Managed Services DevOps Series Part 1—The what, how, and why

by Michael Straw

It’s no easy task to manage the many, many (try 492 per month) IT requests in your Salesforce organization. There’s always something that needs fixing, updating, or streamlining. And, for most organizations, it takes 24.2 hours on average to get the first response on an IT request (much less the resolution). So now you have the IT department, end users, and executives all just trying to stay afloat in a sea of long-hoped-for technical improvements. 

In short, your organization could use a little more systematic kaizen—Japanese for continuous improvement at all levels—to keep you from drowning. 

That’s what DevOps, led at Simplus by our Managed Services practice, is all about. With Simplus Managed Services DevOps, we are constantly tending to both the development and operations of your Salesforce Orgs. We look at how to better leverage Salesforce DX, repositories, and release management tools to streamline the development process and remove risk. We’re on a hunt for those areas in your Salesforce org and processes that are prime for kaizen. Simplus DevOps brings administrators, developers, quality assurance, and business analysts together in a cohesive collaboration that ensures continued improvement that increases value for your business.

We’re launching this new blog series to share a little bit more about exactly what DevOps is and what the typical DevOps process looks like. In this five-part Managed Services DevOps series, my colleagues and I will go through the whole process—from planning and testing to deployment and monitoring. 

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, let’s define what DevOps truly means for you, the tools that make it happen, and why its benefits are a must for keeping your competitive edge. 


What is DevOps?

DevOps is a combination of two things: development + operations. On the development side of things, the team is focused on improvements: creative innovation and generating new things in the name of a better org. Operations, on the other hand, is all about keeping what already exists stable, up to date, and running. Put them together, and you have DevOps—a continuous way to both maintain and improve your org. 

Perhaps another way to clearly understand what DevOps is to take a look at the struggles of organizations “functioning” without a dedicated DevOps solution. Organizations that don’t have DevOps are typically the ones struggling with multiple developers overriding each other’s code, version control, disparate testing and production environments, siloed teams, and an overall lack of coordination and alignment. DevOps is all about eliminating those pain points through collaborative tools and processes.

And it’s nothing new. The idea of DevOps has been around for decades. But DevOps for Salesforce is a slightly newer frontier. In 2017, Salesforce introduced Salesforce DX, a new way for developers to build code directly on Salesforce. This new developer experience is a collection of various processes and tools that all allow people to collaborate on software development. Developers can touch the same code without worrying about wiping out each other’s work, you can merge collaborative code into a new version, admins can easily revert to previous code if needed, and you can create a central repository for pushing changes continuously. It’s wins all around. 


How does DevOps work?

At Simplus, DevOps is one offering from our Managed Services practice. We have certified resources with years of experience in delivering DevOps to clients across multiple industries and with different business objectives. To make the DevOps experience even better, we have a series of tools and frameworks to guide us:


Gearset and Prodly

Gearset and Prodly are two release management tools tailored for Salesforce organizations. Prodly is particularly helpful for Salesforce CPQ projects. 

GitHub, BitBucket

These are code development and version control platforms used by Simplus to create the code, maintain it, collaborate on it, and prepare it for deployment with repository management. 

CALMS framework

Finally, the CALMS model is a conceptual framework for strategizing DevOps. Using the CALMS framework, we can assess the readiness of organizations to begin DevOps.

– CULTURE: Improving the way things are done is at the core of DevOps’ mission. Making sure your organization has a culture that is ready to work on things together and with best practices (no more code edits directly on the production environment) is critical to preparing for DevOps. 

– AUTOMATION: The tools used throughout DevOps emphasize automation. Whether pushing code from one environment to another or pre-testing code before deployment, automated tools are ready to take on these tasks. 

– LEAN: DevOps is all about lean operations and development, meaning you’re not overriding work, wasting time, or waiting for deployments all night. With DevOps, these time wasters are managed and streamline to create a lean process for continuous improvement. 

– MEASUREMENT: The success of DevOps largely depends on what you’re hoping to get out of it. Identifying those outcomes (e.g., lead time from development to production, number of deployment hours, amount of deployments, number of failed deployments) ahead of time will help you measure the success of DevOps later on. 

– SHARING: Finally, sharing is focused on encouraging that collaborative spirit within your organization so it is primed for the very interconnected nature of DevOps initiatives.


Why would my org benefit from DevOps?

If you haven’t caught the scent of it already, DevOps makes life far easier for all levels of the organization. With its focus on lean processes, collaboration, and automation, DevOps from a proven partner can save valuable time and money. But that’s just the start of DevOps’ benefits:

– Reduced number of post-deployment events (fewer items to fix)

– Increased collaboration between roles, processes, and tools

– Reduced business risk

– Improved operational efficiency

– A culture of continuous feedback to constantly improve processes

– More accurate, on-time deployments

– In-sync changes across organizations

– Increased value

If you wish your business had a little bit more of any of these benefits, consider DevOps the go-to solution for transforming your Salesforce maintenance process. Get in touch with Simplus Managed Services today to get started.

Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to take a deep dive through each phase of a typical DevOps engagement. Join us next week when my fellow DevOps guru, Cory Griffin, will explain how planning and coding lay the foundation for DevOps projects. 



Michael is a customer success manager in Simplus’ Managed Services practice. He is a versatile programmer, analyst, and project manager who has collected and documented requirements for CRM implementations over the last sixteen years. Michael is technically adept and is capable of design and development working at the database level (SQL, T-SQL, and PL/SQL), coding business rules in C#, JavaScript, and Apex.

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