Table of Contents
This article about business automation risks is helpful for app owners considering scaling up their businesses. The developers’ sandbox is the solution that ensures smooth modernization without hiccups. The real case study below discovers how we applied the sandbox tool to facilitate the business automation process for our client.
Approaching business automation risks
What if you need to roll out new features for your digital product but fear it will affect its performance? The concern is valid, but it doesn’t mean your modernization bumps into obstacles. There are cloud solutions that arrange isolated test environments and let developers see how the product will perform in real life.
Business automation is an example of such modernization, with various programs underpinning this process. Usually, these program utilities are intended to solve specific problems. These systems provide different facilities depending on the complexity of the business. They can be combined or used as a single end-to-end solution.
To address business automation risks, companies must move with the integration. At some point, it involves creating a single ecosystem with the automation program. This tends to be quite a challenge, both for the business and the technical teams involved in implementing and supporting such integrations. Our team often receives automation requests from our clients. Sometimes, it implies relatively simple actions to stabilize such ecosystems. On other occasions, it leads to more systematic work. The case we will tell you about belongs to the latter category.
Business automation risks in the e-commerce platform
One of our clients, an e-commerce platform with a rather complex business model, is set on developing multi-feature functionalities. This platform’s business targets B2B and B2C markets in three locations. Our team was invited to implement new features and estimate what it takes to realize this plan.
We preface the development stage with a rigorous business analysis and discovery work. When gathering requirements and assessing the new functionality, we spotted low transparency in the automation and complex system of the entire business. Our analysts, therefore, identified several essential risks that could bring the business tangible harm.
Before rolling out the new features, we needed to ensure the business works with a secure and robust system. The organization had a complex structure with different entities that had to be synchronized at each processing stage within the three systems. Hence, our foremost goal before development was to attune a seamless synchronization between all these entities.
The problem with the e-commerce website was that some sync functionality did not allow for modernization without the risk of a malfunction.
To ensure synchronization of the e-commerce order management system, we created a sandbox, a cloud-based test environment. This way, sales managers could spot potential weak points early and unblock modernization.
What is a sandbox by Salesforce?
After some research, we decided to use a Salesforce solution and test automation outside the e-commerce product.
Salesforce is a cloud-based software company; it provides customer relationship management (CRM) products working as an integrated CRM platform. The CRM software is delivered entirely online and greatly serves those who need to address business automation risks. Salesforce has a mobile SDK (software development kit) for building custom Android and iOS apps for customer instances.
Sandbox by Salesforce mimics your production instance with all or part of metadata, including contacts and account information, at a minimum. Using sandbox tests has become a best practice before implementing any real change. It’s never recommended to use development outright in production.
There are different types of sandboxes offered by Salesforce. Using a test environment cuts your operational time and reduces the cost of bugs due to their early detection and prevention.
Development using Salesforce is not much different from regular web development regarding approaches, technologies, and tools. In Salesforce, you can change the backend, frontend, and even the database model. Also, Salesforce provides declarative programming and offers a variety of built-in tools. As with any template solution, there are still some nuances and constraints, which we’ll touch on further.
To begin with, Salesforce CRM is an entirely cloud-based solution. This means you do not have to compile anything on the local machine. If you prefer, you can collect the classes, but Salesforce handles the task automatically; the need to do this manually is rare. The manual compilation is only desirable when dependencies change.
Salesforce works with cached compiled classes. The system built on cloud technologies must not be installed on a local server. As a provider, Salesforce is responsible for setting up and maintaining servers. Its CRM architecture is multi-sphere and distributed; the principal servers are the USA, England, Germany, France, and Japan. AWS-based servers are set in the USA, Canada, India, and Australia.
We set up the infrastructure necessary for testing before starting the development of the new functionality. For this purpose, we suggested adding another stable environment for testing and accumulating functionality. It was a preproduction environment.
Our engineers created separate sandboxes for the development environment (stage) and the testing environment intended for the connected inventory management system and CRM (SalesForce). We have also adjusted the synchronization algorithm for all processes to use third-party sandboxes. At this stage, first of all, we made sure that the infrastructure was up and running.
Then, we faced the challenge of synchronizing each sandbox with three separate sites for each location. We had to manage the risk of duplicating order IDs from the three areas into one sandbox for the system to work smoothly. Mind that connecting a sandbox to each location was not economically justified.
To this end, we provided a unique ID generation and duplicate control approach during synchronization.
It took us under two weeks to complete the work. Two specialists handled the process: one back-end engineer and one QA engineer.
The positive impact
The underlying business system was successfully isolated from the effect of new functions, a direct result of our work that fully matched the initial goal. The business automation risks are now mitigated.
Another positive result is creating a stable environment for testing and accumulating new functionality. We could test and adjust this environment before it went into production.
Finally, we ensured 100% testing of all synchronization processes for the most vulnerable parts of the system without interfering with the business and operation processes.
Product improvement is crucial to the success of your business, but its sustainability and reliability cannot be overlooked. With modern testing environments, seeing the natural interaction between new features and your product is becoming safe. By following the best product safety practices while ensuring high functionality, you provide the mitigation of business automation risks. Check our startup section page to embrace all aspects of upscaling!