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11/7/2019
10 minutes

Building the Business Case for Salesforce DevOps

Written by
Andrew Leigh
Table of contents

If your organization has just made a multimillion-dollar investment in the Salesforce platform, company leaders may assume they’ve done all they need to create digital transformation. In fact, while Salesforce lays the groundwork for streamlining development and turbocharging innovation, a disciplined DevOps solution is key to making the most of your investment and driving effective change. You may understand intuitively why bringing DevOps into your Salesforce implementation is important, but you’ll need to outline the business case in order to convince decisionmakers. That means drilling down to the right metrics and ROI model that can communicate value to executive stakeholders.

Laying The Foundation with Salesforce
There’s a reason so many enterprises choose Salesforce as the bedrock of their digital disruption strategy. Salesforce allows companies to build and deploy applications five times faster than traditional software development platforms, and at half the cost. According to TK, Salesforce leads to major improvements in development speed, including increases of around 20% in time to market, company growth, and process efficiency. Many of these gains stem from the platform enabling administrators to innovate and customize without having to write a ton of code. At the same time, Salesforce reduces operational costs, IT spending and IT maintenance by more than 15% thanks to the elimination of hardware and associated infrastructure costs. Still, Salesforce alone is not enough for most companies seeking to compete in today’s digital economy.

The Role of Salesforce DevOps
A DevOps solution is necessary for enterprises to take the power of Salesforce to the next level. The platform does not contain a source repository for developers and other IT professionals to store their work, nor is there a structured release process. As a result, users frequently write conflicting code or override the work of others, leading to a massive version control issue. The process of delivering releases can become complex, inefficient — and expensive. Plus there is no way to tie releases to a structured compliance process, opening your organization up to privacy and security risks.

Through a seamlessly integrated DevOps solution, Salesforce users in your company can achieve a higher level of velocity and discipline, as well as drive innovation in a more structured and measurable way: You can build applications based on agile planning and automate the testing process. You can increase the speed of releases into the market. You can monitor and manage releases, including compliance checks, in real-time. And you can do all of this in a closed-circuit feedback loop that ties back to your agile plan. As a whole, DevOps can increase the speed of releases far beyond Salesforce alone, while driving down production errors that introduce compliance risks and security gaps into your implementations. These benefits can underpin a strong business case.

Communicating ROI
Building an effective business case means developing an economic model that highlights how DevOps can help your enterprise maximize returns on its Salesforce investment. Analyzing ROI involves answering two main sets of questions:

First, examine the potential value DevOps can deliver once you can rapidly test the effectiveness of a new idea in the market to see if it achieved the intended business value.

Consider:

  • What is the expected value of innovation?
  • Could innovation allow you to catch up to, outpace or even leapfrog competitors?
  • To what extent can you increase your release process flow?
  • What would it mean to expedite delivery and try out new ideas quickly?

Second, think about what you are risking by not implementing DevOps:

  • What is the cost of downtime? If your company’s website is down for an hour, what will you lose in terms of transactions, orders or even customers?
  • What value would you gain from catching bugs sooner and recovering more quickly?
  • What would you gain by reducing failing changes and, instead increasing stability?
  • What would it mean to build training into work?

Thinking about ROI in this way can help you paint a picture of how IT can serve as a profit center, rather than a cost center.

Success Metrics for Innovation Velocity
At the end of the day, executives want to see numbers. One key set of metrics to drill down into has to do with the speed of innovation. With the velocity of digital business accelerating at unprecedented rates, enterprises will need to adapt to the market at a daily or even hourly rate. Companies today have to think of a digital strategy not as a monolithic entity that they drop on the market and revisit periodically; rather, it’s something they must constantly evolve and adapt in response to market demands and the moves of competitors. When it comes to speed, a DevOps solution can drive measurable gains.

Metrics for tracking innovation velocity generally focus on three areas:

  • Faster time to market (e.g. a retailer getting products online by the holiday season)
  • Faster innovation (e.g. new capabilities on the company’s e-commerce site)
  • Faster feedback (e.g. near-real-time input on new innovations directly from business users and end customers)

The specific figures that matter most will depend on your company and industry. Here is an example of a subset of innovation velocity metrics that Copado helped one of our customers derive:

Increase Revenue and Business Productivity Impact from Innovation

  • Number of features that can be delivered in a year (pre-DevOps): 167
  • Number of features that can be delivered in a year (post-DevOps): 1,000
  • Increase in annual revenue impact from new features with DevOps: $360,796
  • Percent increase in revenue impact: 500%

Deliver More Features

  • Number of features delivered per release (pre-DevOps): 50
  • Number of features delivered per release (post-DevOps): 200
  • % increase in features delivered per release with DevOps: 300%

Save Costs from Improved Productivity:

  • Time taken to deliver all annual features in days (pre-DevOps): 447
  • Time taken to deliver all annual features in days (post-DevOps): 75
  • FTE cost savings in delivering all annual features with DevOps: $447,000
  • % FTE cost savings in delivering annual features with DevOps: 83%

This is just a starting point, but you can see how breaking down the numbers when it comes to productivity gains and cost savings can make a big impression on decision-makers.  

Success Metrics for Trust and Quality
The second component of your business case can revolve around metrics for improving trust, quality and compliance. If you move at the speed of light but sacrifice quality and security, your brand will ultimately lose in the market. In certain industries, such as healthcare, IT security, finance and energy, these metrics are even more important.

Metrics for trust and quality often focus on:

  • Increasing uptime
  • Reducing the mean time to repair
  • Reducing failure rates and bug count

Here are some more concrete examples from the same Copado customer:

Reduce Cost of Application Downtime

  • Average cost of downtime of internal-facing app per hour: $5,000
  • Average cost of downtime of customer-facing app per hour: $25,000
  • Total cost of downtime per year of all applications (pre-DevOps): $375,000
  • Total cost of downtime per year of all applications (post-DevOps): $75,000
  • Total annual cost savings from reduction in application downtime: $300,000

Reduce Rework Required to Fix Bugs

  • Average time in hours to fix bugs found in production apps per year (pre-DevOps): 3,000
  • Average cost to fix bugs found in production apps per year (pre-DevOps): $450,000
  • Average cost to fix bugs found in production apps per year (post-DevOps): $168,750
  • Annual cost savings from reduction in rework to fix bugs with DevOps: $281,250
  • % annual cost savings from reduction in rework required to fix bugs with DevOps: 63%

These are just a few of the benefits you can quantify when it comes to DevOps’ role in enhancing quality and trust.

Taking Salesforce to the Next Level
Making the most of Salesforce starts with ironing out a clear and agile digital strategy, putting the right team in place to operate the platform and ideally securing an executive sponsor to champion your cause.

Once those pieces are in place, building an effective business case for Salesforce DevOps can help your organization take its digital strategy to the next level and move ahead in the marketplace. The right DevOps tool needs to align business planning with technical execution, provide a way to feed real-time customer feedback directly into the model and fit into the overall digital architecture of the company. If it does, it can yield dramatic and quantifiable gains in innovation velocity while reducing costs and risks. That’s business logic executives can’t ignore. That’s why Copado is not only a good to have, but a necessity.

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About The Author

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