Don’t Automate Mistakes: Three Things Admins Can Learn from EDM Producers
Don’t Automate Mistakes: Three Things Admins Can Learn from EDM Producers

Don’t Automate Mistakes: Three Things Admins Can Learn from EDM Producers

06/20/2022 by Blake Mahaffey
Here are three guiding principles that can lead the way in expert music creation and Salesforce Flow design.

Alright, you might be thinking that title is just to get your attention, but it’s true. Before becoming a Salesforce Admin (back in the days before lightning), my first introduction to designing automations was inside of a music-creating program called Ableton. That was fifteen years ago.  

Automation in a music program is a little different than in a tool like Flow. In music production, we may automate a parameter like the volume level of an instrument to rise over time, or when a distortion effect should turn on during a guitar solo.

 EDM (which stands for Electronic Dance Music) producers are in a league of their own when it comes to musical automation. Modern tools allow creators to get granular with their control over a sound, to the point where specific audio frequencies within a sound may now be driven by automation to create new noises that audiences have never heard before.  With dozens of parameters being adjusted all at once, it can be hard to keep it all together — but it is intrinsic to the nature of how many forms of music are written and produced today.

While I still write music, I find myself spending more time designing automations in an entirely different world, one where businesses need it to streamline their processes, bolster data integrity, and supercharge their CRM with new functionalities. All through the power of Salesforce Flow.  

I’ve found that there are striking similarities between the successful implementation of business logic within Flow and the implementation of automation within a musical piece. 

With that in mind, here are three guiding principles I’ve found fit in both the world of music creation and that of Flow design.

1)  “The Enemy of the Arts is the Absence of Limitations”

With technology, we can automate nearly anything in music, but that doesn’t mean we should automate everything — we would end up with a heap of overcomplicated noise. The exact same is true regarding Salesforce. There are always going to be business and CRM processes that should be done by hand. Anything that requires review, for instance, rules itself out of the running for automation. Processes that change frequently or are not yet set in stone should likewise not be a candidate for automation.

Perhaps the most valid reason to avoid over-automating Salesforce is that it can make the CRM unmaintainable and difficult to change. 

Automatic actions that fire on specific criteria may no longer fire if that criteria changes. Something as simple as a picklist change may end up causing a fault and fail entirely —  halting users in their tracks when trying to make a simple change to a record.

Additionally, it can slow down the performance of the instance.

2)  “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.”

I’ll be the first to admit that I do not particularly enjoy organizing my collection of instrument recordings, customized settings, and crafted presets into a structure that makes them easier to use. But I do because it’s important for my creative output to not be hindered by trying to dig through a half-organized collection of random things when I am trying to write a track.

The same approach needs to be used for your CRM — particularly with automation. Fill in every description field on every element, title paths clearly, and please —if you use the copy function in Flow make sure to give the API name a distinct name as the label to help any developers who may need to interface with it in the future. Use templates for Flows that work well instead of starting from scratch.

Success is built on not reinventing the wheel every time.

3)  “Testing a Product is a Learning Process”

 Once a song is getting to the point I like, I do one thing consistently: Save a copy for every significant change. Then, after I get to a point where I think things are coming together well, I show the primary stakeholder: My wife.

Unfortunately, I’d like to say that she has said every piece of music or change is a hit but that’s not always the case. And so, I take her feedback into consideration. I also must understand that although my wife is invested in my music being good, she has her own taste, opinions, and personal preference that might not be suited to what I am writing.

The exact same thing is true with Salesforce. When automating a process, you should save several versions, test it in controlled environments, and take feedback into consideration. If the feedback does not fit with the original intention of the automation — which should be established by creating a user story – then the Administrator must make that distinction clear to the stakeholder.  Communicating this to a business stakeholder is one arena that is not similar to EDM Production —as artists are always allowed to say “You just don’t understand my vision!”, administrators must come prepared with documentation and scenarios to illustrate the point.

Interested in hearing more about Salesforce and music production? Follow me on Twitter. You can also connect with Arkus directly through our contact form.