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DevOps vs. ALM

Kelsey Eberle

July 27, 2023

Why DevOps Is an Essential Building Block of Salesforce ALM

DevOps vs. ALM—what’s the difference? Well, while they’re both approaches to change management in Salesforce, DevOps is just a part of the greater application lifecycle management (ALM) process. However, DevOps is critical to a robust ALM process. 

On top of that, incorporating DevOps methods into ALM offers several benefits both for the development process and the business—allowing you to maximize your Salesforce ROI.

DevOps vs. ALM building blocks

DevOps vs. ALM

You’re most likely familiar with the principles of DevOps. And perhaps you know that application lifecycle management comprises five stages: plan, build, test, release, and monitor. But what’s the real difference when it comes to Salesforce change management?

You can use both DevOps and ALM to optimize and streamline the release management process in Salesforce. However, DevOps focuses on the build, test, and release stages, while ALM also includes a planning stage and a monitoring stage. 

In essence, DevOps principles apply to creating and optimizing changes and apps, while ALM guidelines govern the entire lifecycle of a change, from its ideation to its retirement.

Where Does DevOps Fit Into Salesforce ALM?

Do you want to fine-tune your Salesforce change management process? Adopt DevOps principles into the build, test, and release stages of your Salesforce ALM. Here’s why.

A VR image of how DevOps fits into the Salesforce ALM process.

DevOps in the Build Stage

In the build stage of ALM, you create apps and make changes to applications. With DevOps, you practice continuous integration, which facilitates real-time collaboration on the source code. This ensures the code remains up to date—and significantly reduces the risk of conflicts.

DevOps in the Test Stage

On to the test stage. DevOps principles include implementing automation where possible in the change management process. Automated testing—unit testing, functional testing, and regression testing—minimizes the time and resources spent on manual testing.

DevOps in the Release Stage

Lastly, we arrive at the release stage. DevOps promotes continuous delivery, which involves moving your changes to a testing environment after you’ve built them. As soon as you’ve tested and approved them, you move them to a staging environment and from there to production. 

Continuous delivery shortens the cycle between the change’s development and deployment of. As a result, you accelerate the release process, which in turn allows for faster feedback and improvements.

And there you have it—DevOps methodologies amplify Salesforce ALM so you can build, test, and release high-quality code and configurations with ease.

The Benefits of DevOps in Salesforce ALM

Now you know that DevOps amplifies ALM, what are the specific benefits of implementing this change management approach in Salesforce?

Streamlined Development Process

In DevOps, collaboration and communication between your development and operations teams foster an efficient workflow. Additionally, CI/CD, automated testing, and version control make the development process more streamlined and reliable.

Benefits for Admins and Developers

Take continuous integration, for instance. This involves frequently merging your changes back to the main branch. Those integration issues that often occur when you and the rest of the DevOps team work in isolation? They don’t happen anymore.

Add automated testing to the mix. When you immediately test the integrated changes, you can identify issues much sooner in the development process, when they’re relatively inexpensive to fix.

This streamlined development process means you spend less time troubleshooting and more time doing what you love and do best—creating excellent applications.

Business Benefits

Now, let’s look at it from a business perspective. Because you have more time for higher-value work, you can innovate and deliver features faster. This increased efficiency can lead to increased customer satisfaction, an enhanced competitive edge, and, ultimately, a healthier bottom line. 

Higher-Quality Changes and Applications

Applying DevOps principles to Salesforce ALM significantly improves the quality of your changes and applications. This results in high-performing, dependable applications that deliver stellar user experiences.

Benefits for Salesforce Teams

Consider the role of DevOps principles like automated testing and continuous integration in Salesforce application development. With automated testing, you can promptly detect and fix any issues to the new configuration. Similarly, continuous integration minimizes the occurrence of bugs by ensuring your whole team is working from the same code.

Let’s say a change unexpectedly impacts a different part of an application’s functionality. If you use automated testing and continuous integration, you can quickly detect and resolve the issue and deliver a high-quality application.

Business Benefits

So how does enhanced code quality benefit the business? Well, high-quality applications mean fewer glitches, which translates into reduced downtime and lower maintenance costs. In addition, well-functioning applications empower your business users to ramp up their productivity, which can boost your bottom line.

Increased Operational Efficiency

When it comes to Salesforce, operational efficiency can mean the difference between a well-functioning app and one that struggles to meet user demands. This is where DevOps comes in.

Benefits for Developers and Admins

DevOps emphasizes the use of automation to streamline development lifecycles. When you automate repetitive manual tasks like integration and testing, you significantly reduce the occurrence of bugs. As a result, you can deliver more reliable changes and features faster. 

Imagine a scenario where a change inadvertently affects the functionality of an application like Salesforce CPQ. In a non-DevOps setup, you might not notice the issue until it’s too late. That could lead to downtime—and that’s when business grinds to a halt.

In contrast, when you implement DevOps in application lifecycle management, automated tests would immediately flag the issue. Plus, with effective collaboration between your development and operations teams, you stand a better chance of resolving it in a timely manner.

Business Benefits

Increased operational efficiency within Salesforce ALM provides several business benefits. Smoother operations means faster delivery of changes for your business users like your sales team, which makes them more agile.

On top of that, more efficiency usually equals cost savings and more innovation. Why? Because you can accomplish more with the same resources

Rapid Problem Solving

DevOps advises the use of version control, which acts as a safety net when a change doesn’t function as intended. Version control systems (VCS) meticulously record every change you make. This provides a chronological roadmap of the application’s evolution. Best of all: You can quickly roll back the software to a previous version while you fix the issue—and that minimizes the risk of downtime.

Benefits for Salesforce Teams

Suppose you just deployed a change to production, and now a critical functionality in Sales Cloud doesn’t work.

In a non-DevOps environment, it could take hours to identify the bug and fix it. But with a VCS in place, you can quickly pinpoint the exact issue and get to work addressing it. And all it takes is a few clicks to revert to a stable version of the application. Problem solved.

Business Benefits

There are three important advantages to having a rollback capability. First of all, minimizing downtime is fundamental to ensuring business continuity and maintaining customer trust.

Second, more uptime means your sales reps have more time with their customers—and that increases their chances of bringing in more business. 

Lastly, rapid problem solving can encourage innovation because you’re not worried about breaking something. That means you’re more agile, which means your business users can respond more quickly to opportunities.

DevOps Is Critical to Robust Salesforce ALM

When you understand the fundamental role of DevOps in Salesforce ALM, you have the blueprint for success in today’s digital-first landscape. 

DevOps supercharges the application lifecycle management system, which leads to more than just streamlined operations and faster delivery times. It also results in higher-quality applications, more satisfied users, and better alignment of your Salesforce instance with business needs. 

In short, by using DevOps principles, you can transform your Salesforce ALM into a powerhouse of efficiency and reliability. And that in turn allows you to maximize the value of your Salesforce investment.


What is DevOps?

DevOps is a methodology that encourages collaboration between developers and operations—the team that deploy and maintain the code. It accelerates development cycles, improves the quality of configurations, and generally makes the whole process of delivering changes smoother and faster.

What is ALM?

ALM stands for application lifecycle management. “Lifecycle” in ALM refers to all the stages a piece of software goes through, including planning, building, testing, releasing, and monitoring. ALM provides a standardized process for change management in Salesforce and helps ensure you perform each step correctly, efficiently, and effectively..

What is a version control system?

A version control system (VCS) keeps track of every single change made to the code, who made it, and when. If a change or new feature doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, you can go back to a previous version of the code where things were working, and figure out what went wrong. It reduces the risk of developers overwriting each other’s work or losing changes.


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