it to produce an output that is like no other view of a Salesforce org you’ve seen before. Let’s take a look at some examples below. 

How to find high-risk Salesforce objects 

For each object, Hubbl Diagnostics plots the record count and the total object automation (complexity), allowing you to sort by record count or complexity (Figure 1).

A table identifying risky objects in Salesforce

A table of high risk objects in six Salesforce org.
Figure 1: A view of high risk objects in six Salesforce org. The darker the color, the more complex the automation on the object. Record counts are plotted on a log scale.

Orgs 1-3 in Figure 1 are sorted by object complexity, allowing you to quickly identify if user stories for the proposed project are touching the most complex objects. Orgs 4-6 are sorted by record count. This view demonstrates how the org is most used, while highlighting the relative complexity of each object. This view gives instant insights into what is happening under the hood of the org, its major use cases, and potential automation challenges.

For consultants, this view is a dream come true. They can instantly see where they need to dig into certain objects for more detail. It also empowers them to be more aggressive with pricing—either being more competitive because of the org simplicity or more expensive because of quantified complexity.

How to uncover Salesforce automation complexity

Digging deeper you can look at the breakdown of automation per object in Figure 2. This gives admins and consultants insight into the relative complexity based on different types of automation.

A table showing object automation in Salesforce
Figure 2: The object automation table view for three orgs from Hubbl Diagnostics scans. 

This view also allows you to sort by each automation type, to identify objects with the most triggers for example. Thereby allowing you to identify risky objects that have more than one trigger per object and are candidates for a trigger framework in a tech debt remediation project. 

Now that Salesforce has retired development of workflow rules as of the Winter ‘23 Release, you can also use this view to track your migration from workflow and process to flow.

Higher automation counts have darker boxes so you’ll notice complex objects easily and quantify the overlap of multiple automation types. In these examples, and in most orgs, you may also notice there are many objects that violate Salesforce’s one automation tool per object rule. The high number of automation types increases the risk for unintended consequences due to order or operations. 

Scan your Salesforce org with Hubbl Diagnostics

With these views, consultants can save themselves the headache caused by bad assumptions by identifying where those “risky objects” lie from the start of any Salesforce project. Trust us, once you see a Salesforce org through this lens, you’ll never want to work without it. 

Start uncovering your risky objects with Hubbl Diagnostics. Get your free scan here.

Peer into your Salesforce org like never before.

The deepest analysis of your Salesforce org, Hubbl Diagnostics provides actionable insights to identify and remediate risky objects in one simple scan.

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