Summer ’17

  • Salesforce Hacks: Using picklists to clean your data

    One struggle every Salesforce admin faces, is how to get users inputting the right data. Free form text fields with no format or structure to them. And then trying to report on these fields becomes a nightmare! So how do you then make sure your users are entering in the correct values? That is where the wondrous (yet often overlooked) field type called a ‘picklist’ comes in…

    say picklist again...

    And picklists within Salesforce can help you structure data while guiding your users to complete fields as needed. While recent releases have also added to their versatility. In turn, this can help you as an Awesome Admin setup your Salesforce data more effectively.

    So let’s go back to basics and dive in to Salesforce Picklists!

    You keep saying picklist!!!!!

    Let’s take a quick step back to make sure everyone has the same understanding of what a picklist is.
    A picklist is ultimately a way to present several values to the user, and restrict what then select as a value in the field.
    As an example, a status field when selected could show ‘To do’, ‘In Progress’ or ‘Done’ in the picklist.

    Two types to rule them all.

    Now we start getting into the fun stuff. And yes, I know I am a bit of a geek! In Salesforce there are two basic types of picklists available for an Admin to create, the regular ‘Picklist’ and ‘Multi Select Picklist’.

    The primary difference is illustrated below, where a ‘Picklist’ only allows one value to be entered at a time, while Multi-Select picklists allow a user to select more than one value.

    standard salesforce picklist
    A Standard Picklist allows a user to select one value.

    A Multi-select Picklist allows a user to select more than one value.

    Flexibility with global control

    Reuse the same picklist values across various picklist fields.

    Picklists and world domination… Not coming to a cinema near you!

    Seriously though, as you can hopefully see picklists give you a fair amount of flexibility. But what if you want the same picklist options available across different objects in Salesforce?

    As of Winter ’17 release, you can now define a common or global set of values for any picklist in your org to use. To do this for a new picklist you can go to:

    In Classic: Setup -> Create -> Picklist Value Sets
    Or in Lightning: Setup (via the little gear icon) -> Object and Fields -> Picklist Value Sets

    And as added extra, the Summer ’17 release allows you to promote any existing picklist values and turn it into a global value set. Simply go to the picklist you want to promote, and you will see a button on the top of the page.

    Promote an existing picklist to a Global Value Set.
    Promote an existing picklist to a Global Value Set.

    Picklist ‘gotchas’

    Picklists are very handy in ensuring your users add the right value into the field. But because of the way they are structured there are a few things to remember when setting up and using picklists.

    1) Record types:

    Have you ever wondered why one user will see an option in the drop down, but someone else can’t see that option? The combination of record type and the profile of the user defines what she/he will see on-screen! (Don’t worry though, this one gets even the most seasoned of admins.)

    2) Dependant picklists:

    Alternatively, it could be a dependant picklist. This is where the value of one field, controls what options are available in the second field. An example of this could be on an Opportunity – where you have two picklists – the ‘Stage’ field and ‘Lost Reasons’.

    You might want to display a list of ‘Lost Reasons’ if the user selects the ‘Stage’ of ‘Closed Lost’. Thereby allowing you to once again guide the user in what the valid options are.

    Enforce picklist values when loading data into Salesforce3) Using Dataloader and picklists

    Picklists are ultimately just text when Salesforce looks at it at the database level, so be mindful that when loading in values via Dataloader.

    Any new values in the file being loaded into Salesforce may appear unless you tick the ‘restrict picklist values’ option on the field (or setup a validation rule).

    4) Picklists in formulas

    Picklist values are technically stored as a text value in Saleforce, however when using them in any advanced formula within Salesforce, like a validation rule, remember to use the function ‘ISPICKVAL()’.

    For example, say we have a picklist field with the name ‘Industry’ and you wanted to see if a picklist value was set to ‘Financial Services’, you would use the formula like so: ISPICKVAL(Industry, “Financial Services’)


    So there we have it. In a few short minutes, we have covered the basics of picklists! Exciting right 🙂 Now go forth and structure your data! Any business that values data quality will thank you for it!

  • Summer ’17 Release Date & Resources

    The countdown to the Salesforce Summer ’17 release date is fast approaching.  As with every release there is always so much information to sort through.  In our time pressured world, how can you make sure you are prepared?

    I have also had a question emailed through, asking how you can find out when is the Summer ’17 release date for your org?.  So to help get the most out of the upcoming release I have complied a list of my favourite Summer ’17 resources. Including how to find out when your Summer ’17 release date is.

    When is the Summer ’17 release date?

    The release dates for Summer ’17 will vary, and it depends on which server or instance of Salesforce you are on.  So how can you tell?

    Your browsers URL bar, can tell you which instance of Salesforce you are on.The quickest way is to tell is to check your URL in your browsers address bar when you are logged into Salesforce.


    In the URL bar, where you see “na9” in the above pic, is the instance of Salesforce you are in.  If you see something like “” instead, your company is using a Custom Domain (you can still follow the next step).

    Next up you need to go to the Salesforce Trust site.

    Salesforce Trust Site - can tell you when your Salesforce release date is

    If you are using Custom Domains, click the ‘My Domain’ button on the top right hand side to get your server instance.

    Now we all know which server instance we are using, it is a simple matter of clicking on the applicable server in the grid (eg ‘eu5’).  When the page loads, click on the List button on the right hand side and then you will see key dates for your server.  What you are looking for is the “Summer ’17 Major Release”.

    Find your Salesforce Summer '17 release date


    The current schedule for updates to Summer ’17 is between June 2 – June 10 2017 for all instances.

    One key date not to miss is the Awesome Admin’ Release Preview webinar, which will beam live to the world here on the 2nd June.


    Other Summer ’17 Resources:

    With every release there are a number of great resources to help you dissect the release notes.

    First port of call, check out my top 10 features for Summer ’17 (:-) editor prerogative).

    I also have a couple of extra posts looking at specific features that form part of Summer ’17, you can check them out here:

    Next I strongly suggest checking out the official Admin Checklist from Salesforce, which includes a guide with key dates including Release Readiness webinars and Trailhead go-live dates.

    The Salesforce community is as strong as ever.  With a platform the size of Salesforce, there is always so much to cover and many different focuses / use cases, and as a result .  Here are some other key blogs, which I highly recommend to taking at look at too:

    • SalesforceBen has a good wrap up on key Sales Cloud features due to be released.
    • Jennifer Lee also has an amazing recap from across the various Salesforce platforms, including digging out features for Classic, Lightning and Mobile.
    • Salesforce Weekly has done a video walk through of the latest release.
    • Gears Blog also has a good wrap up on the key Lightning / Einstein features.
    • Automation Champion has a wrap up on the Salesforce Platform side.

    And the final resource for you is the release notes directly.  These will explain what permissions and dependencies each feature may need when activating for your users.  Happy release readiness!


  • Summer ’17 Deep Dive: Salesforce Optimizer

    What is Optimizer?

    Simply put Salesforce Optimizer is a reporting tool which gives you valuable insight into areas which may need addressing within a Salesforce instance.

    The report is very easy to read and I can’t tell you how much I love Salesforce Optimizer.  Want to define some areas of technical debt to target?  Optimizer is here to help! What more could an Awesome Admin want?! 🙂  Working across two instances (a legacy org and a new org), this report gives me insight into areas to focus on and this feeds directly into our roadmap.

    But it isn’t just for old orgs.  You would be surprised how many newer instances also have some areas to address.  With Salesforce Optimizer report, you can easily analyse some of the common pain points in any org.

    And now it is even better in the latest Summer ’17 release.  The team behind Optimizer now have added in some additional areas to analyse!

    Identifying Technical Debt

    Salesforce Optimizer covers quite a few key areas every Salesforce admin should keep an eye on.  It is a great place to start if you are looking to do a spring clean of your org or reduce an org’s technical debt.

    Currently it evaluates a number of setup and configuration areas and generates a really insightful report.  The report provides easy to understand breakdown on what is the issue, why it should be addressed and what you should do to fix it.

    In the Spring ’17 release, it went live covering the following areas in Salesforce:

    • Field Usage (object limits & usage)
    • Apex Triggers (limits)
    • Custom Layouts (page layouts, record types)
    • Validation Rules (active & inactive)
    • Sharing Rules
    • Workflow Rules
    • User Permissions (specifically who has administrator access)
    • Profiles/Permissions Sets


    Salesforce Optimizer & Improvements in Summer ’17 Release

    As part of Summer ’17, Optimizer also gets a number of improvements.  There are three key additions as part of the Summer ’17 release and they are:

    Salesforce Optimizer improvements in Summer '17
    Are you ready for the Summer ’17 release?

    Profiles and Permissions Sets

    In Summer ’17, you can now find any profiles/permission sets that aren’t allocated to any of your users.  The fact these are now included in the report is fantastic, and definitely helps remove some of the clutter.

    In my opinion there is still more that Optimizer can do in this area.  For example comparing profiles, so difficult in Salesforce…  But for an easy way to compare permissions and permission sets, I recommend using Perm-Comparator.  It is a free tool and works wonders!

    Locate hard-coded URL references

    Hard-coded URLs can cause links to break when you make certain changes to your org (like activate your custom domain).  They also present a problem if your org ever goes through a Salesforce org-split, as the server location may change as part of this process.

    Users’ login activity

    Also in this release, Salesforce Optimizer now reports your users’ login activity and then flags users that haven’t logged in recently or never activated their accounts.

    Other general improvements

    With all software these days, a new release gives the development team the chance to update the service with some general user tweaks & bug fixes to the report.


    Feedback with the Product Team

    The Optimizer Product team are listening.  If you want to provide feedback you can go to the Release Readiness & Feature Adoption group and use the topic ‘OptimizerReportFeedback‘.

  • Summer ’17 Deep Dive: Salesforce Einstein

    Since being announced, Salesforce Einstein is something I really want to get more involved with.  The initial fanfare from Dreamforce last year hasn’t disappeared.  If you are like me, you probably waiting to see how it can benefit your users before taking the next step.  But with Summer ’17 release, Salesforce Einstein gets some very welcome additions.

    Salesforce Einstein, a brief history…

    Salesforce Einstein Insights
    Salesforce Einstein Insights

    Firstly if you haven’t heard of Salesforce Einstein, welcome back to Planet Salesforce 🙂   Being launched at Dreamforce last year and is the name of the new AI platform which Salesforce is baking right into its core.  For a quick intro video, here is a Salesforce promo video (~1min) for Sales Cloud Einstein.

    The last two releases have seen it slowly starting to appear across the various clouds (ie Sales/Service/Marketing/Platform/IoT/etc).  Initially it was launched in Winter ’17 with some features regarding Lead Scoring, Activity Insights in Sales Cloud and Predictive Scoring in the Marketing Cloud (click here to watch the video).

    Spring ’17 release further expanded this with predictions and additional insights for Accounts and Opportunities within Sales Cloud.  App Platform and Communities also received some additional features…

    The first two releases really seemed a little bit light.   I am not saying the Product team have an easy job but I want to see more! 😉  And that we were yet to see the full power of Salesforce Einstein.  Is it ready for take-off?

    Roll-on Summer ’17

    As per my recent post, Summer ’17 pre-release notes are now published.  So what does the next release bring us in terms of Salesforce Einstein?

    1. Sales Cloud Einstein Readiness Report

    Well first off the bat, you will now be able to run a report on your Sales Cloud Einstein Readiness.  This is a smart move by Salesforce.  It follows a pattern of ‘readiness reports’ being made available for Lightning Experience and Optimizer (see my last post here).

    I am looking forward to being able to run this in my org and see what the results are!  No doubt there will be a dependency on Lightning Experience being enabled in your org.  So there might be similar dependencies on enabling both.

    Salesforce Summer '17 Release logo
    Are you ready for the Summer ’17 release?

    2. Automated Contacts & Email Matching

    Einstein can now automatically suggest potential contacts to be created into Salesforce based on emails and events.  It can also suggest setting the contact role against opportunities based on those activities.

    This will be a simple but amazing feature for users.  My sales teams hate having to log their emails using Salesforce for Outlook.

    Anything that helps minimise sales admin time, can be added into the business case for getting Salesforce Einstein. 🙂

    3. High Velocity Sales

    This one is quite intriguing.  It does seem to be Salesforce bundling together a number of features available to orgs with Lightning Experience and Einstein enabled.

    By combining the features of Sales Console, Lead Scoring, Lightning Dialer (formerly Lightning Voice) and Activity Capture.  Salesforce is helping sales people streamline their work.

    Lightning Dialer…  Looks like quite a useful add-on and now allows you to setup a call lists.  If only it was available outside of US/Canada!!

    4. Improvements to Lead Scoring & build processes around it

    You can now access the ‘ScoreInsight’ object, which is where Salesforce Einstein stores its insight based scoring.  You can now use this via custom formula fields, Process Builder, triggers or Apex.  This might not sound immediately useful…

    But imagine being able to update the lead status, assign it to a campaign and potentially prioritise the lead.  All through automation based on the insights provided by Einstein.

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    Einstein ready for take-off?

    For me this is the first release that Einstein actually begins to add value to end-users.

    I am waiting with bated breath for the readiness report which becomes available with Summer ’17 release.  I am very eager to test it out on a legacy org and see the recommendations.  To be fair, I am not expecting a silver bullet with Einstein.  You know the old saying about data – crap in, crap out! 🙂  Though Einstein won’t solve data issues within your data, at least not at this stage…

    But this will no doubt serve as a fork in the road where the business case for buying Einstein might actually become viable.  And it will rapidly continue to expand across the Salesforce platform in the coming releases.

    Final word

    While researching this post, I found an interesting video series on Youtube.  Salesforce has created a new playlist, ‘FY18 The Year of Einstein‘.  The videos show how Einstein can be used to empower a business.  How?  In typical Salesforce fashion by highlighting use cases from the usual suspects (Coca-cola, Amazon AWS, etc).  I am intrigued about what Einstein Vision has the potential for, but in my current role I can’t see much use of it at this point in time though…


    What about you?  Use the comments below to share your thoughts.  What are you excited about with Salesforce Einstein.  Is there a specific use case you are looking at Einstein to help you with?

  • Salesforce Summer ’17 is here!

    The Seagulls have landed (and hopefully not stolen your chips!).  For those eagerly awaiting the Salesforce Summer ’17 release, the preview notes are now live.

    But what are some of the key takeaways of the Summer ’17 release?  What does the Salesforce Summer ’17 release potentially have in store for you?  And what are the top 10 stand-out features of the release?

    So let’s get started and dive on in.  And if you haven’t already check out the preview release notes here.

    Salesforce Summer ’17

    Salesforce Summer '17 Release logo
    Are you ready for the Summer ’17 release?


    There is no surprise but this is a yet another very Lightning Experience focused release.   As per my last post, I mentioned that there will be a continued focus on feature parity with Salesforce Classic.  Additionally there seems to be performance improvements too when using Lightning (at least in the Preview Dev instance).


    Top 10 features of Summer ’17

    Now let’s jump straight into my top 10 features from the Salesforce Summer ’17 release.

    1. A key feature of this release includes a revamped Migration Assistant and options to drive user adoption of Lightning Experience. Providing you with more insights into how ready your org is to make the switch, and includes a focus on helping Admins resolve migration issues with things like JavaScript custom buttons.  Plus you can ‘encourage’ adoption of Lightning Experience, with the ability to now remove access for users to switch back to Classic.

      Salesforce is really making a big push for users to make the switch over to Lightning Experience.  As mentioned before it is no real surprise that this release is very Lightning Experience oriented and most of the features are gaining parity with Salesforce Classic.  But at least with the Migration Readiness report you can make an educated decision and start planning for a Lightning Experience roll-out.Salesforce Summer '17 - Lightning Migration Wizard

    2. Keyboard shortcuts now available throughout Lightning Experience.  Just press CTRL-/ (WIN) or CMD-/ (Mac) to see what is available.
    3. You can now setup and view Field History lists in Lightning Experience.  This is one fits in the “why wasn’t this there already?” bucket!
    4. Another one for all Admins out there.  Got a picklist field on an object, but want to change it to a Global Picklist?  Worried about migrating the field values?  Worry no-more!  You can now promote a picklist to a Global Picklist.Summer '17 - Global Picklist
    5. There are a swag of improvements to Global Search.  The stand out for me is the ability to now setup a connected search provider, and then use that to search from within Salesforce.  This utilises OpenSearch and allows you to see results from connected external search engines, right from the Salesforce search results page.  And best of all, this feature is available in Lightning Experience & Classic.So imagine connecting up your Sharepoint or Dropbox and your users can simply search within Salesforce and see the relevant results without having to change systems/websites.
    6. Lead conversion process will be a lot easier now in Lightning Experience.  Summer ’17 finally brings the ability to have related files and records link to the account/contact/etc that’s created after the lead conversion.The lead conversion process also benefits from the new Account Matching feature which now allows you to type ahead or deal with multiple matches.
    7. Console has continued its feature development, with Lightning Sales Console now becoming available! Hello split views, come at me!
    8. Jump to ‘Object Setup’ in Lightning from the object in question.  This is similar to the Setup Menu you have in Classic, but using the new Object Manager.  Sound like such a little thing, but it will save so much time for Admins.
      Salesforce Summer '17 - Object Setup shortcut
    9. Lightning Service Console is now closer to the Classic Console.  You can now add Omni-Channel Utility to the Console, in addition small improvements like preview case details by hover-overs and the previously mentioned keyboard shortcuts will make Service Cloud users happier.  Still no mention of macros being supported though…
    10. Lightning Experience now gives you big productivity improvements in how your teams will use Activities within Salesforce.  First up is an improved timeline view, where you can now show/hide details of an individual task or expand details for all tasks.Summer '17 - Activity Timeline
      Secondly the streamlined activity composer will help your users log their activities.


    Bonus mentions

    I haven’t included this next one in my top 10 as it is only available in USA/Canada currently.   But Lightning Voice…  Oops, sorry it is now Lightning Dialer, looks slick and offers a new call list functionality.  In addition to the send a pre-recorded voicemail feature, this product is shaping up quiet nicely and I wish it would just be available in the UK already!

    To finish off on, Salesforce Summer ’17 release also appears to be the start of Salesforce addressing the disparity between a number of similar areas, namely Notes & Attachments, Notes, File, Content/Libraries.  I highly recommend taking a look at this section of the release notes if you use Content/Libraries, as they are about to go through a divorce in this release.

    It also appears that Files finally becomes quite useful as part of this release (now with drag and drop :-)).

  • Are you ready for Salesforce Summer ’17 release?

    It is almost that time of year again.  Here in the northern hemisphere the days are thankfully getting warmer and longer.  Easter is now behind us.  As the sun starts to shine through, the time has come to start planning for the next Salesforce release.  Yes, it is time to prepare for the Salesforce Summer ’17 release, are you ready?

    Salesforce Summer ’17 Release Readiness

    As with any Salesforce release, preparation is key, and the Summer ’17 release will be no exception.  But you are never alone, and there are plenty of excellent resources available to ensure you are well prepared.  Where to start?

    Salesforce Summer '17 Release logo
    Are you ready for the Summer ’17 release?
    The first port of call is to check the important dates for your sandbox refreshes.  This is key if you need to ensure you maintain a sandbox with the current Spring ’17 setup or if you want to ensure your sandbox get the Summer ’17 preview.  Check this post from Salesforce for the key sandbox preview dates.

    Getting a preview sandbox gives you invaluable & hands-on access to play with all the new features of the Salesforce Summer ’17 release.

    Next stop is to also check the key dates for Admins to consider.  You can view that on this Salesforce Admin page, fresh off the presses yesterday (19th April).  It gives you a checklist of items and key dates to ensure you are prepared.  For example the preview release notes are available from next week (24th April at time of publishing) and will be available from the Salesforce Release Portal.

    And another great resource for keeping track of everything to do with the upcoming release is via the Release Readiness Success group.

    What to expect in the release?

    crystal ball
    Who doesn’t love an upward trending chart?
    The preview release notes are being finalised, and it is almost time to jump in to a preview sandbox instance.  What can you expect from the upcoming Salesforce Summer ’17 release? #safehabour 😀

    Recently I attended an awesome London Usergroup chat with Mike Rosenbaum, the Salesforce EVP of CRM Apps.  During the session Mike went through our questions covering the future of Salesforce Lightning and the platform.  You can watch the full video of the chat here at Cloud Architecture’s site.  Unsurprisingly he confirmed that Lightning will continue to be a huge focus for Salesforce and as a result the next release should start to see a number of known performance issues being addressed.

    During the talk it was also mentioned that a new report builder for the Lightning UX should be coming our way and the product teams at Salesforce are aiming for feature parity with Salesforce Classic over the next few releases.

    Mike also encourages feedback via his Twitter account (@mike945778), so get in touch!  If you watch the video, you will also find out why he uses that Twitter handle 🙂

    Obviously there are other features planned and another thing I learnt from the chat, there is a published Lightning Product Roadmap which does highlight some of the planned features for the Summer ’17 release.  So if you are chomping at the bit and can’t wait for the release notes to be released I recommend you check it out!

    Stay tuned for more once the release notes come out, until then it’s time to get your affairs in order because Salesforce’s Summer ’17 release is almost here!

    Update (24th Apr): Now the release notes are available, check out my next post for a top 10 features for Sales & Service Cloud.  And feel free to add to the list in the comments!  

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