New Salesforce DevOps Center Aims To Help Partners Build Extensions

“The opportunities are endless there,” Karen Fidelak, San Francisco-based Salesforce’s senior director of product management for DevOps Center, told CRN in an interview.


Enterprise software vendor Salesforce has made its DevOps Center generally available, giving partners an easier way to implement development operations practices and build extensions and packages to sell to customers.

The DevOps Center aims to make collaborative building, testing and deployment of applications, automations and other custom software across Salesforce easier, Karen Fidelak, San Francisco-based Salesforce’s senior director of product management for DevOps Center, told CRN.

“The opportunities are endless there,” she said. “We’re seeing these partners across the board embrace that and look to actually enhance their offering through building extensions to DevOps Center.”

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Gregory Grinberg, a senior technical architect at New York-based Salesforce partner Silverline, told CRN that DevOps Center is a culmination of the vendor’s investments in developer tools that’s gone on for several years now.

“Salesforce is such a more mature platform in terms of DevOps than it was two or three years ago . ... There are a lot more capabilities so now the CISOs and CIOs of the world are like, ‘Hey, we want this stuff.’”

Silverline has been investing in more offerings around development security operations (DevSecOps) to meet customer demand. That investment has included “training and upskilling our folks and cross-training folks because we have the in-house expertise but it’s just getting it out there to a broader group of people,” he said.

Peter Nebel, senior vice president of strategy for Denver-based Salesforce partner AllCloud—a member of CRN’s 2022 Managed Service Provider 500—told CRN that the company has been seeing high demand from marketing, commerce, retail and consumer goods customers.

He said that looking ahead, AllCloud is investing in a trade promotion management offering for customers, attracting customers based on its capabilities around Salesforce in tandem with Snowflake and Amazon Web Services offerings plus growing its capabilities around Salesforce subsidiary Tableau.

Salesforce combining its partner program with Tableau—and fellow subsidiary MuleSoft—should help Salesforce partners grow their Tableau practices, Nebel said. The unified partner program becomes available to all partners Feb. 1.

“I’m now having to rethink how we introduce and map Tableau to our data team, getting those relationships established, and getting some early wins to prove value and build up our logos for Tableau,” Nebel said. “Since Tableau has largely worked with their legacy Tableau partners, they haven’t worked with Salesforce partners as much. And I think it’s going to be a big initiative where they look at strategic Salesforce partners as one entity, not as much of a silo. So hopefully we can build more momentum on the Tableau side into next year.”

The DevOps Center, meanwhile, has visual pipelines and work items for tracking customization and controls to avoid conflicts with sandboxes, for example.

It also has automatic change tracing, allows for change bundling and migration and brings a low-code product for technical and nontechnical users, according to Salesforce. The goal is to make development easier than with change sets Salesforce developers are used to, Fidelak said.

“Our low-code developers have been stuck in that world,” she said. “And we’re really trying to get them on to these modern practices, and they are eager and hungry for this.”

During DevOps Center’s open beta phase, Salesforce saw about 13,000 unique active users and an average deployment every nine minutes. DevOps Center comes with most Salesforce licenses, including professional, enterprise and unlimited.

Services-led partners such as systems integrators should see a value-add for customer engagements and implementations, Fidelak said.

“That’s been really nice—we don’t have to worry about necessarily bundling this as part of a for-sale product yet,” Fidelak said. “So it simplifies some of that delivery.”

With the growth of DevOps as customers have sought more visibility on technology development within their organizations and the growth of low-code tools, Salesforce sees DevOps Center as a way to build authority in both spaces, Fidelak said.

Salesforce is perhaps best known for its CRM tools. Its subsidiaries include collaboration application Slack, data visualization tool vendor Tableau and integration tool vendor MuleSoft.

When it comes to low-code tools, even highly technical developers have adopted them to save time and cost, Fidelak said.

“These low-code developers can embrace modern technology in a way that’s very, very easy to use. And that’s going to be very attractive across that community. And I think it’s going to be a differentiator when folks are choosing a low-code platform for development,” she said.

“That’s where citizen development really comes in. They can solve their own problems and build their own solutions that can be leveraged not only by their own teams, but across the organization in a way that’s safe, repeatable, reliable, shareable—[it] isn’t going to break other things.”

Salesforce will continue to roll out new integrations for DevOps Center, she said. Today, it’s integrated with GitHub. The team is working toward integration with Bitbucket, GitLab and Microsoft Azure.