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Five Reasons Why UX Design is Important…

Welcome to the second part of this brief series looking at the question of why UX design matters. In this instalment of the series, I will be taking a look at this question from the vantage point of the Admin and End Users of a Salesforce org.

Here are five reasons why I believe UX design matters to Admins and End Users.

 

Good UX Design Focuses on Users First and Technology Second

The users of any Salesforce org are the biggest assets to your business, and their experience matters. Users who feel valued and listened to will often input the best and most accurate data, along with providing the best service for your clients and customers. So value them, and you will see the benefits. Include them in the design process, ask for feedback and suggestions, your users will most certainly thank you in the end.

 

Good UX Design Allows You to Build Scalable and Effective Solutions

Salesforce is always evolving. Admins and End Users have to adjust to changes made through each new seasonal release. There are other tools that you might use such as Slack, Mulesoft and Tableau CRM. This means that the solutions we build need to be scalable and effective for the benefit of all. A good designer will aim to look for ways to continuously improve upon their solutions, keeping them up to date with current best practices and design principles.

 

Good UX Design Should Encourage Good and Positive User Adoption

It can be a challenge to get User Adoption to the place we want it. One of the biggest areas when it comes to User Adoption is security and permissions. It’s likely that users will be hesitant to fully buy-in to solutions if they don’t have access to what they need or have difficulties finding it. By soliciting feedback you can identify challenges with solutions and adjust them accordingly. When users feel valued and listened to, generally speaking the quality of work they do will be significantly higher. This will be reflected in your User Adoption and overall accuracy and performance.

 

Good UX Design Should Be an Extension of Your Brand

Making your solutions look and feel like your brand can lead to a feeling of familiarity. Your solutions should be an extension of your brand, when your users use them they should recognise the brand and feel like they are contributing to its success.

 

Good UX Design Leaves Room for Fresh Ideas and Action

A rule of thumb that is true is that there is always room for fresh ideas. New ideas help you to expand the impact of your work. They help you identify priorities to build upon and to make them more dynamic and user-friendly.

 

About Cloud Galacticos 

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. Our Salesforce consultancy has people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, and London.

So if you are looking for a Salesforce Gold partner with experience to help you make the most of your org, why not get in contact?

Digital City Awards, Best Small Digital Company Finalist 2022

London’s Calling Platinum Sponsor 2022

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The top Salesforce features to increase email security

Practically every single business and organisation uses email, every single day. But how many of them know that as a default, the standard security strength of email isn’t that strong.

Creating an Email Security Policy is one of the best things an organisation can do to protect themselves from data loss, reputational damage and even regulatory fines.

This post covers some of the Salesforce features you can use to increase your email security.

 

TLS

Transaction Layer Security (TLS) prevents the unauthorised access of email messages when they are in transit over internet connections, ensuring they are not viewable by third parties. 

A secure TLS connection requires that both the sender and recipient use TLS. When both applications support TLS, it ensures that the data transmitted between them is encrypted with secure algorithms.

 

How do I implement this?

Organisations can choose a TLS setting when sending email through Salesforce or through an email relay.

TLS Settings can be edited from Salesforce setup. The default setting is ‘Preferred’. This means that Salesforce will attempt to create the TLS connection but will deliver an email in an encrypted state if an encryption cipher can’t be negotiated. More information is available here.

 

DKIM Keys

The DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) key feature allows Salesforce to sign outbound email sent on your company’s behalf. In essence, DKIM validates the authenticity of the email message.

DKIM adds an encrypted signature to the header of all outgoing messages. Email recipients that receive signed messages then use DKIM to decrypt the message header and verify the message was not changed after it was sent. 

This allows DKIM to protect against email spoofing, when email content is changed to make the email appear from someone or somewhere other than the actual source. 

 

How do I implement this?

DKIM keys can be created directly in Salesforce but there are some limitations. For example, you can only have one active DKIM Key per domain. A full list of considerations is available here.

When creating a DKIM key you will need to add ‘Selector’ and ‘Alternative Selector’ unique names so that the keys can be automatically rotated. You will also need to choose the size of the RSA key. (RSA keys are used for encryption. You should consider email recipient limitations and any industry-specific security regulations when choosing the key size. Bigger isn’t necessarily better – there are storage and CPU considerations to be made too).

 

Sender Policy Framework

A Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email validation system designed to detect email spoofing by providing a process to validate which providers can send emails on your behalf. SPF validates the authenticity of the email sender.

An SPF record is a Domain Name Service (DNS) TXT record. It contains a list of all the IP addresses allowed to send email on behalf of your domain. 

The SPF mechanism uses the Return Path Address of the domain to identify the SPF record. If the IP address is listed in the SPF record of the DNS, SPF ‘passes’. 

SPF does not survive emails that have been ‘forwarded’. This is because the chances are that the list of providers authorised to send emails on your behalf doesn’t include any forwarders.

Salesforce.com delivers emails with a User defined ‘from’ email address, but the mail originates from Salesforce.com mail servers. So if an email containing your company’s domain in the ‘from’ address was sent by Salesforce it would likely fail unless the SPF record contained an entry to authorise Salesforce.

 

How do I implement this?

You can modify an existing SPF record, or create a new SPF record if one doesn’t exist, which authorizes Salesforce.com mail servers as allowed for your organisation’s domain.

You can enter your domain name into a tool like SPF Record Generator from MXToolbox which will help you create or modify a SPF record. 

The entry to include in your SPF record when sending mail from Salesforce is _spf.salesforce.com. 

Where you save your SPF record depends on your domain – you’ll most likely need manage or admin permissions to access the setup menu to do this. More instructions are available here.

 

DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)  is an email authentication policy, and reporting protocol. 

DMARC uses the authentication methods of DKIM and SPF to evaluate the authenticity of email messages. 

If you remember that DKIM authenticates the email itself and SPF authenticates the sender you’ll see that DMARC provides a second layer of security (remember that an SPF won’t always pass if an email is forwarded).

A DMARC policy allows a sender to indicate that their messages are protected by SPF and/or DKIM and tells an email receiver what to do when these authentication methods pass or fail.

DMARC also provides a way for the email receiver to report back to the sender about messages that pass or fail the DMARC evaluation.

 

How do I implement this?

Salesforce Admins can take steps to ensure that the email addresses used in their org are associated with a domain with mail account services that they own and control. The newly generated email addresses can be re-registered with the organisation’s Salesforce User records.

Admins can then create a DKIM Key and a SPF record to authorise Salesforce.com mail servers for your organisation’s domain.

Alternatively, an Email Relay can be set up so that your organisation’s SMTP email server is used – but there are some limitations here.

 

Email Relay for Salesforce

What is Email Relay?

Salesforce can be configured to automatically route email through your company’s Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server. It may be that some organisations are obliged to use an Email Relay for Compliance purposes.

SMTP is the standard way that email is transferred on the internet. Your SMTP server will be capable of sending DMARC compliant email on your domain’s behalf. Preferably they will be both SPF and DKIM compliant.

When you send an email, Salesforce will connect to your SMTP relay and send the message along with details the relay needs to figure out the next step in the message’s journey. 

The relay uses the domain name in the email address and the Domain Name Service (DNS) to identify where the email should be sent. 

The email may be sent directly to the Message Delivery Agent (MDA) of the recipient’s email service or it may be handed through multiple Mail Transfer Agents operating as SMTP servers before arriving at the recipient’s inbox.

 

How do I implement this?

Firstly, there are some options around if and how Salesforce authenticates with SMTP. You should test these in your sandbox first.

For security purposes, if possible it is best to use SMTP authentication to identify yourself with your server. You can store the username and password details in the setting to do this. You’ll also need to select the ‘Required Verify’ TLS option (this means that the server must support TLS) to ensure the login details are passed over in an encrypted format.

You should consider carefully using Bounce Management as this feature can reduce deliverability:

Salesforce bounce management sets each outgoing email’s return path to an address at bnc.salesforce.com. This means that the IP address of your relay doesn’t match the authorized IP addresses for the domain bnc.salesforce.com, which can cause an SPF soft failure which can affect deliverability.

To resolve this problem you can either switch off bounce management or implement DKIM to bolster the DMARC policy. 

Furthermore, some of the Email Deliverability settings should be reviewed as they can alter the email’s return path: https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=000316016&type=1 

Email Relays can be created from the Salesforce setup. Some technical knowledge is required to do this. More information is available here.

Once an Email Relay has been set up, you’ll also need to set up an Email Domain Filter for it to work. An Email Domain Filter determines which domains an email relay is restricted to. If your company works with multiple domains, you can create multiple Email Domain Filters and set them to priority order (you’ll need a developer to do this via the SOAP API).

An Email Domain Filter has two main attributes – setting the sender and the recipient domains, which restrict emails being sent based on the domain of the sender or recipient respectively. More information is available here.

 

Salesforce Email Security Compliance

Salesforce Email Security Compliance allows an organisation to leverage Salesforce’s SPF. Salesforce’s SPF protects against domain spoofing by validating the authenticity of the sender. The emails you send from Salesforce will therefore pass SPF checks even if your organisation doesn’t have an SPF record for your email domain.

Enabling Email Security Compliance updates the envelope ‘from address’ in emails sent from Salesforce to *.bnc.salesforce.com. The email header remains as your email address. 

Salesforce’s SPF record authorizes the IPs used by their message transfer agents to send email from the Salesforce domain. 

 

How do I implement this?

Email Security Compliance can be enabled directly from the Salesforce setup – more information is available here.

 

More resources:

https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=000336441&type=1 

https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=sf.email_relay.htm&type=5 

https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=sf.emailadmin_email_relay_considerations.htm&type=5 

https://blog.mailchannels.com/what-is-an-smtp-relay-service 

https://dmarc.org/

https://support.google.com/a/answer/174124?hl=en 

https://danielpocock.com/rsa-key-sizes-2048-or-4096-bits/ 

https://www.dmarcanalyzer.com/spf/#:~:text=The%20Sender%20Policy%20Framework%20(SPF)%20is%20an%20email%2Dauthentication,can%20publish%20authorized%20mail%20servers.&text=SPF%20is%2C%20just%20like%20DMARC,DNS%20(Domain%20Name%20Service)

https://dmarcadvisor.com/what-is-spf/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA0eOPBhCGARIsAFIwTs4jeRbNmR9xPgEuAKMstAZMu-RgFPS3Pw7rWqywJiUJaXM0YEs6sAEaArtcEALw_wcB 

https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=sf.emailadmin_send_from_salesforce_improve_deliverability.htm&type=5 

https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=sf.emailadmin_set_up_tls.htm&type=5 

https://www.makeuseof.com/what-is-email-security-policy/ 

https://www.mimecast.com/blog/why-your-organization-should-have-an-email-security-policy/ 

https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=000322936&type=1 

https://mailtrap.io/blog/smtp-auth/ 

https://www.globalsign.com/en/blog/ssl-vs-tls-difference

 

About Cloud Galacticos 

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. Our Salesforce consultancy has people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, and London.

So if you are looking for a Salesforce Gold partner with experience to help you make the most of your org, why not get in contact?

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Digital City Awards 2022: Best Small Digital Company Nomination

Cloud Galacticos has been shortlisted for the Best Small Digital Company at the Digital City Awards 2022. It’s the first time we’ve put ourselves forward for a business award. Of course we are over the moon just to be shortlisted, but we’ve got everything crossed to win the award too!

 

Digital City Awards

The awards is part of the Digital City Festival. It brings together the global digital sector together for a week of events across Greater Manchester. It features the Digital City Expo, the Awards, plus live music and cultural events.

‘The Digital City Awards recognise and reward the organisations, teams and individuals who are helping to build a better future through technology’

 

Cloud Galacticos

Cloud Galacticos Team Meal

To be considered for shortlist we had to put forward our case on why we think we should win Best Small Digital Company. We gave an overview of our business and its objectives. We also gave examples of our achievements as well as challenges over the past year.

The past couple of years has been a tough environment to work in. However, we have made sure that we come out of it not just better and stronger, but have helped to create a better environment to work in.

 

Best Small Digital Company Shortlist

Good luck to all nominees. The winner is announced on Thursday 10th March in Manchester. A few of us from the team will be in attendance. May the best small digital company win..!

 

About Cloud Galacticos 

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. Our Salesforce consultancy has people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, and London.

So if you are looking for a Salesforce Gold partner with experience to help you make the most of your org, why not get in contact?

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CactusForce 2022

In January, Mark Jones, one of our Salesforce Consultants did a virtual session at CactusForce. The session was called ‘Welcome to Orchestration… Understanding How to Use Flow Orchestrator in Your Org‘. Read on to find out more about Cactucsforce, and to re-watch Mark’s session.

 

What is Cactusforce?

Cactusforce is a community conference for Salesforce Developers and Architects. It’s a 2-day, three track hybrid event (online and in-person in Phoenix, Arizona, USA).

‘A three-track event focused on content for developers, architects, and configurators. The developer track sessions will dive into the programmatic side of the Salesforce platform. The architect track sessions will include Salesforce Certified Technical Architect (CTA) program intros, training, board exam prep, and more. The configurator track sessions will dive into advanced declarative development, process automation and may include some code.

Whether you know the power of the Salesforce platform, are a seasoned developer, and want more, or you’re just starting out, there’ll be lots of takeaways!

 

About Mark’s session

Flow Orchestrator is available right now in Beta. Flow Orchestrator is the newest addition to Salesforce Flow.

In this session attendees will get a chance to learn a bit more what Flow Orchestrator is and to see it in action. The plan will be to give an overview of what Flow Orchestrator is, to demo a pre-built orchestration and to build an orchestration live in the session.

The aim will be to serve as an introduction to Flow Orchestrator, to showcase the capabilities of the tool and to highlight how it compares to Approval Processes (which is currently what is viewed as the most likely usage of Flow Orchestrator).

I will also look to include some key points around the core capabilities of Flow Orchestrator in order to give people some insight of the tool and some good ways that it could be used.’

 

Watch again

 

About Cloud Galacticos

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. Our Salesforce consultancy has people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, and London.

So if you are looking for a Salesforce Gold partner with experience to help you make the most of your org, why not get in contact?

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Winter 22 Maintenance Comments

By Val Southern

Are you ready for Winter ’22 maintenance?

As a Certified Application Architect, it’s important to keep up with the latest features. This helps to provide the best possible solutions for our customers. I’d already completed the Winter ‘22 Release Highlights badge. So rather than wait for the December deadline for maintaining my credentials, I thought I’d get it done now while it’s the current release. And fresh in my mind!

I’m relatively new to the Architect world. Hence I was a little worried that maintaining my credentials was going to be a long and arduous task – given the amount of study and number of certs that were required to get here. I was delighted to find that I could do this by completing just 3 badges:

 

Salesforce Certified Application Architect

I managed to do it all in 1 day and here’s a little summary of the required tasks for each badge.

 

winter '22 maintenance

For this maintenance module, the task focussed on granting access based on activated User sessions for permission set groups. We are asked to create 2 permission sets, then group them into a new permission set group.

Simple enough but good practice and reminded me to group together permissions typically used for a specific task and therefore needed together.

 

 

The task for this maintenance module focussed on using getInstance() in Apex to retrieve a custom metadata record, removing the need to write a SOQL query to do the same thing, making the code cleaner, faster and not subject to SOQL limits.

We are given an Apex class and instructed to update it to use getInstance() and remove code no longer needed. Whilst not spoon-feeding with instructions, the module contains enough resources to help find the correct way to use it (along with my own knowledge) to pass the task. I found it challenging enough without being too frustrating.

 

Salesforce Architect Certification Maintenance (Winter ’22) involved 2 modules. Each has a quiz about the key features to know about, covering each of the architect roles.

It’s a surprise that there were no hands-on tasks in this one but the content is still good to know!

 

 

 

Rather than waiting for the deadline in December, I recommend getting these done now for relevance.

 

About Cloud Galacticos

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. Our Salesforce consultancy has people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, and London.

So if you are looking for a Salesforce Gold partner with experience to help you make the most of your org, why not get in contact?

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A (brief) introduction to Multi-Factor Authentication

By Rhiannon McCorkindale

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is the process of adding additional security to your systems by requiring a secondary verification during login. It is a widely used practice to help avoid online fraud and identity theft. Salesforce is requiring users to verify their identity through multiple factors from February 2022. In this blog we will go through what MFA is and how you can get MFA enabled in your environment.

 

What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)?

MFA or Multi-Factor Authentication, requires a user to use multiple pieces of evidence (called factors) to prove their identity when authenticating to a system.

The first factor is simple: this is your username and password.

The second factor can be provided by one or more of a number of items: 

  • Salesforce Authenticator app
  • Third-Party Authenticator apps, e.g.: Auth, Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator
  • Security Keys, e.g.: Yubikey, Titan Security Key

Using more than one factor provides security, because if someone gains access to your username and password, it is unlikely they will also be able to access a verification method on your mobile or a security key.

 

How does Multi-Factor Authentication differ from one-time passcodes?

One time passcodes that are sent to text (SMS), email or phone calls don’t meet the requirements of MFA. This is because email credentials can be compromised, and text messages and phone calls can be intercepted. 

 

Why should I plan for MFA?

From February 1st 2022 Salesforce will require internal Salesforce users to use MFA in order to access Salesforce products.

 

How is MFA enabled?

MFA is enabled once the permission ‘Multi Factor Authentication for User Logins’ is checked and assigned – but there are a lot of things to take into consideration first before checking that box.

 

What if we use SSO?

If an organisation uses Single Sign On, you can enable the SSO’s MFA service, or enable MFA for users on the Salesforce platform.

 

What about Admin access?

Users such as Admins who log directly into Salesforce must have MFA enabled on the Salesforce platform. 

Admins should use at least two different authentication methods, and you should have at least two users with permissions to manage users and MFA settings. 

Also consider keeping a Security Key onsite or in a safe place – all these actions will enable admins to recover access if they find themselves locked out of the system.

 

How do I prepare my users for MFA?

Read and implement the Rollout Pack:

Our top tips are as follows:

Check who has access to a mobile device. The simplest way to prepare for MFA is for users to download the Salesforce Authenticator app from the App Store or Google Play, or to download a third-party authenticator app.

Purchase security keys for users without mobile devices. To complete the second factor of the authentication, users connect the security key to their computer via a port or wirelessly. Then they press the key’s button to confirm their identity.

At a push, Third-Party Authenticator apps downloaded to a computer desktop can meet MFA requirements but using separate physical devices such as a mobile or security key is preferable. This is because if someone gains access to your username and password, they may have also gained access to your laptop or computer.

Once you have taken action to implement MFA, answer these questions to ensure your implementation meets the MFA requirements.

 

MFA for End Users

How does MFA change the login process?

Once a user provides their username and password on the login screen, they will be prompted to add an authentication method. Instructions on how to use the Salesforce Authenticator are provided as standard, but another method can be chosen by clicking on the ‘Choose Another Verification Method’ link.

 

Logging in using the Salesforce Authenticator app for the first time

Once you have the Salesforce Authenticator app installed on your device, when you enter your username and password details to Salesforce in the browser you will see the following screen.

The Salesforce Authenticator app will provide you with a two-word phrase to enter in the box below and click ‘Connect’.

Salesforce Authenticator

You will then be asked to verify your details in the Salesforce Authenticator app. If your username and the service look correct, click ‘Connect’ to complete the process and access Salesforce.

 

Logging in using the Salesforce Authenticator app

On entering your username and password details to Salesforce in the browser, a push notification will be sent to your mobile device. 

When you open the Salesforce Authenticator app on your phone you can review details of the login attempt. If you are sure that the attempt was generated by you, click ‘Approve’ to complete the process and access Salesforce.

 

DISCLAIMER:

We recommend you complete your own investigation and form your own implementation plan for MFA before making any changes to your system. The attached list of recommended reading is a good place to start. We can advise and assist you in rolling out MFA.

 

Recommended Reading

https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=000352937&type=1 

https://security.salesforce.com/resources/mfa-rollout-pack 

https://salesforce.vidyard.com/watch/O3rQLAtVX0Z4lLjdOvVFYQ 

https://security.salesforce.com/mfa-requirement-check

 

ABOUT CLOUD GALACTICOS

Cloud Galacticos is a  Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. Our Salesforce consultancy has people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, and London.

If you’re looking for more advice on MFA, our team of experts can guide you though the new features and updates. We can also support you through projects. Why not find out more about our Managed Services package?

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Cloud Galacticos 2021 Company Review

Welcome to our Cloud Galacticos 2021 company review. We started 2021 after a challenging 2020 due to the pandemic and various lockdowns. Therefore, our aim for this year was to stay strong, bring the team together, and make sure we keep on delivering for our customers. Here’s the thoughts from our board on this year, 2021.

 

Phil Walton, CEO

Looking back it almost seems like a different world…Christmas 2020 was ‘cancelled’, the new year was still led by watching Joe Wicks and Rob Biddulph with the kids, we applauded the spirit of Sir Tom Moore, and we still had one lockdown to come. 

We were determined to battle though as best we could and ensure nobody would need to be furloughed… And it’s fair to say as we reach the end of 2021 we exceeded our goals! Not only did we keep all our team together, we expanded massively, we skilled up, we climbed the Salesforce Partner ladder, and feel like we have come out of a tough time in an even healthier position. 

Although Covid, Zoom, Tiger King, and remote working are here to stay, it is great to meet people again!

 

Cloud Galacticos Zoom Coffee Breaks

Cloud Galacticos Zoom Coffee Breaks

 

Paul Battisson, COO

For my Cloud Galacticos 2021 review, it’s has been a year that has driven a lot of optimism, both personally and in my role as COO. There is no escaping that the past two years have been extremely tough for everyone. 

I am extremely proud of the entire Cloud Galacticos team for the way we have managed to continue to deliver great work for our customers and grow the organisation throughout the pandemic. For me the biggest highlight of the year has been starting to visit customers and spend time with team members again. Nothing beats face to face interactions to ensure everyone is happy and on the same page, and it has been great fun getting to do this again in a safe way. I am hoping that things will continue to open up and return to “normal” next year to spend even more time catching up with people properly.

 

Cloud Galacticos York Catch Up

Cloud Galacticos York Catch Up

Neel Meghani, CTO

Coming out of 2020 both personally and professionally my mind frame was very much “OK that was a difficult year and we did very well. Now things can only get better!”. Then we went back into lock down. At that point I put to the back of my mind all of the things I was looking forward to….traveling, seeing clients and colleagues, getting back to normal…

BUT despite all of that we continued to grow through the year, ending the year in a fantastic place. We managed to win new clients and recruit some amazing new people. Despite being apart I felt the company coming together even more. I could not be more proud of the people that make up Cloud Galacticos and the work they do. The vision we have of the Galacticos ethos is now a reality. So I guess the hard times of the past year have made us be even better.

In recent months we have now begun to meet the team face to face. Even though we spent plenty of time on Zoom, the in-person meetings we have had so far have really left me on a high. Looking forward now to even more client and colleague meetings and keeping up the momentum of growth!

 

Cloud Galacticos London Catch Up

Cloud Galacticos London Catch Up

Some poignant words from our board for their Cloud Galacticos 2021 Company review. We’ll also be asking our team members their highlights from 2021. Watch for the blog coming soon!

 

ABOUT CLOUD GALACTICOS

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. Our Salesforce consultancy has people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield, and London. If you are looking for a Salesforce partner with experience who can help you make the most of your org, why not give us a call?

 

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Salesforce Johannesburg User Group

One of our developers, Nkosi Ncube, has recently become a co-leader of the Salesforce Johannesburg User Group. He’s the latest team member to be involved in a Salesforce user group. We already team members who run groups in Manchester, Leeds, and Newcastle.

 

Hi Nkosi, when did you become a co-leader of the Salesforce Johannesburg User Group and what was your reason for becoming one?

I was approved as User Group leader in March [2021], I noticed that Africa is an emerging market with regards to Salesforce so I thought it would be good to share my experience that I have gained working for Cloud Galacticos.

 

What are you hoping to achieve with the Johannesburg User Group now that you’re a co-leader?

I am hoping to turn the user group into the biggest user group in the world! For it to have engaging sessions that will drive attendance which is very low at the moment, and it has has potential to be high.

You did a presentation on your ‘Salesforce Career Story’ at the most recent user group event. How was it?

The presentation was good and well received, I hope it inspired someone.

 

What kind of people have you got signed up to your group?

It’s still early days but I hope to have as diverse as possible a group of people. It needs to reflect the cosmopolitan nature of the South Africa region, and the international vibe of the Salesforce Ohana.

 

Anything you want to tell us about the Johannesburg User Group that’s different from other groups that you know about?

At the moment the difference is that it has potential to be massive. Unfortunately Covid has messed up a lot of things and virtual meetings have challenges this side of the world. I am sure when we can meet in person it will just grow and grow.

 

What kind of speakers do you have lined up for future events?

We have some Salesforce employees lined up. Obviously I am going to tap into the rich resources available at Cloud Galacticos in the near future. 

 

 

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Sinclair Spectrum and how it kicked off many careers

So many of us in the IT/Cloud/Tech space started out with a Spectrum, a Commodore, or BBC computer. Even Marc Benioff started off writing games for Atari, so we are in good company. So thank you to those early pioneers, those we now call Trailblazers. People such as Sir Clive Sinclair, who sadly passed away yesterday

 

Sinclair Spectrum

The ZX Spectrum is an 8-bit personal home computer which was released in the UK in the early 1980s. It was one of the first mainstream home computers and captured many a child’s attention. 

I was recently visiting my parents house and happened to have brought my messenger bag that is styled to look like a ZX Spectrum. Upon seeing it my Dad went away and rummaged around upstairs, surprising me with the original ZX Spectrum he bought me many years ago to match.

It is the 48k ZX Spectrum that my father came home with in 1984. 

For those reading this of a younger vintage, the 48k stands for the 48 KB of RAM available to the entire computer, to give some perspective the first iPhone launched with 128 MB of RAM, or 131072 KB! 

Impressionable 8 year old me was soon bored of the three games that came with it and found out that by typing the programs in the manual, I could create my own games, and even better I could make the machine call my brothers names repeatedly with just 2 lines of code and a run command. 

Spectrum Books

More books were brought and magazines collected to allow my new found hobby to grow.

Instead of Stack Overflow and Trailhead, techniques and code were shared by the Spectrum Community in magazines and were typed in over many hours, in the hopes that the typo gods were kind, they often were not. 

A programmer was born, and like me thousands of children in the UK cut their teeth in development this way. Although I could not appreciate it at the time, lessons learned then still impact my work today.

This is the first program that I copied from the manual. 

Chapter 3 of the manual available here.

I agree it is very rudimentary and at first glance, does not appear to be related to how we should be coding today, but in only 7 lines of code we are covering the following. 

Documenting code

10 REM Guess the number

Tells us clearly what the code is doing

Using Variables

20 INPUT a: CLS

Tells us that a number that is entered is going to be stored in the variable ‘a’ (storage was a valuable resource and was not spent on meaningful variable names back then)
CLS just clears the screen to ensure that the guessing player can not see it. 

30 INPUT “Guess the Number”, b

Is requesting data from the user and storing that value into variable ‘b’ for testing. 

Conditions

40 IF b=a THEN PRINT “That is correct”: STOP

50 IF b<a THEN PRINT “That is too small, try again”
60 IF b>a THEN PRINT “That is too big, try again”

Here we are testing if the value stored in variable b is equal to , less than or more than a, and then displaying feedback to the user, as well as stopping the program if the correct value has been entered. 

Loops

70 GO TO 30
This completes the code by telling the program to go to line 30 and request a new number. 

This sort of loop is not available in salesforce, but the understanding of code coming back to a starting position is still relevant. 

Today the Raspberry Pi is the only computer that I can think of that fills this void, and the power of the machines and instant avenue of help available via the internet has changed the way people learn to code.

 

Thank you to those Trailblazers, and the fond memories they gave us!

fallbackcg

Salesforce Developer Podcast – Weird Apex and Being Inquisitive

Recently Josh Birk interviewed my for the Salesforce Developer Podcast on “Weird Apex”. You can find the full recording here. I’m going to share some additional thoughts about the background to the discussion and how the simple act of being inquisitive has lead me to some of the weird and wonderful things I discussed on the podcast.

 

Weird Apex Salesforce Developer Podcast

Image taken of https://developer.salesforce.com/podcast/2021/05/episode-82-weird-apex-with-paul-battisson.html

Love What You Do

When we meet clients for the first time, we tell them that at Cloud Galacticos we are 100% Salesforce nerds. We have team members who are MVPs, user and developer group leaders, and authors. We also have speakers, CTAs, and a number who tick multiple of these boxes. When hiring, one of the things we focus on is how much people enjoy working with the platform. I always ask “Why Salesforce?” Of course, sometimes working your way through a big set of profiles and permissions to figure out what the gaps are is not the most riveting work. I find that it is important to ensure I take time to do things I enjoy within my work to stay inquisitive.

A prime example of this is the VR setup I built with Vincent Reeder for a Dreamforce talk. Virtual Reality is cool and still fairly new tech, however it is not really enterprise friendly (as we discuss in the podcast). Still, Vincent and I took it as a technical challenge to see how we could get different pieces of the Salesforce Platform to play together to deliver something cool. Is this a completely practical exercise that we will reuse? No, but the learnings on how to use the different bits of technology will definitely help me in the future. It’s a much more fun way of learning.

 

Build a Career You’re Interested In

I’d highly encourage anyone who is looking to learn more about a particular topic to approach it in this way. By trying to keep this in mind I have built my career on Salesforce and have had a great time doing so. It has helped me learn enough to be able to write two books on Apex as well as given me the opportunity to speak at events all over the globe. I would recommend listening to other episodes of the Salesforce Developer Podcast. You will notice this is a common theme.