Last year was a great year for admins and this year will be even better. Admins had their first keynote last year, which took place at the Hilton and it had such a great turnout that the room was filled to capacity. This year the Admin Keynote is the place to be on Thursday in the the Moscone West. This keynote will be featuring Parker Harris, Shawna Wolverton, Sarah Franklin, Mike Gerholdt, along with two other special guests. The energy in the room was great last year and we even received Awesome Admin capes, so make sure to stop by.
Speaking of celebration of admins, this year there is an official #Admin Day also taking place on Thursday. Can’t forget to mention the Admin Zone will be back again after a great debut last year. As a Dreamforce newbie the Admin Zone was my go-to spot; I got to meet a lot of people I interacted with through the community in person and learned a ton. You can look forward to great demos, sessions, presentations, an Ask The Experts area, and even live podcasting, which will be featuring our very own CloudFocus Weekly. Last year the photo booth was a lot of fun and there will also be a photographer taking headshots located on the second floor of Moscone West.
Wearing your Business Analyst Hat
This session will be covering how to step outside of the administrator mindset and look at processes though a business analyst perspective. It will cover what types of questions you should be asking for the best possible outcome
Salesforce offers many different options when it comes to automating business processes. Join this session to take a look at how some leading companies are using Builder, Flow and Workflow, also learn about how they have benefited. Hopefully you can think of a process that can currently be streamlined at your organization and come back with a solution to help save users valuable time.
Documentation is Key
Because you can never have too much documentation! Check out this session on how to use Google sites and other best practices regarding documentation. It is extremely important to have a reference of your org as it can serve as a knowledge transfer document in case of an emergency. Having background information will avoid guessing games or possible loss of functionality if a new admin ever has to take ownership of the system. It will also help keep things up to date by keeping a close eye on important metrics such as, usage limitations, licensing or upgrades.
With so many sessions dedicated to admins this year it is hard to choose, but I hope my choices motivate you to go out and register and get ready to have fun learning from the rest of the #AwesomeAdmin community. For more information check out Admin Success at Dreamforce Road To Dreamforce Episode. You can also start earning badges using Trailhead , and hit the ground running at Dreamforce. There are a few Admin specific trails ranging from beginner level to advanced, a Dreamforce Trail and even a new trail for Lighting Experience content.
The largest software conference on the planet is only a few weeks away. Dreamforce hits the streets of San Francisco from September 15th to September 18th and there is no better way to kick-off the NFL season than to hear about what is new in the world of Cloud Computing with over 130,000+ other Salesforce disciples. Here are the top ten reasons to attend Dreamforce 2015.
Some people consider Dreamforce a vacation so why not add a cruise ship to the equation? Finding housing for over 130,000 people close to the Moscone Center has become a tough task, so much so that I have seen rooms go for over $900 due to the high demand. Into Pier 27 comes the Dreamboat provided by Celebrity Cruises. Sounds like an opportunity to learn about Salesforce during the day and party on a cruise ship at night. I am not staying on the Dreamboat but I definitely think it is a cool idea.
#9 Breaking News
Safe Harbor! Safe Harbor! Every year Salesforce releases something new and exciting coming to a Salesforce Org near you. Last year we were presented with Salesforce1 Lightning and Wave. Will Lightning strike again? Time will only tell.
#8 Dreamfest and UCSF Benefit featuring the Foo Fighters and Gary Clark Jr.
I wasn't at Dreamforce in 2008 so it is great to hear that they are bringing back the Foo Fighters. Since 2008 they have gotten bigger and better and are one of last real rock bands out there. With a new venue, Pier 70, I expect this to be a night talked about for awhile.
The "SWAG" (Stuff We All Get) given out at the multiple expo halls just keeps getting better and better each year. Partners spare no expense and if last year was any indication of what is to come this year, I think some of us may need a second suitcase. Last year we saw the likes of Penny Skateboards, GoPro Cameras, Exercise trackers and of course a lot of free refreshments! What will they come up with this year?
The amount of celebrity and industry leaders speaking at Dreamforce goes up each year. Goldie Hawn (Actor), Susan Wojcicki (CEO of YouTube), Jessica Alba (Actor) and Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft) are just some of the names that will be speaking this year. Make sure you plan out your agenda sooner than later so you don't miss out. Some will have limited seating so registering sooner than later is recommended.
On Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 at 6:30am at the Ferry Building on Embarcadero the 3rd Annual Dreamforce Community 5k Fun Run will take place. I had the pleasure to run in this last year and it was a great way to start the day and promote health and wellness. No track star requirements for this run. All levels welcome.
A big issue that Marc Benioff has taken head on is gender equality in the workplace. The Women's Leadership Track at Dreamforce will focus on women that have succeeded in predominantly male fields and can give the playbook to other women. Susan Wojcicki (CEO of YouTube) and Jessica Alba (Actor) headline this track with the hopes to inspire both men and women to change the industry once and for all!
This is one of two on the list that will never change. Each year we get to meet new people from around the world who share the love for Salesforce and other things. This is a great time and place to reconnect with friends old and new. I cannot tell you how many friends I have that the relationship started at Dreamforce.
#2 Marc Benioff
Getting the opportunity to hear Marc Benioff speak in person is not as easy as it once was. If you missed Marc at Dreamforce you always had the opportunity to hear him at one of the WorldTour (Formerly Cloudforce) events in a city near you. Nowadays it seems Marc makes an appearance at only a few so getting to hear him live is a treat. I always get inspired after one of his keynotes and I don't expect this year to be any different.
As always this is the top reason for going to Dreamforce no matter what. If Salesforce is critical to your business or if you are thinking about it, this conference is a must for you. You get access to over 1,500 sessions, 1,000+ product demos, hands on trainings, certifications and other educational opportunities such as meeting with product managers or mingling with Salesforce MVPs in the Admin Zone.
It might be the end of summer but Dreamforce 15 is just around the corner. In the first part of a our many-part series on Dreamforce, we are taking a look at sessions and resources for those heading out to San Francisco from the banking and financial services industries.
The best way to get started at Dreamforce is with a keynote so join Simon Mulcahy as he shares the vision of Salesforce on the future of Financial Services. These specific product and industry specific keynotes are becoming the real meat of the event so don't skip them this year.
Sales sometimes starts from within so breaking down the silos in the bank is a great place to begin. Join this session to learn from Key Bank and Salesforce on best practices for increasing sales and filling the pipeline back in the banking industry.
Security is always a concern for financial services and Salesforce has released a new suite of features in Salesforce Shield to help mitigate those concerns. Join Jonathan Bruce as he goes over the new benefits and features, including best practice on how to keep compliance officers happy and more importantly, out of your office.
While crushing a quota is not an industry specific goal, it is something that sales managers are always looking for some help with. Join a panel of speakers from HP, Salesforce and Docusign as they share their tips, tricks (and I am sure tools) on how to automate and dominate quotas.
Is your company holding back on the digital customer experience? Have you tried convincing, cajoling and begging management to let you embrace the new Salesforce technologies? If so, this might be the session for you. Join speakers from GE and Webster Bank as they lay out what can be done to build that one on one customer experience using the tools you might already own.
While writing this post I’m keeping in mind that maintaining a full time employee may present some challenges. You need to ensure this person will have enough work on their hands to keep them busy and motivated so they won’t get bored and decide to leave and pursue other opportunities. As long as your administrative needs are being met and everyone is happy it does not matter whether you have a full-time, part-time, remote or any other administrator!
That being said, when should you hire a full time administrator for your organization? Because of the flexibility the Salesforce platform has to offer, administration needs will vary across organizations. Here are some things to consider about your instance that will hopefully help you identify what type of admin should have the keys to your Salesforce kingdom and what the benefits and challenges are.
Amount of Users
One of the things to take into consideration is how many users will be using the platform. The more users you have the more time and resources will be needed to support them. Having a full time admin is ideal because they will have time to tailor training according to the individual needs of a large user base. Every user will have different learning styles and different system functionality they will need to master, so customizing training is especially important when it comes to adoption. In addition, when it comes to day to day basic troubleshooting or questions it is ideal to have someone readily accessible to quickly resolve issues without having to wait too long or interrupt business processes. Please refer to the chart below to see what Salesforce considers adequate administration resources:
Complexity of Current Configuration
Something else to think about is how intricate is your Salesforce instance. Are there a lot of customizations, code or complex business processes that require more heavy lifting? Or, do you have a complicated security model where being in compliance is a driving factor of your success? Do you have any system integrations in place? You want someone that can monitor and keep a close eye on things when any changes or updates have to be made. A full-time admin would be able to better manage these components by keeping tabs on all the current and new technology. Full-time admins would also be able to identify when it is necessary to bring in external resources and manage that relationship.
What are in the plans for the future?
Finally you should consider what your organization plans are for the future. Will the organization be expanding or adding new business types or programs? Perhaps your company wants to bridge the gap between the sales teams and service teams, and you may need to start planning for how you can implement Service Cloud Console or other service related features. A dedicated admin will understand your system well enough to identify processes that could use innovation and proactively explore the possibilities that exist within the Salesforce Platform.
This is a great opportunity to have a full time admin take advantage of all the great resources Salesforce has to offer. For example, your administrator can join the local User Groups and network with other users in similar industries and exchange ideas about how they are using Salesforce. There also are several events that happen throughout the year like Dreamforce, The Annual World Tour, workshops and presentations on the latest and greatest features all while meeting some awesome people at the same time.
These are just some of the considerations to keep in mind when thinking about hiring a full-time administrator. Each organization is unique and this is not a one size fits all solution. While some organizations will benefit the most by having a dedicated administrator, others can still operate efficiently with a few workarounds. For example, you can still have an internal staff member handling administrative duties and just split responsibilities among others in the team. Another option would be hiring a consultant as a buffer to help with anything outside of the administrators comfort level or to provide strategic support.
Now that it is three years later I want to officially state that they are all grown up and a first class consideration on the Salesforce platform. Here’s a little walk down memory lane to talk about where they started and how far they have come over the years.
Salesforce Permission Sets were first generally made available in the Winter 12 release of Salesforce. Since then they have evolved to become a very integral part of the permissions scheme within the platform. I had the privilege of talking with the product manager in the run up to permission sets becoming a feature and provided many use cases around managing a large Salesforce instance and how it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage all 3,000 of my users’ permissions. We were truly using Salesforce as a platform and with so many applications it was very hard not to fall into the trap of “profile proliferation” just because a handful of users needed one or two additional system permissions or read access to certain object that nobody else needed.
Initially permission sets solved this problem really well by providing a mechanism for applying permissions as an addition to a profile on a user by user basis. Over the years though they have evolved into a full platform feature by which entire functionality is either on or off for users. It has become the de facto way to turn on specific applications, enable users with licenses to add on applications, and generally the first thing I think about when rolling out new functionality and designing permissions within a Salesforce project.
Ideas Delivered Over the Years
- Record Type Selection in Permission Sets
- Permission Sets - Tabs permissions please
- Mass add existing Users to Permission Sets -
- Though we are partial to using The Permissioner instead
API First, Permission Set First
Permission sets were always designed with an API first mindset. This allowed for certain features to be available on the platform but without a user interface. To me this means the feature has always been extremely robust and allowed ISV partners of Salesforce to build specialized admin tools and integrations utilizing permission sets, case in point: The Permissioner. A lot of ISV partners have made it a common practice to package permission sets with their applications as a way to grant access to their functionality post installation from the AppExchange. This is really a new way of thinking about delivering applications. No longer does an admin have to go in and edit every profile in order to provide access to applications, rather they can simply assign the appropriate permission set to their users. Salesforce has even followed suit here and has provided the ability to assign things like 2-factor authentication or Sales Console assignment via permission set or permission set license assignment.
All in all permission sets have grown so much over the last three years and have really become at the forefront of permission design. In every release when reading the release notes I love seeing that a new feature when announced can either be turned on by changing profiles or can be assigned via a permission set. The fact that Salesforce encourages admins to create permission sets to provide new functionality is a testament to how great permission sets are and how far they have come.
Trailhead is a free administrator and developer interactive training tool that guides you through the basic building blocks of the Salesforce Platform. We first wrote about Trailhead in December 2014 and much to our satisfaction, it has greatly improved since its introduction at Dreamforce ‘14.
Salesforce continues to add new training modules and bump up the gamification, my last check indicated that you now can acquire 25 module badges and related points (disclaimer - it’s highly addictive), as well as delve into 6 projects. The module and project topics vary from beginner to moderate and do a fantastic job of providing not only the basics but also links to additional knowledge resources.
Admin Trail - Intermediate
The addition of an Admin Trail - Intermediate path guides you from Data Security through Formulas and Process Automations to Lightning App Builder. This trail takes you deeper into the platform and builds upon the solid foundation you constructed in the Admin Trail - Beginner modules.
New modules are being rolled out in Trailhead on a regular basis. The Developer Trail - Beginner now contains 11 modules that guide you from platform basics, through security, data modeling, formulas, right on up to Apex triggers and Visualforce. Now that’s a journey that I used to imagine, now readily available.
There is now a Projects section containing 6 modules that provide hands-on experience building Salesforce1 apps using point-and-click, Apex and Visualforce and Lightning with step-by-step directions. The use cases are real world examples that you can deploy over and over with this knowledge.
Why use Trailhead?
Badges, we love badges. I proudly hold 13 badges with 18,400 points. It’s workbooks on steroids, with the aggregation of points and badges to provide that sense of accomplishment we all cherish and the competition to keep us engaged.
You are learning and improving every step of the way as you roll through the modules. As a study tool, Trailhead has provided me the background needed to pass 3 certification exams!
Refresh your knowledge in areas that have become a bit fuzzy, go back and review the topic again and again - it’s there when you need it.
It evolves with the platform - you will always be working with the latest and greatest. It grows with you, you grow with it.
Trailhead has been a game-changer for many of us. The best news is Salesforces continues to invest in it so that it continues to improve and, as per usual, they welcome and incorporate our suggestions. Give it a try and see for yourself, we bet you will become as addicted as we are. And hey, pile up those badges and points, how awesome is that?