Salesforce Summer 13 Release Notes Rapid Reaction
It’s that time of the year once again where we Salesforce geeks get to dig in and read some release notes. This time around for Summer 13 we got delighted with 264 pages worth of Salesforce goodness. Here are a few of my favorite features as well as a few that are extremely impactful in the ecosystem that is Force.com.
I can’t think of a more impactful feature going GA since Chatter itself. Chatter Communities are taking over so get used to it. Gone are the Customer and Partner portals and in come Chatter Communities. They are front ended by Sites.com website technologies and are going to be the way that organizations connect with their customers and partners using Salesforce.com for the foreseeable future. I’m personally sad to see Partner Portal and Customer Portal go away (don’t worry for those who already use these portals, you can continue to use them) though the complexity of pricing and options for which portal to choose will hopefully get better this time around with Communities. It appears as though there will be two different types of Communities - one for Partners and one for Customers (sound familiar) with each being accessible by any “internal” Salesforce licensed user. Each will have their own set of permissions outlined in the table below.
Communities are really a culmination of all the work being done on Chatter and a great way of bringing outside users into the Chatter fold without the use of Customer Groups (which I am not a fan of). Aside from allowing external people access to collaborate within Chatter, they can also participate in business processes such as customer service and sales. This truly is the start of seeing the Customer Company vision become a reality.
When Marc Benioff makes a statement to the effect of Chatter being the new user interface for Salesforce he isn’t kidding. With publisher actions we are finally seeing what working directly in the Chatter Feed really means. The best example or use case for explaining this feature is using Accounts. From an Account feed a user would be able to create related records such as Contacts or Opportunities. Publisher actions also respect validation rules and required fields unlike the dreaded quick create menu. Administrators can modify and customize which Publisher Actions are available to users and can even embed Visualforce pages to do even more advanced creation of related records.
With Publisher actions also comes the ability to see Chatter from children records. Using the Account example again we would be able to see Chatter on any related Opportunities directly from the Account Chatter Feed. As a clarification point here, in order to see the Chatter on the related Opportunities you must be following the Opportunities; still a very nice time saver and a way to see a wholistic view from a single record.
As I recall I saw this on a stage about three years ago at an event in New York. This is the main reason for the ever famous Safe Harbor Statement, Salesforce is serious when they talk about something maybe not being delivered for a while. Though it’s been a while it’s a welcome feature for those sales organizations that need to split Opportunities amongst team members at a revenue or a quantity level. I’m excited to see core features such as this make it’s way onto the platform, particularly since it was worth demoing to a large audience three years ago.
Record Types in Permission Sets
Finally my idea has been marked as coming in the next release. I’ve been clamoring for the ability to assign record type selection at a Permission Set level for a while now so that I can assign users in different profiles the ability to create certain record types. Imagine a Call Center with reps, engineers, managers, and executives all needing their own profile simply because of the types of Cases they need to be able to create. This problem no longer exists - Permission Sets to the rescue - just assign the appropriate Permission Set to different users to indicate that they can create a certain record type of Case. I love when product managers deliver on ideas from the community. Shout out to Adam Torman! Also a shameless plug for The Permissioner which makes assigning and revoking your permissions sets in mass extremely easy and efficient.
Owner Fields in Custom Formulas
Raise your hand if you’ve had to write a trigger to copy the owner of a record into a User lookup field on the same object. Ok, put your hand down and keep reading. I know we’ve had to write this trigger many times for the simple reason of getting the owner’s first name, last name, or email address into a formula field on the object. This trigger can go by the wayside as we can now just use the owner field to bring over any information that exists on the User record. Button Click admins across the world just got a nice tasty treat with this feature.
Approval Process Deployment
Last but not least is the ability to use cloud deploy to migrate approval processes from sandbox to production. For far too long this feature has been missing and I’m glad to see it make it into this release. Every time we build approval processes we have to build them in a sandbox to test them and then have to go through the task of rebuilding them in production. This made no sense (and still doesn’t make sense to me) as workflow rules were able to be migrated from sandbox to production. This is another core feature that is being delivered and I couldn’t be more happy about it as someone who just had to build then rebuild eight approval processes with multiple steps in each one.
This release is jam packed to the brim with not only cool new features like Chatter Communities and Publisher Actions but also some very key core concepts and features like pushing approvals and Opportunity Splits. This is the way all Salesforce releases should be moving forward - address visionary concepts and forward thinking functionality while also continuing to strengthen the core of an already world class platform.