Recently we wrote a blog about how important the IdeaExchange is as it relates to Salesforce releases. We gave a few examples of how Salesforce has made enhancements to the IdeaExchange as well as highlighted a few features released in Winter 15 from ideas. This time, we are going to focus on Spring 15 and some great ideas that have been delivered in this release.
As noted in our recently posted blog, Why Salesforce Teams Should Be Excited About Spring '15, over 100 ideas have been delivered. With that many ideas considered, there’s no way I can go through all of them. So instead I’ll highlight a few feature enhancements and new tools delivered, due in thanks, to the IdeaExchange:
Assets Object Redesigned as a Standard Object - The Assets object has long been a child object of the Account object; typically used to track products customers own. In Spring 15 it has received a makeover and is now it’s own standard object, including it’s own tab, record types, sharing rules, field history tracking, and everything else that comes with your typical Salesforce standard object. Some ideas delivered include: Asset Tab, History Tracking for Assets, Record Types on Assets.
Products Now Have Field History Tracking - Thanks to the Product Field History Tracking Upgrades idea, the Product object now has field history tracking. You can set what fields to track in the history just as you can with other standard objects like Accounts and Contacts.
New Process Builder (Generally Available)
Visually Automate Your Business Processes - The new Lightening Process Builder is now generally available in Spring 15, yeah! This is a new tool that will do away with how you historically created workflow rules. It has a lot more automation options like creating a new record. You work inside a visual layout (more like Flows) to create full processes in one place rather than multiple separate workflow rules. Salesforce is already delivering on lots of ideas added before and during the pilot release of this tool; Support for Advanced Workflow Processes, Creation of Any Object via Workflow Rule, Sequential Workflows or Workflow Actions, and many, many more.
Create and Manage Processes More Efficiently - In response to ideas posted in the pilot release, Salesforce has already made adjustments to make the tool more efficient for users. This entails User Interface (UI) tweaks such as highlighting what you’re working on in the canvas and the ability to sort your processes by such things as name, description, object, etc…(Process Builder: List Views and Object Info when Viewing Process List) . These may seem minor but UI is extremely important when using a visual builder tool such as this. They also now include the ability to select more than one value when creating or updating a record for multi-select picklists (Multipicklist Workflow Field Updates).
Create Versions of a Process - With this idea delivered; Process Builder: Allow Editing of Deactivated Process or Allow Versions, the builder now has versioning which allows the ability to clone an existing process if you want to make changes to it. There’s the option of creating it’s own versioning history as a new process or saving the clone as a new version of the original process. Each process can have up to 50 versions with only one being active at a time.
Customize the Condition Logic in Process Builder - The idea, Process Builder: Ability to Use AND/OR Logic for Criteria, has enhanced the tool from originally being limited to the same logic (and for all) on criteria conditions to giving the flexibility to use either AND or OR; similarly to how logic is used when building reports or workflow rules.
There’s lots of good tools and feature enhancements coming out of the IdeaExchange with every new release. I’m especially excited about the Process Builder in Spring 15. Do you have other favorite ideas delivered in this latest release I didn’t mention? Please feel free to comment below, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @LeiferAshley or in the Success Community.
Every release, we have been seeing an increasing focus on being able to search faster, navigate the layouts more efficiently, and access data and solutions within seconds to give even better customer service. The changes in this release not only continue to enhance these features but allows users to really take the wheel and do even more customization. Developers, system administrators, and users have more control over what and how to customize the Service Cloud to meet their organization’s needs; whether for agents or anyone who supports agents. This blog will specifically highlight a few of the features that stood out as great enhancements for agents.
Use Macros in Case Feed to Work More Efficiently
This super exciting feature allows agents to use macros, which is series of commands and actions that can be stored and automatically run whenever a task needs to be repeated. So a series of repetitive tasks can now be run automatically, including updating fields (ie. status) and sending an email. Imagine how much time this saves an agent. Administrators or agents are able to create and edit macros allowing for flexibility of creating them when needed. A macro widget can be used to search for, select, and run a macro. The macros can also be shared like any other object in Salesforce. So as a support agent, you can share macros that you think could be helpful to other support agents and decide whether you would like the group to be able to read or edit the macro. If a colleague has another great step to add to that macro, they will be able to do so. Once the macros are built, this feature will increase agent efficiency and productivity in one shot.
Salesforce Knowledge just keeps getting better and better. Here are a few exciting things coming our way:
Linked Related List on Articles
Updated Article Preview Page for Internal Users
Send Article Content via Email (beta)
Agents can now see what Cases a particular article is attached to and more easily determine if they have found the right solution for their Case. An article’s properties are now automatically on the page and can be viewed without clicking edit. One less click is always helpful (clicks definitely add up). Agents will also now be able to send the content of an article in the body of an email using Knowledge One. This allows agents the flexibility and ease of sending customers articles that are not published publicly but appropriate for external audiences, saving time from having to copy and paste an internal article. These changes will give agents flexibility, ease, and efficiency when providing customer support.
Salesforce Console for Service
It’s all about shortcuts to increase productivity with the Salesforce Console for Service enhancements. Developers and Administrators will have more tricks within their Console Integration Toolkits to show or hide a console’s sidebar. This release is providing keyboard shortcuts (ie. hide or show pinned list, hide or show sidebar). A system administrator can now clone a console app just by clicking a button. Agents can automatically access several features within the console. They are able to literally resume where they left off even after they’ve logged off. How cool is that? They can also rearrange console tabs to personalize their workspace and what appears on the navigation tab. Agents have more tools to help them create the workspace environment that they know will help them be more efficient.
Social Customer Service
Last but not least… Although a little off theme, there was no way I could conclude this blog without mentioning how much has been done to better tap into social media to connect with customers. Agents have been able to engage directly with customers from actual Cases that were created from different social networks using Radian6. With this release, agents will not need a separate Radian6 account to connect Facebook and Twitter accounts from Salesforce. They can have up to two social accounts. Right from within the case feed, agents can like posts, view source content, and favorite tweets. So it’s exciting to see how far this is coming and just had to include this too.
There were too many great enhancements to cover everything but hope you are excited about these and are inspired, if you have not already, to check-out the Spring 15 release notes to see more. Each release just keeps bringing enhancements that make the agents lives that much easier and I’ve always believed that a happy, productive agent = happy customer.
If there are additional features in this release that are standing out to you, please feel free to comment below, in the Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @sylviacabral44.
What is there to look forward with the holidays being over? You guessed it, Salesforce Spring ‘15 release! Salesforce brings us its 46th release with over 250 new and improved features with over a 100 coming from the IdeaExchange. In part two of our series of the Salesforce Spring 15 release review, we dive into the world of the Sales Cloud. As done with every release, here are some features every sales team should be excited about and why.
Sales Path (Beta)
Sales Path is a new feature currently in Beta that guides your sales representatives through every stage of your company’s sales process and brings focus the important sales tasks within each stage. This enables the sales rep to close deals more quickly. If you have more than one sales process, you can have one Sales Path for each Opportunity record type which allows for more flexibility. Leveraging a wizard-like setup screen, an admin can easily create a Sales Path. After a record type is selected, you just need to specify the fields that the sales team needs to complete for each stage, along with some tips, links, or other information to guide your reps to success, and you’re finished. Its that simple. This will be a great way to minimize noise on a screen, add some extra validation and provide quick links to tools that can help move things along. One thing to note, Sales Path is only being released on Salesforce1. Hopefully when it becomes generally available it will be on the desktop version as well.
Duplicate Management (Generally Available)
Keeping your data clean and accurate can be a struggle for many organizations if you don’t have proper processes and tools in place. For sales teams, things like duplicate leads can cause confusion, affect lead assignment, and waste time in data entry. With Spring ‘15 Salesforce makes generally available Duplicate Management leveraging Data.com technology without the need for a Data.com license. The Salesforce ecosystem/community always had ways to manage duplicates but it required you to proactively go find them and it was limited in that it required an administrator to define what criteria was used to find a duplicate, in addition to any fees the application charged. This new feature-set allows admins to define a set of rules for what would be considered a duplicate and alerts the user when they try to create the record. (This is available on all objects including custom objects.) Further, you can actually control whether you even allow users to create duplicate records inside Salesforce. If you do allow for duplicates, Salesforce gives you an easy way to create reports so you can better monitor them.
Has Work.com been set free? It appears that at least part of the feature-set has. Thanks Badges and Skills are now included for all Sales Cloud users for free. For those unfamiliar, Thanks Badges are a way to recognize your coworkers for a job well done and the post goes directly to their Chatter feed. Skills is a feature where users can declare individual skills, endorse other users’ skills, and search for experts with specific skills in their organization. How great is it that you can quickly search to see if anyone has expertise in a particular product that could help you win a deal and afterwards easily promote that person to the rest of the team with a Thanks Badge? These two new features are a great way to build a collaborate-and-team-first culture within your organization. Hopefully this is the start of a trend to make all the Work.com features free. For those Work.com licensed users, there are other cool features like more customization of coaching and enhanced goals that are worth taking a look at.
There are many enhancements in Spring ‘15 and I would recommend you take a look at our rapid reaction blog as well as skim through the release notes to see if anything else catches your attention. Please feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @Salvatoriello.
For the first time ever I’ve consumed the entire Salesforce Release notes in HTML and have not yet even downloaded the PDF. This means I can’t even tell you how many pages the Spring 15 release notes are as I normally do, all I can say is that once again we have a release that is jam packed with features. Here are a few that I found particularly interesting. As usual, there will be follow up posts to outline specific improvements around Sales, Service, Marketing, and even one about Ideas being addressed in this release.
Subscribe to Receive Report Notifications
Users can now sign up for notifications and stay up to date on specific metrics within a report. As an example, a user can now specify rule criteria by clicking a button on a report called “Subscribe”. Once they click the button they can define things like how often to be notified (first time conditions are met or every time the conditions are met), the conditions themselves such as when an Opportunity report’s column total is less than a certain amount, the schedule and which actions to take. The actions are particularly interesting because they give the option to send a Salesforce1 Notification, Post to the Chatter Feed, Send and Email, or even execute a custom action. Once a user subscribes to a report they will then see it in a new filter on the Reports tab called Items I’m Subscribed to which makes it easier to get back to these reports and either redefine your criteria or unsubscribe.
Asset Object Enhancements
The Asset object is all grown up! Instead of leaving the Asset object for dead and not touching it ever again, Salesforce has decided that it would make it a real object. I’m particularly excited about the ability to de-couple the sharing from the Account object. This means Assets now have owners and can have their own sharing model, something I’ve been asking for with Contracts for a long time. Assets can now also have record types, field history tracking, and a tab. This will make Assets more usable in service and support contexts.
Standard Address Fields show Google Maps
Records with a standard address field will now display a Google Maps image. Note, this is a static image of the address, you’ll need to click on the image to redirect you to Google Maps in another browser window so that you can work with it to get directions. These are enabled by default so you will start to see these pop up on your Lead, Contacts, and Accounts records. You can easily turn them off by going into the new Maps and Locations settings in the setup and disabling them. This is a step in the right direction from Salesforce to provide some geolocation information directly on the platform instead of having to utilize a custom link, I imagine this is just the start of what is going to be a much more robust implementation of maps in the future.
Middle Name & Suffix Fields for Person Objects
I cannot even tell you how many times I have created custom fields for Middle Name and for Suffix. Gone are those days… For all person objects you can now enable a standard Middle Name and Suffix field via the User Interface settings so this would seem like an all or nothing setting. Some initial limitations are that the Full Name of the Contact, Lead, or Person Account will not display in all places with the Middle Name and Suffix - the places it won’t display are on Campaign Member lists and within Data.com. They also won’t be displayed in Full Names on User records. Still, this saves some time and allows for the use of a standard field(s) as opposed to always creating custom fields for this purpose and having a very odd user experience in terms of where to place the custom fields on the page layouts.
Get Faster & More Relevant Search Results
Search is my favorite mechanism for navigating any system, particularly Salesforce. I always search for what I want to get to as opposed to clicking on tabs and lists. Whenever I know exactly what I’m looking for, it’s search-first for me. Any time search functionality gets better and faster I’m happy. In Spring, data is getting indexed faster, which is pretty impressive because data already gets indexed pretty fast if you ask me. Salesforce has also changed the way that they are storing the indexed data as to make sure that fewer irrelevant search results are returned. There is some seriously geeky stuff going on behind the scenes here that we won’t get into in the blog post but just know that it’s always better to get faster and more relevant search results.
All in all, a packed release and be on the lookout for product specific release notes blog posts as well as an industry specific post in the not so distant future.
I might have to go to Vegas soon, because my predictions from last year were pretty darn good. From getting Salesforce.com rebrand to no iWatch sold in 2014, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. Even the predicted death of the NSA hype was spot on. Let's see what we can get right (or very wrong) for 2015.
Predicting the decline of something is just a matter of timing, but I think the time has come for Facebook to start to slide. Too much advertising, too many side projects and "Facebook for Business" seems like a desperate play, kinda like "Google for Pets". Expect to see the writing on the wall by the end of the year.
Free Stuff from Salesforce
The product mix of Salesforce just keeps growing and so does the paying, but like years past they will learn from their mistakes (lack of sales) and start to bake in more and more products into the core license. Next year, expect to see Work.com, Pardot and ExactTarget all get new features, highly integrated and included in the base price of the license (with upgrades of course).
Apple TV Dominance
I know people have been predicting the coming of an Apple TV for years, but I am putting it squarely in 2015. Not only will they release a new, very updated and massive shift in strategy for the Apple TV but it will blow the doors off of everything out there and will be an immediate success. It will sky rocket the share price to over $200 and will usher in the end of cable as we know it.
Google Enters CRM Market
There is too much money on the table and Google wants to be a part of it, so next year they will release a brand new CRM product, built into their Apps that will be the start to a big push into the market. It will have the basic CRM things to start, but will Google-fy it all with tight integration with Gmail and Drive/Docs which is where they will differentiate themselves from Salesforce.
Longest Shot: Global Warming Solved
This is the longest of long shots, and I don't mean solved as in fixed, but I think next year we see an invention or new scientific breakthrough that can reverse the damage we have done to the earth. Call it Kickstarter for the Planet and yes, it will be based on the power of cloud computing. We will all look back on Al Gore at DF14 and say we were there.
A new Salesforce training tool is now available called Trailhead. Basically, it’s an administrator and developer training platform that allows you to learn topics like Getting Started with the Force.com Platform and Intro to Visual App Development. The idea is that a new administrator could follow the various paths to learn the covered subject area. Everything you need to be successful in learning is provided along the “trail”. Along the way, the learning developer will collect points for the sections completed.
Getting an Introduction
As you begin, the steps walk you through getting a developer org and building an app through the quick-access menu. For non-technical, newbie administrators, terminology like “declarative”, “user interface”, and “programmatic” may be a little overwhelming but ultimately following the trail will lead to better understanding and a good basis for learning Salesforce customization. Each component of learning is usually 10-15 minutes, and each trail will take several hours to finish. Not bad, since they’ve worked hard to walk through the content logically.
The real winner is...
While helpful in providing overview to declarative configuration, the tools available today on Trailhead are especially helpful for budding developers. The Intro to Programmatic App Development provides some very good context around Apex and Visualforce. An experienced administrator or developer from another language like Java successfully completing the trail will be set up with a good basis for Salesforce development. The trail starts with learning terminology and data and method types, then moves to database basics like writing SOQL and SOSL queries and manipulating data. Following sections will teach how to write Apex triggers, execute unit tests, and write Visualforce.
Roadmap for Trailhead
It’s definitely only scratching the surface today in terms of the depth and breadth of Salesforce knowledge. However, there are lots of great modules to come indicated by the “Coming Soon” labels. For example, on the Developer learning path, Asynchronous Apex, Visualforce Mobile, and App Deployment are coming up and will be excellent content for the community. For more deeper-dive administrator topics under Intro to Visual App Development, there will be paths for Approvals, Reports & Dashboards and more. Eventually, there will be weeks and weeks worth of content available.
A step in the right direction, but I think it needs more content and some thought into audience since some developers and advanced admins will need to wade through quite a bit of likely repeat content to complete a path. Overall, more help is better on a complex solution like Salesforce.com.
Check out the Trailhead now, and come back and leave comments with your additional points or questions. Or find me on Twitter at @SeriouslyKyla, Arkus in the Success Community, find our Facebook page.
The IdeaExchange is a big part of the Salesforce Success Community. For those who don’t know what it is, this is a place where customers, partners, and even Salesforce employees can log feature requests for the Salesforce platform. These ideas are then crowd-sourced, voted on, and commented on. But most importantly, Salesforce is seeking, acknowledging, and responding to the ways in which the community feels Salesforce should evolve as a platform. The result is an ever growing number of ideas that are delivered with each Salesforce release. As an example, approximately 199 ideas have been delivered in just the last 3 releases.
Let’s take a look at not only the enhancements Salesforce is working on building into the IdeaExchange but also a few great ideas deployed in the latest release; Winter ‘15.
Enhancements coming from Salesforce on the IdeaExchange
- Point Thresholds and Statuses - Salesforce built this into the voting points system. Once an Idea hits a certain point threshold, the idea is sent to the Salesforce product team for review. The nice things is that they’ve revised and made the status more descriptive and are visually showing the progression of these statuses on the idea. All Ideas will now have a status which will look like these:
An Idea under the threshold:
An Idea above the threshold:
- Link to the Release Notes - For all Ideas that have been delivered in a release, they will be linked to the release notes. For the latest release you can find these in the IdeaExchange under the ‘Just Delivered’ menu option.
- Fewer Idea Categories - This sounds like it’s still a work in progress, but, they are working on reducing the amount of categories you select when entering a new idea. These will be more consistent with, say, a case you may enter.
- Idea Innovator Badges - Salesforce wants to recognize the great ideas the community creates. It’s a work in progress but eventually they are going to give this badge to anyone who has created a badge that has been delivered in a release. I imagine this will grow in the future to provide additional accolades to these people.
Ideas Delivered in Winter ‘15
With 69 Ideas delivered just in the Winter ‘15 release, there’s no way I can go through all of them so here’s a few worth mentioning:
- Time Based Setting to Two-Factor Authentication - From our very own Jason Atwood at Arkus. For those using Two-Factor Authentication you can now create Login Flows to set more flexible settings around how and when users need to use it.
- Restrict Visibility of Chatter by Profile - You can now set who can or can’t use chatter based on profiles.
- Ability to filter out certain attachments with Salesforce for Outlook - For all those using Salesforce for Outlook, you can now select the email attachments you want to include with the email to add to Salesforce. This is a setting in the Outlook configuration and are selection you can make from the side panel.
- Make Permission Sets Available to Delegated Admins - Admins can now select which permission sets a delegated Administrator can assign.
- Forecast on Custom Fields - Sales teams can now forecast on custom opportunity currency fields instead of just the standard Amount and Quantity options.
- Allow Tracking of API Usage Per User - You can now use the SOAP API and REST API resources to retrieve event log files that contain information on organizational usage trends and user behavior; this includes who is using the API usage within the 24 hour period. It also includes the ability to track users behavior with reports; how many they create, export, etc..
The IdeaExchange is not a vast but ignored ‘wish list’ depository as it is for some product companies, it’s a success community feature Salesforce takes very seriously, and, continue to improve upon on a regular basis. Have a great idea on new or enhancing features for Salesforce? Do you want to get an Idea Innovator Badge? I highly recommend you add your ideas to the IdeaExchange.
Do you have other favorite ideas delivered in the last release I didn’t mention? Please feel free to comment below, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @LeiferAshley or in the Success Community.