Lightning

  • What I learnt rolling out Salesforce Lightning…

    Rolling out Salesforce Lightning is something most of us have or will shortly experience.  If you are an Admin, there is fewer and fewer reasons to not take the plunge and migrate over to Salesforce Lightning.

    I have long been pushing our various Salesforce instances towards being able to migrate to Lightning Experience. 

    We had focused so much time and energy trying to reduce the technical debt to a point we could possibly make the jump.  Until we made the decision to shift gears, and actually move into a shiny new org.

    But moving to Lightning, has taught me a few things as an admin/dev, and it is time to share!  So here are some musings/lessons/thoughts about rolling out Salesforce Lightning…

    Learn Lightning, inside and out! 

    I got to say, there was plenty of things that stumped me about the move across to Lightning.

    One that ALWAYS got me, was the difference between the Lightning Page Builder, the ‘normal’ page layout builder and what controls what on the actual overall layout in Lightning.

    Simplest way to learn this, is imagine the Lightning Page as the top layer, or shell, which allows you to organise the overall feel of a specific page in Lightning.

    Lightning page regions 

    • This is where you define how many columns you want to display, how where the columns/rows go.
    • It is also where you control what displays where.  And groups together things like record pages (ie the ‘normal page layout’), any widgets or components you want.
    • This is where you can control the sub-tabs which display in Lightning.  Like the Related sub-tab or Chatter/Activities

    Adding a Component to a Tab

    The thing that got me, the most when starting out? 

    This is NOT where you control the buttons, quick actions, etc visible on the page.  For that you still need to go and edit the Record Page.

    I don’t know why, but this is one thing that really irritated me the most until it finally just ‘clicked’ and made sense in my head.

    The section on the Record Page Layout for ‘Salesforce Mobile and Lightning Experience Actions’ is where you control this.

    But remember, you may have a Lightning page for all users.  But if you have a Record Page Layout for different profiles/record types, then you will have multiple places to manage this and make sure it is correct for everyone.

    Lightning is about speed and efficiency, so use it!

    So use the opportunity of moving to Lightning as a way to change how your processes work. If you are migrating to Lightning, you will have to review most (if not all) processes anyway. So use this as an opportunity to work with your internal stakeholders and improve the workflow for the end-users!

    Going through our transformation to Lightning, there was a ‘hit list’ of things we wanted to change.

    Depending on your scope re: the project and time allowed, you won’t hit everything. But by identifying and prioritising the ‘top speed boosters’ for your end-users, helps get them engaged in the overall project. And by even improving their workflow by reducing 3 or 4 clicks, you would be surprised how quickly this all adds up to measurable improvement for your users.

    Even reworking your page layouts, to display the information the end-user needs can add to the overall benefit of Lightning.

    Why is this important?

    Rolling out Salesforce Lightning, as a new User Interface, gives you a lot of flexibility. So the more you can do in this area, helps when it comes time to rolling out the new system and getting your users to buy-in and actually use Lightning!

    It all ties back into driving engagement and adoption. Which is the reason you are doing this change in the first place, isn’t it?

    It is a bigger jump for your dev team than you may realise…

    Through this project, I had the benefit of working with a number of top notch dev teams, but specifically the Salesforce dev team.

    But changing from Classic to Lightning, had a massive up-skilling implication for us as a company. And we ensured we gave the development team time to learn the ropes with Lightning Pages/Components/etc.

    To help out, we also tried to go as ‘out of the box’ as possible. But no matter how hard you push for this, there are likely to be business rules which need customisations.

    So don’t underestimate this!

    Allow your dev team time before the migration to up-skill and learn about how the new Lightning framework fits together.

    I would always loved to give our dev team more time for this, but keep in mind that you do have to try and balance this with likely delivery ‘windows’ within your organisation.

    We had a lot of other projects happening, both before and after this porject. So we had a specific time frame we had to aim for to release in. But we made it, and I think we managed to get a decent amount of time for our devs to learn the new world.

    Think about the data!

    As previously mentioned, we made a decision that it would be easier for the teams involved to deliver Lightning to the business as part of a new CRM. This was instead of the option to try and update/upgrade things in a Salesforce org that was around 12-14years old!

    For us, though this meant we also had to plan in a CRM Data Migration… YAY!

    Image result for data

    Now, you might not have the need to go this route. But data is still very important in the project.

    What data is visible, can in some circumstances be controlled by Lightning. Do you use Customisable Forecasts? Nope not Lightning compatible, instead you will need Collaborative Forecasts. Salesforce have done a massive job in trying to plug all the gaps between classic and Lightning, but some still exist. (Like Close Date showing in US Date format, regardless of locale settings – very confusing everywhere that isn’t US/Canada!)

    So, remember the data.

    Remember what you need your users to do in Lightning, and make sure they still can do it.

    It could be simple tweaks to page layouts (as per my first point). But you need to make sure everything that is needed, is visible to those who need it.

    And where there are system or feature differences, weigh up does the Lightning alternative work for you? And if yes, what training/coaching do users need to get used to the new way of working? Then this should feed into your overall training plan, as remember, Lightning is very different for end-users!

    Remember your Users (aka avoid the Bambi effect!)

    Any change of this nature is going to be big! As admins and developers, we have now been conditioned re ‘all things Lightning’. And have been for a number of years – even if you haven’t used it before yourself.

    Everything Salesforce related has been pushing Lightning now for a number of years…

    But the biggest thing here is, don’t underestimate the change for your end-users. Remember this will mostly be brand new to them. And some will likely resist the move, at first…

    One anecdote for you, which was something that I had to fight hard against myself. Don’t underestimate the impacts of some of the ‘out of the box’ features that come with Lightning. Remember as Salesforce users we have seen things like Kanban and Lightning Consoles in every Salesforce demo and feature release now for a number of years…

    And this is how you want to ensure you avoid your end-users becoming like the proverbial ‘deer in the headlights’ (aka Bambi).

    Image result for bambi headlight
    Oh look, new features!

    When we rolled out Salesforce Lightning, our sales and finances team LOVED Kanban View on their relevant list views. But it was something that was easy for the delivery team to skip over or avoid, because for us we had seen it all before, and it wasn’t part of what we were actually developing…

    But we didn’t deliver that as a feature… Or did we?!

    Sometimes the project team got a little disheartened, myself included. Why? Because the meetings you go to with end users, they would always say how ‘we love these things’, but those were the Salesforce Lightning ‘out of the box’ features, like Kanban.

    But to make those features work and work properly for your teams, there is a lot of effort that is needed to ensure they work as expected. You have to adjust all the things that go on ‘inside’ Salesforce, in the places end-users don’t really see! Like your workflows and validation rules. These things simply have to be in-sync with what you are trying to deliver with Lightning.

    So we might not have created Kanban, but we did everything behind the scenes that makes it work fluidly/’drag and drop’ in a system. We updated the workflows, approval rules and validation rules behind the scenes to allow users to be able to ‘simply drag and drop’ records into the new status.

    In the old classic workflow, we would just throw up a validation error (not best practise, but so many orgs do this), if something was missing. But now moving to Lightning, this gave us a huge opportunity to rethink how/when certain information got entered in Salesforce.

    Rolling out Salesforce Lightning? Engage the top brass, and the foot soldiers

    A project on this scale, will need so many different people to be involved.

    Success is paramount on engaging the top brass (ie senior leaders/stakeholders) and getting them involved in the process. And likewise, you have to also get the foot soldiers (or your super users) comfortable enough to be able to help take some of the questions.

    We treated this as much of a culture change, as it was a system change. And that seemed to work really well for the project.

    There are a lot of ways to do this, and you can search until the cows come home about Change Management practices. But put simply you and your team will need allies and generals. People on your side to help push your message across the teams / organisation and drive adoption.

    And the biggest lesson here, is to remember that everyone reacts to change differently. Doesn’t matter what it is.

    But by treating this like a cultural change, and preparing to support people as they went through the ‘change curve‘, you can help ‘short circuit’ the pain of change. You won’t get rid of it completely, but you can come up with a plan that helps people transition through to the ‘new way’ as quickly as possible.

    Rolling out Salesforce Lightning is like any change.  Here is a Change Management curve
    Rolling out Salesforce Lightning, can impact people differently. The ‘change curve’ highlights a number of outcomes…

    And finally…

    There is a lot to go through. The key to success really is to plan. I have touched on a number of facets to what we learned as part of our Lightning migration. Everyone has a different starting point, both re: Salesforce instance but also experience with driving changes within an organisation.

    Planning your project will put you in good stead, and by scheduling in the change on your roadmap, you can use it as a golden opportunity to revisit almost everything to do with how Salesforce works at your organisation.

    As part of this revisit, decide what are the must-haves and things that need to change, versus the nice-to-haves. And also use this as a chance to try to identify any risks to the project.

    But don’t just focus on ‘must-haves’. Sometimes the nice-to-haves are the things that also help you get people excited about a new system…

    Comments below!

    Have you recently moved across to Lightning? What are your tips or lessons for moving to Lightning?

    Or if you are planning on moving to Lightning, what are the things you are most looking forward to (or nervous about)?

  • 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:

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Spring ’18 Deep Dive: Reports & Dashboards

    Spring ’18 release brings with it a swag of new features.  But it also brings with it a big makeover for reports and dashboards.  In this post we are going to take a deep dive into reports and dashboards in Spring ’18, and see what is coming our way.

    Additionally (and most excitingly) this is the starting point for new reporting and dashboard features within the Lightning.  With another more features heading out way over the coming releases.  To see what this includes, check out feature predictions for 2018 here.  Otherwise let’s get started!

    Dashboards in Spring ’18

    Coming in Spring ’18 your users will now be able to subscribe to dashboards easily within Lightning.

    By setting up a subscription schedule (either Daily, Weekly or Monthly), Salesforce will then schedule a refresh of the dashboard and send out an email update to the user.

    Subscribe to Dashboard in Salesforce Lightning
    Subscribe to a dashboard. Source: Salesforce

    And keeping with the myLightning ability to theme and customise your Lightning instance, dashboards now support more customisation and personalisation by selecting a colour theme.

    Additionally you can then choose the theme by individual component to highlight sections.

    Set a colour pallette for your Dashboards
    Colour your dashboards whichever way you want! Source: Salesforce

     

    Report Builder (Lightning)

    Lightning Report Builder was first introduced in the Winter ’18 release.  But the new report builder is in beta, meaning there are a number of known limitations.  Reports and dashboards in Spring ’18 starts to bridge that gap.

    Most features in Spring ’18 release are migrated Classic features.  But these features are reworked to operate in a very Lightning way.  After all what good is it having a new user interface, and not take advantage of reworking how users can use the system?

    Most importantly it is easy to see how this is a stepping stone to the future for Reports & Dashboards in Lightning Experience.

    Summary Formulas, Buckets & Cross-Filters

    As mentioned above, these aren’t specifically new features.  But they are new for the new Report Builder and operate a little differently.

    For example being able to create a summery bucket on a column, simply select the column dropdown and create:

    Report Builder and creating a Bucket column
    Creating a summary bucket within the Lightning Report Builder. Source: Salesforce

    Or creating a cross-filter, which is also easily done now within the new Report Builder:

    Create a Cross-Filter within the Lightning Report Builder
    Create a Cross-Filter within the Lightning Report Builder. Source: Salesforce

    How to activate the new Lightning Report Builder

    To get access to all of the new features of reports and dashboards in Spring ’18, you will need to first activate the new Report Builder.

    A note before we start, there is a key dependency to activating Lightning Report Builder… That prerequisite is  enhanced folder sharing needs to be enabled.

    If your org was created after the Summer ’13 Salesforce release, you already have enhanced folder sharing. If your org isn’t already using enhanced folder sharing, see Turn On Enhanced Sharing for Reports and Dashboards in the Salesforce Help.

    Go to Setup -> Reports and Dashboards Settings -> Enable Lightning Report Builder (beta):

    Enable Lightning Report Builder (Reports and dashboards in Spring '18)
    Enable Lightning Report Builder

     

    Once enabled, remember to also update either a profile or permission set to include access to the Report Builder (Lightning Experience) too:

    Enabling Report Builder Lightning Experience
    Enabling the Report Builder (Lightning Experience) on a profile

    Remember, if you don’t see this option, you need to check your Folder Sharing rules within Salesforce.  And you will have to check via Classic Setup…  The irony isn’t lost – this dependant setting is only available via Classic Setup menu currently. 🙂

    Before enabling though, ensure you are aware of the implications of doing so.  Especially how this will impact end-users within your org.  When you are ready, jump back into Classic UI and then go to: Setup -> Folder Sharing -> “Enable access levels for sharing report and dashboard folders”.

    Wrap up

    The changes to reports and dashboards in Spring ’18 gives us an insight into where Salesforce is taking the analytics features of the platform.  Along with the added flexibility the Lightning Experience grants.

    Overall reports & dashboards within Salesforce are finally getting much deserved makeover…  And there is more to come over the next few releases!

  • Salesforce Spring ’18 Release is almost here!

    Wait, what?!  Wasn’t it just Dreamforce last month?  Oh no, that was two months ago now!  And hold up, doesn’t it feel like winter has really only just started?  (I’m looking at you, US of A & Canada, and your freezing temperatures this last week).  Well as far as the good folks at Salesforce are concerned, that is the perfect time to start preparing for the Spring ’18 release.

    After making a number of feature predictions for 2018 in the last post, I am eager to see what has been included in this release.

    So let’s get release ready and warm up by the fireplace (or cool down by the aircon if you’re in the Southern hemisphere). And let’s look at the top 10 features for Sales and Service Cloud coming in the Spring ’18 release…

    Top Sales & Service Cloud Features in Spring ’18

    Macros, macros, everywhere!

    Macros are now available almost everywhere in Lightning Experience
    Macros are now available almost everywhere in Lightning Experience

    Spring ’18 release brings one killer feature that was only previously available in Console Apps.

    Macros!!!!  Technically Quick Text is now also available too in Spring ’18.  But as you can probably see, it is Macros that really have me revved up!

    You can now setup and use macros on pretty much every object now.  That’s right, most custom and standard objects are now available to use with macros – providing they support Lightning Experience.

    These are so useful for speeding up those really common processes that are so repetitive and tiresome for your users.  Click here, send that, update this field, mark as complete… Can now all be done at a click of a button (obviously once setup).

    Also Macros Utility Bar & Macro Builder both have an updated/easier to understand layout too.

    myLightning

    myLightning was announced at Dreamforce this year, and will be released in Spring ’18.  Truth be told, it seems that myLightning was just marketing ‘packaging’ for a number of new features which takes Lightning even further.

    Lightning Experience - Custom Themes with Dynamic Pages

    Custom Themes

    First up, there is Custom Themes which allow you to brand and theme your Salesforce instance to make your company’s brand (like the T-Mobile example, pictured left).

    Lightning Experience & Components

    Another killer feature, and of course Lightning Experience only, is the new Dynamic Components feature.  It allows you to control when to display certain Components within the Lightning App.  There are some limitations to what filters can be used, but there is plans to expand this feature over the coming releases (refer the features section in my last post for more).

    On top of this, Salesforce are now expanding the ability to set Component Visibility Rules across related objects and fields, instead of being limited to the record you are viewing.  This expands the options to control what is displayed and when…

    And when arranging your components on any Lightning Page into collapsible sections (accordion style).  This allows your users to now de-clutter what they are seeing and find what they need a whole lot quicker.

    Example of Accordion sections
    Spring ’18 and Collapsible Sections!

     

    Choose your own Path

    There is a very easy to miss feature has been included in this release.  Possibly due to the fact it is still only a preview feature.  But you can now setup a Path based on any picklist, across all standard objects.

    If you are not aware of what Path is, it provides your users with a quick guide on what are the next steps to progress a deal or a lead.  But it was only limited to the status or stage field, and only on a handful of objects.

    Personally I think it is an amazing feature that can really help drive adoption in a simple and easy to understand way.  But now, Salesforce are opening the doors to help all admins drive system and process adoption by expanding what options you can use to set up a Path for your users…

    Here is the example in the Release Notes.  It shows how you might setup a Path, and help your users on-boarding a new client:

    Salesforce Lightning Experience & Sales Path
    Path, now helps you go your own way… (click for full image)

    Mass Quick Actions

    BOOM - Spring 18 introduces Mass Quick Actions

    Bulk editing records from a list view, has been frankly a little tiresome within Lightning.  But fret now, you can now allow your users to use Mass Quick Actions to update up to 200 records within a list view.  It is only available for Cases, Leads and custom objects at this stage.   But I think it still deserves a little **BOOM**

    Clean your data

    Who doesn’t love a clean Salesforce?

    Spring 18 introduces new ways to clean your data

    I have been using Salesforce now for over nine years, and every single org has always had some form of record duplication.

    Salesforce has been taking steps to help Admins over the years when introducing the built-in duplication management toolkit.  But Spring ’18 has upped the ante.

    Rather than waiting for a duplicate to be blocked or alerted, you can now run a Duplicate Job when using your existing Matching Rules.  Right from the Setup menu.  It works for Business Accounts, Person Accounts, Leads and Contacts at this stage.

    And with Spring ’18, when the Duplicate Job has completed you can report on the results, share the results or take action directly within the Duplicate Job feature and merge those pesky records!!!

    Data privacy

    With GDPR and other privacy regulations coming into effect shortly, Salesforce has included a range of tools to support the Salesforce community through this change.  There is even a new standard object for storing an Individual’s privacy preferences.

    Now is the time to read up on all features relating to GDPR, and a quick search of the release notes will show you all specific updates regarding GDPR.  Here are two points that may help you in preparing for these changes.

    When does the Sandbox Preview for Spring ’18 start?

    Any sandbox refreshed before the 5th/6th January 2018, will routed to a Preview Instance.  This means that if you want to Preview the Spring ’18 release in a sandbox you have to refresh before this date.  For more details, check out this Salesforce page.

    All refreshes completed after the 9th/10th January, will be routed through to a sandbox with Winter ’18.

    When does Spring ’18 get released?

    Salesforce is planned to start rolling out the Spring ’18 release from February 3rd 2018.

    Other Resources

    As per every other release, there is a wealth of information available to get up to speed with the changes.

    Got a favourite feature in Spring ’18?

    Tell us about it below in the comments section!

    Adios for now…

  • Top 4 Salesforce Predictions for 2018

    It is the holiday season, and it is a time for being with family and friends. It is also a time to celebrate the year that was, along with planning for the year that is to come. Can you believe it, it is now 2018…. And with a new year, comes new expectations. In the Salesforce world, this means new features and new use cases. In this post we are going to look ahead to a number of Salesforce predictions for 2018.

    Salesforce Prediction #1: Salesforce revenue tops $12.5bn

    Salesforce Prediction: Revenue Forecast for FY18/19
    Salesforce Revenue Forecast (from Dreamforce 2017)

    This one shouldn’t be a a massive surprise, as it has been forecast in every quarterly update. But unless things go horribly wrong over the first three months, Salesforce will confirm it has sailed past the target of $10B revenue for its FY17/18 and pass $12.5bn for FY18/19!!!

    Marc Benioff has been quoted in the media saying: “We did this faster than any other enterprise software company in history. Our continued momentum as the leader in CRM, the fastest-growing segment of our industry, combined with more than $15 billion in billed and unbilled deferred revenue, puts us well on the path to $20 billion and beyond.”

    Why is this interesting? Firstly we could see Salesforce start acquiring more companies over the coming 12mths. Last year was all about bedding in the huge number of acquisitions from 2016. We are likely to continue to see new products and features from the purchases, but are there new ones on Benioff’s radar?

    This will make the battle between the Enterprise SAAS titans all the more interesting over the coming year, as Salesforce’s competitors gear up to take on the CRM behemoth. 2018 will see this competition among CRM platforms heat up… Which can only be a good thing for us as they all push each other to further innovate.

    Salesforce Prediction #2: Artificial Intelligence

    Buzzword and passing fad? Or a trend to look out for? However you feel about it, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will still be all around us in 2018. Einstein has celebrated its first birthday in 2017. After a slow start, new AI-enabled features being rolled out more frequently now.

    Helping hand: AI & Human

    But it isn’t just about Einstein. Recently I attended the “Week of Innovation” here in the lovely Salesforce Tower (aka Heron Tower) in London. One of the sessions that caught my eye was a Salesforce Ventures presentation. In it they highlighted the venture capitalist strategy, but also their portfolio of recent investments. And a number of these are also looking to leverage AI to solve specific business problems.

    For example, Digital Genius for AI in a Customer Service environment, TalkIQ for AI powered insight on call coaching your reps and Squirro for event-driven insights. All of these companies have been invested in by Salesforce Ventures, which shows that Salesforce is taking AI very seriously and looking to grow the AI & CRM ecosystem.

    Salesforce Prediction #3: Dreamforce customisation features (my, my, my)

    Another solid prediction… New features! My, oh my! But just bear with me…

    If you have been to a Salesforce presentation… Everything starts off with the ‘Forward Looking Statement’ (used to be called the Safe Harbor Statement). And this section will be no different! 🙂

    2018 will continue to see the standard 3x releases bring in a number of new features. So we will continue to be kept busy keeping up to date with all the planned features.

    Lightning Experience - Custom theme setup

    To start with, the big ‘my’ announcements at Dreamforce should all become available throughout 2018:

    • myLightning and all the custom theme goodness, is due for release in Spring ’18 (it is in the preview notes)
    • myTrailhead is expected to be generally available after a beta period. This is likely to be GA in H2 2018 (which is most likely to be the Winter ’19 release).
    • mySalesforce, myIoT, myEinstein will also likely become available too either in Summer ’18 or Winter ’19.

    Salesforce Prediction #4: New features keep on coming, to Lightning though…

    Another prediction for 2018: Salesforce will continue the trend of “Lightning Experience only” with new features. But what features can we expect to see in 2018? I have dug through a number of online videos, presentations and roadmaps to find out what is coming our way and here are some of the best features I found:

    Reports and Dashboards

    Reports and Dashboards in Lightning will get a lot of attention over the coming releases:

    • Dashboard tables will get reworked. Instead of being tied to the source report, the upcoming feature will allow you to have access to all the fields on your report type. (Likely Spring ’18 & Summer ’18)

    • Dashboard & Chart colour configuration allowing you to essentially create a custom look for your dashboard. (This should be available in Spring ’18)
    • Winter ’18 brought us Dashboard & Report folders within Lightning. But next year we will likely see the ability to create subfolders. (Likely in Summer ’18)
    • 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. (Likely Summer ’18)
    • Joined Reports in Lightning (Likely Summer ’18 via beta/pilot)
    • Ability to sort columns based on aggregate (Likely Summer ’18)
    • General usability updates, including ability to resize columns on reports and rename field labels in the report (Likely Winter ’19).

    Dynamic Lightning Components

    We saw the first iteration of this in Winter ’18 release, but there will be more ways to control dynamic components in upcoming releases. Potentially including the ability to filter the component by who the user is or by device being used.

    The presentation I saw on this actually went as far to say that Salesforce are working towards being able to release dependent page layouts… Which would be fascinating in the possibilities it would unlock for Admins and Developers on the platform!

    Lightning & Lists

    Inline edits when in list view have been in Lightning now for a number of releases. But the ability to mass action/update records has been limited.

    Moving forward, we will see a number of improvements to how you can work with lists when in Lightning. Things like the ability to mass change owner of records. Or updating multiple records from a list view with a Lightning Action…

    When will we see these? Well it is on the future roadmap for post-Spring ’18 releases.

    Wrap up

    So that is it for now. That was a glimpse at the crystal ball for 2018.

    As we all know, Salesforce is an ever-evolving beast of a platform. It will no doubt continue to drive industry-specific focus via packaged CRM features for industries (like Health Cloud or Financial Services Cloud). Are we likely to see a Retail Cloud some time soon?

    The year ahead also introduces a number of challenges for Admins, Developers and Specialists in the form of new privacy regulations. The largest change coming our way is GDPR, for companies dealing with individuals within the European Union.

    But as with every year, there is always a lot to look forward to. So happy new year and let the good times roll!

    Share your predictions

    Do you have any Salesforce predictions of your own? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

    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.

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