Many of us are familiar with the various Salesforce editions — paid, like Professional, Enterprise, Unlimited, and unpaid, like Trailhead playgrounds, Developer or Consulting Partner.
Something I’ve been thinking about for a while now is an edition for community initiatives. For example, when Jodi Wagner and I started Speaker Academy, we looked at managing the interested parties, content and curriculum in a Salesforce Developer Edition, but eventually decided against it due to the restricted number of users and low storage limits.
Don’t get me wrong, I think that Developer Edition is one of the best things I’ve encountered in my career as a software developer, and without it I doubt I’d have jumped into the Salesforce ecosystem quite so wholeheartedly, it just isn’t intended for this type of use as it can’t scale.
I also know that non-profits can get 10 free licenses (at least I assume they still can after Salesforce bought Salesforce.org). But here’s the thing, Jodi and I already had full time jobs in senior positions, and we were organising community groups (Salesforce Developers and Women in Tech) and we were taking on Speaker Academy in our limited spare time. The last thing I wanted to do was set up a charity and to get access to some Salesforce licenses. (Disclaimer: I have no idea what is involved in setting up a charity, but I’m assuming it doesn’t mean entering an alternate reality where you get an extra four hours of spare time every day).
There are also the various flavours of Consulting Partner Edition, but this would have been tied to one of our respective employers, which would certainly blur the lines about who owned the org and data.
What would be ideal in this space is a non-chargeable Ohana Edition, something that could be in the gift of the Salesforce Community or Developer Relations teams. You’d fill in a form with details of your free, open to all, community initiative and sign something to agree that you would only use the org for this specific purpose. You’d then be given an Ohana Edition with a reasonable number of licenses and storage (which could be increased, again for no charge, if the initiative really took off), and maybe the odd additional feature like a community. Essentially a bulked up Developer Edition with restrictions around how it can be used. This would be subject to periodic review to ensure that it was being used as intended, and could be withdrawn if the community initiative fell by the wayside, or at any time if it was being gamed. It could even be an upgrade path — you start off with Developer Edition and if things become successful and the numbers start to stretch the org capabilities, you can apply to upgrade it to Ohana Edition.
I think giving the community access to orgs of this nature could really help initiatives to scale, increasing the size of the Salesforce ecosystem and widening the available skills.
I’m better known in the Salesforce community as Bob Buzzard — Umpteen Certifications, including Technical Architect, multi-time MVP and CTO of BrightGen, a Platinum Cloud Alliance Partner in the United Kingdom who are hiring.
Registered Office: BrightGen Ltd, Ginetta House, 155–157 Newland Street, Witham, CM8 1BE A company registered in…
You can find my (usually) more technical thoughts at the Bob Buzzard Blog