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How to identify Salesforce technical debt

How to identify Salesforce technical debt

EVP, Product Development

Last Updated:

August 29, 2022

If you’re working within Salesforce, you’ve probably heard the term ‘technical debt’. If left untreated, technical debt can pose some serious challenges to your client’s Salesforce org’s health—and make your team’s job harder than it needs to be. Similar to financial debt, technical debt can accumulate in large amounts and leave your team frustrated, and overwhelmed. We’re here to help you understand tech debt, identify it, and remediate it.

Let’s start off with the basics.

What is technical debt?

Simply put, technical debt is the result of quick-win customizations. It’s technical obstacles that prevent organizations from achieving business goals. It’s the result of past technology decisions, such as the decision to build functionality through hard code rather than declarative development.

How many Salesforce users have technical debt?

Within the ecosystem, technical debt is a very common issue as it’s easier and more timely to customize a platform that fits your needs rather than waiting for that functionality to be built-in. Configuring your Salesforce platform this way means that you’re solving the immediate problem, but long term—this is not the case.

Given that Salesforce is a highly customizable platform, technical debt is often inevitable within Salesforce orgs. It’s especially common for organizations who have been on the platform for a long time. The longer the time on the platform, the more opportunity to accrue technical debt.

So why care about Salesforce technical debt?

You know the saying “ignorance is bliss”? In the case of technical debt, this may be true for the start, but if left untreated that bliss can quickly snowball into a massive, unmanageable issue for administrators and users. Uncovering tech debt within Salesforce can be a challenge as it can be hidden within nooks and crannies within your org and often requires a manual identification process to be found.

What Salesforce technical debt looks like

You don’t have to be a technical wizard to notice Salesforce tech debt in a Salesforce org. In most cases, tech debt is most problematic for admins, and everyday users, somewhat problematic for occasional users, and, eventually, creates a domino effect impacting the business as a whole.

You’ll notice Salesforce tech debt in a number of ways such as:

  • Being stuck using Salesforce Classic or mismatched user interfaces.
  • Long, cluttered page layouts with empty, redundant, or unclear fields.
  • Lengthy page load times and intermittent errors.
  • Inconsistent results from button clicks and backend automation.
  • Unexpected lack of access to features, records, and reports.
  • Seemingly simple enhancement requests that go unfulfilled.

These frustrating experiences sow distrust in users, greatly impacting their adoption of the platform and reducing the overall value that Salesforce can provide for businesses. Technical debt can result in the following challenges for your team:

  • Scalability constraints: Out-of-date customizations can prevent users from adapting and moving quickly within their org—no one likes working with a slow org.    
  • Incompatibility: Salesforce users are no strangers to integrations; broken apex or visual code can complicate the integration process.
  • Higher maintenance costs: Overall costs increase when effort and time must be spent to untangle complex webs of customizations.
  • Performance degradation: Continuing to use the classic UI can result in long page load and action runtimes.
  • Poor user experience: Negative user sentiment or hesitancy to expand Salesforce footprint can prevent Salesforce users from harnessing the full potential of their Salesforce org.

Mitigating Salesforce technical debt with Hubbl Diagnostics

Hubbl Diagnostics is our high-level diagnostics tool that accelerates the technical understanding of how a Salesforce instance was implemented.

So what exactly does that mean?

With one free scan, Salesforce users can gain full visibility into any Salesforce org’s metadata and surface areas of improvement immediately. The scan looks under the hood of any Salesforce org and gives users full visibility on:

  • Object and field usage
  • Profile & permission sets
  • Code quality
  • APEX
  • Rules (security, validation, workflow sharing)  
  • Lightning web components
  • Visualforce and more.

By identifying these areas your team can quickly visualize where technical debt is accumulating and set out a prioritized roadmap to rectify these issues. Run Hubbl Diagnostics scans throughout and following the life of a project to quickly demonstrate the impact of your reduction efforts

We may sound like a broken record, but again if left untreated technical debt can seriously deplete your chances of utilizing your Salesforce org to its fullest potential–and ultimately reduce your return on your technology investment. Salesforce consultants know the importance of understanding their clients' orgs from the outset and Hubbl Diagnostics is the tool to help transition your Salesforce projects from reactive to proactive.  

Instead of spending hours tediously searching for tech debt within Salesforce, users can quickly identify it and rectify it. Hubbl Diagnostics follows four simple steps:

  1. Login: Login to Hubbl Diagnostics and authorize a new connection to your Salesforce org. We use OAuth 2.0 for secure org authorization without needing to access your Salesforce password.
  2. Scan: Hubbl Diagnostics inspects the org to analyze its complexity. We do not access or collect any transactional data within Salesforce, but we do scan record counts, code, and configuration (aka metadata) within the org. After preparing an aggregated analysis of the scan, we do not store your metadata or security tokens.
  3. Analyze: Review key metrics such as API usage, automation by object, security health risks, and more through the interactive dashboard. Export to CSV or Google Spreadsheets for additional details and to have complete control over analysis and visualizations.
  4. Prioritize: Hubbl Diagnostics provides a holistic view of where to focus optimization efforts. Combine this with your business strategy priorities to identify efforts that will have the biggest impact.

The reality of technical debt is that the need to manage it is continuous, especially when it comes to Salesforce. With Salesforce’s triannual major release cycle (including feature retirement and API version deprecation) and increasingly flexible platform, it’s essential that teams allocate time each sprint cycle to address previous Salesforce configuration and customization. Even better, utilizing Hubbl Diagnostics on a regular basis can make it easier to refactor and ensure adherence to best practices to pay off any accrued tech debt.

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