It has been quite interesting over the past few weeks as I have been immersed in delivering salesforce.com extensions in enterprise clients. While the product initally aimed at the SME world it has gained acceptance at some of the largest companies around particularly in business units that are not prepared to wait for 2-3 years for a new core system to be developed and deployed.
There is no doubt that force.com provides the capability to deliver highly usable, robust applications in a fraction of the time that it used to take in the ‘olden days.’ At enterprise level however there are still the challenges related to release management and IT governance. Although the issues of creating multiple development and test environments are now handled by the vendor, you still have to migrate and check what code and configuration exists in each of multiple environments, as well as figure out ways to manage regression testing as you release new capabilities into a live system. The Force IDE, Metadata API and other tools cover quite a lot of the objects and code that need to be managed, but not all, and this is where some rigour and discipline is required.
Here at dSales we have been developing a set of tools and processes to help our clients manage this situation.
If you have any useful experience in this regard I’d love to hear feedback.