Blog Posts

Top Ideas for Salesforce Lightning

Salesforce Lightning Experience seems to get better and better with every release. Let’s take a look at some ideas on the IdeaExchange that are looking to make Lightning better.
Top Ideas for Salesforce Lightning

Top Ideas for Salesforce Lightning

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and we are all feeling that warm and fuzzy giving spirit. Salesforce Lightning has been built upon for the last few releases but still finds itself needing a little more work. It’s time to give a little love to some of the ideas that are out there waiting for our votes on the Salesforce IdeaExchange. Here are some of the ideas that stood out to me:

Lightning Speed

The name says it all here. If you have used Lightning Experience before, this will be an all too familiar issue. Unfortunately, in Lightning’s current state, the performance can lag at times. With a name like ‘Lightning’, Salesforce users expect the performance to be seamless and fast. This is a must vote.

Lightning Record Pages and Record Types

Customization is one of my favorite things to do. Lightning Experience provides us with such a flexible and pretty user interface and it’s time to add to that. Every one of my clients use record types for at least one object in their instance of Salesforce. Sure, it is nice to have the ability to assign a custom record page to Lightning apps, or make it the default for all, but record types add a greater amount of flexibility. The ability to customize and segment objects to best meet your company’s requirements is key. In my opinion, this is a must have in Lightning.

Allow More Than 4 Related List Fields

Related lists are great. They are incredibly useful in helping scan through related records on a page and see the most vital information without actually having to click into them. In Salesforce Classic, you have the ability to add up to 10 fields to a related list. At the moment, Lightning Experience only allows you to add up to 4 fields. In a lot of cases, this just isn’t going to be enough to display all of the information that needs to be seen on the related list. This is a step back in functionality, seems like kind of a no-brainer, right? Let’s get this one voted up.

The IdeaExchange is an awesome space that allows all Salesforce users to come together in one place, post ideas about how to make Salesforce better, and vote on other people’s suggestions that they see as potentially useful. As a member of the Salesforce Community, it’s your civic duty to get out there and vote! We the people are the ones who know what we need to be more successful using Salesforce!

What do you think of Lightning? Have any ideas for features you think should be implemented? Share them with me on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @RyanOwensRPO.

What's it Like to Work at Arkus

Ever wondered what it must be like to work for Arkus? Find out from someone who works here.
What's it Like to Work at Arkus

What's it Like to Work at Arkus

I’ve been working at Arkus for a little less than a year now. We’re a tight-knit group of project managers and developers who thrive on pushing ourselves every day to provide the best possible solutions for our clients. As much as that sounds like an elevator pitch, I can honestly say it’s the truth. If you’ve ever worked with us, you’ve heard one of us say “Arkus is little different than your average consulting firm”. While that’s very true in the way that we approach our work with clients, I’d like to talk about what at Arkus stands out for me as an employee.

My Clients Are My Own

Unlike other consulting firms that pass project phases between teams of people, project managers at Arkus handle the entire lifecycle of a project from scoping to configuration to training. That doesn’t mean we don’t help each other, but I feel a very strong sense of ownership for the projects and clients who are considered mine. When the goal is to serve the client, the personal relationship this model fosters provides them with a resource who is always close at hand. The most rewarding part of my work is the sense that I’m a trusted advisor to my clients who can respond and adapt to their needs.  

Track What You Do, Not What You Don’t

As an employee, I am required to book my hours in Salesforce every day. I have an annual hours goal that I break down by month. That sounds simple enough, and it is. More importantly, what's not tracked is when and where I book those hours. It’s the same freedom and flexibility I enjoyed while consulting independently without all the hassle of being self-employed. As someone with young children, I value this flexibility more than anything. I never miss dinner with my family and I regularly schedule time to spend outside with my kids during the week.  

With Great Flexibility Comes The Need For Better Time Management

Working at Arkus obviously requires a deep knowledge of the Salesforce platform but more importantly we are provided with training and a methodology to manage our time and resources. This methodology has pervaded all aspects of my life well beyond the work that I do for Arkus.  It’s easily the most challenging transition I’ve had to make while working here. I’ve gone from basically winging it to a well-documented system of accountability that tells me exactly what I need to do on any given day. I still miss deadlines and fall short of goals, but the methodology includes ways of handling that too. This blog post was due yesterday, so I needed to reset expectations about that deadline with Justin who heads up the blog. Adopting the system fully takes time. It’s changing your habits around the way you handle things, and the best way to break an old habit is to form a new one.  

Great Clients

Organizations who value the more personal relationship that a company like Arkus provides tend to be awesome. I have a broad spectrum of clients from non profits to financial services but one common thread among them is people who care about having a positive impact on the world around them.  

Good People

My co-workers are cool. Given the mix of responsibility and freedom that we as project managers have at Arkus, this job attracts a certain kind of person. They are intelligent, driven, and creative people who break the traditional consultant mold. Arkus provides an environment where we can thrive. Many of us are remotely located around the country including myself in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, that means it’s only a few times a year that we all get together. I’m always looking forward to the next Arkus meetup.  

This is probably reading like a love letter to Arkus, but working here has changed my life for the better, so maybe that's what it is. Workplaces that change their focus toward the things that really matter, like employee empowerment and client satisfaction, while ignoring the things that don’t, are setting a new standard for consulting firms. I’m learning every day and working hard for fantastic organizations. I’m lucky to work here.

What do you love about where you work? Want to share your experiences or opinions? Share them with me on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @jbujold.

Getting to Know Einstein

Get to know the new Salesforce Einstein toolset and find out how AI will fit into your company's future.
Getting to Know Einstein

Getting to Know Einstein

Einstein once said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” I have to give Salesforce some credit here. They are always pushing the envelope and trying new things.  With that said, they have made their fair share of mistakes as well.  That's why while attending Dreamforce this year, I was intrigued but skeptical about the newly announced Salesforce Einstein. Einstein is Salesforce’s way of introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI) onto the platform. The whole thing was quickly glossed over in the opening keynote and left me craving some gritty details. I made my way over to the Einstein demo area afterward in hopes of getting a glimpse behind the scenes. Unfortunately, more flashy demos about how fast “Steve Benioff” can sell a widget to “Mark Jobs” with the help of Salesforce Einstein ensued. Finally, I was able to get some one on one time at a kiosk with a guy who was actually configuring some of the tools behind Einstein. Score.

I know what your thinking. How do you configure AI? Shouldn’t it just tell me what I need to know and finish responding to my emails for me already? Einstein is made up of a few key tools: Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Natural Language Processing. Let’s break these down a bit.

Machine Learning

    • This is the process of looking for patterns and trends in your data and returning recommendations based on predictions according to the trend. This could help predict the reaction of a customer to an email marketing campaign based on the reaction of similar customers reacting to similar campaigns.

    Deep Learning

      • Deep Learning is most notably used to process images. Facebook uses deep learning to recognize faces in your photos. This allows you to ‘teach’ Salesforce to look for things you may be interested in, such as your branding in the image of a social media post.  

      Natural Language Processing

        • The name actually explains this one pretty well. This is how a computer reads and ‘understands’ text. It can allow the recognition of more complex meaning within a text including sentiment and emotion, offering further insight into the mind of a customer or prospect.

        My demo at the kiosk walked through an example of setting up Deep Learning to recognize if an image of a car was an Audi or a BMW. We started by uploading a few thousand images of each one. Based on what it had learned, we gave it a few single images and asked it to identify what it was. We give it an image of a BMW 3 series and Einstein responded with 98% certainty that this was a BMW. Nice one Einstein. There didn’t seem to be anything glaringly missing here. It may take me a while to amass that many images of one type of car, but beyond that, the configuration was fairly straightforward and effective.  

        AI by definition is the appearance of intelligence exhibited by a machine. So how intelligent is Salesforce Einstein? Only as intelligent as your data. Each of the tools relies on accurate data in large amounts in order to operate effectively. It's unclear what sort of limitations or difficulties small and new organizations may experience while trying to take advantage of certain aspects of Machine Learning.   

        My takeaway here is that Einstein is not another Siri or Cortana with preset functionality and commands. It’s a fully configurable set of intelligent tools that can be applied directly to business applications on the Salesforce platform. Of course, the future of these tools is much more exciting than the initial offering, but I for one, can’t wait to dive in. As AI turns the corner into Turing test territory we’ll all be out of a job anyway.   

        What Salesforce is doing with AI is bold, but similar to lightning, it may be a while before Einstein really takes hold with a broad audience. We’ll have to wait and see where this takes us.

        How do you feel about Einstein? Want to share your experiences or opinions? Share them with me on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @jbujold.


         Related content

        Winter 17 for Lightning

        Winter 17 - The Good Stuff

        16 Dreams of Winter 17 - Episode #250 of CloudFocus Weekly

        Winter 17 for Lightning

        Winter 17 is here, let’s talk about some of the great features added to the Salesforce Lightning Experience.
        Winter 17 for Lightning

        Winter 17 for Lightning

        Now that Dreamforce 16 is over, it is time to focus on the next phase of Salesforce, Lightning. Salesforce Lightning Experience started off slow but has improved dramatically with each release. Personally, I love Lightning Experience. I think it is modern, sleek, and ultimately is the future of Salesforce. At the moment, there is a hanging issue with the performance but that should be handled in future releases. The Winter 17 release makes some of the biggest jumps in the Lightning Experience yet. Let’s talk about some of my favorite features:

        Lightning Component Actions

        Lightning component actions are custom actions that that invoke a Lightning component. One of the coolest parts about this feature is that it supports Apex or Javascript. This opens the window to add a lot of custom functionality to deliver the best user experience in your Salesforce instance.

        Lightning Login

        This is great –– Salesforce is catching up with the times with Lightning Login. You can receive a notification on your phone and authenticate via fingerprint or PIN. No more hassle of having to remember passwords. This is a significant boost to convenience and efficiency which makes this a must have. Fellow Arkie, Jason Atwood, talked about how much he liked this in one of his recent blog posts. I agree with him, this is definitely ‘The Good Stuff’.

        Assign a Custom Record Page per Lightning App

        The new release allows you to choose from one of two options when creating a custom record page. You can either make the record page default for all users or you can assign the page to one or more Lightning apps in your Salesforce instance. This is really great because it gives you an awesome level of customization, allowing you to segment your org and deliver a unique user experience per app in Salesforce.

        Inline Editing of List Views

        I know I’m not the only one that hates having to go and update individual records from a list view. With the new release, you can now edit individual fields inline and also mass edit records inline directly from a list view. No need to ever have to dive into a record from a list view to make a quick change again. This is big and I know that another fellow Arkie, Holly, agrees with me. It’s a huge time saver and as we all know, efficiency is key.

        Invoke A Process From A Process

        This is one of my favorite features in this release. The new release grants us the ability to call a process from within another process. This with the combination of being able to invoke flows within a process gives us a ton of flexibility and limitless potential. With that said, this is something that you need to be careful with because it can lead to a lot of potential issues if you are not.

        Winter 16 makes the biggest leaps in Lightning functionality yet and Salesforce is listening to us, delivering on our ideas in the IdeaExchange. This is still only the beginning and the sky's the limit for Lightning. I can’t wait to see what the next release has in store for us!

        How do you feel about Lightning? Want to share your experiences or opinions? Share them with me on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @RyanOwensRPO.

        Dreamforce 16 Is Over, Now What?

        Post Salesforce Dreamforce 16 Thoughts and Suggestions
        Dreamforce 16 Is Over, Now What?

        Dreamforce 16 Is Over, Now What?

        Dreamforce 16 is a wrap, four packed days of sessions, keynotes, and non-stop networking (and walking) has left us energized and excited for things to come. Now what? How can we make best use of our renewed vigor? Here are some thoughts and suggestions on how you can harness that energy and put some of what you learned to use.

        Give Back

        • Fight AIDS - You can still join (RED) in fighting AIDS by donating or buying (RED) products and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Salesforce will match every contribution.

        • Support Local Schools - Follow up on Marc Benioff’s call to action during his keynote by reaching out to local schools and asking how you can help. There’s no better way to impact your community and help shape the future.

        • Support Nonprofits - Locate and join a local nonprofit user group and seek out an organization that could use some help. Sometimes just lending an ear to users and administrators sharing their concerns or asking questions can lead to a fruitful relationship, offer them a chance to chat over a cup of coffee.

        Revisit Sessions

          • Check Chatter Feeds - Open up the Events app and check the feed on your bookmarked and attended sessions for presentation attachments and video links. If you haven’t already, identify some best practices, new formulas, and AppExchange apps to implement in a developer org. Make note of sessions that you want to revisit, you may want to clean up your bookmarks to eliminate any sessions that you are no longer interested in. Compile a list of sessions and keynotes that spiked your interest, if you haven’t already. 
        • Watch Sessions - Visit the Dreamforce Video page and locate any of the sessions or keynotes on your list. Note that the videos will be uploaded over time and plan to revisit periodically. You may find it useful to create a Google alert for “Salesforce Dreamforce 16” videos and have it sent to your inbox.


        • Grow With Trailhead - One of the highlights of Dreamforce this year was Trailhead. Create a development plan for yourself that includes scheduled training using the tool and hold yourself accountable for completing modules and collecting badges.  

        • Pass It On - Share this amazing tool with peers, family (kids love it) and friends. If you’re like me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many people accept the offer, get introduced to the Salesforce platform and adopt Trailhead as part of their regular routine.


        Revisit Keynotes

        • Watch Recordings - There were so many awesome keynotes and campfire discussions this year it was nearly impossible to catch them all. Now’s your chance to see what you missed, there are plenty of highlights to keep you satiated. Don’t miss Melinda Gates, Deborah Dugan, Rep. John Lewis, Billie Jean King and of course Dreampitch with the Shark Tank crew.


        This monumental Dreamforce event was one for the ages and yet we are only a year away from Dreamforce 17. How do you plan to stay engaged? Please feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @sfdcclicks.