Now that we are into a new year, its a good time to talk about spring cleaning, even though it is still winter. If you have been using Salesforce for any length of time, then it has most likely been customized to meet your business processes. (If it has not been you have a Ferrari that you’re not driving more than 10 miles/hour.) As change the seasons, so change your business processes and Salesforce requirements. With things seeming to be in a constant change, what was needed yesterday may not fit for tomorrow.
The great thing about the Salesforce CRM system is that it is extremely customizable. But this can also be a hindrance, and Salesfore can become more difficult to use over time, if you do not stay on top of it. It is easy to add a new field when someone wants it but what about the fields you added last year? Are they still being used, and if so, by how many users?
Once a year, it is a good idea to look at your CRM software infrastructure to make sure you are running a nice tight ship behind the scenes. A cluttered system can lead to less user adoption and faulty data as well as frustration if a field, report, template, or dashboard is hard to find. Let’s look at how we can clean this up.
Field usage can be tricky to nail down. If you are on Enterprise edition, there are some free apps on the AppExchange like Field Trip or Percent Complete that you can use to check your field utilization by object. Professional and Group edition users can create reports for each object with all of the fields and then sort on any field to see how much it is being used.
When creating these reports, you should remove the date criteria so you get all records. If you have multiple years’ worth of records, then you should run reports for each year’s created date. More than likely, you will have over 2000 records so an export to Excel would be needed. With Excel, you can use the “COUNTIF” and “ISBLANK” formulas to give you an accurate usage statistic for each field.
Once you determine which fields that can be removed, DO NOT delete them as any data that they hold will be deleted as well. Also, standard fields cannot be deleted. Fields that have not been used in the past year should be removed only from the page layout. Fields that have been used minimally should be moved into their own section on the page so users can hide them if desired. This leads to a cleaner page layout that is easier for your users to navigate and that may improve Salesforce user adoption.
Keeping your Salesforce custom reports up to date is a fairly painless process since Salesforce gives you a reports report. As a system administrator, create a new report and open the Administrative Reports category. For the report type, select Reports. You can then sort by folder or last run date. Salesforce does not apply storage space to reports so you can have as many as you want but any reports that have not been run in over a year should be moved to an archive folder or perhaps deleted to make things cleaner.
Salesforce even gives you the ability to create a custom report type on reports and dashboards. With this, you can check and see what dashboards are being used and which are not. I used this myself and found some dashboards from the AppExchange that I have not used in over a year! With some organizations having hundreds or thousands of dashboards, this custom report type can come in quite handy.
You cannot report on email templates in the Salesforce CRM system but there is a Times Used and a Last Used Date field on each template page. You can use these to weed out templates that have not been used over a certain time. Please keep in mind that automation like workflow or auto-response rules do not update these fields and mass emails only add one to the count, not the total recipients.
Content and documents can be monitored through their own reports so you can keep up with them and possibly reduce your storage space. The content report is quite handy for reporting on the number of downloads or subscriptions. It will even tell you the number of positive and negative votes. This is a report that you may want to run every month or so to keep your content fresh.
Spring cleaning is never an easy task but it is something that needs to be done. Hopefully, with the tools I have listed, I have made your job much easier.
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