Phil's Salesforce Tip of the Week

Clicks versus Code – Phil’s Salesforce Tip of the Week #422

Back from the pre-historic days of 2014, here is a post on the Developer Blog about when to choose Clicks over Code. I am sure it would have been a longer article if it was on the Admin Blog 😉 It is a useful resource for someone new to Salesforce (or that sits only on one side of the office…the Dev side only, or the Admin side only), or to explain to a Client why something was built in a certain way.

Clicks v Code

Clicks v Code

Some real life examples mentioned include:

  • Instead of writing Triggers, automate Field Updates using Workflow
  • Use Formula Fields and Roll-Up Summary Fields for field calculations instead of writing a Visualforce page
  • Using Standard Objects instead of Custom Objects

In other news…

App review

Thank you Tom Blamire aka SalesforceTom for sharing this.

Field creator allows you to add multiple custom fields, set the field visibility either individually or for all fields being created. This is a massive time saver for any admin in a high demand/time critical environment”

This App is part of Ben Edwards’s Salesforce Toolkit which we have mentioned in the past, and well worth a look.

Trailhead ‘Quick Look’

Got someone asking you ‘What is Salesforce’? ‘What should I look into Sales or Service’? Here are some really basic Trailhead Modules that may help. If they come back for more then they may be hooked.

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Trailhead Tracker

.Trailhead Tracker is a managed package from Salesforce Labs which tracks Trailhead achievement across users in an organisation.


Trail Tracker Salesforce

 

We all know by now that Trailhead is a great way to learn new skills and help keep up with new releases in Salesforce. With many organisations are now using Trailhead to aid adoption, Salesforce have released Trail Tracker to help you track your teams badges.

 

Trailhead Tracker

With the Trail Tracker app installed, it is now possible to keep an eye on badges earned by employees within an organisation and suggest useful trailmixes for individual users with a target completion date, all whilst promoting some light-hearted competition!

My understanding is that users must have a Trailhead account with an email address matching their email address in the Salesforce org where Trail Tracker is installed. Trailhead allows users to merge multiple user accounts to allow tracking of achievement in one place. With this in mind, I’d suggest making sure users have a Trailhead account with their work email address, prior to setting up Trail Tracker in your org. This will allow Trail Tracker to pick up all of their existing badges, if applicable.

While this may be a little administrative pain to go through at first, it will be worth it in the long-run.  It has superb pre-built reports and dashboards provided by Trail Tracker. We all love a good report, right?!

Salesforce Trail Tracker

 

The app also provides some Lightning components to add to user profiles. This lets them show off their achievements to colleagues:

 

Once set up, Trail Tracker runs an initial fetch job to retrieve all the badges earned by users in the org. Then it’s a daily job to update with new or changed data from Trailhead. The timing for this schedule can be specified or changed within the Trailhead Setup tab within the app.

 

Summary

If you are about to implement Salesforce, I think Trail Tracker will greatly help promote adoption. Consider getting all users signed up to Trailhead before implementation (using their work email address!). Also, start assigning suggested trail-mixes to get users started before go-live.

Cloud Galacticos have extensive experience in implementing and customising Salesforce. Feel free to reach out via the website to find out more.

Phil's Salesforce Tip of the Week

Phil’s Salesforce Tips – A Special Week #150th Edition

To celebrate my 150th consecutive week, I reached out to fellow members of the Salesforce community, to ask what Tips they would like to share. And I am excited to share these with you all today! Here are 10 GuestBloggers, and a special 11th guest, who has influenced me over my years as a Salesforce blogger. Thank you to you all for contributing, and reading, here’s to another 150!

Tip #1 Sarah Burton (Clear Channel UK) – “Salesforce Administrator of 5 years experience but still learning every day”

It’s ok to say No*

Admins need to ensure that we question ideas and processes that we get asked to implement. There are 3 questions I ask – ‘What’s in it for the users?’, ‘Is it Simple?’ and ‘Does it stick to the original Vision?’

*as long as you back it up with a good reason!

Tip #2 Tracey Morris (Jisc) – “Awesome Admin for UK wide non-profit digital technology in education & research charity”

As a busy Admin I have to prioritise what I’m doing – be it training, support or development (or all 3 at once) – so having a process in place where users can make change requests without interrupting me is a no-brainer. The user is happy because they’re being listened to and I’m happy because I can look at their requests when it’s convenient for me.

Tip #3 Naveen Gabrani (Astrea IT Services) – “Salesforce architect responsible for mapping business problems on Salesforce”

Focus on actionables after Dreamforce. Keep a notebook or a smartphone handy at the event. As you attend a session or a keynote, or meet a vendor at the cloud expo, make a quick note of anything you like, a useful tip for the users, an app you need to try out, a technology you need to build expertise on. After you are back follow up on these items. Give a presentation to the management or the users on interesting things you learnt. To get best returns on the investment you have made at Dreamforce, the most important time is the month after the Dreamforce.

Tip #4 Laura Guenther (Apttus) – “Certified Admin at Apttus”

Be smart about solving problems – utilize the Success Community:
Browse the Success Community for Answers, if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, post your own question. More than likely, someone out there, somewhere, has had the same issue as you and has solved it. You will get a response in less time than it will take you to troubleshoot. Be sure to join groups to participate in discussions and gain access to additional resources. You’ll save yourself a lot of headaches and precious time.

Tip #5  Rachel Natik (Cloud 4 Good) – “Cloud Consultant at Cloud 4 Good, 3X Certified”

Try this free App called ‘List Browse‘. I haven’t come across another app that does this functionality. You can select records in a list view, click browse and you can go through them one by one (and edit them!).

Tip #6 Selina Suarez (New Leaders) – “2015 Awesome Admin Award Winner at the Salesforce World Tour, New York City”

When starting a new project, prior to formal Salesforce Requirements gathering, ideally your first conversations should revolve around business process and not technology. Take the time to find out what people actually do on a day to day basis. Observe and ask questions.  This is your opportunity to uncover opportunities to offer solutions perfectly matched to the client’s needs.

Tip #7 Simon Edwards (Color Consultancy) – “Playing around with all things Salesforce since 2006”

If you are like me, and end up with lots of similar long report names this little ‘undocumented feature’ will allow you to display the report name on 2 separate lines when viewing the report. Just add a colon (e.g. Accounts: Most Recent) to your report name! Many thanks to Scott Hemmeter for this great trick.

Tip #8 Randi Thompson (Apex Revenue Technologies) – “Solo Admin using Enterprise Sales & Service Clouds for 60 users”

I love the capability to create custom URL buttons. Even though Process Builder and Publisher Actions have made a lot strides, there are still many instances (especially on the Task object) where a custom URL button is invaluable.

Tip #9 Steve Williams (BigKite Consulting) – “Salesforce Admin gone Consulting”

When dealing with a request for a new email notification respond by asking your user what immediate action the email will trigger. If they cannot think of one they will likely be better served by a Report or Dashboard. That way you have saved then from having to delete an unnecessary email and provided a way for them to access the information when they are ready to do something with it.

Tip #10 Mike Arthur (RiverUsk) – “Certified Admin, Consultant, Developer in Edinburgh”

I recently had a situation where a Visualforce page was exactly what was needed to solve a requirement.  Except I had never written any code in Salesforce and Cobol wouldn’t cut it.  I had heard of Trailhead, Salesforce’s free, online learning resource, and it helped me learn the skills to build my page!  The topics range from basic to advanced, including ‘Reports and Dashboards’, ‘Chatter Basics’, ‘Data Security’, ‘Apex Triggers’, ‘Visualforce Basics’, ‘Change Management’ and many more. Modules typically take 20-30 minutes to complete. Head on over and get learning!

And finally, a bonus ‘Tip’ from Salesforce Admin Evangelist…THE ButtonClick Admin…Mike Gerholdt 

My advice for being a great Salesforce Admin- don’t  overindulge on tips and tricks. It’s like having cake for breakfast, sure it sounds good- and probably fixes your hunger problem- but it’s not sustainable. Great leaders, philosophers, and visionaries didn’t change the world on a trick they learned. They did it by mastering their craft, by learning habits, applying those habits, and sometimes failing. You can’t be afraid to try something new and fail. Failure is how we learn and how we grow. Don’t be afraid to do the work- it’s easy to just ask for help right away, but try a few solutions first, see what works, and go from there.

 

Thanks to our friends at Apttus !

Phil's Salesforce Tip of the Week

Phil’s 100th Salesforce Tip of the week

Phil’s Salesforce.com Tip of the Week

This week is my 100th ‘Tip of the Week’ post, and for week #100 I wanted to reach out to the Salesforce community for their thoughts and ideas on what their Tip of the Week would be. So here is a ‘longer than usual’ set of Tips from 11 special guests.

Everyone who has attended Dreamforce or the Salesforce1 World Tour knows that Peter Coffee starts off these events, and so to kick things off…

Tip #1 Peter Coffee (VP for Strategic Research, Salesforce.com) 

“Don’t let “the cloud” be positioned in people’s minds as “that which replaces everything else.” Rather, position cloud as the new nervous system: an added “innovation layer” that lets everything else, especially legacy systems of record, become more valuable. Make silo’d information more useful in more ways, without compromising security, and introduce mobility and collaboration as platform services rather than costly new projects. This makes cloud a win-win for every constituency in the organization.”

Tip #2 Mike Gerholdt (Salesforce Admin Evangelist, and Button Click Admin hero)

“Find and join a user group near you and make friends in social. It’s easy to feel like you are on an island, but there are a lot of incredibly helpful people at user groups and on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. that like to solve problems. It’s a great way for you to see new features, and hear about problems that admins are solving, as well as helping others learn the platform.”

Tip #3 SteveMo (The legend of the Answers forum with over 33,000 Answers)

“The Pitfalls of Notes & Attachments – Notes&Attachments are like the Panda bear of SFDC (an Evolutionary Dead End) You can’t access them with an out of the box Report, Formula, Workflow, etc, they also can’t be uploaded via Salesforce1. A lot of SFDC Admins get rid of them and hide/remove the Notes&Attachments section from the page layouts and replace them with Custom Fields, Custom Objects, or use Chatter and Files instead.”

Tip #4 Bill Greenhaw (MVP and Sacramento User Group Leader)

“Going to Dreamforce ’14? You should take a look the wide range of DF14 specific Community Groups. There is even a Salesforce Success Community to help lose a few pounds or get a little more active before the huge event, join the DF ’14 Health and Weight Loss Challenge to challenge yourself and motivate others to get healthier leading up to Dreamforce.”

Tip #5 Eric Dreshfield (MVP and Southern Indiana User Group Leader)

“Tip for surviving your first Dreamforce – My number 1 tip for Dreamforce attendees is  NETWORK!! Talk to people, don’t be scared…talk to everyone you can. The person on your right when waiting in line to go into a session, the person sitting to your left once you get inside a session. When you go to breakfast or lunch (the one that’s included with your conference pass) pick a table with a few people and ask to join them…then introduce yourself. If you are shy, quiet or not very outgoing, take the high-tech approach to meeting people: hang out at the charging stations, or even at an outlet on a wall in the hallways with a surge strip to charge your tablet…share your power. One surge strip = five instant connections / friends!”

Tip #6 Jeff May (MVP, and top community contributor)

“How to troubleshoot a formula field formula:
Formula fields can sometimes be tricky.  Create a tabular report and add the formula field, as well as each of the fields referenced in your formula field.  You can create additional formula fields to specific values like #UserRole.Name.  Run the report to see which data combinations work, and which ones cause problems.”

Tip #7 Jen Nelson ( MVP and Chicago Suburban User Group Leader)

“My Tip is to let Admins know that they can add extra branding to their Salesforce.com Org by creating a Custom App that includes their own Company’s Logo. For further info take a look here ”

Tip #8 Caroline Renard (MVP, and Technology Interpreter for Arts Groups)

“The big news from the Salesforce Foundation is the release of the new version of the NonProfit Starter Pack. Any nonprofit/charity that signs up for a Salesforce trial from this week will get the new version, and existing customers can get details about upgrading from the Power of Us HUB. NPSP3 comes with lots of new features and fixes: there is a new Household Account model option, clever customizations around household naming and noting affiliations, and tools to manage seasonal addresses, amongst many other things. The installation process has been simplified, with one download now instead of six! My colleague Judi Sohn has more details here.”

Tip #9 Deepa Patel (MVP, and San Jose User Group Leader)

“Three tips for DF14. Invest is a good backup battery charger, wear comfortable shoes, sign up for HOTS!”

Tip #10 Jason Atwood (MVP, and Podcaster)

“My tip is an old school configuration one, which is to standardize the page layouts for all objects so that certain fields are in the same sections and locations. For example, while Salesforce sometimes puts “System Information” in its own section at the bottom of a page, when I customize an org I do this on every page layout on every object. The reason is that studies have shown that good user interface design includes consistent placement of the same functions, as the brain actually memorizes the hand eye coordination from tasks to task. So, putting this into practice in SFDC helps lower the learning curve, increase adoption and cut down on support calls.”

Tip #11 And last but not least, a word from Parker Harris – Salesforce.com Co-Founder 

“Make sure to take advantage of our IdeaExchange. We started the IdeaExchange to create a community where customers can suggest new product features and connect with product managers, developers, partners, other users and admins. Our team monitors the site and keeps the community updated on which ideas have been chosen and when they’ll arrive. You have a voice and we want to hear it. Visit ideas.salesforce.com and let us know what you think!”

Thank you

A huge thank you to everyone who reads my blog, you keep me motivated to dig for news, and to try new Apps and Salesforce functionality!
And massive thanks to all my Guest Bloggers this week, it is amazing that this community will pull together for each other, you guys are all officially #AWESOME!