The Core is Heating Up

05/10/2011 by Justin Edelstein
A look at five Ideas on the Salesforce IdeaExchange that are specific to the core.

As of late on this very blog, the Dreamforce Portal, and other well read media outlets the issue of the Salesforce Core has been heating up. Advocates and evangelists alike have all been clamoring for more core functionality and less add-ons and acquisitions. As recently as this week a popular blog has started a "True to the Core" series. This has inspired me to go onto the IdeaExchange and pick out five extremely popular ideas that are all core related that have yet to be delivered. For the uninitiated to the Core movement it can be extremely well summed up by the originator of the Core Idea @aglue (Andres Gluecksmann) on this blog post but essentially it's a movement to make Salesforce more aware of the fact that users want core functionality enhanced and focused on before major big splash announcements of acquisitions or flashy updates to Chatter. Core functionality to me consists of Sales Force Automation, activity management, and business process automation.

Universal Picklists - 16,780 Votes

The idea for universal picklists would help admins and developers immensely when it comes to data quality and time to market with solutions. Currently if you have two objects that have identical picklists you must keep them in sync manually. This is a time consuming task and often one that goes undone or is forgotten. A major use case for this would be on Leads and Contacts. Often times you will have a custom picklist on a Lead and map that field upon coversion to a Contact - wouldn't it make sense if those two fields were universal so you didn't have to change both of them whenever a new value gets added?


Map Leads Fields to Multiple Objects - 3,350 Votes

Often times when converting a Lead you want to map a field to multiple places or objects. As the original idea states this already happens with address fields so why can't it work with a fax number or a description? As a matter of fact, to go a step further it would be nice to convert a Lead to multiple objects aside from Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities. A setting for mapping a Lead to a custom object like a Project, Application, or whatever would be a greatly appreciated feature.

Map Custom Lead Fields to Standard Contact Fields - 1,870 Votes

Another in the long list of Lead Conversion core issues is the fact that you can't map a custom field on a Lead to a standard field on a Contact. Flexibility around where fields can get mapped in general is a pressing issue with Leads. Often times when talking to clients they are baffled as to why certain fields can only go to certain places and not others without having to write a custom Lead conversion in APEX.


Use Tags In Reports and Campaigns - 5,990 Votes

I could go on and on with this one forever. For starters, Tags are a wonderul thing. They allow users to add their own meaningful meta data to records and sort them and store them how they think of them which in itself is useful but only to a certain point. If you can't do anything else with the tag aside from clicking on it and seeing a list of other records tagged the same way the feature kind of goes downhill. What users really want is the ability to add their own tags then use those tags as filters in reports or as filters in Campaign searches. Having these two features alone would make Tags so much more useful. The tag feature is like a microcosm of what is going on with the Core right now. Salesforce releases a feature then enhances it for a release or two then leaves it alone to go work on other things while leaving the feature they developed as not very useful. There is a catch 22 here where Salesforce can say something like - people weren't using Tags so we focused our efforts elsewhere - but users can say if Tags were more useful we would use them.


Multiple Contacts to be Allowed on One Activity - 41,890

The mother of all Core issues. This one has been around for as long as I can remember but still a user cannot relate more then one Contact to an Event or Task. This is trully a core architecture issue that has yet to be solved but is extremely vital to being able to get that true 360 degree view of all Contacts inside your CRM. Without the ability to relate all the people that are associated with an Activity it is impossible to see whether or not a person was involved in a key conversation, meeting, or email. I am hoping that this single feature gets announced on stage by Marc Benioff during a keynote at Dreamforce 2011 to a rousing round of applause.

I have included links to all of the ideas I have referenced above so that you can make your voice heard in the cause for fixing the Core. Mind you, I am a complete Salesforce fanboy and I only point out these issues as a way to draw attention to them so that ultimately the product grows and becomes even better then it already is. To join the cause you can do a few things - join the True to the Core group on the Dreamforce 2011 portal, re-tweet this post with hashtag #fixthecore, vote for the Idea that started it all on the IdeaExchange, and obviosuly vote on all the ideas above.

If you have any questions or want to talk more about the Core tweet me @justedelstein, leave some feedback on our Facebook page, or go to the Dreamforce App and post at me on the True to the Core group.


**vote tallies are as of the time of this blog post