Salesforce.com Features That Need Some Love
As I mention in every Rapid Release Notes blog post that I've ever written - I love new features and I love reading all about them. I also make sure to mention that I love when Salesforce goes back to the core to make already existing features work better and help to keep them up with the times. Here are a few features that need some love and when I say need some love I mean need to be enhanced. The other alternative in my mind is to get rid of them completely or even to bolster them by ways of an acquisition. In no particular order here are some features that need a few pages in the next few release notes.
One of the first things that I do when setting up a new org for a client is remove the Mail Merge button from the Activity History related list. I just don't want to have to answer questions about what the feature does because to be honest it doesn't do all that much at this point. I almost always point clients to Conga Composer and tell them about all the amazing mail merge documents they can create using the first class AppExchange product. If I were Salesforce I would look to acquire Conga Composer for it's ability to get data out of Salesforce into amazing documents but alas with all the noise and acquisitions over the years this hasn't been one of them. So we are stuck with the old mail merge functionality that hasn't been touched in years. If it were even half as good as Conga I would actually recommend people use it.
Another one of the first things I do when setting up a new org is remove the Request Update button from the Contact page layout. I really shouldn't be removing buttons and features but thats what happens when features get neglected. In this case I feel like Request Update is still actually rather useful and all it needs is a little bit of love to make it something I'd recommend people use. Here are a few ideas to make it better:
- Allow for custom branding on the email alert and the page itself
- Allow for a page layout editor so that administrators can customize which fields are on the update page
- Allow for scheduling of the request, meaning if a Contact hasn't been updated in x amount of time send out the Request Update to them
In an ill-fated effort to become web 2.0 when that was still cool, Tags were released, updated once or twice, then discarded as not useful. This all took place about five years ago. Tags could be so useful if only they were available in list views and reports. That's really all they need, just a little bit of love. All users want to do with tags is ad-hoc categorize their records then be able to do something with the list of ad-hoc records once they've categorized them. It's that last piece that's missing. Why can't a user tag a bunch of Contacts or Leads then add anyone who is tagged with a specific tag or set of tags to a Campaign? Wouldn't that make a lot of sense? I think so.
It seems like forever since I've seen one word about Contracts in any release notes but in doing my research for this post there was one extremely minor change in Spring 13 that allows users to track history on every status of the Contact's lifecycle. The fact that this was an "enhancement" and couldn't be accomplished by simple field level tracking is case in point why Contracts are on in this blog post.
My main gripe with Contracts is actually the sharing model. Contracts sharing is tied to the hip with the Accounts that they are related to even though they have their own owner - a very odd paradigm not found anywhere else within the platform to my knowledge. They also have some rather odd permissions around who can activate them, built in workflows, and auto-calculations. Almost as though they were built before workflow rules and formulas yet they still maintain their archaic settings. I always prefer to just build a custom Contract object whenever necessary mainly due to the sharing restrictions. You'd think that Contracts would be a really important CRM object and would be up to par with the rest of the core CRM objects but I've found that they aren't.
Quick Hits Before We Go
Here are some quick features that need some love:
- Solutions - totally understandable with the push towards Knowledge but still could be enhanced a little bit
- Documents - again, understandable with Files and Content getting most of the R&D time but Documents are still around and aren't going anywhere anytime soon
- Calendar - all I need to say is why can't the calendar be a world class web based calendar with proper invites, invite notifications, and a better UI for seeing across free/busy time?
- Reporting on Notes & Attachments (primarily Notes)