Appreciate Your Salesforce System Administrator

Blog:

Every company that uses Salesforce.com has a designated system administrator. Sometimes that person is a full-time admin hired specifically for this job. Other times it is someone who has a completely different full-time role but has been given the additional responsibilities of the system admin. Either way, you should appreciate this person because it is not an easy job to have.  

So much goes into the background of customizing a company’s Salesforce instance. Yes, Salesforce has a lot of functionality available as soon as the instance is turned on and licenses are issued, but for most companies, it doesn’t end there.  

So, what types of things does the system admin have to do? Well, here are just a few of the basics: 

  1. Get users going and make sure they have the right access: Each user added to a Salesforce instance must have a profile. That profile determines which objects, fields, and page layouts they can access and if that access is read or read/write. Each user also needs a role that determines which records they can see for the objects to which they have access. This might sound simple, but it can get complicated if there are many profiles and levels of access within the organization. There might be times when two or more people with the same profile need different rights. In that case, the system admin must determine if a new profile should be created or if a permission set should be added to the users who need more rights. A permission set is like a mini profile, but it can be added to specific users in addition to their profile. 
  2. Customize standard objects and create custom objects: Salesforce has many standard objects, such as Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities. Within those standard objects are standard fields. Companies rarely will stick with just the standard fields and objects. The system admin is the person who needs to customize the standard objects by creating new fields and page layouts. They are also the person to create new custom objects to help improve company efficiency. Custom object creation can be a very complex process based on the function the object will serve.  
  3. Build process workflows and approval processes: Companies often need things to happen automatically in the background. For example, if a record is created, an email notification may need to be sent to someone. Or if one field is updated, another field may automatically need to be updated. These workflows need to be built in the background, and the system admin is the person to build all of that. Also, if approval processes are required, the system admin will have to build those including the initial submission criteria and what happens upon submission, approval, rejection, or recall of the request.  
  4. Create reports and dashboards: Depending on your users and company protocols, the system admin might be the person to build your reports and dashboards. These can become quite complex depending on the data your users need to see. Unless your company is providing thorough training on report building (especially for matrix and joined reports), chances are your users will be running to the system admin for help in building these. If your company does provide training on how to build and run these, chances are the system admin is the trainer for that.
  5. Integrating apps into Salesforce: The Salesforce App Exchange is an amazing resource for adding functionality to your Salesforce org, but the integration of those apps will not happen without your system admin. This person is responsible for making sure the apps and rights are given to the right people and that they do not interfere with any of your org’s existing setup.  

The above examples really don’t even scratch the surface of what a Salesforce system admin will face in their job. Think about it this way…they are responsible for making the system as efficient as possible for as many users as possible. Each department in your company has its own set of needs and requirements for the system. The system admin is the one who puts all the pieces together. It is one of those highly important, but thankless, jobs. So the next time you see your system admin, give them a high five, tell them how much you appreciate them, or maybe buy them a Starbucks drink.  

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