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Salesforce administrator responsibilities: What needs to be done and when

David Taber | Sept. 29, 2017
What does a Salesforce administrator do all day, week or month? Here's the general rundown.

 

Monthly Salesforce admin tasks

A few activities can only be done once a month but nonetheless need to be done more often than once a quarter. In all, this monthly cycle will take one or two days’ effort.

  • Make additions and changes to pick-list values and other fields. It's important that these kinds of metadata changes not be made on the fly, as innocent changes can have surprising effects on system behavior.  It’s best to pre-test prospective changes in a full sandbox.
  • Run field utilization reports to identify any new sources of data pollution. If fields are consistently blank more than 30 percent of the time, consider removing them from page views and see who complains. If a field is consistently blank 95% of the time, consider deprecating it altogether (but don’t remove it from the system — just mark it as deprecated). 
  • Before refreshing the sandbox(es), use Eclipse to make a complete metadata backup of the sandbox images and your main system image. Create a new "project" every time and archive them for at least a year. You'll thank me when somebody starts badgering you about a report deleted four months ago.
  • Refresh the sandbox(es). Coordinate the timing of these updates with the work of any developers who are using the sandbox, lest you blow away some of their work.
  • Read about high-priority fixes from Salesforce.com. These fixes will be installed by default within a few weeks, but it's better if you do the patch installs when you have time to pre-test, react, to and fix any problems you discover.
  • Install the high-priority updates that may have been pushed into your Salesforce.com instance. It's best to rerun the "run all tests" exercise after enabling the updates. If something goes wrong, disable that update and notify the relevant vendor(s) of the issues.
  • Create an archive copy of any error logs kept in your integration server and any connected applications.
  • Run a full system backup (data, metadata and error logs, if possible) on any system or application that is integrated with Salesforce.com.

 

Quarterly Salesforce admin tasks

There are a lot of items in the following list that will occupy you for one to three days per quarter. However, the first two are mission critical, and the resulting files should be kept forever. You’ll thank me when a pesky plaintiff attorney goes into a discovery process on Salesforce.com data.

  • Add or remove members of your Communities or Partner Portals, then download the CSV from the user login history.
  • Download the CSV from the system administrator setup audit log.
  • Read the release notes for any third-party application or plug-in connected to Salesforce.com. Typically, changes and upgrade cycles will be harmless, but occasionally several configuration and operational changes will be required as a consequence of external changes.
  • Run the Reports report to identify reports that haven't been run in six months. Hide them from users, but don't delete them.
  • Run the Roles by Profile Report to identify which roles or profiles have no active users in them. This identifies candidates for consolidation.
  • Examine any new pick-list values that have been modified or added to any fields in the system, and using the Force.com IDE’s Search function to identify the impact of those changes across all the Booleans, formulas, and APEX/JavaScript/VisualForce code in the system. Correct any elements that have been impacted.
  • Run Field Trip and EasyDescribe on all tables.  These two free tools give you an overview of the health of your system's object model.
  • Read the release notes for the upcoming version of Salesforce.com to see if any of your existing features or APIs you depend on are being deprecated or changed significantly. If so, you need to test the pre-release features in your sandbox and do the "run all tests" exercise there. It's getting increasingly common that code, formulas and buttons need to be reworked to accommodate version changes.
  • If you're a certified SFDC administrator, study (hours) and take (minutes) the admin recertification test. This is typically a 5-question, multiple-guess online test.
  • Attend at least one local Salesforce.com user group meeting or webinar.  You’ve got to keep current!
  • Archive (please don’t delete) weekly data snapshots that are more than 90 days old.

 

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