Albert Einstein once quipped that “if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The implication being that context matters.
Like intelligence, the value of Salesforce is quite often contextual as well. Your users may not need every feature, capability, or app available right away. But when they do need one, they need it now.
The most successful organizations excel at giving the people what they need when they want it. This Time to Value (TtV) – the time between a business request and the initial delivery of that request – is a vital success metric that IT executives should track both for implementing new Salesforce apps or configuring changes in an existing system to measure their responsiveness to customer demands and their ability to remain competitive and relevant.
But as speed increasingly becomes the preferred currency of business, many CIOs are quickly realizing that their IT teams don’t have the resources or agility to deliver high quality enhancements and projects that their business demands. Worse, they default to a reactive posture in which they’re simply trying to get through as many tickets and requests as possible to keep the lights on instead of taking a lead role in guiding the organization’s digital transformation initiatives.
Here’s what to do about it.
4 Key strategies for accelerating time to value (TtV)
1. Broaden access to configurations
One of the biggest hindrances to quickly delivering high-value tools and features is that many organizations still depend on custom coding to deliver new features or updates. Coding is time-consuming and, in most cases, expensive.
Enterprises that rely on a handful of specialized resources to deliver new Salesforce features or reconfigure existing ones are not only at the mercy of development timelines for whatever project they’re currently focused on, but also risk taking resources away from other high-value activities and can negatively impact broader organizational objectives.
Instead consider low-code solutions that can be configured with clicks by administrators and business users themselves to eliminate project bottlenecks. In some cases the business can even take on parts of the administration to unburden overworked IT teams, further accelerate TtV, and dramatically improve efficiency.
2. Think small
While no one sets out to reinvent the wheel, many teams still wait for the whole wheel to be complete before making any adjustments or changes to its design. That is, for any new application or update release, many teams will wait for the full build to be complete before testing and launching it.
Instead, IT teams and Salesforce admins should take a page from the agile development playbook (and if your team is already agile, great!) and break big projects into smaller, more manageable pieces. Working in short sprints helps your team better prioritize projects and deliver smaller, but higher value, feature sets in the hands of users faster.
3. Test early, often, and at every stage
The only thing worse than delivering the feature or product your customers want late is delivering one that doesn’t work.
Few things can impact your team’s or business’s reputation quite like bug-filled apps with broken logic, or worse, breaks the existing functionality that previously worked. While some teams choose to test their feature set or app once the final build is complete, others opt not to test at all because of how time-consuming and complex it can be.
The better approach is to test in various stages of development. This is particularly useful (and possible) in an agile development environment in which you can test a relatively smaller number of planned releases faster, before moving on to the next batch of projects.
Regardless of your development methodology, discovering potential problems early through continuous testing means they’ll have less impact on the project as a whole and will ultimately take less time, money, and energy to fix.
4. Define and automate release management
Humans are conditioned to see and expect patterns. Eliminate the guesswork for business users and customers trying to predict when the next release or feature will arrive by defining as granular a release cadence as possible and automating as many parts of the process as you can.
Much like you expect to change your car’s oil every three months or 3,000 miles because of the constant stream of reminders you’ve received over the years, business users and customers can be similarly coached to anticipate when and how new releases and changes will be rolled out.
Knowing approximately when the next release is due will help to greatly reduce the number of one-off requests that interrupt release plans and add another to-do for your IT team. It’s also a great opportunity to evaluate your release processes to find any repetitive manual tasks involved and automate them to minimize costly configuration data errors, reduce the amount of additional hands-on work your team has to do, and help you deliver bug-free releases faster and more reliably.
In the Digital Era, organizations that prioritize shortening the time-to-value for their customers and business users are best positioned to win in the near term and sustain that success in the long run. Implementing these four strategies can help your team accelerate your feature and version releases to reduce TtV and improve both the adoption and retention of your user base.
Contact us today to learn more about tools and techniques that accelerate time to value for your Salesforce apps.