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    Categories Performance Monitoring

How to Assess the Impact of Salesforce Downtime

When a Salesforce downtime occurs, it gets a lot of notice. You see it picked up on Twitter and in the press. With 93,000 customers around the globe, Salesforce is the poster child for SaaS services. Whenever there’s an issue, people start to question it and cloud services in general. If you look at the numbers, Salesforce is actually much more reliable than if you ran a data center yourself, individual companies don’t have news stories and thousands of tweets when they have an issue, so the Salesforce issues are much more visible.

The teams that run the Salesforce infrastructure do an amazing job in terms of maintaining uptime and availability.  But uptime is just not enough when it comes to cloud services.  That’s why we have a phrase that we use around here: “Slow is the new down.”  Salesforce may be technically running but it‘s slow, and that is todays equivalent of it being down because your company’s users are now taking a dramatically longer time than usual to get things done and they’re losing focus. Fundamentally, the app is down for all productivity purposes.

You can go to Trust.Salesforce.com to get the Salesforce view as to whether Salesforce is up or down, as they’re very transparent about it. Even if a Salesforce instance is down for one minute, they show it as downtime. By looking at this site, you can see there are very few outages in any one instance of Salesforce and performance degradations are much more common. There were 22 cases of degraded performance in the last 30 days among the 21 North American instances of Salesforce, as opposed to one outage (most applications don’t provide that kind of information). These downtimes and degradations typically last about an hour from detection to resolution. So the uptime of the Salesforce Service is collectively 99.993% for the past month, but the impact of the “degraded performance” times is much greater.

To assess and understand the actual performance impact when Salesforce is down or having issues, you must also look at:

  • How widespread is the use of Salesforce in your company? To paraphrase one of the greatest villains of all time “The greatest trick that Salesforce ever pulled is convincing the world that only the sales team needs licenses.” You need to understand who is using Salesforce and how often they use it because as the central point of data about your customers and what they own, it is a central linkage between sales, marketing, customer support, finance, product management and executives. So when there is an issue the pain is a lot wider spread than you may initially think.
  • How widespread is the issue? This is where checking Trust.Salesforce.com comes in handy, to identify if the issue is within the Saleforce infrastructure and their operations team are already working on the issue. If Trust.Salesforce.com is clean, there may still be a service level issue impacting your locations. An approach that identifies if the pain is affecting one location and not others is step one, and if it is a location specific issue is the performance of all web traffic impacted or is it specific to Salesforce. See the chart below for an example of how this can be done.

Once you quantify the extent of your reduced Salesforce performance, you want to understand how it could potentially have an impact on your business, because even one hour of a slow or down app is going to disrupt productivity.

Salesforce is really universal. Within AppNeta it’s what we call the “Center Point of Truth,” as its where all company data is centralized, and it’s one tool that every department in the company uses and where everyone goes for answers. Therefore, when Salesforce is down, it’s not just sales that are impacted — all of the departments are impacted.

According to Gartner, the hourly cost of network downtime is $42,000, and the average F2000 company experiences 14 hours of downtime per year. The availability rate of Salesforce is dramatically greater than the average individual company run data center, but you also need to factor in the productivity cost of poor performance, and the huge number of employee’s whose productivity grinds to a halt when this critical business app is slow

With AppNeta’s products, your company can do network usage analysis and application identification, pinpointing who’s using a specific service, who’s running apps and how often. With that information, you can get a true assessment of both your Salesforce performance and how it is impacting your organization.

Sean Armstrong: Sean is the Director of Product Management at AppNeta where he tells people smarter than himself what to do. In his free time Sean enjoys many things he never gets to do any more and anchors the reigning champion AppNeta trivia team.