Salesforce

  • Spring ’22 Release: Top Features for Sales, Service & Experience Cloud

    The final countdown is on, Salesforce’s Spring ’22 Release is almost here. With the rollout planned globally over the coming weeks, let’s dive into some of the top features of this release for Salesforce’s key products: Sales, Service and Experience Cloud.

    Quick Links

    Spring ’22 Release: Housekeeping

    Before we get into the fun stuff, let’s get a bit of housekeeping out of the way. And start by taking a look at some of the Release Updates that are scheduled to be enforced as part of Spring ’22 Release.

    Analyze Screen Flow Usage (Release Update)

    With this update, you can use reports to examine run-time details about your screen flows. Use these metrics to discover usage patterns and in turn to optimize your screen flows for users. This update is available for Salesforce orgs that don’t already capture run-time metrics for screen flows.

    Login Credentials Using URL Query Strings Are Disabled (Release Update)

    To improve security, users can no longer log in to Salesforce by using a username and password as URL query string parameters to the login URL. Any users who try to do so are redirected to the login page.

    There are some additional Release Updates that relate more to the development side of Salesforce, you can check them out here in our other post: Spring ’22 Release for Developers.

    Postponed Release Updates

    There are a few key Release Updates that were scheduled to be enforced within Spring ’22 Release, have now been postponed, they include:

    Product Sharing/Org-Wide Defaults

    Others

    Use a Default No-Reply Address as System Address for Case Email Notifications (Release Update)

    Configure a default No-Reply address from the Organization-Wide Addresses page from setup. Add an email address in Special Purpose Organization-Wide Email Addresses, then follow the steps outlined in the verification email sent to the new default No-Reply address. After you verify your default No-Reply address, set up and start the Test Run in the Release Update.

    This update was first made available in Spring ’21 and was scheduled to be enforced in Spring ’22, but we postponed the enforcement date to Spring ’23.

    Keep Working with Tab-Focused Dialogs (Release Update)

    In Lightning console apps, dialogs no longer stop you from interacting with the rest of the UI. This release update limits the focus of dialogs triggered by a workspace tab or subtab to only the tab that triggered it.

    This update was first made available in Winter ’20 and was scheduled to be enforced in Spring ’22, but we postponed the enforcement date to Spring ’24.

    Spring ’22 Release: Flows & Reports

    Before we get into the cloud-specific changes, there are some really nifty new features relating to Reports and Flows in this release.

    Flows (Builder, Runtime Improvements & Migration)

    Salesforce continues to improve and add heaps of new features to Flow. With the migration/unification of Process Builders, Workflows and Flow into a single process automation tool.

    As per the announcement last year, the roadmap for this migration looks like:

    • Migrate from Workflow Rules to Flows in Spring ’22
    • Migrate from Process Builders to Flows in Summer ’22
    • Disable the option to create new Workflow Rules and Process Builder in Winter ’23

    And so, with Spring ’22 Release we see the beta version of the ‘Migrate to Flow’ tool supporting the migration of Workflow Rules to Flows.

    The Migrate to Flow page in Setup
    Spring ’22: Beta version of the ‘Migrate to Flow‘ Tool
    How? Select a workflow rule (1) and click Migrate to Flow (2).

    Flow Trigger Explorer

    Flow Trigger Explorer, is a new feature which helps you dive into the Flows that may be applicable for the object/action within Salesforce, rather than hunting through the list view of Flows trying to find the specific flow.

    So if you want to see flows that are associated with a specified object and that run when a record is created, updated, or deleted – now you can.

    In this screenshot below, select an object (1) and a trigger (2) to see flows that run when a record for that object is created, updated, or deleted. See all of the before-save (3) and after-save flows (4) that run for the same object and trigger. Click a flow label (5) to open the flow in Flow Builder in a new tab. See any asynchronous paths (6) that are associated with flows that run for the same object and trigger. Click a menu dropdown and select Flow Details and Versions (7) to see details and activate or deactivate versions of the flow (8).

    The Flow Trigger Explorer home, showing all the flows that are triggered to run when an Opportunity record is updated.
    Spring ’22: Flow Trigger Explorer, showing flows that may apply when an Opportunity is Updated
    (Source: Salesforce)
    The panel in Flow Trigger Explorer that displays details and version information for a flow
    Spring ’22: New Flow Details screen, accessed from the Flow Trigger Explorer

    This change, also goes hand in hand with the ability for Admins to now also define the Run Order of Record-Triggered Flows for an Object.

    Speaking of Flow and how they run, there are a stack of ‘behind the scenes’ changes to Flow Builder for admins and Flow Runtime as part of this release, so be sure to check them out too.

    Reports

    Finding the Report Type you want to actually use, can be a pain in the backside sometimes. And Salesforce is now rolling out a beta version of the ‘enhanced report type selector’. (That’s a mouthful!).

    With the enhanced report type selector, quickly access recently used report types and view the fields and objects that are included. See at a glance which report types are standard or custom, and keep the number of available report types manageable by hiding ones that you don’t need.

    Choose Report Type window
    Spring ’22: Enhanced Report Type Selector (BETA)
    (Source: Salesforce)

    Salesforce is also rolling out a beta version of the In-Line Edit within Reports, allowing users to edit multiple fields at the same time. No need to re-run a report after making an in-line edit to a field…

    Inline editing multiple fields on the report run page
    Spring ’22: Edit Multiple Fields Inline on the Report Run Page (BETA)

    Spring ’22 Release: Sales Cloud

    New features for Collaborative Forecasts

    One simple but killer feature – at least for Sales teams which use Collaborative Forecasts – is the ability for admins to now create a Custom Filter within a Forecast Type!

    Rather than having all opportunities grouped together based on owner/territory… Forecasts gives you the ability to include or exclude particular RecordTypes, allowing sales team to improve their forecasting accuracy.

    Screen capture showing a selected forecast type and the data based on the custom filter

    While we are talking Forecasting, Sales Leaders will now be able to view recent changes made to a forecast for their team, by checking the ‘Show Changes in Last 7 Days’ option:

    Screen capture showing the preferenc setting on the Forecasts page for enabling the change signals feature
    Spring ’22 Release: See Recent Changes in Forecast Categories
    (Source: Salesforce)

    When selected, users will be able to see changes made week-on-week, within each Forecast Category:

    Screen capture of the forcasting grid with Change Signals enabled.
    Forecast Categories displaying recent changes.
    (Source: Salesforce)

    Sales Leaders now also have the ability to see ‘Gap to Quota’ and ‘Pipeline Coverage’ as new columns within their Forecast, allowing for quicker understanding of what is happening within their teams.

    Screen capture showing the Gap to Quota and Pipeline Coverage columns in the Forecasting grid.
    Spring ’22: Get Insights from Core Forecasting KPIs Quickly
    (Source: Salesforce)

    And for Admins, setting up a Forecast Type is about to become much easier. Spring ’22 Release combines Forecast Settings and the ability to now setup Forecast Types directly from the Setup Flow.

    Screen capture showing the Create a Forecast Type button that launches a set-up flow for creating forecast types from the Forecast Settings.
    Spring ’22: Collaborative Forecast Setup Flow
    (Source: Salesforce)
    Forecast Type Setup UI page 3
    Spring ’22: Collaborative Forecast Setup Flow
    (Source: Salesforce)

    Pipeline Inspection: Overview

    The use cases for Artificial Intelligence (AI) within Salesforce are countless. And we are seeing more features rolled out across the broad to surface key information that Sales teams can action.

    Spring ’22 rolls out a few cool AI enhancements for Pipeline Inspection, surfacing information about when a deal isn’t predicted to close and other factors that could influence it.

    In the picture below, you can see a snapshot of key opportunity metrics (1), insights that indicate a deal’s likelihood of closing (2) and informational insights about the opportunity or its account (3).

    Screen shot of Deal Insights in Side Panel in Pipeline Inspection
    Spring ’22: Get More Insights About Opportunity Progress in Pipeline Inspection
    (Source: Salesforce)

    There may be a few dependancies for Admins, as per the release notes:

    This change applies to Pipeline Inspection, available at no cost in Performance and Unlimited editions. Pipeline Inspection is also included with Revenue Intelligence, which is available for an extra cost in Enterprise Edition.

    To show your users the opportunity score tier and related insights, make sure to set up Einstein Opportunity Scoring. Set up Einstein Deal Insights in Pipeline Inspection so your users can see which opportunities scheduled to close this month are unlikely to be won during the same month. Also, when you set up Einstein Account Insights, your users get more of the informational insights.

    Pipeline Inspection: Activities

    Activity and engagement details are also available within Pipeline Inspection. This allows sales users to see details about past and upcoming activity relating to their pipeline.

    To view the tab, you will need to enable Activity Metrics with Einstein Activity Capture.

    Below, you can see the Activity tab (1), total number of activities or activities broken down by type (2). See what activity is coming up (3) and the next step (4). Plus, review past activity along with relevant insights (5). Finally, take immediate action, for example, by sending an email (6).

    Activities in Pipeline Inspection
    Spring ’22: Get Activity and Engagement Details in Pipeline Inspection
    (Source: Salesforce)
    Screen shot of filter dropdown with territory and opportunity team options

    Pipeline Inspection is also rolling out filters to track territory, territory team, and opportunity team pipelines.

    Allowing leaders within sales teams, the ability to apply relevant filters and view team/territory pipelines in one location.

    Finally, there is also a great flow visualisation within Pipeline Inspector. (If you have Revenue Intelligence, which is available for an extra cost in Enterprise and Unlimited editions).

    This chart shows the changes to opportunities in different forecast categories over time. Users can filter results to see the data that’s most useful to them.

    Pipeline Inspectin Flow chart
    Spring ’22: See Pipeline Changes from the Flow Tab
    (Source: Salesforce)

    Einstein Activity Capture

    Additionally there are some new features to give admins more control regarding how Einstein Activity Capture is configured. So you can check them out here.

    Spring ’22 Release: Service Cloud

    A big focus this release for Service Cloud appears to be on the Voice Channel improvements within Omni-Channel & Omni-Supervisor. These changes appear mostly for users who have either the ‘Service Cloud with Amazon Connect’ or ‘Service Cloud Voice with Partner Telephony’ (view the Telephony Models).

    That doesn’t mean that the rest of Service Cloud was left out though – with a number of changes made. Some of the highlights I found include…

    Incident Management

    Incident Management within Salesforce continues to be improved. It is now supported in Omni-channel, related lists showing related Assets or parent incidents/etc and the ability to create Milestones/Entitlements too.

    Knowledge

    Now that multiple Lightning Components can be on a single page, the accuracy for Knowledge Article view counts has been improved.

    And users can know share a Knowledge Article link which doesn’t expire.

    And finally, Workforce Engagement received a swag of improvements, if you use that feature/product within Service Cloud.

    Spring ’22 Release: Experience Cloud

    The next release comes with some pretty small, but highly useful changes for Experience Cloud admins…

    With Spring ’22, admins will now be able to archive Experience Cloud sites! Previously available as beta, this is now generally available!

    Another ‘bonus’ for admins, when making updates to a site, if you deactivate the site Salesforce will display a branded Service Not Available page on your site to non-admin and customer users. However, Admins can still access the site, make updates, and see the changes in real time.

    Service Not Available page in Builder
    Spring ’22: Service Not Available Page
    (Source: Salesforce)

    Additionally If you use Salesforce CDN, you have the ability to fully customise this ‘Service Not Available’ page. And your users won’t be redirected to a generic page URL. Instead they can remain on the page they tried to access and ‘refresh’ the page when site is back up.

  • Spring ’22 Release for Developers

    The next Salesforce release is upon us, and with a new release comes a new API version… API Version 54 to be exact. So, we take a look at the Spring ’22 Release for Developers, what are the key features and changes we need to know to be ‘release ready’?

    Let’s dive into the Spring ’22 Release, and see some of the key features heading our way which may be relevant for you and your development team(s).

    Looking for an overview of the top features? Check out our breakdown for Sales/Service/Experience Clouds.

    Spring ’22 Release: Key Dates

    The dates you need to keep in mind for Spring ’22 Release are outlined here in detail.

    Sandbox Previews have commenced, and the rollout globally should be completed within the next four weeks. With the Spring ’22 Release available for some orgs this weekend (14th Jan 22). Most orgs will receive it on the weekend of the 4th Feb or 11th Feb:

    Keep these dates in mind as you plan your org's release preview for new features and enhancements.
    Key Dates (US date format), for Salesforce’s Spring ’22 Release
    (Source: Salesforce)

    Spring ’22 Release: Enforced Release Updates

    Starting off, let’s take a look at the Release Updates which will be enforced as part of the release.

    General Salesforce Platform/Security Updates:

    Enforce CORS Allowlist for Lightning Apps
    The CORS allowlist in Setup isn’t currently enforced for Lightning apps on the server, although it’s enforced on the browser. This update enforces the allowlist on the server so that disallowed requests are blocked earlier and not processed on the server.

    Login Credentials Using URL Query Strings Are Disabled
    To improve security, users can no longer log in to Salesforce by using a username and password as URL query string parameters to the login URL. Any users who try to do so are redirected to the login page.

    Require Multi-Factor Authentication for Logins to Subscriber Orgs
    With this update, we secure access to subscriber orgs by requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA) when logging into the License Management Org (LMO). MFA is required only for LMO users who require access to the Subscriber Support Console.

    Enable Visualforce Expression Language Apex Method Access Modifier Enforcement
    When accessing Apex methods defined by custom controllers, the Visualforce Expression Language doesn’t correctly validate the access modifiers of the method. Developers can sometimes access unauthorized data on managed and system classes. To improve security, this update validates the Apex method access modifier and throws an error if the Visualforce Expression Language can’t access it.

    Product Specific (CPQ):

    Get Ready for Browser Performance Improvements for Salesforce CPQ (Release Update)This update allows Salesforce CPQ to run faster in supported web browsers by employing new Web Components V1 technology.

    Plan/Roadmap for Summer ’22:

    And looking forward, remember to also review and start preparing for the enforced Release Updates in the Summer ’22 release, which is due for release around mid June 2022 for most orgs.

    The key Release Update that is planned for Summer ’22 is the retirement of legacy APIs – this will only impact older orgs. But the headline: if your org is using API version 7 to 20 for SOAP, REST, or BULK APIs – you’re going to need to plan and make changes before the Summer ’22 release.

    Spring ’22 Release for Developers: Key Features/Changes

    Now let’s turn our attention to some of the new features being introduced.

    This list is in no particular order and I am focussing more of general platform items that may apply more broadly. So product specific changes for Marketing Cloud/Wave/etc aren’t listed, as always please refer to the Release Notes for a complete list.

    Workflow Rules & Process Builder Phased Retirement:

    As per the announcement last year that Process Builder and Workflows will be retired. Salesforce has launched a beta of the new ‘Migrate to Flow’ Tool, aimed at helping Admins and Developers migrated existing Workflows to Flow.

    Spring 22 Release: The workflow rules page in Setup, with a banner asking you to consider migrating your rules to flows.
    Spring ’22 Release for Developers: New banner in Workflows, and accessing ‘Migrate to Flow’ tool
    (Source: Salesforce)

    Lightning Web Components (LWC):

    Enable Third-Party Integrations with Light DOM

    There is a new beta feature being introduced to give developers and integrations more control of the DOM. Salesforce is introducing the ability to render LWC via the Light DOM. By default Salesforce LWCs render in the Shadow DOM which presents developers some challenges re: global styling and third-party integrations.

    With this beta, we can now set the renderMode static field in your component class.

    Read the release notes for this beta feature here – as they outline how to use this new feature, and highlights a number of considerations about when you should/shouldn’t use it.

    Secure Your Components Better, Stronger, Faster with Lightning Web Security

    The Spring ’22 Release also sees Lightning Web Security (LWS) become ‘generally available’.

    Lightning Web Security aims to replace Lightning Locker for Lightning web components. LWS works along with Lightning Locker, which is still used for Aura components.

    Session Settings page with selected checkbox for Lightning Web Security (LWS)
    Spring ’22 Release for Developers: Lightning Web Security is generally available via Session Settings
    (Source: Salesforce)

    LWC – New Module:

    lightning/uiRelatedListApi (Beta)

    This new module includes new wire adapters to get records, metadata, and record count for a related list.

    • getRelatedListRecords—Returns record data for a related list.
    • getRelatedListInfo—Returns metadata for a related list.
    • getRelatedListsInfo—Returns metadata for multiple related lists.
    • getRelatedListCount—Returns the record count for a related list.

    LWC & Aura – Changed Components:

    LWC: lightning-datatable 
    Aura: lightning:datatable

    This component introduces a new method openInlineEdit() allowing developers to programmatically change an editable focused field to edit mode from an external element such as a button. There are also some additional column properties introduced in this release.

    To see this change in action, you can pop over here to read more.

    Apex:

    The Schema Namespace also includes a couple of method additions to the DescribeSObjectResult class:

    • getAssociateEntityType() method returns an associated object of a specified parent but only if it’s a specific associated object type
    • getAssociateParentEntity() method returns an associated object but only if it’s associated to a specific parent object

    The example provided in the developer documentation highlightsAccount &Account History: Invoking the method on AccountHistory returns the parent object as Account and the type of associated object as History

    Also another addition of note is relating to the System Namespace.

    With a number of new Classes and Methods added in this release to help with hostnames and domains which are used within your org. This will reduce the need to create ‘workaround’ methods to calculate domain/hostnames when dealing with Lightning, sandbox names or Experience Cloud hostnames from within an org.

    • System.Domain class:
      getDomainType() method returns the type of domain
      getSandboxName() method returns the name of the associated sandbox.
    • System.DomainCreator class:
      getLightningHostname() method returns the hostname for your org’s Lightning pages
      getExperienceCloudSitesHostname() method returns the hostname for the system-managed domain for your org’s Experience Cloud sites
    • System.DomainParser class:
      parse(hostname) method to parse a Salesforce owned hostname for your org, such as MyDomainName.my.site.com
      parse(url) method to parse a Salesforce URL for your org, such as https://MyDomainName.my.site.com
    • System.Test class:
      As mentiond below in Security, there is a new method introduced calculatePermissionSetGroup()

    SOQL:

    FIELDS() function

    There is a change to improve the consistency of results and reduces errors when using this function in Apex.

    Security Related:

    • Enable Stronger Protection for Your Users’ Personal Information
      Enable Enhanced Personal Information Management to prevent external users, such as portal or community users from accessing other users’ personal information.

      This feature, which replaces the Hide Personal Information setting, secures more personal identifiable information (PII) user record fields. You can also decide which custom and standard user fields are considered PII.

      This update is available in Spring ’22 under Release Updates.

    • Create HTTPS Hyperlinks by Default
      When you save content in Salesforce that contains a URL without a protocol, Salesforce converts it to a hyperlink by assigning the HTTPS protocol. For example, if you type example.com in a Chatter post, Salesforce converts it to https://example.com when you save the post. Previously, Salesforce assigned the HTTP protocol for hyperlinks. If a link requires the HTTP protocol, enter the http:// prefix as part of the URL.

  • Get Ready for the Spring ’22 Release

    For many of us, the winter holiday season is fast approaching. Which can only mean one thing… The Salesforce Spring ’22 Release is almost here too! With the release notes imminent, let’s look at some key dates to help you prepare for the upcoming Salesforce release.

    When is the Salesforce Spring ’22 Release expected?

    There are a number of release windows all based on which Salesforce instance/server your org is based on.

    The first weekend for the release into production environments is scheduled for the 14th Jan ’22. With the followup weekends 4th Feb ’22 and 11th Feb ’22.

    To check the which date and schedule time of the release applies for your specific org, you can check the Maintenance Calendar. Just scroll through the list and check your Salesforce instance against the release dates listed in the calendar.

    When can I read the Release Notes?

    Patience my friend!

    They are not available just yet (at time of writing), but they will be shortly. The 22nd Dec ’21 is the date to watch. As this is when Salesforce is scheduled to publish the Release Notes for the Spring ’22 Release.

    But fret not – you can get access to a Pre-Release Developer Edition sandbox from the 16th Dec.

    Get ready to prepare your Salesforce sandboxes

    To ensure your org’s sandboxes have access to the latest release, you will need to keep the date 6th Jan ’22 in mind.

    Any sandboxes refreshed before the 6th Jan ’22 (6PM Pacific Time), will be refreshed onto a sandbox server instance which will get access to the pre-release version of Spring ’22. This will give you hands on practice before the big release, with your specific org’s configuration.

    Best practice would be to ensure at least one sandbox is refreshed to take advantage of the pre-release, and to also keep another sandbox on the ‘old’ version of Salesforce, just in case something doesn’t work as expected.

    In a organisation with multiple existing sandboxes, it will pay to check the server instance they are already on – and see if that instance will be included in the Spring ’22 preview. To do this, you can use the Sandbox Preview Guide tool.

    Salesforce Sandbox Preview Guide in action.

  • Key Dates for Winter ’21 Release….

    So it has been a ‘funny’ old year hasn’t it? It is fair to say, 2020 hasn’t gone as expected. Regardless for us as a Salesforce community, and as Salesforce experts – each release brings the tantalising prospect of new features and benefits for us to roll out in our orgs.

    The coming days we will see details regarding Winter 21 Release from Salesforce, with the release notes due out today (US time though).

    Courtesy of Salesforce, we now know the key dates for Winter ’21 – to help us be prepared for the upcoming release:

    Salesforce Winter 21 Release Date Key Dates
    Salesforce Winter ’21 Release – Key Dates

    The key dates for Winter 21 Release:

    • August 20: Pre-Release Org Sign Up
    • August 24: Release Notes
    • September 11: Sandbox Preview Starts
    • September 11: Release Site & Release Module
    • September 14: Release Overview Deck & Feature Matrix
    • September 18-September 25: Release Readiness Live!:
    • September 18, October 9, October 16: Release Weekends (org dependant)
    • October 2020: Global Release Webinars
    • April 2021: Release Exam Deadline on Trailhead

    Please note, these dates will be US timezone based… So for us in the rest of the world, we need to adjust accordingly.

    When will Salesforce Winter ’21, be released?

    Looking at the Salesforce schedule above, most orgs will likely get Winter ’21 Release in mid-October.

    The earlier Sept date will likely be for a handful of NA server-based orgs.

    Remember you can check you specific release date via the Salesforce Trust site.

    Winter ’21: Sandbox Preview Schedule

    For your sandboxes, Sept 11 is the key date to keep in mind.

    From Salesforce’s Sandbox Preview page:

    Between now and September 11, 2020, we’ll route all sandbox requests to preview instances. If your sandbox is complete in time for the major release on September 11, 2020, we’ll upgrade it to the newest version of Salesforce.

    On September 11, 2020, we will reset all incomplete sandbox requests to a non-preview instance and route pending and new sandbox requests to non-preview instances until you upgrade your production instance to Winter ’21. We need to do this because we’re only able to create sandboxes on the same major release version of Salesforce as the production org.

  • Salesforce Summer ’20 Release: Top Features

    The Summer ’20 Release is coming our way, but it is safe to safe, it has been a crazy couple of months to start 2020…

    Salesforce has even had to shuffle the offical release date, allowing for a little bit extra time for business, admins and the to get to terms with the large-scale affect COVID-19 has had.

    But as they say, ‘the show must go on’.

    And today, the Salesforce’s Summer ’20 Release Notes have now been published, we can now dive under the hood to see what the top features are!

    Summer ’20 Release: Timeline

    • May 4th – Release notes are published
    • May 29th – Sandbox refresh deadline/cutoff date, to ensure your sandbox gets early access to Summer ’20 features. You can use the Sandbox Refresh Calculator to help you check your sandbox environments.
    • June 12th & July 10th – Some early access instances of Salesforce will get the Summer ’20 release.
    • July 17th-18th – Most Salesforce environments will get the release over this weekend.

    Top Features of Summer ’20 Release

    Historically, Summer releases from Salesforce tend to generally focus on the usability side of the equation.

    Summer ’20 seems to also fit that mould, with a large focus in Sales/Service Clouds on general productivity improvements to improve how users can interact with Lightning… So here are some of the top features coming our way.

    Sales Cloud

    • Opportunity Scoring has some general improvements, increasing consistency and only display access to Scoring Factors a user has access to.
    • Some general tweaks to Opportunity Splits, Territory Management and ability to create Orders without Pricebooks
    • Additional Email Insight now available, showing if a customer has indicated they are ‘Not Interested’
    Not Interest insight highlighted in the Activity Timeline.
    Email Insight showing customer is ‘Not Interested’
    Kanban view of all opportunities with a card selected and the details panel open
    Record Details available in Kanban view

    Service Cloud

    Service Cloud also gets a number of updates to its feature list:

    • Related Record lookup, allowing agents to navigate up to 2 levels of record relationships within Salesforce. (ie directly access the Account of a Contact, which is linked to a case).
    • Knowledge Sharing (available in beta). Allowing you to define sharing rules like standard/custom objects in Salesforce, instead of via Data Categories.
    • And, Einstein Recommended Response is now Generally Available:
    Chat Replies component
    Einstein Replies in Summer 20, now ‘Generally Available’ and out of Beta.

    Salesforce CMS

    A number of new features are coming out way, if you are a Salesforce CMS user, including:

    General Improvements

    Split view after opening a record
    Lead with Split View

    Flow, Flow, Flow

    And finally, deserving of its very own section… Flow!

    After receiving a fair amount of attention in Spring 20 Release, Flow continues to push the boundaries between Admin versus Developer!

    One-Stop Shop for Automation: Starting a Flow

    As part of the change, the trigger points for a Flow have been brought ‘in-house’. No longer requiring a trigger/apex or Process Builder to start the flow.

    Along with being able to start Flows directly, and Admin can also choose if they are run before or after a record has been created or edited!

    For example, this would allow you to update field values on the record BEFORE it is saved to the database. Need to override a specific field when criteria is met? You can now do this via Flow!

    Flow Builder Toolbox and canvas
    You can now configure how/when a Flow starts, within Flow Builder.

    Admins, can also configure a flow to start directly if a Platform Event is received.

    To also recognise these changes, you can also use the Flow Wizard to select the new ‘type’ of Flow:

    The Templates tab of the New Flow window
    New Flow Templates in Salesforce, as part of Summer ’20 Release

    Debugging a Flow, gets a little easier too. With the ‘Rollback Mode’, allowing you to undo any record changes that were made as part of debugging a Flow:

    Debug options section of the Debug the flow window
    Flows: Now with Rollback Mode

    And Flows now also have the ability to run, as a ‘System User’.

    One use case for this would be to allow the Flow to ignore Sharing Rules within your org.

    Under Show Advanced, System Context Without Sharing—Access All Data is selected for How to Run the Flow.
    ‘System Context’ now available in Flow! Use with care…

    I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these Flow improvements!

    What are your favourite features?

    With the Summer 20 Release fast approaching, share in the comments below what you are looking forward to the most…

  • A post I never thought I would be writing…

    I never though I would be writing an article about a virus… But the world is a strange place – it always has been, and it will continue to be after we get through this crisis.

    I am freewheeling this post, with no plan other than to put something I hope is positive out there in these complicated and dizzying times. Mental health is just as important as physical health. And sharing our stories brings us all a little bit closer together…

    Don’t know about you, but personally I have been struggling to grapple with the shear speed and scale of the implications relating to COVID-19.

    What is happening right now is simply heart breaking.

    Seeing the news as it happens, is just staggering.

    Before continuing, if anyone has lost a loved one due to this already – I am deeply sorry, and you have my sincere condolences. Everyone’s experience through this crisis will be shared yet vastly different.

    For a world which has grown so interconnected and intertwined, this virus has hit us where it hurts. Some of us will be impacted at very different levels – be that physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, etc… But the time at the moment is to take action, to minimise the damage and to help those more vulnerable than ourselves.

    Fortunately there are not many times in our lives, where we will be confronted with a global crisis of this scale.

    I am fortunate enough to have friends and colleagues across the globe. Hearing everyone’s story over the last few weeks, we are all sharing in this horrible global situation. But I believe these shared experiences can bring us all closer together.

    Times like this, being mindful of your emotions and practising gratitude, can really help your mental health.

    Personally, I have noticed that at times there have been two very distinct battles/sides occurring within myself. And I can boil this down to ultimately logical brain vs emotional brain.

    Logical part of my brain is trying to understand the bigger picture, the reasoning and logical arguments for what we are seeing. But obviously some things cant be reasoned with.

    And that is where the emotional side takes hold. With feelings of defiance, anger, despondency, sadness, needing of distractions, grief, gratitude, and love. We are all in this rollercoaster together, and we will get through it.

    I try not to fight the feeling or emotion, instead I to practise mindfulness and acknowledge the presence of that emotionally. But also rather than just letting the emotion, be it positive or negative take control, I am trying to be curious about what exactly is making me feel that way. Questioning myself as to what is causing this feeling.

    One thing I hope to get out of this all, is a better understanding of myself.

    So, as I wrote at the start. This is a bit of a weird post, but something I just felt I needed to write.

    Resources:

    So to round out this post, here are something things I would like to share with you that caught my attention over the last few days.

    These are a little Melbourne/Victoria heavy, but feel free to share your own videos/streams/etc that are getting you through this…

    • Zoos Victoria are live streaming animals while the zoos are shut
      • And check out this Zoo Keeper smashing dance moves to entertain people.
    • ABC Radio Melbourne has a page re: entertaining and educational streams and live casts.

    A little more serious, but a fascinating article shared to explain a little about the feelings of grief during the lockdowns globally.

    And even a Trailmix about Creating Peace while in Pieces from Leah McGowen-Hare. Focussing on changing your mindset and creating calm.

    Trello shared a few tips to avoid becoming a WFH Hermit.

    And if you want to go ‘down the rabbit hole’, and deep dive into some of the data resources that are out there about the crisis, Tableau/Salesforce have a site for you.

    Most of all, stay safe!

    Please feel free to share your own comments, stories or even links below in the comments.

  • Passing the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Certification

    Although not strictly part of the pathway to Certified Technical Architect, sometimes you just want to branch out a little and demonstrate your knowledge of the platform. So with this in mind, I recently sat the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Certification Exam (that is a mouthful!)

    Happily, I can report back, that I passed! And to help others also pass, I have compile a list of tips and resources I found beneficial to passing the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant.

    Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant – Who is it for?

    Firstly, let’s clear the air a little.

    You don’t have to be a consultant to sit this exam. Much like I mentioned in the Sales Cloud Consultant exam, it is a good way to certify your understanding the features and benefits of the various aspects to Service Cloud and following on from that, also the implementation of it.

    If you are an Admin, Application Manager, etc – and are working within Service Cloud, and want recognition for your skills. Or wanting to learn specifically about implementing Service Cloud, this is the certification for you.

    Additionally, if you are a consultant and wanting to demonstrate your understanding of Service Cloud – then yes, this is also the exam for you. 🙂

    What does the exam cover?

    Even though the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Exam is based on Service Cloud products and knowledge – there is a sizeable chunk of the exam dedicated to which solution fits the business problem the best. Along with best practises for implementation steps and delivery of a Service Cloud project.

    Image result for lightning service console
    Lightning Service Cloud Console, unsurprisingly, forms a big part of the Service Cloud Consultant Certification Exam.

    Breakdown of the exam:

    • Industry Knowledge: 10%
    • Implementation Strategies: 15%
    • Service Cloud Solution Design: 16%
    • Knowledge Management: 9%
    • Interaction Channels: 10%
    • Case Management: 15%
    • Contact Center Analytics: 5%
    • Integration and Data Management: 5%
    • Service Console: 15%

    Salesforce’s Exam Guide gives you an official breakdown of each section.

    I found that the key topics/areas in my exam included – in no particular order:

    • Case Setup, including Console (both Classic with Case Feeds and Lightning Service Console)
    • Case Escalations rules
    • Entitlements and Milestones
    • Also, when you might use an Entitlement/Milestone vs Escalation rule
    • Knowledge, and all things relating to Knowledge (Articles, Permissions, Integration with Communities, Knowledge ‘Lifecycle’, Migrating to Knowledge, etc)
    • Marcos and Quick Text (why and how you might use them)
    • Email to Case, versus On-Demand Email to Case.
    • Migration of data, and best practises involved in such activities.
    • Industry knowledge, around metrics/SLAs and how to best report on them.
    • Use cases for customer retention (ie using Service Cloud and Sales Cloud together)
    • Different Service Channels, and why/when and how you might use them (Calls, Email, Live Agent, Social, etc )
    • Omni-channel, what it is used for and capabilities.
    • Different Console configuration options, and what might be best in specific scenario. Keep in mind, some of these questions still focus on both Classic Service Console and Lightning Record Pages with Components.

    Exam Format

    Like other Salesforce Exams, this in the format of a multiple choice exam.

    All up, there were 65 questions in total (n.b. this is at time of writing Jan 2020).

    Though this included an additional five questions, which don’t end up counting to your overall mark. Instead providing feedback to Salesforce on user understanding of newer practices, products and features.

    FYI – this is similar to other exams, like the Platform Developer I exam (where it had additional questions testing on your understanding of Heroku).

    Resources that helped me

    After using and implementing Service Cloud for a couple of years, I still found it really useful to study.

    For example, I didn’t realise there was a difference between Email to Case and On-Demand Email to Case… And there were a few questions about the different solutions and why you might use one versus the other.

    In short, studying helps! 🙂

    If you don’t have experience using Service Cloud, this might be a little more difficult for you to pass. But not impossible. The key is preparation.

    And when studying, don’t just learn the feature. Try and pay attention to the scenarios and the ‘why’ you might use a particular feature/solution.

    Trailhead, is a great place to start.

    The Service Cloud modules and projects, are very hands-on and give you that implementation experience. And Salesforce has grouped a large number of the courses together, into a ‘Prepare for Your Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Credential‘ trailmix.

    Even though I have hands-on experience, I still did the Trailhead modules. I always feel that you can never have enough hands-on experience. As it helps build your confidence, and if you get stuck in the exam, you can at least think back and try and visualise how you did a particular step.

    Online Course

    I also purchased the ‘Service Cloud Consultant Certification’ course on Udemy from Mike Wheeler.

    It is a good course and really outlines the foundation of the exam and how to implement certain solutions. I was concerned when watching the videos, that it was a little dated, especially considering there has been a big push over last few years to bring Service Cloud up to parity in Lightning.

    But from my own experience, there was enough on the exam still based around Classic… And the reasons of ‘why’ you would use a particular product is still the same.

    Community

    Most other blogs I researched before hand, seem to mainly focus on the exam and reiterate the outline of the exam… So I decided to also asked the Reddit Salesforce community for some tips & pointers for the exam, you can check out that thread here.

    One user ‘yummyyummybrains‘ (great username btw!) pointed out that with these Consultant exams:

    …I can say: the questions are going to involve a lot more qualitative and evaluative analysis than the Specialist Exams. Less: “What does this function do?” and more: “given these parameters, what’s the best way to achieve the client’s stated goal?”

    I’ve had a hard time recommending study materials for the MC Consultant Exam for that very reason — how do you study for an exam that requires deep knowledge of the relative pros and cons of different features, and how they would be impacted by the specific needs of a client?…

    yummyyummybrains on Reddit re: Service Cloud Consultant Exam

    One blog article I did find that stood out for me was from Ashish, who created an in-depth study guide, including checklist of topics and direct links to Salesforce Help articles for each specific topic on the Exam Guide.

    Wrap-up

    So there you have my little debrief of the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Certification Exam.

    As mentioned about, there is a big focus on why and when you would choose a particular solution to match a business requirement. So learning just the features of Service Cloud products won’t be enough…

    If you have any tips or insights you would like to share, please feel free to use the comments below.

    And if you are sitting the exam, best of luck to you!

  • Salesforce Spring ’20 Release – Top Features & Release Date

    For most of us now, the holiday season is behind us, and Salesforce Spring ’20 Release is almost here. With less than a month to go, let’s take a quick look at the latest release from Salesforce.

    When is Spring 20 release scheduled?

    For most environments globally, you can expect Spring 20 release on the weekend of Feb 14th 2020.

    To check the date and schedule time of the release for you specific org, you can check the Maintenance Calendar. Just scroll through the list and check your Salesforce instance against the release dates listed in the calendar.

    Top Features of the Spring 20 Release

    In the Salesforce release cycle, it is the Spring releases which typically deliver refinements and usability improvements. And Spring 20 is no exception.

    Let’s jump in and take a look at what is coming out way.

    Opportunity Scores using Einstein Opportunity Scoring

    Spring ’20 Release will see Salesforce start to roll out some of Einstein features at no extra cost for existing Sales Cloud users.

    Introducing Einstein Opportunity Scoring!

    It is a nice way to get a bit of a taster, of the benefits Einstein AI can bring to your org.

    Opportunity scoring component now available in Spring 20 release for all Sales Cloud users
    Spring 20: Einstein Opportunity Scoring now available for free

    Einstein Voice Assistant (Beta)

    While we are talking about Einstein, Einstein Voice Assistant is now also available to customers in beta.

    You can create specific skills for use with Einstein Voice Assistant, or use default ones such as: Log a Call, Create Contacts or Update Opportunity.

    To watch a video overview of Einstein Voice Assistant in action:

    Einstein Voice
    Einstein Voice Assistant home page on mobile, Spring 20 Release
    Einstein Voice Assistant

    Merge Cases

    One thing which has been missing from ‘out of the box’ Salesforce for a very long time – yet offered on a lot of other service ticketing platforms (like Zendesk) – was the ability to merge cases.

    We saw the beta release in Summer 19 release. But it is now promoted to ‘generally available’, meaning it is ready for prime time now!

    Read more here.

    Related List showing cases that comprise the new merged case in Spring 20 Release
    Spring 20 Release: Merge Cases becomes Generally Available

    Assign Tasks to a Queue

    Another feature which fits in the ‘why wasn’t this already available’ – and has been on the IdeaExchange for 10years.

    But better late than never! And we now can allow a queue to be accessible to Tasks object and allow your users to assign tasks to a queue.

    This is great if you have a team which shares work, like a Sales support team for example.

    Read more here.

    New task creation window in Spring 20 Release, which is showing queues as an option for the Assigned To field
    Spring 20 Release: Assign Tasks to a Queue

    URL Hacks are back! (Aka Default Field Values)

    It has been a few years now, without the ability to create a new record and pre-populate field values via a custom button and the URL (often referred to as URL hacking in the Salesforce community).

    The only way was a Quick Action, and prepopulating the fields via the Action Layout.

    But now, Salesforce has created a way to recreate this Admin favourite way of creating a new record with values pre-populated.

    Admins: Read more here on how to create a button/link using this new feature.

    For developers out there, this is also accompanied by a change to the way to you create/navigate in your components, with new lightning/pageReferenceUtils module and lightning:pageReferenceUtils Aura component. Although this won’t be available in LightningOut/Lighting Communities.

    Devs: Read more here re: Navigate Users to a Record’s Create Page with Default Field Values

    Change Lightning Experience with the Lightning Extension for Chrome

    Salesforce, in Dark Mode? Yes please!

    As part of Spring 20, Salesforce has published a Chrome extensions allowing users to take advantage of a few new UI features, such as Dark Mode, Link Grabber and Component Customisation.

    No doubt, this is the start of new user specified customisations you can allow and enable for your users who want it…

    Read more here.

    Lightning Extension Setup page
    Spring 20 Release: Settings for Lightning Extension for Chrome

    Clone Objects and Related Records

    Cloning records helps speed up the creation of new records, but when you have to then recreate child records – you aren’t saving that much time.

    Classic previously allowed certain records on certain objects to be cloned with their child records. Like Opportunities with Products, for example.

    But Lightning will see this new Clone with Related available across more objects, and allow you to pick and choose which related records are relevant to your new record.

    Read more here, including setup instructions.

    The Clone with Related action on an opportunity, and the dialog where you can choose to include products and contact roles in the new opportunity
    Spring 20 Release: Clone with Related Records

    Official Resources to get Release Ready

  • Why you should love Trailhead Superbadges

    As someone who has worked across Salesforce roles, over the last 9 years, there are times where a Salesforce certification will only carry you so far.

    This isn’t an article second-guessing the value of certifications. They are great to ensure the certified admin/developer/consultant is aware of the specific features and options needed for their roles.

    But they need to cover a lot of topics broadly. With little or no guidance and experience on implementation.

    This means you end up understanding the theory, with little real world / hands on experience.

    Trailhead Superbadges, blend the theory and skills needed for specific roles with hands on experience.
    Trailhead Superbadges, grouped and assorted by Role.

    Enter Trailhead Superbadges

    This is the gap that Trailhead Superbadges addresses. Blending the theory of regular Trailhead modules with the hand-on experience.

    A Trailhead Superbadge delivers you into a simulated real-world example. Where you have to focus on user requirements and then setup, configure, develop your way to a workable solution.

    How do Superbadges they work?

    Starting off with a Trailhead Superbadge, still starts with learning the theory.

    Prerequisites:

    All Superbadges require you to complete a number of pre-requisite modules. This grounds you in the basics of the topic at hand and prepares you for what is coming next…

    You still have to complete the pre-requisite Trailhead modules, before you can start with the Superbadge.

    Preparation:

    This is an important section, so read through this section carefully.

    Normally, it contains information on preparing the Trailhead Playground for the Superbadge assessment. This often includes installing a package in the environment to setup pre-defined custom fields, custom objects and/or Apex triggers/classes.

    It will also include important information about dates / schema / etc. Let’s look again at the ‘Lightning Experience Specialist’ Superbadge:

    Pre-work contains important information about setup/initial config to prepare.

    Use case:

    Each Superbage gives you an overview of the use case / problem you are trying to solve (and in turn be assessed on).

    It often includes specifics, such as customisations and schema details required to meet the Business Requirements.

    Here is part of the Use Case and specifics of the ‘Lightning Experience Specialist’:

    Use case and details overview, which you’ll need to solve the Business Requirements…

    Business Requirements:

    This is is where we start get into the simulated real-world.

    Business Requirements are what have to be met in some fashion day in, day out for all admins, developers and consultants.

    These are involved and contain all the details you need to pass the Trailhead Superbadge. It is your job to translate all of this information and find the way that is required of you, to implement the solution.

    Business Requirements in action…

    Career Gold…

    This is the gold in the mountain – this is the reason that you should love Trailhead Superbadges.

    It is this very skill and experience of taking requirements, filtering out what is needed and finding a way to to implement it, which strengthens your capabilities as an Admin/Developer/Consultant.

    This is the skill that will set you up for your career within Salesforce.

    And Trailhead gives you a way to practice it repeatedly and for free!

    Over to you…

    Have you started with Superbadges? If so, which ones have you completed? What’s next on your Trailhead journey?

  • What is the difference between ISNULL() and ISBLANK()?

    As an admin, Formulas can be a little confusing sometimes.  Especially when there are two functions which appear to be very similar / do the same thing.

    From the out set, the difference between these two functions can actually appear very slight.

    But not all is as it appears, and sometimes the difference between them is actually what you want to test/validate… 

    What is: ISNULL()

    From a computing perspective  (which Salesforce adheres to), something could be NULL because it doesn’t exist or hasn’t been created/setup (in developer speak, you might say ‘instantiated’).

    Ultimately, this means NULL is the absence of a value all together.

    The ISNULL() function will return a TRUE or a FALSE value, which you can then use in validation rules, workflows, formulas, etc.

    What does this mean in real world? 

    In Salesforce, if you had a date field, with no value in it.  Salesforce would return TRUE.

    However, if you had a text field ISNULL() would always return a false value, even if there was no text in the field.  This is because Salesforce stores an empty value in text, even if there is nothing in the field – which leads us to…

    What is: ISEMPTY()

    Like the above function, you get a boolean (TRUE/FALSE) output.

    However ISEMPTY() goes a step further than ISNULL() and by adding support for text fields (like the example above).  

    When is a field is ‘not empty’? 

    If it contains a character, blank space, or a zero. (ie ISEMPTY() = FALSE)

    And now text field which is contains no text, will now return ISEMPTY() = TRUE.  Along with other fields, like dates or numbers.

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