Admin

  • 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?

  • How to survive Dreamforce

    You have registered for Dreamforce, but now what?  With over 170,000 attendees last year, it is the largest tech conference in the world.  So there will be crowds aplenty – but with so much to learn, about all things Salesforce… How are you going to make the most out of this year’s event?  And most importantly, ensure you survive Dreamforce?

    The 4-day conference for newbies can be overwhelming, but a little planning can go a long way to ensuring a smooth conference week.

    I have learned so much about different Salesforce use cases and have been inspired seeing how other users and partners are making the most out of the platform.  And most of all, being able to immerse yourself in all things Salesforce for four days straight, really helps you learn & focus on all things Salesforce – and help you to conjure up new ways of using the platform.

    9 tips to survive Dreamforce!

    1. Build your agenda

    survive Dreamforce: how to build Lightning Apps at Dreamforce 2016
    Session on how to build Lightning Apps @ Dreamforce 2016

    The biggest tip I can give a newbie to Dreamforce is you need to prepare…  Even with pre-planning my first year and hearing from others who had attended the year before me – I was still blown away at the sheer scale of the event.

    With such a massive event, preparing and planning counts for so much!

    Use the Agenda Builder before you get there.  And find out what sessions are available, and if you need to enroll.

    The great news is that not all sessions require you to register, but the more popular ones do tend to…  Why?  This allows the session to have a priority order to entry (compared to people who just turn up to the session) – but remember this still isn’t a guarantee, so get to the sessions early.

    2. Don’t get lost.

    After you have built your agenda, you can then download the Dreamforce event app (iOS or Android).

    During the event, you will be able to get alerts and notifications on your enrolled sessions and access event details like maps, directions/transport options.

    Google Maps (or your favorite mapping app), is also extremely helpful in finding your way in between venues.  Just keep in mind, Salesforce will be offering shuttles between a number of the key sites, and these won’t typically show in these apps.

    3. Be prepared.

    Surviving Dreamforce regarding the weather is relatively easy this time of year.  San Francisco weather in September is typically mild – but always plan ahead – plan for cooler evenings, and warmer days.

    Remember to pack light, you won’t generally need to carry a laptop around with you.  A phone/tablet device would typically be more than enough but remember to take a power bank/charging cable around with you.

    With all your note taking (see below), and photos of slides and sights around town, your battery will thank you.  Personally I carry a light powerbank around with me, as finding a charging point can be a little difficult at times.

    4. Be noteworthy.

    Take lots and lots of notes!

    Remember to set out in the morning with an iPad/phone (and as above remember battery pack!!).  Alternatively go old-school with notepad & pen (no battery!) to keep track of everything you learn.

    Personally I like to combine taking pictures of the slides with my own notes in an app like OneNote.

    5. Think of your feet…

    You will be walking around so much!  So, so much!

    To help survive Dreamforce, make sure you are in comfortable clothing and footwear!  Remember to pack light so you don’t carry everything around with you and try to time when you go to the Expo Hall to pick up your swag, so that way you don’t have to carry it around with you all day!

    6. Be patient.

    With so many people swarming around downtown San Francisco, all looking to learn as much as they can about Salesforce, it can get a little frustrating at times navigating the crowds.

    Remember to be patient, everyone is there is get the most out of the experience too.  Try to get to sessions early, and be prepared to be waiting in line.

    7. Be approachable.

    To help pass the time when in a line, strike up a conversation with those around you.

    Personally, I found some of the most interesting conversations at the conference by doing this.  And you can learn from challenges or use cases you both might share.

    Not everyone can just strike up a conversation out of thin air.  And that is ok.  Remember you are both in line for the same session, use that as a conversation starter!

    There are plenty of social functions being planned too by Salesforce and third-party vendors (see below).  But remember an event this size doesn’t happen every day 😉 So you only get a chance to network with this many Salesforce professionals once a year!

    8. Get hands on.

    Cloud Expo at Dreamforce 2016
    CloudExpo Hall @ Dreamforce 2016

    In Moscone Center, there is an opportunity to get hands on.  Coding Drop-in Clinics, Admin Reviews, Lightning UX consultations…  If it was something to do with Salesforce, there was a session to learn about it!  The Trailhead theme last year was brilliant and there was so much going on at the different ‘base camps’ and ‘ranger stations’, you could easily spend a day or two just in these halls!

    Go to the Expo Hall, learn about the AppExchange and new tools you might be able to use in your org.  This is also where you are likely to get the most of your swag! 🙂

    9. Finally… Get dance-y!

    Finally there is also some fun to be had!  After all you have to survive Dreamforce in style 🙂

    Flo Rida at Dreamforce 2016
    Flo Rida @ Dreamforce 2016

    This year will see Metallica taking to the big Dreamfest stage and possibly other acts to support.

    This is the time to let your hair down after a long conference.

    Throughout the week though, there is so much happening.  Salesforce and their partners know how to put on an event!

    But what else is happening throughout the week?  Well, Anaplan has collated a party planner & there is also a post over at SalesforceBen to help you get your groove on!

    Got any Salesforce survival tips of your own?

    Please share in the comments section below!

    Remember there is a Trailhead module now for helping you get the most out of Dreamforce, and if you haven’t registered yet, head on over to the Dreamforce site to buy your tickets (if there are any left!).

  • Winter ’19: Top Sales and Service Cloud Features

    The first release of 2019 is almost here… Yes, I typed that right, 2019!  I was sitting in a meeting today, and we were planning the roadmap out to 2021.  It’s crazy to think…  But as the seasons change, we hit the start of the three-releases-a-year cycle with the Winter ’19 Release from Salesforce.

    winter19 - snowboarding Astro
    Winter ’19 – Snowboarding Astro

    Now I have to admit, I was caught a little off-guard by the release.  It wasn’t until I saw the new snowboarding Astro in a developer sandbox, that I realised I had completely missed the normal pre-release build up. :-O

    Where did the last 2 months go?!

    At least there is plenty of time until Dreamforce 😀

    Is it just me…?

    I struggle to be “wowed” with this release.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are some nice usability tweaks for sure.  And some additional features which do really help make Lightning a more robust and complete user experience.

    But I am left wondering, where is the “Salesforce magic”?

    Maybe there is more to be announced shortly at Dreamforce?  But what about Dreamforce last year?  Where is “myTrailhead” (there is an answer buried in the FAQ)?

    I assume the strategy for this year must be revolving around bedding-in the various acquisitions and general improvements to Lightning Experience.

    Top Features of Winter ’19 Release

    Stepping down from my little soap-box now…  And I will admit there are some really useful and cool usability features coming our way!

    So let’s have a look at the top features focusing on improvements to Sales/Service Cloud.

    Search List Views & Bulk Change Records

    List views have received some attention this release, and now have a cool ‘Search this list’ feature.  Such a simple idea, but I am hooked to using it now in my sandbox environment.

    Winter 19 Release: Search List Views

    You can now also do a number of bulk actions from the list view too, such as selecting multiple records and changing the owner.  This now brings yet another ‘small’ but useful feature from classic into Lightning Experience.

    Enhanced Run Page in Reports (Beta)

    Another cool feature – albeit a ‘beta feature’ – is the new Enhanced Run Page within Lightning Reports.  You can easily adjust what is displayed in the report, without having to edit the report and re-run…

    Also drilling down into a group/column is now a whole lot easier, matching Classic.

    winter19 - Enhanced Run Page in Reports
    Enhanced Run Page in Reports

    Joined Reports in your Dashboards

    Finally!!! Joined Reports can now be used as components on a Dashboard….

    Winter19 - Joined Report as a Dashbaord component

    Forecasts

    From memory it has been a little while since the last touch-up to Forecasts.

    Winter 19 will bring a number of new features, including the ability to now forecast by territory.

    Email tracking for your Sales and Service users

    In Lightning you can now track email responses, seeing if the email has been opened.  And actually displaying this information back in the Activity Timeline within Lightning, presenting this back in a way that is easy to view.

    Winter 19 - Email Tracking

    Live Agent Setup in Lightning

    You will now be able to setup Live Agent in Lightning Experience.  Another small thing, but one less reason to have to switch back to Classic!

    Bonus: Flow Builder

    So although not technically part of the Winter ’19 it was announced alongside the Winter ’19 release…  Early next year (likely Spring ’19 release), we will have a new Flow Builder.  Which will get a much-needed redesign.

    Removing the dependency on Adobe Flash is a huge benefit and one of the things I am most excited about.  It feels like every second day, I have to update Flash before I can then use Flow Designer.

    Salesforce's new Flow Builder
    The new Flow Builder… Coming soon!

    Wrap Up

    So aside from me being a little jaded, there are some nice usability features being added in this release which add a bit more flesh onto Lighting Experience.  (And if you haven’t migrated to Lightning yet, what are you waiting for?!)

    There are a lot of new features overall to the platform, and I am not sure if it is just the sandbox instance we are using or if it is the release… But Lightning Experience does feel a bit more responsive overall too.

    What are your top features?  Have I missed something?  Feel free to tell me / yell at me in the comments 😀

    Resources

    Other resources to help get #releaseready with the upcoming Winter 19 release.

    Salesforce Official resources:

    And the blogosphere:

  • Becoming a Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant

    Recently I did the double whammy of Platform App Builder and Platform Developer I exams.  I have had a few questions about another certification I have done recently, the Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant Certification (CRT-251).  So in this post let’s cover what the exam is, what it is testing and some resources to help you prepare for the exam.

    Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant – Who is it for?

    First thing is first, you don’t need to be a consultant to get this exam.  I would actually strongly recommend Admins prepare and sit the exam.

    Why?

    The exam obviously tests you on a number of areas within the Sales Cloud package.  But the primary focus of the Sales Cloud Consultant certification is implementing the right solution within Sales Cloud.

    So you will need to use your understanding of the features within Sales Cloud, and chose the right way to implement a solution.

    Sales Cloud in action... Important to know if your planning on becoming a Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud ConsultantTo this extent, most of the questions on the exam are scenarios/use case based. And like most other exams, you have to select the right multiple choice answer.

    Sample question…

    Here is a sample question from the Study Guide:

    Universal Containers is using Salesforce and has set up a private sharing model. Sam is a
    sales executive who reports to John, a sales manager. Sam has ownership of the ABC
    Company account record and has created an opportunity for ABC Company. There is a
    sharing rule that allows the finance team to see all accounts and opportunities.
    Which statement about data visibility is true?

    Choose one answer
    A. John and Sam can see all of the same data.
    B. John can see all of Sam’s data but Sam CANNOT see all of John’s data.
    C. The finance team must be added to the sales team in order to see Sam’s op
    D. John must be added to the sales team in order to see Sam’s opportunity.

    As you can see, this is a scenario any business with Sales Cloud may face.  Who can see what, is one of the fundamental things of the Salesforce platform.

    So to choose the right answer you need to know how the core system works.  How do Sharing Rules, Org-Wide Defaults, Record Ownership, Role Hierarchy and Sales Teams work together?  And how would they affect the above scenario, based on the information you are given?

    So what did you select for the answer?  (Answer is at the end of the article).

    Let’s break it down…  What does the exam cover?

    The exam does cover a lot of topics within the ‘Salesforce universe’.  But the good news is that it is focused on the Sales Cloud only.  So Service Cloud/Marketing Cloud/Wave Analytics/etc are not covered, meaning you can focus your energies.  But I will stress that there is a sales/marketing element to the exam, particularly around Campaigns within Sales Cloud…

    Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant badge

    One way I like to prepare for an exam is to reference to the official Study Guide, and look at the weighting for certain topics within the exam.  So for the Sales Cloud Consultant Exam (in order of % weighting):

    • Sales Cloud Solution Design (25%)
    • Opportunity Management (15%)
    • Account and Contact Management (12%)
    • Sales Productivity (12%)
    • Integration and Data Management (8%)
    • Marketing and Leads (7%)
    • Implementation Strategies (6%)
    • Sales Cloud Analytics (5%)
    • Communities and Site Management (5%)
    • Industry Knowledge (5%)

    This is a little high level, but you can see a breakdown of these topics in the study guide.  Now to break it down a bit further, some of the key things you will need to make sure you understand include (in no particular order):

    • Campaign management
    • Person Accounts
    • Sales Processes within Sales Cloud (Lead->Opportunity->Quote->Contract)
    • Products & Pricebooks
    • Orders
    • Using multiple currencies within Salesforce
    • Territory Management
    • Forecasting
    • Communities
    • Role Hierarchy
    • Approvals & Workflows/Process Builder
    • Sharing Rules / Org-Wide Defaults
    • Sales Reports and Dashboards (KPIs / metric based reports for Sales teams)
    • Role Hierarchy
    • Sales Teams
    • Lightning Experience!  (make sure you know how the above work within Lightning Experience too!)

    This isn’t a complete list, but it will get you started and covers the majority of the exam.

     

    Resources to help you study for the exam

    As you can see above, the largest percentage of the exam is around solution design.  And so many of the questions are around implementation/solution choices.  Study will help but you will likely need hands-on experience.  It is all about taking use cases and choosing the right solution.

    But study does help… So fear not there is plenty of help you become a Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant!  Keep in mind, a lot of the following sites are from mid 2016 or earlier though, so always check the release notes since to see if there are updates.  

    Starting out, there is a Trailmix get help you learn the fundamentals.  This includes a lot of the fundamentals of the Sales Cloud package.

    I also found Youtube, immensely helpful by being able to search for specific videos on topics covered by the exam.  For example this one on Territory Management from Dreamforce helps understand the sales topic/business case side of things (it is a long video FYI).  But you have access to so many videos on each topic.  So if you are a visual learner like me, seeing a demo/the feature in action really helps me understand it.

    Next up, and one of my personal favs, is SalesforceBen’s post on resources.  There are links to a number of implementation guides from Salesforce, giving you some hands on experience (similar to Trailhead) but a lot more focused on the implementation.

    There is a post over at SalesforceMemo also covering some of the concepts/sample questions needed to pass the exam, which I found useful.

    Additionally, Heller Consulting have a ‘Q and A’ style approach to the exam.

    And finally, Tamara talks about her experience in sitting for the exam.

    Wrap Up

    A key theme throughout this has been ‘implementation’, and that has been very deliberate!  Knowing how you can use the base settings/features of Sales Cloud to meet business requirements and deliver a solution is key.

    One thing I am personally against is ‘Exam Dumps’.  Personally I would much rather study and practice and pass on my own merit.  In the long run, having the base understanding is so much more beneficial.

    Hopefully this post helps you out, and of course good luck for the exam.  If you have any tips of your own or resources you found useful, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

    Answer to the sample question above

    What did you pick?  If you picked ‘B’ you are correct.

  • Summer ’18 Release: Top Sales & Service Cloud Features

    Time marches on and 2018 continues hurtling towards summer (or winter for the southern half of the planet).  But it is that time of year again where we get to investigate and plan for the Summer ’18 release from Salesforce, which is due to be released to most orgs within the next month.

    Additionally, we see Lightning continue to be the primary focus for Salesforce with a number of key new features, as predicted, being included as part of this release.

    Release Notes – New breakdown

    Firstly, you may notice a subtle but helpful new format of the Release Notes.

    New sub-headings in the Summer '18 Release Notes
    New sub-headings in the Summer ’18 Release Notes

    Most features and changes included in the release notes, now appear to be broken down into easier to digest sub-headings covering the all important: Where/Why/How/When/etc.

    It is a subtle but useful change, given the volume of information in the 478 page document!

    Summer ’18 Release: Features Breakdown

    As with any Salesforce release nowadays, there are thousands of new features, and narrowing them down to a is getting harder and harder!  But let’s dive on in, and take a look at the Top Sales & Service Cloud Features.

    1) Lightning Console – To feature parity and beyond…

    With Summer ’18 Release, we see Lightning Console pretty close to matching Classic Console, with some additional new features added in for good measure.

    Now I know I am cheating in the top 10, as I am going to group a couple of features together in this one… But it will be worth it 🙂

    For the console changes, click here.

    Console specific features in the release include:

    Guided Engagement with Flow

    But the pièce de résistance though is the new Guided Engagement Console feature.  Allowing you to combine the power of Console and Flows, to give your users guided forms/scripts to work from:

    Summer '18 Release: Lightning Guided Engagement
    Lightning Guided Engagement

     

    2) Reports & Dashboards

    Summer ’18 Release from Salesforce includes a bonanza of features and updates for all things Reports & Dashboards… So again, I am grouping a few distinct features under one topic here – otherwise my top 10 would just be reports and dashboards!!

    For all Report & Dashboard features, click here.

    Lightning Report Builder

    First up, Summer ’18 Release sees Lightning Report Builder come out of beta, and become Generally Available.  With a few extra tweaks since Spring ’18 also added in!

    Summer '18 Release: Lightning Report Builder

    One thing to note: the user permissions have changed due to the feature becoming ‘generally available’, and this now allows you to hide Classic Report Builder from users, if you wish to…

    Lightning Joined Reports (Beta)

    Additionally, we see Joined Reports enter public beta within Lightning!  There are a few limitations listed in the release notes, but the biggest appears to be having to use the Salesforce Classic Report Builder

    Summer 18 Release: Joined Reports now available in beta
    Joined Reports (beta)

    Get organised: Folders and sub-folders

    I have to admit, this one makes my inner Salesforce geek very happy!  And I wrote about it in the predictions post back in January… As soon as I heard it was on the roadmap for this year, I have been eagerly awaiting this feature!!!

    Sub-Folders, within Folders!  OMG! 😀 😀 It is Lightning Experience only – but this has been a pain in the backside of many Admins, since even before I started working with Salesforce!

    Summer '18 Release: Report Sub-Folders
    Report Sub-Folders

     

    Export reports & keep your formatting

    Lightning Experience now allows you to export your report and keep the formatting of the report.  Simple…

    Filter History Reports by Old and New Values

    In Classic, another bug-bear of mine (and many others) was the fact you could not filter a History Report by the old or new field values…  It would only display them in the report or the history related list if the field was tracked.

    This ended up with a lot of reports being exported and then working with the data in Excel… GRRR

    But GRRR no more! With the ability to now filter by these values!

    Salesforce Summer '18 Release: Filter by Old or New Values on History Reports

    Thank you Salesforce!

     

    3) Lightning Experience improvements

    Another area with a number of smaller feature improvements, Lightning Experience continues to get refined with each release.

    Click here for all of them…  Otherwise, read on!

    Speed up your search

    Summer ’18 Release will allow your users to search by specific objects, from the global search bar…

    Summer '18 Release: Search by specific object

    Boom!

    Dependant picklists and Path

    Path is an amazing feature, allowing you to guide users through almost any process just based on a single picklist.  But with Summer ’18 release, any dependant picklists will now also prompt users when they move steps.

    Summer '18 Release: Update dependant picklists

     

    Group by Topics

    Topics are now available in Lightning Experience!

    Many users used Topics in Classic, and it is great to seem them ported over to Lightning Experience now.

    If you haven’t used them before, it allows your end-users to group and organise records, by a topic.  Imagine it like a #tag on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/etc, allowing you to then search for the topic and get all related records.

    Salesforce Summer '18: Topics now in Lightning

    4) Privacy (Support for GDPR)

    With the upcoming GDPR changes, Salesforce has continued to add in features to assist businesses (and us Admins) to get ready.

    Changes to Individual object

    The Individual object was a little limited when it was first released in Spring ’18.  The object wasn’t like a standard object, meaning access was very limited.  And creation of records/etc Apex coding was required…

    But no more!  In Summer ’18 the object is now a standard object with all the bells and whistles that comes with that – including the ability to now use workflows/process builder!

    You will be able to now:

    • Create custom actions, buttons, and links for Individuals
    • Create different Individual record types
    • Undelete an Individual that you had deleted
    • Use Individuals with workflows or with Process Builder

    Make a Users’ personal data unusable

    As part of the new privacy regulations, and the ability to request your personal information is removed from a system, presents a bit of a challenge for anyone who has a user record within Salesforce.  These could be community users or internal users…. And is due to the fact you cannot delete a Salesforce user record, ever.

    So to get around this, Salesforce is now including a new system method ‘obfuscateUser()’ , which will scramble user information.

    This one definitely falls into the ‘advanced’ category, as it requires Apex knowledge (or how to invoke Apex via Process Builder/Flow).

    And would require planning and testing, as Salesforce is warning: that it cannot be reversed!

    Scramble user data before and after

     

    Summer ’18 Release: Key Dates

    There are a number of key dates you need to know for Summer ’18 Release.  So to help highlight what they are, here is a handy infographic from Salesforce.   Remember the dates shown below are in US date format though…

    Summer 18 release - key dates

    What is the release date for Summer ’18 Release?

    The release weekend for your org will depend on the instance it is on, but the release will occur on the weekend between the 18th May – 8th June 2018.

    Summer ’18 Release: Additional Resources

    Official Salesforce resources

    Other blog resources

  • Time to prepare for Summer ’18 Release

    It only feels like a few months since Spring ’18 release… Oh wait, it was.  As time marches on, we are now due for the next release from Salesforce with Summer ’18 release.  Over the coming weeks we will start the normal release readiness prep, but what are the key dates of the release?  And when will Summer ’18 be released? Additionally what features might we expect to see from Salesforce Summer ’18 release?

    Summer ’18 Release: Key Dates

    As with every release, there are a number of key dates you have to be aware of.

    Most of this is sourced from the Release Readiness Group and you can download a handy infographic here (source: Salesforce).

    April 19th – Pre-release orgs are available to preview the new release.

    April 23rd – The Preview Release Notes will be published.

    May 4th – Sandbox cutoff date.  Remember to check here for instructions on which sandbox instance a refresh will land on.

    May 18th, June 1st, June 8th – there are three release windows for Summer ’18 into production environments.  Which depends on your Salesforce instance.  You can check the dates relevant for your instance, here.

    There will also be a number of Release Readiness webinars, and sessions which will be posted via the Release Readiness Group in the Trailblazer Community.

    Summer ’18: Possible Features

    Because I am not one to generally wait…  Impatient, I know…  So I started searching the product roadmaps to see what is likely to be released as part of the Summer ’18 release.  Combined with a number of webinars I have watched, this is a list of some of the features likely to show in this release.

    But please note – this list isn’t definitive or guaranteed list.  And we will get official confirmation within the next week as the Pre-Release Orgs & Preview Release Notes become available. 

    So let’s jump in and speculate as to what we might see…

    Lightning Report Builder & Dashboards

    We are likely to see a lot more features being rolled out to the new Report Builder feature.  These are likely to include:

    • Joined Reports, finally in Lightning – albeit this is likely to be a beta/pilot release
    • The ability to create field to field filters. This will allow you to compare two fields directly within the report builder, without needing to build report formulas or custom fields. For example you could run a filter where Created Date equals any custom date field on your object.
    • The ability to create reporting sub folders.  So you could setup a ‘Sales’ folder, but then have sub folders for each sales team within it.
    • Ability to sort columns based on a summarised/aggregated value.
    • Setting dashboard schedules for multiple users

    Files

    Files is likely to see the introduction of a Library-type functionality.  This will be no doubt be a nudge for users still on Content/Libraries to move over to the newer Files functionality.

    Platform Enhancements

    The rollout of branding/themes started with the last couple of releases.  We will likely get the ability to now theme/brand each app individually (rather than one theme applying org wide).

    List views will also see Mass Quick Actions rolled out to more objects too.  While Persons Accounts should get the ability to create custom Quick Actions on the object.

    And Product Schedules should finally become available in Lightning Experience.  This should stop users having to switch back to Salesforce Classic to enable product schedules, or to establish/modify schedules for products.  Which is something one of my orgs uses alot, and has blocked Lightning roll-out for that team.

    Wrap up

    We will see if these possible features are actually included in Summer – and no doubt there will be a number of other additions which haven’t been included here… There are always 1,000s of features in each release – so I know we only touched the surface here!

    Appendix

    If you want to know more, one of the most helpful videos outlining some of the new features on the roadmap, is this one: True to the Core, which was originally included in my last post Dreamforce 2017 roundup.

    Also the Lightning Roadmap is available here, but a little out of date now Spring ’18 is in preview, it is available here.

    Hope that helps with exploring in more detail.

  • Passing the Platform App Builder & Platform Developer I Exams

    Sometimes overconfidence catches up to you when you least expect it.  That is probably really obvious.  But for me recently it was about two months ago, when I sat both the Platform App Builder Transition exam and the Platform Developer I exam.  When I went into the exam centre here in London, sat down and clicked the ‘Begin Exam’ button, only to find I was woefully unprepared for the exams…

    The result of that day, two exams failed.  But the story doesn’t end there.

    So I am going to share some of my personal Salesforce experiences leading up to this point and more importantly my lessons learned and resources which helped me ultimately pass both exams.

    Journey To Certified Technical Architect

    Stepping back in time for a moment, I passed my first exams back in 2012.  And I do say exams, as in plural.

    In May 2012, I decided to sit both the Salesforce Admin (ADM-201) & Force.com Developer (DEV-401) exams on the same day.

    I decided to take the plunge after working with Salesforce for around a year and get certified.

    Passes for both the Certified Administrator & Force.com Developer exams...
    Passes for both the Certified Administrator & Force.com Developer exams…

     

    My objective was simple enough, and I wanted to get a recognised credential I could take with me when I moved to the UK.  I figured having a globally recognised certification would help the transition and ultimately help me find employment.

    My plane to Abu Dhabi on the way to London…

    It was a time of massive change (picking up and moving to the other side of the world).  But my main ambition was to set up in London and travel around Europe.  And if you know many Aussies in London, this is a little stereotypical 🙂

    But those first steps I took, have set me on a path I have never looked back on.

    And over the last year, I have been continued planning next steps and my future direction within the Salesforce community and ecosystem.

    With the launch of the new certifications from Salesforce in late 2016, I have decided (like a lot of people) to slowly start working towards the goal of becoming a Salesforce Certified Technical Architect.

    Patterns are easy to form

    With a couple of other certifications over the last 18 months (like the Advanced Admin & Sales Cloud Consultant) – I relied more on my personal experiences and knowledge of the platform, rather than directly studying for the exams.

    Platform App Builder & Platform Developer I are both on the pathway to Certified Technical Artchitect
    Platform App Builder & Platform Developer I certifications are both on the pathway to Certified Technical Architect

    Sure, I ended up referencing the study guides, but after running through some practice quizzes, I was relatively sure I wouldn’t need further study.  But with this, I started to build a pattern of not taking the exams seriously enough.  Taking for granted my hands-on experiences and knowledge over the years getting me across the line.

    And so, I found myself eagerly booking in my App Builder transition exam & the Platform Developer I exam…

    Overconfidence and failure

    Why was I so unprepared?  You can probably guess where we are heading with this next part!

    I made the first mistake of where I expected the Platform App Builder exam to be the easier of the two exams that day.  In my head I just assumed it was just like the Force.com Developer Exam (DEV-401), which it was replacing.

    The transition exam is only 20 questions, but there is new material which is covered by the exam (and rightly so!).  But with only 20 questions, and being over-confident blinded me to the fact I should have studied.

    Overconfidence can get you in trouble

    Secondly I had booked both exams on the same day…  Which isn’t generally a great idea in the first place.  As it doesn’t leave you time to deal with a negative result before moving straight onto the next exam.  The unexpected failure on the Platform App Builder transition knocked me for six (a cricket metaphor for those who don’t know what this means).

    And I knew going into the exams that the Platform Developer I exam was going to be the weaker of two…  But even still, I assumed by developer experience of the last year would be enough to get by.

    Leaving the exam centre that day, I took the result badly.  I was being very hard on myself and kicked myself for not taking the exams seriously enough.  How could I have just expected to coast by?  Did I not know Salesforce at all?

    With my anxiety, my mind was the harshest critic and it tore me to shreds…  But I vowed to make sure not to repeat the mistakes again.  And to do that I needed acknowledge what went wrong, and plan a way forward.

    Take Two: Adam Strikes Back

    So quietly I made preparations to re-sit both exams.

    After coming up with a study plan and finding a number of helpful resources (which are shared below).  I can proudly say I am back on track and have passed both exams.

    row of traffic lights, green lights illuminated (digital composite) - source: TelegraphI must be a glutton for punishment as I still re-booked both exams on the same day, but the exam centre isn’t that easy for me to get to, so I ensured I booked time slots which would give me some time in between if needed.

    And as a funny/side anecdote  – as I was driving to the test centre, I had a ‘green light’ run.  Where every traffic light was either green or turned green on my way…  That never happens in London!

    Salesforce Platform App Builder Platform App Builder: Where did I go wrong?

    Now this may come from my past experiences and working with Salesforce now for over 7 years (hence over-confidence) but some of the questions on the Platform App Builder exam are easy… I mean really easy.  And almost make you second guess the answer as it is so obvious you think it is a trick question.

    I second guessed my answer about sandboxes the first time round, and ended up over thinking it and picking the wrong option… **DOH**

    But the area that really sunk me the first time around, generally related to the setting up of External Objects.  As I haven’t used these features of Salesforce, I was guessing.  And after studying External Objects, I know I got these completely wrong in that fateful first go of the exam!

    Also understanding the system limitations re: changing field data types was important as I had a couple of questions on this topic.

    Platform App Builder: Study Resources

    • SalesforceBen is pretty much a one stop shop for most certification exams nowadays, and the Platform App Builder was no exception.
    • Trailhead has a Trailmix specifically aimed at this certification
    • Salesforce888 & SalesforceMike both have a breakdown of the Platform App Builder Transition Exam

    And the Quizlet also has a number of flashcards/practise exams, but I found some of them had incorrect answers… So not 100% useful if you don’t know the answers.  Personally I used this one (link broken), and they seemed correct.

    Salesforce Platform Developer IPlatform Developer I: Where did I go wrong?

    There were a couple of areas, but the biggest areas I found when I failed needed to work on were the test execution/design patterns.  As I have never used Test Factory Data design or stored test data in Static Resources. Instead I have generally included a test method in the code I have written… But this isn’t very efficient in the long run!

    I also forgot topics in the exam that I know.  As an example I forgot the Order of Execution during the exam… Does a validation rule fire after a workflow?  I went completely blank…  I put this down to sitting this exam directly after failing the Platform App Builder.

    There are also five ‘product related questions’ throughout the exam, which actually have no bearing on the end-result.  At the time I did my exam, these related to Heroku (and I assume I got these wrong).  And I remember getting most of these early in the exam and this combined with the early failure in the exam before left me mentally panicking and I was freaking out that I knew nothing!  It was like reading another language!

    Platform Developer I: Study Resources

    • Order of Execution is key knowledge which is tested multiple times in the exam.  The questions I got in the test related to workflows, validation rules and triggers specifically.  But there could be other questions testing your understanding of this, and how to avoid recursion.
    • Vandevelde Jan’s blog post about the Platform Developer I exam was one of the most comprehensive I found online.  I can’t recommend it highly enough for those studying for this exam.
    • As mentioned above, SalesforceBen is also a go-to resource for certification resources and unsurprisingly has a post dedicated to the Platform Developer I.
    • There are additional resources available in this Trailblazer Community post.
    • And finally there is also a Trailmix focused on the Platform Developer I certification

    If you have access to Premier Support, you also have this online course for the Platform Developer I available to you.  It is an extensive overview of the course and exam questions.

    Have you got any resources relating to these exams to share?

    Please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

  • Cutting the Clutter: Maintaining a Clean Salesforce Org

    Maintaining a clean Salesforce org, doesn’t need to be a battle. Recently, I was watching a great webinar by Kelly & Leanne entitled ‘Cut that Clutter‘. And it got me thinking about how the problems faced by a cluttered Salesforce, and how it can easily consume an Admin’s time and effort. And it not only affects us as Admins, but also our end users! So in this post I am going to recap some of the awesome tips shared in this webinar, and also see offer some additional FREE tools to tackle the problem that so many of us face!

    The War Against Clutter

    Ok, ok. I admit that this header is full of hyperbole.

    Maintaining a Clean Salsforce, shouldn't be a battle...
    Don’t raise the white flag, in the war against clutter!

    But a cluttered Salesforce creates a lot of frustration and anxiety for me. And I assume most it does for most of you reading this too! My personal vendetta against clutter drives me to ensure I am always improving the org for my end-users…

    I have previously written about how we started to tame the Technical Debt beast haunting our primary orgs and removed over 2 million records from an org (hint: very manually).

    But there is still so much to do…

    It is a seemingly never-ending fight. But as Admin’s we are always looking for tools and resources to help us in our day to day Admin Superhero duties. And to help us in maintaining a clean Salesforce org…

    Cut that Clutter! – The Recap

    Now before we get much further. If you have a spare 30mins I strongly recommend that you watch the webinar as I am only going to briefly summarise it here…

    The session covers the Three-S’s. These are the primary areas to focus on, to ensure your CRM is kept in tip-top shape.

    • Security – making sure you know who can see what in your CRM
    • Structure – does the setup of Salesforce ensure data security and meet any data governance requirements
    • Strategy – how to plan and scale while ensuring you don’t have to keep doing ‘big clean-ups’ each year

    If you want to hear more, then please check out the video.

    Cut that Clutter: Resources mentioned

    Next up, the ladies mentioned some great tools to help you in maintaining your Salesforce org.

    From Salesforce:

    • Salesforce Optimizer (aka Optimiser in non-US/Canada countries 🙂 ) – I am in LOVE with Optimizer reports. It is such an amazing tool to help you analyse and understand where the Technical Debt is likely to be hiding within your org. This should be your first port of call, in maintaining a clean Salesforce. That is how much I love it!
    • Security Health Check – helps you understand any vulnerabilities you may have within your Salesforce. This covers areas like Password Policies, Critical Updates, etc.

    From AppExchange:

    • Field Trip – this tool is one I install in every org I have managed now for a number of years!! It is a great tool to help analyse and understand just which fields are being populated and used by your end users. It is worth noting, that if you have a field that is always updated automatically by a trigger/workflow… Then it will obviously show as being used, even if that trigger/workflow update isn’t actually required. But overall it will help you understand your org in very tangible way.
    • The Permissioner – can help you when mass assigning/removing Permission Sets from your users.

    From Trailhead:

    Additionally the ladies have set up an Admin Trailmix.

    This covers a number of modules covering: Salesforce Profiles/Permission Sets, User Authentication, Data Quality, Data Management and finally Reporting & Dashboards.

    Help with maintaining a clean Salesforce org

    Extra, extra! Two more tools to add to your Salesforce Cleaning toolkit…

    Now for the bonus round.

    There are always so many tools and ideas out there helping admins when maintaining a clean Salesforce org. And I am only skimming the surface with these next two tools…

    Compare Permission Sets & Profiles

    When watching the webinar, albeit not live, I started shouting at my screen.

    During the Security section, there was a point around Profiles/Permission Sets. As an admin it is a mammoth task to compare all profiles/permission sets and what they might grant access to within your org. This can be kryptonite to Salesforce Superadmins…

    There was a recommendation to switch off Enhanced Profile View, and then compare the permissions… But why do that? Especially, when there is a secret weapon at your disposal?

    Perm Comparator by John Brock is that secret weapon!

    Seriously… More people need to know about this tool! And I am not even on commission! 🙂

    Stop duplicates in their tracks…

    Salesforce hasn’t always been an admin’s best friend when it came to cleaning an org…And without getting all ‘back in my day’-ish…

    But there was a time Optimizer, Security Health Check and those tools simply didn’t exist.

    There was also a time Salesforce didn’t have an easy way to prevent duplicates… Admins had to either buy other tools to identify and manage duplicates, or create complex formulas and validation rules to try and prevent exact match duplicates.

    But when planning your strategy for maintaining a clean Salesforce, you should investigate the in-built duplicate management tools from Salesforce.

    After all, what good is cleaning up your security (profiles, access policies, passwords) and clearing out fields you don’t use any more – if your end users are still swimming in duplicate records?!

    The in-built feature will take care of the basics, but depending on your use case, there may still be a reason to buy a tool like Cloudingo or DemandTools (just to name a few).

    What is in your toolkit?

    De-cluttering your Salesforce can be so rewarding!
    De-cluttering can be so rewarding!

    As I mentioned I only skimmed the surface here… And this is a topic I can (and will likely) write more about in the future. I have rambled more than enough for now…

    So to wrap up the post, feel free to add any other suggestions or recommendations for your ‘Cleaning Salesforce Toolkit’ into the comments section below.

  • Secrets of Spring ’18: Hidden Formulas

    Spring ’18 is now live for most orgs, but there appears to be some changes included in the release which haven’t been documented :-O The great news for us Admins, the changes actually resolve a number of ‘simple’ problems we have when trying to calculate values in formulas.  So in this quick update we look at some of the new ‘hidden formulas’ included with Spring ’18 and some of the use cases where you might be able to apply them…

    Update: 26/Feb  – Eagle-eyed Ekaterina has pointed out in the comments, there are even more additional formulas available!  Here is a link to her blog if you want to read more…

    Update: 01/Mar – Salesforce have now scheduled an update to the Known Issue and scheduled an update via the Spring ’18 Patch 11.0.  To see what’s included, click here.

    Hidden Formulas: ADDMONTHS

    The first of the hidden formulas included in Spring ’18 is the new AddMonths function.

    Imagine you need a formula to calculate a date, which based off another date entered on a record.  For example, you could see this in action in Contract End Date (contract start date + 2mth duration = contract end date).

    The formula to add 2 months, while only using point and click Admin features, is quite little long winded (if you want to accurately account for Leap Years):

    IF(
      MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 2,
      IF(
        DAY( date ) > 28,
        DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH( date ) + 2 ) / 12 ), 3, 1 ),
        DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH( date ) + 2 ) / 12 ), 2, DAY( date ) )
      ),
      IF(
        OR(
          MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 4,
          MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 6,
          MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 9,
          MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 11
        ),
        IF(
          DAY( date ) > 30,
          DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH(  date  ) + 2 ) / 12 ),
           MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) + 1, 1 ),
          DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH( date ) + 2 ) / 12 ),
           MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12), DAY( date ) )
        ),
        IF(
          MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 0,
          DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH( date ) + 2 ) / 12 ) - 1, 12, DAY( date ) ),
          DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH( date ) + 2 ) / 12 ),
           MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12), DAY( date ) )
        )
      )
    )

    GULP!!

    But, now you will be able to use the AddMonths formula…

    So you want to add 2 months, to a field containing the start date of the contract, it is now as simple as:

    addMonths(date, 2)

    To see more details, until the official documentation is available, visit Ekaterina’s post here.

    Hidden Formulas: WEEKDAY

    Salesforce WEEKDAY formula
    Salesforce WEEKDAY formula

    Also in Spring ’18, and a little more obscure, is the new WeekDay function.

    It allows you to return a number (from 1-7) which indicates the day of the week, based on a date field within Salesforce.

    Before, once again, you could retrieve this information – but it was again a bit cumbersome:

    CASE(
      MOD( DATEVALUE(CreatedDate) - DATE(1900, 1, 7), 7), 
         0, "Sunday", 
         1, "Monday",  
         2, "Tuesday", 
         3, "Wednesday", 
         4, "Thursday", 
         5, "Friday", 
         6, "Saturday",
         "Error"
    )

    But now – simply use:

    WeekDay(date)

    And it will return for you, a number which represents the day of the week:

    1 = Sunday
    2 = Monday
    3 = Tuesday
    4 = Wednesday
    5 = Thursday
    6 = Friday
    7 = Saturday

    Hidden Formulas: CURRENCYRATE

     

    Salesforce CURRENCYRATE formula
    Salesforce CURRENCYRATE formula

    The next hidden formula in Spring ’18, is CURRENCYRATE.

     

    This formula will return the conversion rate used for a record’s currency code.

    So for example, if you have the default currency as USD.  But the record’s currency is GBP – you can now retrieve what the conversion rate is between those currencies.  And then display it as a formula field or use it in reports.

    CURRENCYRATE(IsoCode)

    As a possibly obvious tip, Currency Management will need to be activate in your org before you can use this…

    The returned value will be a number showing the currency conversion rate, eg 0.717412 (but you will be able to control how many decimals are shown).

    Hidden Formulas: MFLOOR & MCEILING

    Salesforce MCEILING formula
    Salesforce MCEILING formula

    These two final formula functions go hand in hand.  And now also available in Spring ’18!!

    Previously, we did have access to ROUND function:

    Round(decimalNumber, 2)

    Where you could round a decimal number to the number of decimals you specified in the formula.  But you couldn’t force Salesforce to round up or down… Until now!

    MCEILING will round a number up to the nearest positive whole number.  Whereas the MFLOOR will round down to the nearest positive whole number.

    Both functions will return 0, if the input number is a negative.

    So for example, if you have a number field which contains decimals but you want to round up or down, you can control this with these functions.

    To round up, to nearest whole number:

    MCEILING(number)

    To round down, to nearest whole number:

    MFLOOR(number)

     

    Found any others?

    No doubt Salesforce will be updating all relevant documentation and the Help site soon.  But if you have found any others, add them to the comments below!

  • How to Plan Your Move to Lightning Experience

    For many businesses, now is the time to move to Salesforce Lightning.  But moving to Lightning can feel like a daunting task.  Where should you start?  How to you make sure you don’t disrupt the business?  So in this first post, we will take a look at how to plan your move to Lightning Experience.

    In the next post, we look at how to implement your plan and go-live!  But in the meantime, if you have any tips of your own, feel free to add them in the comments section below.  And let’s start planning…

    Planning your move

    migrating to Lightning is all about planning

    Before we start, let’s just clear the air.

    As an #AwesomeAdmin you probably already know there is planning required to make the switch over.  The old adage – ‘failure to plan, is planning for failure’ – is never truer than when changing how a user works within a system.

    But driving user adoption and making the transition as smooth as possible, doesn’t need to be overly complicated process though.  And by planning your transition you set yourself up for the best possible result.

    So let’s get started.

    WIIFM?!… What’s In It For Me?

    One of the first steps to planning any change should to be understand the ‘what’s in it for me’.  It is the first question most users want to know about any change…

    Salesforce Lightning adoption - answer 'What's in it for me' from your end-users point of view
    Understanding ‘What’s In It For Me?’will help drive adoption…

    Sure Lightning Experience looks great.  You can now customise the colours to match your company identity…

    But that doesn’t really engage end-users in using the platform.  After all we want them to use the system once we make the change, don’t we?…

    Be honest with yourself.  Would a typical sales, customer service or partner really care about that?

    Answering this question for each type of stakeholder is one of the best ways to ensure everyone buys-in to making the move.

    A great example is dealing with a stakeholder from Sales.  Lightning offers many new features which benefit most sales users.  Here are a few…. Sales Path to guide on what to do in the system to move to the next stage.  Kanban board for managing your pipeline with drag-and-drop ease.  What about Sales Console?  Use of macros practically anywhere in Salesforce?

    The point here is to you need to demonstrate you understand your end-users by understanding their problems.  If you understand the problem, you can effectively position a feature or benefit that solves it.  And this helps engage these stakeholders early on…

     Why should we invest in making this change?

    The next step is to develop a business case.  It sounds horrible, but it can really help in convincing your senior stakeholders on why they should support the change.  And to drive adoption when launched, you need their support…

    Salesforce Lightning Experience across multiple devices
    Even Astro loves Lightning Experience…

    This may not be applicable for all business, but I always try to work out a rough cost/benefit to any changes my team make.  Even if it is just an estimate.  And this loops back to understanding the WIIFM within your business.

    Every business problem – and in turn the potential solution – have a potential time/cost associated with them.

    This is the gold dust in developing your business case to answer the question most senior stakeholders within business would ask,

    As an example, a simple cost-to-benefit calculation could be based on decreasing sales admin time.  By improving the time taken to process and close a contract within the system, you can quantify the potential upside to the business.

    So if an average salesperson closed an extra 2 deals a day/month/year due to improving the sales workflow in Lightning, how much is that worth to your business?  (average contract value * extra deals per day = potential upside).

    Keep in mind, this is only an estimate.  But it can be a useful way to engage the business and to capture metrics relating to the success of the project once completed.

    Mind the gap…?

    Salesforce has spent the last couple of years attempting to make Lightning match the features of Classic.  But there are still some gaps between Classic and Lightning Experience.

    The next item on our list is to check what these gaps actually mean your org.  By doing so you ensure your users can still use all key features they need.

    If there is a feature gap or limitation, the next step should be to look at the publicly available roadmap.  This outlines the upcoming features planned for release and may cover the feature that is a priority for you.

    Also each published version of the release notes now include a section on what is and what is not included in Lightning Experience.  For the Spring ’18 section, please have a look here.

    Side note: The roadmap is scheduled to be updated after the Spring ’18 release, but a handy video to watch about the Force.com platform and upcoming features is the True to the Core video.  Or there is a breakdown of the expected features in the 2018 predictions post here.

    Resources

    Salesforce is clearly invested in supporting all orgs to move to Lightning Experience.  Releases now introduce most new features as Lightning Experience only.  But to help, there is a wealth of content available for free to sink your teeth into.

    For starters there is a great Trailhead module specifically on getting hands-on with a Lightning Experience roll-out.  There is also a quick overview of the steps on the Admin blog.  But personally I highly recommend jumping to the Power of Us site, which has been setup to cover best practice for making the jump to Lightning.

    Each and every org now also has the Lightning Readiness Check built-in.  And the check gets an update every release to give you more and more insight into your org’s compatibility into making the change.

    If you want more information about how to take a business-first approach to rolling out Lightning, I found this article over on SalesforceBen.

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