salesforce admin

  • Salesforce Briefs: Salesforce Tower now the ‘Eye of Sauron’ (for Halloween) & Dreamforce Wrap-up

    With Halloween now behind us, we are fast approaching the silly/holiday season!  This week’s wrap up we have Salesforce getting into the Halloween spirit with Salesforce Tower turning into the ‘Fiery Eye of Sauron’! (Hopefully just for Halloween and not the start of something more! )  Also in this post, we have a Dreamforce wrap-up for you, so if like me you missed it, you can catch up on all the happenings earlier in the month.

    Salesforce Tower gets turned into the ‘Fiery Eye of Sauron’

    After a petition gathered pace and received over 11,000 signatures – Salesforce turned Salesforce Tower into a spooky sight for Halloween…

    For those who haven’t read the books or watched the movies, ‘Fiery Eye of Sauron’ is a reference from the Lord of the Rings.

    [xyz-ihs snippet=”BrockKeelingTweet-Halloween”]

    Though it would be interesting to know how/who managed to convince Marc Benioff of this idea, as he seemed against it at the start of the month telling , “I would prefer for it to become a signal for Batkid as our city needs a lot of love right now.”

    Read more at SFGate or NBC.

    Dreamforce wrap-up

    So as another year wraps up, another massive Dreamforce is now done and dusted for 2018!  To wrap up on all things Dreamforce 2018, there are a number of key resources to check out!  (Unfortunately I wasn’t able to personally attend this year).

    • David Liu over at SFDC99 gives us his wrap up and learnings from the event.
    • Jen Lee also has a post covering off all her sessions from Dreamforce, if you interested in anything automation/flow, it is well worth the look!
    • SalesforceWeek.ly also covered the Dreamforce keynote with a hilarious Fact Check: Dreamforce Keynote.
    • ZDNet has a Dreamforce recap on ai, automation and integration.
    • CRN has a ‘5 things we learned at Dreamforce’ recap.
    • And the official recap from Salesforce also gives a brief overview of all the happenings from the week.

    But one session I live for each and every year is ‘True to the Core’ with Parker Harris.  (So much so, I will be doing a recap of the video some point in the near future! Similar to last year’s post…)

    If you have never seen this session before, you need to!   It covers the roadmap and upcoming direction for the various elements across the Salesforce platform…

     

    Best Podcasts for Salesforce Admins

    Also this week, I stumbled across a great list of podcasts for the Salesforce #AwesomeAdmin within you!  If you looking for new podcasts to listen to on the way to work… Live the Salesforce dream and tune in 🙂

    Personally, I would also add ‘The Wizard News’ to this list for an entertaining and often LOL-funny listen on all things within the Salesforce world…

     

    The SAP vs Salesforce battle continues…

    Is this really even a battle?  SAP announced a number of ‘victories’ over Salesforce recently…

    Personally I don’t want to discount SAP, but having worked with CRM teams who manage SAP systems, and my own experience of Salesforce… I still feel there is a really large gap between the platforms.  But never stop watching, as a tighter contest in the CRM space, could lead to more innovation given the scale and size of the competitors in this market.

    https://www.enterprisetimes.co.uk/2018/10/10/is-sap-tilting-at-salesforce-crm-crown/

     

    Marc Benioff in the headlines

    The man at the helm of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, is a very interesting character.  He definitely knows how to generate a headline, but often for a good cause.  Generally he tries to be the change he wants to see in the world.

    Over the last couple of weeks he is trying to focus attention on the homelessness issue in San Francisco, tackling other tech entrepreneurs on how to best try to solve the issue.  It is a long-standing and complex issue, so there surely isn’t just one way to try to tackle this issue, but it is great to see this being focused on.

    Additionally CNN Business also wrote a profile piece on Marc this month, which covers some of his other philanthropic efforts.

  • 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!).

  • A Tale of Salesforce API Limits

    Everyone loves data, I am sure of it…  The key difference though, is most people in their right mind, simply wouldn’t admit it.  Data is useful, particularly in this day and age, in what is now commonly referred to as the Information Age.

    Now, you might be thinking I am crazy – and that is probably true – but data is the life-blood of modern-day organisations.  So what happens when can’t query, transform or extract your data because you hit Salesforce API Limits?

    gasp in horror, hitting API limits during a data migration

    Intro to APIs….

    Ok, ok – I hear you.  What the hell is an API limit?  For that matter, what the f*** is an API?  And why should you care?

    Starting at the beginning (feel free to skip this section if you already know this!)…

    An API, or Application Programming Interface, is at its most basic a way programs or systems talk to each other.  I am way over-simplifying things here.  But an API ultimately allows one piece of software to communicate with another piece of software in an agreed way.

    data apis, allow computers to talk to each other
    APIs allow computers to talk to each other

    Software, like Salesforce, is built to be a relatively open platform.  And they do this by using a number of APIs to allow other bits of software to communicate and link to it.  These links allow developers to do things like query, extract, create or update records within Salesforce with relative ease.

    Salesforce supports SOAP API, REST API, BULK API, Streaming API, Metadata API, etc….  So there is a number of ways to access what you need.

    Tools you may use as an Admin everyday, use a variety of these APIs.  For example, DataLoader uses the SOAP/REST/BULK APIs depending on its setup.  Likewise Workbench supports APIs too, as it can connect and manipulate data, query the fields, test API connections within Salesforce.

    Even tools like Salesforce for Outlook use APIs to query records and insert attachments.  And as an admin this is why you should care.  These tools, along with many others, use APIs to connect to Salesforce.

    But with great power, comes great responsibility…

    So with all these connections into and out of Salesforce globally, surely that can slow down the platform?

    That is what brings us to the Salesforce API limits.

    Salesforce is a multi-tenanted platform, meaning no-one company has an exclusive server/computer/machine setup for them, everyone shares the infrastructure which drives the platform.  So being cloud-based, Salesforce needs to ensure the performance of the platform works for everyone.

    To do that, Salesforce impose limits.  Governor Limits, Storage Limits, Per User Limits….  All based on the version you have bought from them.

    These limits are designed primarily to cap usage of the platform, ensuring stability of the platform and still give a fair amount of flexibility.  All the while, also providing a potential upsell opportunity for extra Salesforce services (eg Data Storage limit).

    Salesforce API Limits

    Among these limits though are API Limits.  And even though you normally shouldn’t notice there are limits in place, when you do hit the limits – especially when you hit them unexpectedly – it can be a little jarring…

    System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapException: REQUEST_LIMIT_EXCEEDED: TotalRequests Limit exceeded.
       at System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapHttpClientProtocol.ReadResponse(SoapClientMessage message, WebResponse response, Stream responseStream, Boolean asyncCall)

    This is the error which stops all work via APIs… If you rely on APIs to connect to your systems – you really don’t want to see this message!

    In this example, a connection using the SOAP API to connect into Salesforce has reported the Request Limit has been exceeded…

    Did I do that? API Limit in Salesforce hit...

    Diagnosing API usage…

    As an Admin, to diagnose the issue the first port of call is to analyse and find out how you hit the limit.

    Every org has quick look view at the API limits.  So go ahead – check for yourself.  Go to Setup | Quick Find | System Overview to see what you have within your org (if you have access to the Setup/Config of your org that is…).

    Salesforce API Usage within System Overview
    Not quite there yet… But closing in on the daily API limit!

    Firstly, all this really confirms is what has happened.  Like a car not starting, you have confirmed there is a problem – but you haven’t diagnosed the issue.

    When is 24hrs, not 24hrs?

    And secondly, when is the 24hrs?  Is it a rolling 24hr period, is it the start of each day local time or even the start of the day in San Francisco?

    Well, the good news is this limit is a rolling 24hr period.  Meaning it shows you the last 24hrs, from the time you are checking the limit.  This is important to know, if you have a lot of batch processes which might be scheduled at specific times of the day.

    Is that all the information you need?

    Does that really help you though?  Overall it doesn’t really give you much insight as to what has really happened within your org.

    So, what about Company Information?  There is an API Request Limit there too…. (Go to Setup | Quick Find | Company Information)

    API Limits at 99%
    Company Information in Setup

    Nope… still not much help!  In this example (yes, two different orgs), we can see the API Limits is 98.9% at the limit for the day.  So you will likely start to see problems with API connections…

    API Usage Last 7 Days

    On the Help page, Salesforce referenced an ‘API Usage Last 7 Days’ report, but didn’t mention where I could find the actual report!

    The help article advises that you need: ‘View Setup and Configuration’ permission on your to see this report.  I definitely have this permission within the org…. But I still couldn’t find the report: 

    Then I was reminded about the fact Salesforce comes with some generic but useful standard reports.  And guess what is included in the folder!?  Yep, an API Usage Report 🙂

    But you need to go via the Administrative Reports folder in Classic to view it…  Go to Reports | Folders | Administrative Reports:

    API Usage Report in Salesforce
    Salesforce API Usage in Last 7 Days Report

    If that doesn’t work for you, you can also use this URL hack (thanks to Joshua) to jump to the report within your org:

    https://na1.salesforce.com/00O?rt=104&retURL=%2F00O&c=UN&c=FULL_NAME&c=EM&c=CID&c=TS&c=CC&duel0=FULL_NAME%2CUN%2CEM&scope=organization&details=yes
    Replace the na1 with your instance.  Below is the same url without the na1.salesforce.com
    	
    	/00O?rt=104&retURL=%2F00O&c=UN&c=FULL_NAME&c=EM&c=CID&c=TS&c=CC&duel0=FULL_NAME%2CUN%2CEM&scope=organization&details=yes

    Diagnosis, complete…

    Well… Almost….

    The report gives you a great breakdown to see what/who is using up your Salesforce API Limits over the last 7 days.  But it doesn’t fix the overall issue.  The fix itself can be as complex as the software/tool that is causing the API Limit to be used up!

    But at least you can now diagnose the issue and decide if you can fix the issue, alternatively if it is something you aren’t likely to be able to fix/reduce you can sometimes buy additional API Limits from Salesforce by speaking with your AE…

  • Salesforce Maintenance Exams are moving to Trailhead

    Waking this morning, I found an interesting email in my inbox. Salesforce have announced at TrailheadDX that Salesforce Maintenance Exams are moving to Trailhead!

    And best of all Maintenance Exams will become free after the Summer ’18 exam cycle.

    Salesforce Maintenance Exams are moving to Trailhead

    Here is the email if you didn’t see or receive it:

    Salesforce Certification Maintenance Exams are now moving to Trailhead and will be free...
    Salesforce Maintenance Exams are moving to Trailhead and will be free…

    Why is this good news?

    Well firstly, this move will remove the $100 charge for maintaining your ceritifications. So if you had your Admin and Dev certifications, that is $200 a year saved!

    Secondly Trailhead has become a lynch-pin for Salesforce and allows people to learn about the platform even without having access to a Salesforce org. This will no doubt be the start of an overall move to Trailhead platform. As we have already seen the Platform Dev II exam require certain Trailhead modules to be completed.

    And finally in my personal opinion the WebAssessor site is a little date and clunky. Especially as the number of certifications + Maintenance Exams have started to expand in recent years.

    What can we expect to see moving forward?

    As mentioned above, there is already a number of Trailheads which relate to certifications/accredidation. So we can expect to see the tighter integration of Trailhead & Salesofrce Certifications moving forward.

    The future really is, Trailhead.

    Where can I get more information?

    Here is a Frequently Asked Questions section on the Certification site, which explains the timelines and changes in more detail.

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