In Blog, Security, Tips & Tricks

It eventually happens, your Salesforce administrator leaves. Perhaps you’re the manager, or one of the other admins on the team. Maybe you’re the new administrator who is taking over.  You Admin was the center of your Salesforce org for such a long time. Where do you begin? Who do you need to call (besides Ghostbusters)?

What should you do?

Do not run

First off, don’t run away. Breathe. Everything will be alright. The first thing to consider is what you need to do for any employee who is leaving the company and that is disabling Salesforce access. Here’s the official help text for deactivating a user

Sometimes, you simply cannot deactivate the admin right away. The admin can be so weaved into a Salesforce org that you simply cannot just remove the active checkbox. So first thing first:

Freeze the User: Great new feature that will prevent them from accessing Salesforce while you work on deactivating.

Now, let’s take a look. You’ll need to remove the admin user from the following:

  • Assignment Rules: Where they are the assigned user
  • Default Lead Owner (Lead Settings)
  • Default Lead Creator (Web 2 Lead)
  • Default Case Owner (Support Settings)
  • Default Workflow User (Settings under Workflow & Approvals)
  • Customer Portal Administrator
  • Email Alerts – where the Admin is the sole recipient
  • Workflow Tasks – where the admin is the assigned user
  • Apex Jobs – If an admin scheduled an Apex Job that won’t be able to be deactivate. You can find this under Jobs in the Monitor section

Once that’s done you may want to also check Public Groups. I’ve some issues where the Admin was the last active user in a public group. This group wasn’t based on roles just users.

Now you should be able to deactivate your Admin’s user. We’re not done yet. There’s a few other things to consider.

Schedules Reports & Dashboards: These will cause an error if the admin was the running user of a scheduled report or dashboard. You will get an email error on this, but to be proactive, go to the reports tab and sort by the “Scheduled” column. That’s the column that looks like a calendar an a clock. I will admit that I’ve purposefully ignored this in some cases to identify which reports & dashboards no longer are being looked at by end users, but that does come with a cost!

Analytic Snapshot Running User: Same thing as above. You may be able to deactivate the user, but then your analytic snapshots will fail. That could cause some big problems!

Company Profile’s Primary Contact: This is the contact that Salesforce will use for important information – like your renewal!

Contact Salesforce Support: Let them know the admin is gone and the person who is replacing them. This way you’ll be able to see what the cases being submitted for your organization.

Wizard Shortcuts

Wow! That’s a lot of stuff. I hope you don’t have any quick turn over!

One of the things I’m big fan of is to create a “Salesforce Administrator” user. Yes, it’s worth using a license for this. Why? Remember that long list of places where a user can be assigned? This is a perfect place for the Salesforce Administrator user. When your admin leaves, you don’t need to do anything before you can deactivate them. Simply change the “Salesforce Administrator” user’s password and you’re done! You still need to update the Primary Contact and let Salesforce support know of the change, but everything else remains static.

A side benefit is that end-users appear to be far less confused when they receive a notification from “Salesforce Administrator” than they are when it comes from an actual person. The number of emails I would get of “Was I supposed to get this?” or “I already closed this opportunity” completely disappeared. I would also suggest you have your IT create a distribution email address to use with your generic user. Make sure anyone on the admin team is a member of that email address. This way when an error occurs – everyone on the team can get it. Not just the sole user who has been assigned.

You may be tempted to use that as your user in Salesforce. You can certainly do that – but I would recommend you don’t. First, you are more than just the admin of Salesforce. Having your name and photo on Chatter is important. Second, your Salesforce User is also the gateway to the Salesforce Success Community. You want to be your name on that community and not just some generic Salesforce Administrator user.

There some of reasons to keep it separate from an actual person. If the team grows to more than 1 admin, it’s easier to assign work and to know who modified what records when you have your own user accounts. Not to mention that sharing a single user license with multiple people is a big no no.

The generic user also works well as an integration user when working with 3rd part applications. I prefer to use a dedicated user for each integration because I’m paranoid and like to keep the profile permissions to the bare minimum.

Now you’re all setup to handle turn over and take over a new Salesforce org. Go forth and be merry!

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Showing 2 comments
  • ryansspaulding

    Great article on the technical aspects of this. I’d be interested in seeing a blog post on how a company should cope with the loss of an admin or team who knows the ins and outs of a company’s data and was highly collaborative, and how to transfer that knowledge base to the new admin or admin team to not lose steam and run the platform completely off the tracks.

    • Salesforce Wizard


      Great question. This can be really difficult since it means hiring a replacement so you can overlap with the administrator that is leaving. This may not always been an option. What may help is to include your highly collaborative team in the hiring process. Finding the right person who will fit that team and has the expertise you need is crucial to the continued success of the team. It can be very difficult to put the wrong person in a team and keep that team as collaborative and successful.

      Knowledge transfer can be difficult, especially in complicated orgs. Hopefully, there’s some documentation on paper and within salesforce itself (description fields!) to help with that knowledge transfer. The best option to try to have overlap so the outgoing admin can help the incoming admin get up to speed as quickly as possible.

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