Young Life began in 1941 when a small town pastor realized his youth ministry needed to adapt in order to reach the town’s disengaged teenagers. Rather than trying to get young people to traditional church programs, his ministry began meeting with them through clubs held in their homes. Today, Young Life has grown into a network of 67,000 volunteers supporting two million young people across 104 countries and continues to innovate new approaches to reach adolescents.
Enabling business agility at scale
Young Life knows what works for a high school club in Pennsylvania, doesn’t necessarily translate to a club serving deaf youth in Mongolia. But maintaining the unique donor and volunteer management processes of each location is no small task. The nonprofit relies on Salesforce and a robust change management process to keep up with constantly changing needs.
“Each of our 8,500+ ministries operate like entrepreneur-led businesses. Our challenge is keeping up with requests from the different area directors, while also ensuring Salesforce works as a central system for financial reporting and global programs,” says Kevin Spinks, Sr. Director of IT at Young Life.
To keep up with all of the requests, Young Life established a standard release management process for Salesforce that allows individual team members to work on their projects in separate orgs before promoting their work to a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) sandbox and ultimately production. Before even going live with Salesforce, Spinks realized that manually deploying relational data and configuration changes was not a long term option for the team. Additionally, securing PII data throughout the testing process was a big concern.
“Our Data Architects are far too valuable resources to have them spending most of their day migrating data just so we can begin work,” acknowledges Spinks. “Plus, given the sensitive nature of our data, we wanted to eliminate the need for CSV exports in our development process.”
IT operations at the pace of business
Young Life initially chose Prodly AppOps Release to solve data migration challenges with complex Salesforce Billing data, but quickly expanded use cases across all of their low-code development. Now AppOps Release is an essential part of Young Life’s release management process for all of Salesforce.
“Prodly is essential to our change management process. Without AppOps Release, we wouldn’t have the manpower to keep up with all the projects we’re managing,” says Spinks.
AppOps Release gives Young Life a simple, secure, and automated way to deploy data between Salesforce orgs so the team can work projects through the release cycle faster and more reliably. Advanced data selection capabilities give Young Life granular control over what data to deploy from org to org so the team can limit data to the project scope and obfuscate sensitive data. Every data set and deployment plan Young Life creates can be reused for future projects to extend deployment automation even further.
As a project moves through testing and UAT, AppOps Release provides the flexibility to use objects from any of their Salesforce orgs making it simple to promote changes to the underlying data schema. Another advantage when deploying between orgs is the ability to automatically turn off triggers and Process Builder processes.
Automated deployments bolster testing and user acceptance
Being able to run the entire project cycle with real configurations and data makes development and testing easier. The team can identify issues earlier in the release cycle, preventing unnecessary delays to the project.
“If a problem makes it into UAT, we’re now a whole week behind in our sprint, and we’ve wasted a lot of people’s time and energy. With Prodly, we find issues earlier in the development pipeline when they’re easier and cheaper to resolve,” explains Spinks.
UAT is also improved because the team can demo solutions that function exactly as they would in production to users. Young Life’s team can produce higher fidelity demos to show users how the project meets business requirements, making it easier to obtain user approval.
“We’re not asking users to imagine it working. We’re able to show them how their project will work in their real day to day. That’s really powerful,” says Spinks.