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The official Arkus blog provides your weekly dose for all thing Salesforce. Stay on top of the latest, most relevant Salesforce features, applications, and best practices.

Salesforce Change Sets for System Administrators

Change Sets provide the ability for a System Administrator to deploy changes from a connected sandbox to their production Salesforce environment.
Salesforce Change Sets for System Administrators

Salesforce Change Sets for System Administrators

Here is an overview of the functionality and a few reasons why you should care about it as a System Administrator.

What is a Change Set

A Change Set is a series of components that get deployed from one Salesforce environment to another. Typically you would use a Change Set to deploy work from a sandbox to production after the work has been thoroughly tested and approved. You can also deploy components in different directions such as sandbox 1 to sandbox 2. Or even from production to a sandbox. The org where you create your Change set is where you would create an “Outbound Change Set” and the org where it is being deployed to would receive an “Inbound Change Set”. This is all done through the power of Deployment Connections.

Understanding Deployment Connections

A Deployment Connection is the direction definition between orgs, allowing one Salesforce org to deploy to another Salesforce org. When you go to your setup inside of a production Salesforce org you will see the Deployment Connections link under the Deploy menu. Any sandbox created from the production instance will be listed there and will initially have a red broken linkage image. You can edit the Deployment Connection and allow for Inbound Change Sets and from there on in you will be able to deploy from that sandbox into production. You will notice a green arrow now replacing the red broken linkage image that denotes that you can deploy from the sandbox into production. You can do the same process in the sandbox and allow for inbound Change Sets from production in which case the green arrow image will now be pointing in both directions meaning you can deploy from production to sandbox and visa versa.

Adding Components to Change Sets

Once your Deployment Connections are setup it is time to actually deploy functionality. Functionality can be as simple as a newly revamped page layout for your Contact object to something as complex as a series of Apex Classes and Visualforce pages. The list of items you can deploy is rather large and wide ranging. It doesn’t include every single thing you can possibly build in a sandbox but it covers most things that you would need as an admin to deploy tested changes. To add components to your Change Set first you need to create a Change Set.

A good practice is to give your Change Sets descriptive names and a version number - something like “Contact Page Layout Change v1”. Once you’ve created your Change Set you will land on the detail page for it where you can click the Add button within the Components section. From here you will use the Component Type dropdown to select the type of component you will be adding. In this case we would be adding a Page Layout and possibly and fields that we’ve created that we have added to our Page Layout. Select each item by using the checkbox next to the item and then click on the “Add To Change Set” button. You can then continue to add different Component Types until your set of changes is complete.

Uploading Change Sets

Once you have added all of your components it is time to upload the Change Set to it’s destination org, in this case Production. From the Change Set Detail click on the Upload button and then select it’s destination. It could take up to 30 minutes to upload but typically it takes far less time than that, sometimes under a minute. Go ahead and login to the destination org and click on “Inbound Change Sets” in the setup menu and you should see your Change Set that you just uploaded. Click on it and then to Deploy just click on the Deploy button. You can monitor the deployment from the link on the screen and watch as everything gets loaded in to your production org.

 

Change Set Deployment Status

Gotchas

A few things that can trip you up as you start using Change Sets to deploy functionality:

  • If production and sandbox are not exactly the same, occasionally there will be dependencies in one of the components you are deploying that does not exist inside production - this is a good reason to always do work in your sandbox and then deploy it to production no matter how small the task.
  • Make sure to include Profile Settings in your Change Sets - yet another reason to keep your environments as close to mirroring each other as possible. If you create a field in your sandbox and give field level access to users with a specific profile that security setting won’t deploy unless you include the Profiles in your Change Set. 
  • Remember the small things such as page layouts, tabs, list views, and folders. These items often get overlooked when doing a deployment but since you’ve spent the time building out the functionality in sandbox you should make your life easy and deploy it all to production, no need to recreate any work.

There are lots of Ideas on the IdeaExchange for how to make Change Sets even better, here are some of my favorites:

Don't show Inbound Change Set link unless actually available 
Clone Inbound Change Sets

Please feel free to comment below, on our Facebook page, on the Salesforce Success Community, or directly at me on Twitter @JustEdelstein.

Rant & Rave - Episode #182 of CloudFocus Weekly

Some tips on managing referrals in Salesforce, some inter-galactic Dreamforce 14 news, NFL streams and being a customer company (rant style).
Rant & Rave - Episode #182 of CloudFocus Weekly

Rant & Rave - Episode #182

Referral Management Options for Banks in Salesforce

Let’s take a look at some options for tracking banking referrals in Salesforce.com.
Referral Management Options for Banks in Salesforce

Referral Management Options for Banks in Salesforce

In the banking industry referrals are a way of tracking new business and up-sells between business groups that might be located in different branches or departments. As banks handle more and more products, being able to capture and respond to referrals is a way to maximize customer loyalty and revenue. Making them easy to enter, follow, and report on are the keys to success.

Typical referrals systems can be as simple as an email to as antiquated as a faxed paper form. For example they could track that a commercial loan customer is looking to expand their relationship into advisory services, so would be referred to that group. Let's take a look at a few ways to track referrals using the power of Salesforce.

Leading by Example

The overlap between a lead and a referral is that both represent the start of a new product sale, both could end up being an opportunity and both should be tracked and followed up on. Using leads as a way to track referrals has the advantages of things like web to lead for users who don't have Salesforce licenses, conversion reporting and easy Opportunity building. The downside to using leads is they are not available to lower licenses such as Force.com, may be a duplication of existing customers and have some limited flexibility in required fields such as Name, Company and Status. They also don't easily tie to other objects through lookups upon conversion.

Great Opportunities

Using an Opportunity as a referral is one step removed from the lead. It already is attached to an Account and can include the customers in Contact Roles. It has great reporting and rich features but is a rather hefty object with lots of required fields. An example of that is sometimes a referral isn't about an Account but only tied to the Contact, having the Account be a mandatory field is a drawback. Another consideration is the Opportunities might be already used for other business process (Commercial Loans, Mortgages, Advisory Services) and like Leads cannot be seen by lower licenses such as Force.com.

Custom Objects Ahoy

The third way to attack referrals is the use of a custom object. It can be tied to either an Account, Contact or both with all the custom fields required and doesn't have the limitations of a Lead or Opportunity such as the required fields. It also can be seen by lower licenses so in a mixed licensed environment nobody is left out of the process. The downside to a custom object is you lose the built in conversion of a lead and some of the reporting built into Opportunities. It also can be confusing to differentiate all of the different ways of capturing new business from Lead, Referral and Opportunities. The last positive of a custom object is that it can be used as a pre-Opportunity step to track one and done referrals such as online banking, or electronic statements. These types of referrals don't need the power of Opportunities and don't fit within Leads.

So while there is not right or wrong in tracking banking referrals in Salesforce, there definitely are a few options and depending on your business use case and licenses, one of the above might work for you. If you have any questions or comments on this blog please free to post them below, on our Facebook page, in the Salesforce Success community or @JasonMAtwood.

Speaking Out - Episode #181 of CloudFocus Weekly

Work.com enhancements in Summer 14, a trio of new Dreamforce speakers and the World Cup technology.
Speaking Out - Episode #181 of CloudFocus Weekly

Speaking Out - Episode #181

Work.com, Summer 14, and What is in It For You

At Arkus we are really seeing a lot of value in Work.com and getting very excited about where this tool will go with each new release of Salesforce. Work.com licensed organizations have already seen the value in motivating and evaluating employees within Salesforce. Let's review some of the specific features coming in Summer 14.
Work.com, Summer 14, and What is in It For You

Work.com, Summer 14, and What is in It For You

Universally Available Skills

With Skills generally available in Summer 14, any organization with a Work.com license will have access to turn on the Skills feature. Users then can promote and share their areas of proficiency as well as endorse their colleagues'. This takes enterprise collaboration into knowledge awareness and adds a highly valuable layer to Chatter's context-based conversations.

More Mobile

With Skills, Goals, and Coaching right inside Salesforce1, managers will be able to do more with their tablet and mobile phones. This is of course huge for busier and on-the-go managers, making their mentoring activities more portable & present. Imagine while drinking coffee and waiting for a flight at the airport, endorsing a colleague for their Skills or changing the weights of the goal metrics for a direct report. Which brings us to the upcoming changes to Goals.

Goal Enhancements

Goal tracking is more adjustable and granular in Summer 14. In the release, you will be able to record reduction metrics and adjust weighting of the various Goal metrics. These changes really allow an organization to bring what matters to leadership into Goals. An employee underperformed? Record a reduction metric. All your most valuable key performance indicators (KPIs) will of course be more valuable. Adjust the value of weight for a Goal metric accordingly with a higher percentage. Also, any special initiatives can get more emphasis as needed. Perhaps there's also a carrot at the end in the form of a custom Reward with a Reward Badge that you create.

More Funds & Custom Rewards

Once the Summer 14 release is live, reward funds available will be increased. You will have more variety than just Amazon.com vouchers. Many more popular brands are going to be available through third-party vendor relationships like TangoCard so you can create your special reward. There will even be funds to support nonprofits available to purchase as well. Then you can take the next step & create a custom reward badge.

Just like you could create badges in your Salesforce with Work.com, now you can create custom badges for your various rewards. Whether it's a Starbucks card reward or one with SpaFinder, your creativity can come to life with clever touches to a custom badge. I can see some really fun things possible here... (This blog post is worth a Spa day right?)

Workflow Support

Any time a feature within Salesforce rolls out, it's only a matter of time before administrators want to automate. With Summer 14, there's so many Work.com features that will be supported by workflow and triggers making this possible. Let's think about auto-assigning a badge after a user completes their goal. Or applying several pre-assigned goals at the push of a button for on-boarding several new hires.

In Summer '14, most of the coming features are only available to Performance Edition customers, Work.com Motivate, Work.com Align, or Work.com Performance licensed companies. Don't know even the basics? See this Work.com overview post. If you don't yet have Work.com but think it may be right for your organization, we encourage you to reach out to your Salesforce.com Account Executive.

As you can see, there's a lot of really exciting stuff happening with this product. Overall, with Summer 14's improvements, Work.com is more deeply woven into Chatter and will likely continue along the same lines. At Dreamforce, I fully expect even more great features that will bring additional layers to this product. Hopefully, you can get started implementing Work.com soon if you haven't yet at your organization. And of course, as Arkus adopts Work.com and all the features here, we'll continue to talk more about the value it's bringing us.

Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have additional points or questions on Summer 14 enhancements to Work.com...find me on Twitter at @SeriouslyKyla, find Arkus on Facebook or the Success Community, or comment below!

Runneth Over - Episode #180 of CloudFocus Weekly

Some quick talk of permission sets hitting Summer 14, our take on Google IO, Amazon Fire Phone, Songza to our hearts and Facebook Emotion-gate.
Runneth Over - Episode #180 of CloudFocus Weekly

Runneth Over - Episode #180

Salesforce.com Summer 14 Release & Permission Sets

Taking a look at Permissions and Permission Set changes and enhancements in the Summer 14 Salesforce release.
Salesforce.com Summer 14 Release & Permission Sets

Salesforce.com Summer 14 Release & Permission Sets

We here at Arkus have a keen interest in what Salesforce’s plans are for Permission Sets. With each release we like to evaluate and share both what those changes are, and, how it may impact our product on the AppExchange,  The Permissioner. Here’s what is changing in the Summer 14 release.

Custom Permissions

Currently, profiles and permission sets provide access to objects, fields, tabs, etc… but don’t include access to custom processes and applications. With Summer 14, Salesforce.com is releaseing Custom Permissions (as a developer preview) which would provide access to processes and applications.  The release notes provide an example of a time-off manager application. Everyone should have access to request time-off but only a subset should have access to approve; custom permissions would provide this control.  

A custom permission will essentially define a new check which can then be assigned via a permission set or profile (just like in user permissions). From an administrative standpoint it would be the same as if you are flagging anything else in a permission set.  It also means this feature won’t affect assigning and revoking permission sets using The Permissioner.

Admin permissions

Please note, the Summer 14 release is for a developer’s preview ONLY so it will only be available in Developer Edition organizations.

Specific Permissions for Managing Users

The “Manage Users” permission is a single checked-off permission that gave a user access to perform multiple tasks such as managing profiles, permission sets, roles, and password policies.  With the Summer 14 release, Salesforce.com has split it up into multiple separate permissions. Now, instead of just the ‘Manage Users’ option, administrators can give users access to a subset of these tasks. This is an improved deeper level of control. Especially when you’re in a situation, for example, where you want to give someone access to manage profiles and permission sets but not allow them to deactivate users. Here’s a few of the new permissions pertaining specifically to permission sets:

  • Assign Permission Sets - Ability for a user to assign/revoke permission sets (note that you can do this today using The Permissioner).
  • Manage Profiles and Permission Sets  - Create, edit, delete profiles and permission sets. (Not to be confused with ‘Assign Permission Sets’ which is just allowing assignment)

So there you have the permission sets changes  for Summer 14.  Not a ton of changes or additions in the world of Permission Sets but certainly interesting enhancements. It may point in the direction of things to come for greater control and security at a more granular level. A possibility which could make permission sets more valuable to use.

Thoughts on Summer 14 permission set changes or just permission sets in general? Please feel free to comment below, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @LeiferAshley or join the conversation in the Success Community.

 

Salesforce.com Service Enhancements in Summer 14

This Summer 14 Release is bringing us more exciting Service Cloud features that will make the agents lives easier and give customers the best and most efficient support.
Salesforce.com Service Enhancements in Summer 14

Salesforce.com Service Enhancements in Summer 14


The Summer 14 changes are enhancing many of the features discussed in the Spring 14 release. Agents will find that layouts are even more flexible to design, easier to navigate, and information is more accessible. This blog will highlight a few of these key features that really stood out as great enhancement for agents.


Case Feeds

As a Service Cloud agent, you will now more easily be able to adjust layouts to see more relevant information, access attachments that will help support the case, and identify and reach out to other agents that have been deemed experts.

  • Customize Case Feed Layouts in New Ways

  • Add the attachment Component to Case Feed

  • Increase Agent Collaboration & Productivity with Case Experts (Pilot)  

Case feeds have resizable highlights panel and collapsable publisher giving agents the ability to show more relevant information and hide unnecessary information by simple click and drag. By being able to collapse the publisher when the page loads, you can now see more of the feed. You are also able to easily access attachments from the case on the case feed page: chatter files, attachments from emails, and related files attached to cases. Now, directly from topics on cases, agents can be endorsed as experts making it easier for agents to easily find the best support to help resolve cases. Then these expert agents can note themes in the types of questions they are helping to support and provide additional resources and solutions to the community of agents for quick and easy access.


Salesforce Knowledge

Searching just got a whole lot easier with Salesforce Knowledge. Summer 14 is providing additional ways to easily find related topics and articles.

  • Auto-Complete for Article Keyword and Title Searches

  • Search Synonym Groups More Easily

When keywords are entered, Knowledge provides a list of suggestions. There are two types of searches that can be done: auto-complete keyword search and auto-complete title search. When a word or phrase is entered, it can search for the popular key searches done in the Knowledge tab and show the top 3 and/or can show the matching title for up to 3 articles. With synonym searches, Knowledge will show the number of synonym groups containing that synonym (ie. you can type in cloud and it will pull all groups with cloud: 1. cloudy, day or 2. cloud, computing or 3. clouds, classifications). The synonym search box is always visible now so starting a search is much easier and does not require an additional step of having to show the filter first.

Salesforce Console for Service

The Salesforce Console for Service really allows you to have everything you need to provide support right in front of you. The Summer 14 release allows you to access and view more relevant case information and view the milestone tracker to track performance.

  • Related Lists as Console Components

  • Add Topics List and Milestone Tracker as Salesforce Console Components

The sidebar with the related list can now just show relevant information. So there will no longer be a need to scroll. You can categorize records by topic lists and the list will only shows topics associated with a case. You can also see the related list associated with a topic when you click on that topic. Previously viewable in the case feed layout (Spring 14 release), the milestones tracker can now show the milestones for the entitlement process related to a case within the console. The agents can see the progress of the milestone and mark when the milestone is complete.


Summer 14 is bringing us so many enhancements to the Service Cloud features. I was really only able to highlight a few. These updates to the Case Feeds, Service Console, Knowledge and the many other Service Cloud features are really going to help improve the efficiency of service agents.


If there are additional features in this release that are standing out to you, please feel free to comment below, on our facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @sylviacabral44.

 

Summer 14 - Episode #179 of CloudFocus Weekly

We have passed the date so we are deep diving into our favorite big and small features of Salesforce Summer 14.
Summer 14 - Episode #179 of CloudFocus Weekly

Summer 14 - Episode #179

Why Sales Teams Should Be Excited About Summer '14

A look at what sales teams should be excited about in the new Salesforce.com Summer 14 features.
Why Sales Teams Should Be Excited About Summer '14

Why Sales Teams Should Be Excited About Summer '14

Summertime is just about here and with that so is the Summer 14 release notes providing over 320 pages of Salesforce fun and excitement. If you missed part 1 of our review series, feel free to check out our rapid reaction blog. In the second part we get a bit more focused and dive into the world of the Sales Cloud. Here are three features every sales team should be excited about and why.

Opportunities Splits

One key area of Opportunity management that gets a lot of love in this release is Opportunity splits. Opportunity splits allow for credit on Opportunities to be split among team members. Prior to this release, Opportunity splits were not very customizable. They were limited to only two types (Revenue and Overlay) and weren’t fully integrated into the Salesforce Collaborative Forecasting model. With customizable splits in Summer 14, you can now add custom fields and types, validation rules, triggers and see splits on opportunities directly in any splits-based forecast. This flexibility allows companies to easily see the complete picture around who was involved with a sale and what type of credit they should get.

Collaborative Forecasting

A better forecasting experience has been an area of focus for Salesforce in recent releases and it hasn’t stopped with this one. In addition to being able to easily access split information as mentioned above, sales teams can now forecast on custom opportunity currency fields for more flexibility. You can also see Overlay Forecasts to track revenue from team members not directly responsible for opportunities and access historical forecasting reporting to see how Forecasts have changed over time. The historical trending for Forecasts is very interesting in that it allows you to see how well you forecast. With a custom report type you can highlight changes between five snapshot dates and this is all done through Salesforce’s native reporting and dashboard engine. One side note on forecasting, if you are still using Forecasting 1.0 (Classic), it will be retired with this release.

Customizable Price Books Entries

Price books became customizable in Summer ‘13 and only a short year later, price book entries are customizable. You can now create fields, validation rules and page layouts for your price book entries for more flexibility, data quality, and control. One of the biggest benefits of this enhancement is easier integration. One of the primary drivers for this feature request was to be able to store an external id on price book entries to allow for synchronization with external sources. This will save a lot of time for back office people and allow for faster and better reporting.

There are many other enhancements in Summer ‘14 like Territory Management 2.0 which is going into Beta, and, better reporting around Activities which might be of interest to you. I would recommend you take a look at our rapid reaction blog as mentioned above as well as skim through the release notes to see if anything else catches your attention. If you would like to discuss further tweet at me at www.twitter.com/Salvatoriello or comment below.

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