Why Documenting Your Salesforce Org Matters
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Why create custom documentation for your Salesforce org?
Because builders like to build stuff, but they don't always know how to create good documentation for it.
Because personnel changes mean that knowledge can be easily lost when someone moves on.
Because every organization has unique policies, procedures and workflows.
Because lack of a knowledge base means a longer time getting new hires up to speed.
Your Salesforce Org is One of a Kind
So you hired a developer to create a customized solution or enhancement for your org. Now what? If your developer has done an excellent job they will leave you with hand-off documentation as part of the implementation. But maybe your developer didn't supply that documentation or maybe what they gave you is poorly written or full of jargon. If that's the case, then your users are left with nowhere to turn when they need help. Documenting your organization's custom data model, back end processes and integration with third-party applications can save you headaches down the line. And don't forget that users need how-to articles to complete tasks quickly.
People Come and People Go, But Your Org Remains
Changes in personnel are common in every organization. It's important that executives and senior-level managers prepare for inevitable staff turnover and take steps to ensure that organizational knowledge doesn't walk out the door along with the exiting employee.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of an organization should extend to your Salesforce instance as well. What if you lose your System Administrator? How long is it going to take to replace that person and for the replacement to learn everything they need to know to successfully manage and support your Salesforce users? Don't wait to fully document your SOPs and Salesforce workflow until it's too late!
Data Governance / Data Entry Policy Coverage
Often organizations have not developed any in-house data governance policies. Without data entry guidelines and agreed upon policies for data use, you may find that you have a database full of useless information. Salesforce is not a glorified address book. Users need to understand why they are collecting data, what consists of useful data, and how to input that data. Answering the Why, What and How questions about data needs to align closely with the organization's purpose or mission.
Resources from Salesforce are awesome and deep (and sometimes overwhelming). But Salesforce documentation and training resources alone doesn't always cover policies and procedures specific to your organization. Hiring an expert to help develop the policies—and the accompanying training documentation—enables both management and users create consistency across the organization, keeping data clean, safe, and compliant with data privacy laws.
Add Value with an Org Knowledge Base
Salesforce is often touted as a single source of truth. But what about organizational knowledge? Employees need good resources for understanding your in-house processes and a place to go to quickly to figure how to complete a task or resolve disputes about How We Do Things Here. A well-organized, searchable knowledge base adds value by saving user time and effort, decreasing onboarding time, increasing productivity, and acting as a single source of truth for your organization. If knowledge is power, then providing your users with the knowledge they need to perform well creates an empowered and engaged workplace.