If your company provides a range of services and functionality, a solid foundation will be crucial for scaling. One of the business goals of Salesforce is to enable this practice. Large successful companies use Salesforce and a lot of its products as a pillar in the building of multi-instance environment. This is important part of building a blueprint that later can be customized for the needs of clients.
A multi-instance approach is good when you want to create a robust access and security model, and to leverage flexible configurations for a particular client. It works both for independent software vendors and huge organizations with a large number of clients.
A Bedrock team of professional Salesforce developers can use multi-instance approach in providing automation best practices. There are some hacks within this approach that can help to implement customized process to every customer.
Multi-Instance helps to create and update blueprint
The first step for many client oriented organizations is to create a mold or template from which they can provide customized services. Multi-instance approach provides flexibility and does not require uniqueness for every instance.
After a blueprint is created, the release of universal changes and updates should be deployed for all customer environments with avoiding partial universality - changes have to be applied to all customers, not just some of them.
Multi-instance environment requires great discipline in the process of deploying changes. A consistent release schedule will make the process of deploying changes easier. Force.com provides valuable enterprise class tools for deployment.
Consistency and Standardization
Following these two principles will ease additions and updates implementation. Labels and API names have to be standardized constantly across all instances. Sometimes, after working for a while with multi-instance environment, you can lose the understanding of functionality. Putting necessary basic processes in order will be a huge benefit for the team.
It is also good to have a basic, core blueprint with universal functionality. Keep all documented set up in one place and you will provide some sanity for your team. Use Trialforce or AppExchange packages in order to distribute your compatible metadata to other instances.
Centralized Roles and Permissioning
If you really want Salesforce multi-instance approach to work for you and your business, you will have to control permissioning across the organization and to define clearly roles for employees.
Salesforce provides robust security model that allows to build detailed permissioning schemas within every company. In any case try to end up with centralized logic of roles and permissions. Make sure that people of different organizations with equal roles, have the same level of access to the information they need. It will allow to avoid distortion, especially when it comes to applying for permission to new “universal” functionality.
Multi-instance environment with Salesforce can be very beneficial for your business. If the company has a blueprint, deploys updates consistently and provides standardization, it will be successful. While Salesforce keeps its focus on multi-organization environments, services and solutions, your company needs to track the new releases and updates.