Salesforce Spring 16 Release Rapid Reaction
I continue to enjoy consuming the Salesforce release notes via the web / HTML version. I still have not yet even downloaded the PDF. While I don’t know exactly how many pages this release is I can say that once again we have a release that is jam packed with Lightning Experience features. I personally tried to stay away from Lightning specific features and geared my reaction toward more general platform enhancements.
Here are a few that I found particularly interesting and as an added bonus I linked to them so that you can read them by just clicking on the header. As usual, there will be follow up posts to outline specific improvements around Sales, Service, Development, Marketing, and even one about Ideas being addressed in this release.
Restricted Picklists (Beta)
Have you ever loaded in data to a picklist from an external system via the data loader or another third party tool only to realize that all of your newly imported data doesn’t actually match the values in the picklist that you’ve already defined? Well, I have, and I know it drives me crazy when I try to run list views or reports using that field as a filter or a grouping. With this new feature you can turn on the ability to restrict what goes into a picklist field to only the values that are defined within the picklist.
This feature is a double edged sword. On the one side, it is amazing for data quality, yet on the other, it could make your life a little bit more difficult when importing data. Either do the work up front to cleanse everything when you turn this tool on or don’t turn this tool on and continue to import potentially dirty data and use the “replace” feature on a picklist to clean things up after the fact. Either way works, but hey, now you have options.
Global Picklists (Pilot)
Well this has been a long time coming hasn’t it? Note that the feature is currently in pilot and is available automatically in developer editions and sandboxes. For your production instance contact Salesforce to turn it on. Imagine though being able to go to the Create menu, create a new picklist with a bunch of values and then whenever you want to create a new custom picklist field on any object being able to just say “that one please” and all of a sudden you don’t have to recreate that picklist with 28 values across a number of different objects. I know this one is going to be extremely popular when it comes to building fields on Leads that ultimately convert to fields on Accounts, Contacts, or Opportunities. This to me is a game changer for admin productivity.
Speaking of admin productivity, here is a feature that allows an admin to more easily manipulate the order in which criteria are evaluated within Process Builder. When you execute a Process it evaluates all of the criteria within the process, stopping at the first one that is true, then executes all the associated actions. There are times where you want to add in a new criteria or maybe just reverse the criteria. Prior to Spring 16 you would have to rebuild your Process. Now you can drag and drop your criteria and all associated actions to those criteria up and down the Process until you have it just right.
So, have to put a caveat on this one first - in the release notes it explicitly states that this is not GA and won’t be until Salesforce announces it - kinda odd that it’s in the release notes listed this way… I was really excited about it and I know some other folks would be too so I figured I would call it out. Using Wave technologies, Salesforce is now exposing Event Monitoring. This is all about adoption tracking at a glance. Using a pre-built dashboard an admin can monitor things like page views, the performance of certain pages, specifically Visualforce pages, and adoption of things like AppExchange applications that are installed.
Ultimately these are the kinds of applications that administrators really need to be able to plan out their training strategies as well as roadmap. Finally you’ll be able to answer the question of which features of your Salesforce applications are being used the most and visa versa. All of this using the powerful Wave engine and all the fun graphical interfaces that come with it (think mobile adoption dashboard).
All in all, Spring ‘16 is a packed release full of Lightning Experience features that I didn’t even touch on because I’m certain that the “cloud specific” posts will touch heavily on the enhancements made to Lightning in Spring ‘16. Be on the lookout for cloud specific release notes blog posts as well as an IdeaExchange specific post in the not so distant future.