Arkus Blog

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.

Building Good Health Habits with GTD

Here is a look at how you can use GTD to build good health habits.
Building Good Health Habits with GTD

Building Good Health Habits with GTD

The GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology by David Allen has been critical to how I manage my work and home life responsibilities. After a number of years practicing, I became aware that I wasn't really using GTD for my health and wellness goals. I realized that many of my goals to build good habits never had a real end date. I would just say I was going to do something and then tried to remember to do it.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't.  So after some thinking I came up with a good process and tried it out.  I have seen some really good results.  Here is an overview of my GTD process for health and wellness.

Awareness

Awareness is the most critical step in changing anything about ourselves. Before we do anything, we have to scan ourselves, both mentally and physically, to find what we would like to change and write them down. This is an exercise I do weekly. Once we understand at a high level what we aren’t happy with, we can come up with ideas on how to change things and prioritize. I am a firm believer in a crawl-walk-run approach to anything in life, so I would pick maybe one thing for mental health and maybe two things for physical health (one for nutrition and one for exercise). Pick ones that just feel right and go. By starting with small changes, we can convince our egos it's not a big deal, and we will be more willing to commit.

Belief and Commitment

What is the point of doing something, if you don't have a reason?  Are we really willing to commit to doing something if we don't have a compelling one? More often than not, we are not. Once we identify what we want to change, we need to evaluate the WHY.  This deeper awareness will help us build a compelling argument to change our behavior.  Many times with our health it takes bad news from a doctor to get us to commit, but if you take the time to be aware of yourself and relate it to why you aren’t as healthy as you want, it will give you a boost of motivation to make a change. Trust me; it works! This exercise got me off anxiety medicine. I did the awareness exercise as described above and realized that I didn't believe the side effects and potential long term risks were worth it anymore. At one point they were but that changed. Once I realized that, I got motivated to change. That boost of motivation made me commit and take action. So if you are ready to go join that gym, stop reading this and join one right now.  Even though this may take more than two minutes do not create a GTD project and set next action to tomorrow. Once we take the first action, now we can use our tools to set next actions and a way to measure our progress.

OmniFocus to Achieve Accountability

Now that we joined the gym, how are we holding ourselves accountable to actually going?  This is where OmniFocus (my GTD tool of choice) comes in. It is the perfect tool to help hold yourself accountable for the habits you want to create. One of my habit goals was to meditate every day for 5 minutes.  I have a daily project that has a list of a few things I do on a daily basis.  I added meditation, and because I will not cross off the action as completed unless I actually did it, I found that extra 5 minutes to get a meditation session in.  After 6 months or so of doing it, meditation is now an unconscious habit in my daily routine and no longer needed in my daily project. The tool brings awareness to what I need to do and can hold you accountable for doing it if you let it.  

Conclusion

So there is a quick look into how to use GTD to build good health habits.  This can be applied to any good habit you want to create.  Try it out and see for yourself.  How you set it up in your tools is up to you, but the key is to maintain the awareness and hold yourself accountable.  If you find yourself deferring a bunch, it might be an indicator you need to evaluate your WHY.  Then you can make educated decisions and achieve the goals you want to achieve.  

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

Banana Pants - Episode #278 of CloudFocus Weekly

iPhone X, Thanksgiving, final Dreamforce 17 blog posts, leaving it better than you found it and new Trailhead features.
Banana  Pants - Episode #278 of CloudFocus Weekly

Banana Pants - Episode #278

Better Than You Found It

Getting a new job is exciting, and if you’re a Salesforce Admin, it’s a good time to make sure that you’ve set up your successor to be, well, successful.
Better Than You Found It

Better Than You Found It

Like many in the community, my first Salesforce job was an accidental admin role. What I applied for was a marketing data analysis role, and what I got was my first Salesforce administrator job with a 5-year-old org. I had never heard of Salesforce before the interview for the job. I walked into the middle of a massive data cleanse and org refresh, but there was nothing to help me along - no documentation, no project plan, and no memory on the team of why things had been done the way they had been done. Thus when it was time for me to move on, I wanted to leave behind something a little better.

It’s not news that documenting an org is important. There are multitudes of blog posts, previous Dreamforce sessions, and webinars all about how to document a Salesforce org. There are templates. There are guides. There are apps that do this for you. Essentially there is no excuse for not doing this, but here’s a bit of a breakdown of what you should include.

Descriptions

Use the Description fields generously and for everything - Permission Sets, Custom Fields, Custom Objects, automation, and anything else you create. This isn’t just for those that come after you; 6 months after you create it, you may very well forget why you did.

A good description will list what the configuration does, if it’s used in a larger process, and perhaps why it was added or who requested the new item. For example, if a sales user requested a field to identify the job level of a Contact, I would include a description for the new field along the lines of “Picklist values for identified job levels, as requested by sales to track the individuals that they wish to target. Used in PB flow Assign Job Level based on Title.” If that’s more than you feel comfortable with, remember that something is still better than nothing.

Training Materials

Training users is important for adoption, and if you have training materials, this can also serve as an introduction to an incoming admin of your processes. If the new admin has experience, then they will be able to make some assumptions about automation and configuration based on the information provided in the training documentation.

End user training is a whole other topic, but materials to keep on hand could include a written user manual, a series of videos, or a full formal training program. The depth, breadth, and complexity of your training documentation depends entirely on your organization; if you are large enough to have a training team that can help manage it, go big. If you’re a solo admin, do what you can manage, but at the very least you should have a training manual. Regardless of the medium, it can be a helpful resource for an incoming admin to help answer user questions, understanding why configuration was done, or even just to learn more about your business.

Configuration Workbook

A configuration workbook is a breakdown of your org from a metadata perspective -- custom objects, custom fields, custom automation, etc. This might be in a spreadsheet format or a Word document; regardless of the format, it should be maintained regularly.

The good news is that there are multiple apps that will do this for you automatically.

The first place to start is the new Optimizer from Salesforce, which can be run directly in Setup.

For a very basic list of object and field metadata, you can utilize the Schema Lister from sftoolkit.co.

There are solutions on the AppExchange, such as Octopus, which will generate a PDF or Word file for you directly with the customization that has been done in your org. For a little bit more in-depth review, there is also Config Workbook, which will also show you utilization of those items.


All the Extras

Chances are your org is not just a singular entity; there are installed, managed packages, maybe some integration, or even other systems that the Salesforce Administrator might be expected to learn. Make a list of these things. What integrations are there? What does the app or additional system do? Is the admin expected to maintain it, or is there another team they need to work with?

For each of these things, Salesforce and any additional platforms that work with it, make a list of expiration or contract renewal dates and a list of your contacts at those places. Who is your Salesforce AE? Make sure you share that information. Who do they contact for questions about Conga? Provide names, numbers, and email addresses for all of those people.

Do you have a Center of Excellence or internal User Group? Make sure to include that information, as well. List the members, how frequently they meet, and the communication expectations that they have with you.

Salesforce is a great place to include all of this information, even if it’s just documents added to a Library.

Beyond Documentation

Of course all the documentation in the world can’t fix issues. Consider projects and goals that you had identified for the org before you leave. If you’re able to make the fixes before your last day, you should do your fellow admin a solid and address them. If you have a major project ongoing that you’ll be handing off, try to leave it at a good place for someone to come in and pick it back up.

As you move onto the next step in your career, remember that we are all part of this Salesforce Ohana; we have a whole community of people who want to support your learning, your career. You can pay it forward by leaving behind something you’d be proud to put your name on and that sets up your fellow, future admin for success.


Have you recently left a role and spent time preparing the org for its new caretaker? Have you ever taken on a new role and had a mess to clean up? Share your stories with us on Twitter, on the Salesforce Community, Facebook, or chat with me @thesafinhold .


Dreamforce 17 - Where Words Meet Actions

Dreamforce 2017 has come and gone. How do we meet the challenge and truly become Trailblazers for the next generation as it was expressed throughout the Dreamforce conference?
Dreamforce 17 - Where Words Meet Actions

Dreamforce 17 – Where Words Meet Actions

As I returned home from attending my second Dreamforce, I was left with an overwhelming sense of pride and hope from the conference.  I made it a personal goal of mine to attend more keynote addresses this year as I focused more on sessions last year.  The keynotes I attended really left a lasting impression on me, as I felt the common denominator in the various messages culminated into a very specific challenge to share the knowledge we all possess and help others along the way.

 Be an Example

This year what I was most proud to experience wasn’t something that can be configured, or a new third party enhancement.   It was the all-encompassing message of equality, inclusion and diversity, and seeing it everywhere I went throughout Dreamforce.  The overarching message I gathered from the various keynotes were not only a sense of empowerment, but the responsibility we all face to give back.  As I looked around Michelle Obama’s wonderful keynote, it was awesome to see the diversity and the overwhelming positivity in the room. As a father of two girls myself, her challenge to all of us as adults and parents to be true leaders for our children really resonated with me.  Also having the chance to speak to some members of PepUpTech was really encouraging, and it was uplifting to hear the passion and excitement in how they view Salesforce and the potential it offers for their collective futures.

Find My Voice

In Taraji P. Henson’s keynote, I found it interesting that she called out the need to find your voice.  I started to think about how I specifically could help, possibly through mentoring or volunteering or some similar avenue.  What I took away from her was that your voice has to be authentic to you, and if it connects to something you are passionate about, it will have an authenticity that may just be what inspires someone else.  I have started the process of thinking about where I can make a difference.  

What Now?

 Here at Arkus, we focus on education, empowerment, and what I like to call “Paying it Forward.”  I left Dreamforce inspired to personally involve myself in helping the next generation.  For those interested, there are some great volunteer opportunities at organizations like Pep Up Tech and Stemettes, just to name a few.  Sometimes we don’t realize how much impact that our experiences, both good and bad, can really help someone as they embark along their path of life, especially within the Salesforce community.  Dreamforce reinforced that and has led me to start assessing ways I can help the next generation of Salesforce dreamers, and I encourage you all to do the same.

How did Dreamforce inspire you?  Feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @berkeley_t_b


Dreamforce 2017 Recap

Another year, another Dreamforce in the books. Proud to say this was my tenth Dreamforce in a row, and to my surprise, this was one of my favorite conferences. Here’s a few things that caught my eye, as I reflect back on the week that was DF17.
Dreamforce 2017 Recap

Dreamforce 2017 Recap

The People

Dreamforce has become an extremely large family reunion in the best way possible. I see people I only see a few times a year or perhaps even one time per year-- that time being at Dreamforce. I give out so many hugs; it’s not even funny. I’m all hugged out by the end of the show. Whether it be blasts from the past or people I never met in person until Dreamforce, I always end up giving out lots of hugs and feel like I have friends for life. Some highlights with people were the PepUp Tech Fundraiser, The Amplify (formerly Girlforce) breakfast, and of course the Arkus party featuring the Hella Good Band.

The Inspiring Keynote

The most inspiring keynote I’ve been to in a while was the Trailhead keynote. It felt old school in the way that the crowd was really into all of the announcements. The announcements were just that, announcements, not high-end produced videos and demos of very specific use cases. This was real, authentic, and it came from the heart. The audience was also extremely engaged. Trailhead is here, and it’s the real deal. Can’t wait to see more about myTrailhead in the not-too-distant future. As a matter of fact, that was sorta the big announcement - myEverything. myLighting, myIOT, myTrust, myThis, myThat - the world is yours, enjoy it.

Most Surprised By

While the overarching theme of the conference was diversity, equality, and the fourth industrial revolution, it was extremely surprising that the main keynote didn’t have a nonprofit success story as one of the three main stories. Usually there is at least one video about a nonprofit. This was the right year to have two in my opinion, but alas there were none. There were stories before the keynote started and shoutouts abound but no slick story about a nonprofit at all.

Watson & Einstein working together to make life easier wasn’t as much surprising from a technology perspective, it was more surprising that Salesforce would be so upfront about it and give Watson a lot of shout outs during the main keynote. I do not know much about the inner workings of where Watson starts and Einstein picks up for it, but I’d wager that Watson is doing a lot of the heavy lifting here, with Einstein working with CRM data and providing a nice user interface.

The partnership with Google was a bit of a surprise to me. I imagine this has been in the works ever since Amazon Web Services was announced as the host of Salesforce pods in Canada. There wasn’t much around the announcement in terms of apps, but it’s been a long and winding road between the two cloud giants, and I’d like to see them working together in partnership - hopefully this is a huge step towards that. I wonder what does this mean for Quip - do they work together…?

Most Impressed By

Trailhead was by far the most impressive product that I saw at the show. The investment being made into a training platform is unbelievable. Not just because myTrailhead is ready to take off and be the new way that companies onboard and train employees, but also because of the breadth and depth of already existing Salesforce-based training that anyone can start to use for free and become a part of the fourth industrial revolution.

The Best Ever?

Was it the best one ever? Probably not. I’d have to harken back to my first Dreamforce to say that, but I imagine for most their first Dreamforce is their best. I’ll repeat myself though and say this was the best in years. I have so much catching up to do as well. I didn’t even see a lot of the big name speakers, so to Youtube I go, to catch up on all the exciting action I missed.

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

Dreamforce 17 Wrap Up - Episode #277 of CloudFocus Weekly

Dreamforce 17 has come and gone so we go over our favorite things, new announcements and all the fun.
Dreamforce 17 Wrap Up - Episode #277 of CloudFocus Weekly

Dreamforce 17 Wrap Up - Episode #277

Arkus @ Dreamforce 17

A little rundown on how to find Arkies & Friends at Dreamforce 2017
Arkus @ Dreamforce 17

Arkus @ Dreamforce 17

It’s finally here, and the Arkus Team is ready to rock. Below is a rundown of all the places Arkies (that’s us), our clients, and our friends will be during Dreamforce 2017. See you on the floor!

Clients

We love to see our clients present and share their success with the rest of you Salesforce-loving folks. This year (RED) is presenting again, this time on Pardot.

Friends

Here at Arkus, we are big supporters of our friends at PepUp Tech, an organization dedicated to enabling underrepresented groups to learn and engage computer science and technology. This year they’re having a fundraising event at a karaoke bar, so come on down and sing your heart out for a great cause!

Products

It seems like admins really love cloning other users because this year our free AppExchange product, Clone This User, is being featured once again in a session.

Arkies

This year we’ve got quite a few Arkies making an appearance at sessions, “Ask the Expert” Booths, and even a 5K Run. Come out and say “hello.”

  • Jason, DF17 Job Fair, Monday, 11/6 6 PM, Moscone West and 5k Fun Run, Wednesday, 11/8 6 AM, Embarcadero

  • Amy, Admin Best Practices - "Ask the Expert" Booth, Monday, 11/6 3:30-6pm, Moscone West, Admin Meadow

  • Justin, DF17 Job Fair, Monday, 11/6 6 PM, Moscone West, 5k Fun Run, Wednesday, 11/8 6 AM, Embarcadero, and Girlforce Breakfast, Wednesday, 11/8 8AM

  • Scott, Extend Salesforce - “Ask the Expert” Booth, Wednesday, 11/8 7:45 AM - 10 AM, Admin Meadow

  • Sam, Community Cove, Community Events table, Monday, 11/6 10 AM - 1 PM, Moscone and D&DF17 (LIVE! Fundraiser for ExtraLife/Children’s Miracle Network), Wednesday, 11/8 11-1

CloudFocus Weekly Podcast

And last but not least, Jason and Justin will be podcasting all throughout the conference. Catch up with them on Twitter @JustEdelstein and @JasonMAtwood.

If you’d like to catch up at the conference, feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @djwebster.

Dreamforce 17 Predictions - Episode #276 of CloudFocus Weekly

Looking into the crystal ball to make some Dreamforce 17 predictions.
Dreamforce 17 Predictions - Episode #276 of CloudFocus Weekly

Dreamforce 17 Predictions - Episode #276

Trails to Success - Episode #275 of CloudFocus Weekly

Success Community is now a Trailblazer, more Dreamforce 17 tips, and some Google security news.
Trails to Success - Episode #275 of CloudFocus Weekly

Trails to Success - Episode #275

Dreamforce 17 for Community Banks

Community Banks will have a full agenda this year at Dreamforce.
Dreamforce 17 for Community Banks

Dreamforce 17 for Community Banks

With the recent announcement of the Financial Services Cloud for Retail Banking, this year's Dreamforce agenda is packed with over a dozen sessions directly related to retail banks. If members from your bank are heading out to Dreamforce next week, here are several sessions you will not want to miss.


Financial Services Keynote: Build Loyalty by Unlocking Your Firm’s Full Power

Dreamforce is loaded this year with product and industry keynote speeches, but this one is a must for all community banks. I have attended this for the last three years, and not only is it a great way to get a glimpse of how other banks are using Salesforce to streamline operations and improve client experience, it is also a great place to meet other bankers or say “Hi” to your fellow Community Bank User Group members.


Retail Banking: Accelerate Innovation to Be the Bank Your Customers Love

If you are coming to Dreamforce to learn more about the Financial Services Cloud for Retail Banking, this is the session for you. Hosted by Anthony Morris from Salesforce and speakers from City National and SunTrust Bank, you will surely get a glimpse into the future of the Financial Services Cloud. Take this Trailhead module in advance to prepare for this session.


Retail Banking: How to Engage Customers 1-to1 Beyond the Branch

This is a great session for banks that are considering using Marketing Cloud to help to create targeted 1:1 journeys with their clients. This session also ties in nicely with the Trailhead session listed above.


Banking's Future: How Banks are Innovating with the Salesforce Platform

Were you successful at convincing someone from your IT department to join you at Dreamforce this year? If so, then this is the session for them. Join the guest speaker from TD Bank to see how they are developing apps on the Salesforce platform to help create the Bank of the Future.


The Financial Services Cloud Advantage: Grow AUM with Relationship Intelligence

Before the announcement of the retail banking add-on, the Financial Services Cloud was designed specifically to help Wealth Management firms get a better understanding of their complex relationships. This session offers several speakers from top Wealth Management firms who will talk about how they are using Financial Services Cloud to help improve the experience of every client.


Digital Mortgage: Borrowers Can Finish the Process from Start-End in 16 Days 

Reimagine Success In Mortgage

As someone who has both worked as a mortgage underwriter for several years and has gone through the mortgage process several times, I know all the complexities and steps it takes to get a mortgage to go from application to closing. These two sessions will offer a glimpse into the many ways mortgage departments can use Salesforce to help manage the mortgage loan application process.


Building a Commercial Lending Powerhouse at TD Bank

I have also worked as a commercial lender in the past, and if you thought a mortgage was complex, wait until you apply for a commercial loan. With multiple departments from origination to underwriting, and then from loan operations to post closing, the commercial loan process is filled with more inefficiencies than any other area of a bank. This session offers a demo from TD Bank on how they used nCino to make their loan process more efficient.


If you are unable to attend or you miss a session because realize you can’t possibly walk from the Hyatt down to the Intercontinental in 5 minutes, no worries, all sessions are recorded and can be viewed online several weeks following Dreamforce.


Do you have any other sessions you are excited about attending this year? Drop them in the comments below or tell us all about it on Twitter, on the Salesforce CommunityFacebook, or chat with me @ScottTSearle. See you at Dreamforce!

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