Advantages of having a data dictionary (even if you’re not a back end user)

Let’s face it, data dictionaries are boring and we rarely have the time to build them, let alone, update them regularly. However, data dictionaries can often be a critical lifeline that can help identify key areas of improvement, outline the impact of any enhancements, and define the correct data sources to track the improvement.

A data dictionary provides a centralized bank of information that everyone who uses Salesforce or relies on Salesforce as a data source.

If you do not have a data dictionary here are 4 reasons to build one today:

Create a Shared Vocabulary

It is not uncommon for a company to have multiple ways of defining a single term, and this can lead to some confusion internally, especially for new employees. Industry specific and internal terminology is built into any custom Salesforce instance, and learning what all these definitions mean takes time. Incorporating a data dictionary into the training materials for new employees provides a quick and easy reference that can help bring them up to speed. 

Ramp up new Salesforce team members quickly

As Salesforce consultants, we can attest that learning the back end system of a new client is not the hardest part—being able to articulate and bring context to how and why the data is operating in a certain way is the biggest challenge. A data dictionary is the perfect resource TO help define the data model being used and pinpoint any high risk area within a project. This resource provides a deeper understanding of the business process.

Build Faster

“Unknowns” are one of the most common reasons for project delays. Does that field sync with an external data source? Where is the data field used? If “x” changes, what else should be tested? Frequently, delays when building automations or running updates are caused by not having centralized documentation.

Capturing dependencies, integration mappings, and descriptions in a centralized data dictionary is efficient and provides a consistent self-service resource for everyone. 

Share the Knowledge

The job market for Salesforce admins and professionals is hot, and turnover is not uncommon. With a data dictionary in place, it is easy for any experienced admin or partner to step in and get up to speed quickly.  Documentation provides a safety net for your team and investing in proper documentation early and often will provide added efficiency and security. 

If you need help with documentation or would like more information about automated documentation solutions. Please contact us today.