How does Salesforce operate?
Salesforce's range of off the shelf environments and editions provide businesses with a quick and flexible starting point with which to run their sales and marketing processes.
Salesforce operates on a SaaS (Subscription as a Service) model, meaning there is no software to install or servers to maintain for the end user - it's simply a matter of activating a subscription and Salesforce will provision a company with a pre-built set of environments into which they can begin dropping their business data.
So why would you want to modify it?
These initial environments act as starting templates. They're pre-configured with a common set of features and settings so companies can hit the ground running without spending months building custom code or configurations from scratch.
But every company is different. From differences between industry verticals (healthcare, finance, education, hi-tech) to operating models (charities, for-profits, co-operatives), to company size (global corporations to startups) each company will need to customise Salesforce's default templates to get the most value from the platform.
For example, charities might want to include specific donor information as part of their tax relief programs, or healthcare companies might need additional controls over data protection.
Through the Force.com / Lightning platform, Salesforce enables its users to modify their environments to do whatever they need. The combination of this powerful suite of development tools and an intuitive UI allows each customer to super-charge Salesforce and is one of the key reasons it's so popular.
Change is the only constant
Making changes doesn't stop after the initial setup of environments. Over time, the requirements of a business will change, users will request features to be amended, and developers will find more efficient ways of doing things. All of these will require ongoing changes to the orgs.
Salesforce also releases regular platform updates, introducing new features for their users. Each of these platform releases will have knock-on changes which users must prepare for.
As a result, Salesforce customers have a constant stream of changes and updates to their Salesforce environments throughout their use of the software. Managing this constant change is at the core of Salesforce release management.