New Research Shows Increased Velocity & Virtual Development Create Fresh Challenges For Salesforce Delivery Teams in 2020


Copado, a leading DevOps platform powering the world’s largest digital transformations, today released the findings from its second “State of Salesforce DevOps” report, which provides insight into the development practices that lead to high-performing organizations. The report, sponsored by Copado and executed and analysed by Beagle Research, is based on thousands of data points collected from over 230 global Salesforce customers using DevOps to accelerate and improve the speed and quality of their implementations.

Adopting key principles from the Accelerate State of DevOps Report, the report analysed performance across Salesforce teams in terms of the dual goals of innovation velocity and release quality and security. Using the four metrics of lead time for change, deployment frequency, change failure rate and mean time to recovery, the report categorized respondents into four performance profiles that can be used to identify and measure the characteristics of both high and low performance.


Key takeaways from the Copado 2021 State of Salesforce DevOps report include:


Digital transformation is accelerating

In 2020, 82% have increased or maintained the size of their Salesforce development teams and 53% have exceeded their performance goals for the year.


Elite performers widen the digital gap as teams move faster

There are still four distinct performance profiles this year and the differences between these cohorts are dramatic. Elite performers vastly outshine low performers. Compared to low performers, elite performers have:


  • 30x shorter lead times
  • 46x more frequent deployments
  • 5x lower change fail rate
  • 37x shorter time to restore


The practice of version control is becoming standard, as is the use of continuous integration. The benefits of this are clear. Elite performing teams are 65% more likely to practice continuous integration than low performing teams.

Salesforce implementations are becoming increasingly sophisticated, as applications like Salesforce CPQ, Salesforce Industries, Veeva and nCino gain significant traction. These apps allow companies to develop solutions for industry-specific needs far more quickly than custom development. But organizations struggle to move their configuration data between environments. Only 23% of companies that use these tools have a way of automatically deploying that configuration from development through testing to production.

Recognizing that the cumulative benefits of such high performance compounds, Copado expects the gap between elite and low performers will become steadily greater.


Consulting partners are critical and DevOps talent improves

Copado’s research found widespread adoption of commercial tools for Salesforce development, yet the organizations surveyed said they rely heavily on consulting companies for at least some aspects of their development processes and they are looking for consulting companies to lead the way on DevOps.


  • 81% said they expected system integrators to help define DevOps processes for their company as part of the engagement
  • 73% of respondents used at least one commercial Salesforce development tool


It’s also becoming easier to find Salesforce DevOps talent, which may reflect the proliferation of training materials over the last two years.


  • 53% of respondents said that they found it easy to find people who are skilled in Salesforce DevOps
  • Salaries in developed countries typically fall between $90,000-$140,000, with some as high as $200,000


Virtual teams are struggling with quality

Copado’s report found that software delivery performance declined and system stability suffered in 2020 as teams took on more projects, more apps and shifted to 100% remote work. Declines were most pronounced in the increased change fail rate and increased time to recover. These challenges point to an underlying gap in automated quality controls and the struggle to adjust to a new virtual world. Although a large number of teams report using developer tools in their projects, they may not be used consistently or integrate end-to-end processes. Larger teams were increasingly likely to automate their deployments.


  • Change fail rate jumped from 23% in 2019 to 33% in 2020
  • Time to recover surged from 110 hours in 2019 to nearly 196 hours in 2020
  • 55% of respondents don’t consistently automate their Salesforce deployments, instead relying on making changes manually
  • In teams of 10 or less, 28% automated Salesforce deployments; in teams 100 or more, 56% automated their deployments


Longer development lead times decrease adoption rates

This year Copado also assessed the level of feature adoption. More than one-third (34%) of features that development teams create may not be adopted. This represents a real opportunity for better alignment between business and IT. There also was a strong correlation between development lead time and adoption. The data shows that delivering capabilities soon after they’ve been created is one of the most powerful things teams can do to ensure they actually bring value.

“As challenging as 2020 has been across many fronts, this research confirms that companies are successfully moving forward — digital transformations are accelerating and the impact of DevOps practices on organizational performance continues to be strong,” said Ted Elliott, chief executive officer for Copado. “Yet we see the classic tortoise and hare fable in play. If teams go fast without regard to quality, they will actually fall farther behind. Companies must focus on building high quality software right the first time. Quality and compliance will remain an important area of focus for organizations in 2021 if they want to outperform and drive value in a digitally hybrid world.”


The full report can be found at: