Salesforce Certification … To Take the Test or To Not Take the Test?

For me working within Salesforce has always been through Self-Taught means. For the past 7 years I have researched and watched numerous videos to learn and master various parts of Salesforce. I jumped into the deep end of the pool in in my current position almost 2 years ago learning more in my first 90 days than in the previous 5 years combined. The stress of my Project load on my first day almost had me fleeing the office, jumping onto the red line and heading home. Starting out with 18 new projects is most definitely a trial by fire when starting an intense new job with a long commute.

Weighing the Salesforce Certification test and what it would and would not mean for my career path has always been a bit of a conflict for me. The rational part of my brain knows I will pass the ADM 201 test with flying colors and I am more than able to do the same for the ADM 301 and DEV 401 as according to Salesforce’s own test description and advice. Unfortunately the part of my brain that suffered through two rounds of SAT tests in high school is reluctant to pay and take a test where I have a 2% chance of failing. Irrational much? Yes I know!

In my opinion the Salesforce Certification test is not an accurate portrayal of an Administrators knowledge and ability. Rationally it is not hard to pass a multiple choice test where you only need to pass 65% to become certified. When you look at it clearly it is a test with 100 multiple choices questions and you only have to guess 65 of those questions correctly. More likely the correct answers can be found not necessarily by knowledge and application but by memorization and logic. The new Salesforce Trailhead platform provides a well-rounded hands on based Salesforce training. The badges in Trailhead and the trails they have designed for specific job functions and features is a better gauge for understanding someone’s knowledge and ability.

Unfortunately there is a weight to having a specific Certification when you are in the job market and looking for a specific salary range or position and title with a new company. If one wants to be distinguished and stand out among the crowd having a certification is leg up and having more than one certification means someone is standing up and taking notice of you. With that said I have to squash my irrational fear of taking the Salesforce Certification test. I need to just sit down and do it. My nervousness and fear is unfounded and is just an excuse to avoid standing up and being someone who has distinguished herself and is demanding to be taken seriously. So to take the test or not to take the test is not really the question or quandary. When it comes down to it the real question is when do you take the test?

Related Articles:

http://certification.salesforce.com/
http://certification.salesforce.com/Administrators

Guide to passing all Salesforce certifications

Beginner’s Guide to Salesforce Certification

http://resources.docs.salesforce.com/204/14/en-us/sfdc/pdf/salesforce_lead_implementation_guide.pdf

 

Lightning Experience Transition Planning … Take a Deep Breath You’re Going In…

Now that I have realized Lightning is not as bad as I thought it was there is still the task of transitioning to the new UI. Salesforce’s Trailhead has been instrumental in helping me to feel better prepared to roll out Lightning Experience to my users.

Now that I have realized Lightning is not as bad as I thought it was there is still the task of transitioning to the new UI. Salesforce’s Trailhead has been instrumental in helping me to feel better prepared to roll out Lightning Experience to my users. With that said there are times when one can be over prepared. I feel as if I am over-stressing about migrating to the Lightning Experience. I am reviewing the numerous modules and trails about Lightning Experience. There is a ton of content, articles, trails and modules around this topic. I think the fact that there is so much content and focus on this it is making it even more overwhelming for me.

That is not to say that the modules and trails in Trailhead are not very helpful, they are. The modules are simple and very clear. I love Trailhead and only wish that Salesforce could have come up with this new training program years earlier. This new Salesforce training concept and site is stunning. Unfortunately the trails and modules around preparing a Lightning Migration does not alleviate the stress of the change. If your company and org is anything like mine then this is not a project that can take up a large amount of your time. As a member of my company’s IT time we are constantly prioritizing projects and finding ourselves knee deep in development of one kind or another.

As much as Salesforce can give advice and preparation about including key stakeholders and having your executives on board with a Lightning rollout in the end you (Admin and possibly Developer) are doing the majority of the heavy lifting. I need to feel comfortable with what needs to change, what will and will not work in Lightning experience. We also want to improve our users’ ability to navigate to the items they themselves will use in their role. This means (for me) a revamp to profile mapping and having to lay out all new Apps that are profile and department specific.

Obviously this is something that goes hand in hand with any new transition for a UI. As an admin and an IT professional I should not be surprised and in truth I am not. Unfortunately this not the type of project that can or ever will take priority as much as I (or you) would want it to. Salesforce is good as saying that something like this is not a simple transition and should be considered a priority if it will improve your Business. I agree but transitioning your UI is not necessarily going to raise your ROI immediately especially if you have development that is ongoing that is in fact improving said ROI.

My point is do not feel discouraged as you go through all of the Content about Lightning Experience. It is overwhelming how much there is to learn about Lightning and preparing for a transition to the Experience within your org. It is not going to be a simple switch to flip and there will always be the inevitable hiccups and problems. The change may not be as quick as you would initially have hoped for but give it time. I do think Lightning Experience is constantly improving my original opinion. I like the look, the feel and the bells and whistles that are hidden gems within it. I am looking forward to the transition to Lightning Experience but pacing myself in the transition is what I have found to be the biggest necessity.

Helpful Content:

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/module/lex_migration_rollout

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/lex_migration_rollout/lex_migration_rollout_enabling

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/lex_migration_rollout/lex_migration_rollout_educating

https://releasenotes.docs.salesforce.com/en-us/winter16/release-notes/lex_rollout_strategy.htm

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/trail/lex_admin_implementation

 

What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

With the onset of Social Media and the immediacy that millennials and those who are becoming mobile customers require and demand, Marketing Cloud is the only tool on the market that is delivering this experience and the information a company needs to meet these demands.

For the past 7 years I have been primarily working within Sales and Service Cloud in Salesforce. I have not given much thought to other Salesforce Clouds assuming they were really all tied up into one platform and organizations user licenses were the difference. It has only been recently while working closely with my organization’s marketing team specifically the Social Media team that I have become aware of Marketing Cloud.

We found a big disconnect with the various Social Media tools and connecting them with our customer data. We needed a tool that would allow us to be able to see our customer’s full profiles while also allowing us to manage our Social Media and Marketing communications. Also as we exploded on our own Social Media outlets we found the need to integrate Customer Service and Experience with our Salesforce profiles so that we could provide better service to all of our customers and potential customers.

We demoed the Marketing Cloud while at the Boston World Tour Day in April. The demo just gives you a brief glimpse of the power and features within the platform. As we started to research tools that could solve our problems we kept coming back to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Here it seemed all of our problems would be solved. We would be able to integrate into our current CRM pulling a full view of our current customer profile. We would be able to better market and communicate with our customer’s especially those who are completely mobile.

The platform also replaced a Social Media tool we were using to manage our communities separate from our customer base. By using Marketing Cloud we are able to combine both our Social Community and our Customer base. This allows us to stream line the Customer Service Experience across all channels from Personalized Emailing, Text messages, and Push Notifications to being able to respond to both Positive and Negative Social Media Sentiment. This an extremely powerful tool for a modern company to put into place to better handle and oversee their Customer Experience. This helps you have a real time 360 view of your customer base and your social community in a way that we have not been able to before. With the onset of Social Media and the immediacy that millennials and those who are becoming mobile customers require and demand, Marketing Cloud is the only tool on the market that is delivering this experience and the information a company needs to meet these demands.

 

Related Articles:

https://www.salesforce.com/products/marketing-cloud/overview/

http://www.salesforce.com/eu/marketing-cloud/overview/

https://www.salesforce.com/products/marketing-cloud/channels/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salesforce_Marketing_Cloud

http://pages.mail.salesforce.com/page.aspx?QS=3935619f7de112efc3ef6f6de92aa18e6d7eeb8bd9e5fd22

 

Lightning Experience isn’t as bad I thought it would be…

Change can be a good thing.

 

I have attended Dreamforce for the past two years with the Lightning theme dominating everything. When Lightning first became available it was not designed with the ability to customize it for custom objects. With this inherent flaw initially it was not something for those of us with highly customized organizations and custom objects to put into use.

Now over a year later with three additional releases of updates and changes, Lightning Experience is quickly becoming the “norm”. I have been inherently fighting the transition. There is no real reason to delay the transition to Lightning Experience now except habit. Even I admit that the reports and dashboards in Lightning Experience alone make moving over worth the hassle. Dashboards are interact and more visually stimulating in Lightning Experience.

With that said my CIO decided it was time that we transitioned our users over to Lightning Experience once we got back from this year’s Dreamforce. It has been a month since Dreamforce and I haven’t officially turned Lightning Experience on for everyone. I have been slowly forcing myself to do Trailhead modules about transitioning over to Lightning. Since the Awesome Admins have started the Lightning Challenge this past week I realize there are more tricks in Lightning that are just more useful. The Calendar option for anything is really useful for being able to pop up a calendar with color coded events showing them either weekly or monthly. This is very useful for my Company that hosts public events weekly and monthly. The Calendar enables my users to see all of the upcoming events on a Calendar within their Salesforce browser without having to leave and visit our external website event page.

The ability to add a List View Chart was also a revelation. We use Service Cloud and our service team uses List Views to control their work load and determine their work queues throughout the day. Adding Charts for their managers to get a visual representation of their work queue is a better way for them to visually manage their teams daily work queue without having to also continually refresh the management dashboards throughout a given day.

As I have been participating in the #LightningChallenge I have come to realize that the small tips and tricks in the challenge are what will boost my user adoption when I do launch Lightning Company wide. By giving these daily challenges the Awesome Admin team is showing us the small details we would’ve missed unless we read the Release Notes word for word. I have been slowly realizing that the Lightning Experience transition will not be as hard and as difficult as I initially thought. Sometimes Change can be a good thing.

Related Sites:

https://admin.salesforce.com/
https://trailhead.salesforce.com/\
https://www.salesforce.com/lightning/overview
https://www.salesforce.com/dreamforce/DF16/
https://releasenotes.docs.salesforce.com/en-us/winter16/release-notes/lex_do_it_intro.htm
https://releasenotes.docs.salesforce.com/en-us/spring16/release-notes/lex_right_for_me.htm

 

 

Tips to Increasing Salesforce Limits

As a Salesforce Administrator in charge of building processes and maintaining a Salesforce platform one of the most important things we have to keep in mind is Process limits and Chatter limits. I will be honest I have never given limits much thought as an Administrator it is one of those things that never crossed my mind. It fell into a category of “out of sight out of mind”. Even now I think I unconsciously assumed my Developer would handle it. I think of Process Limits in the context of apex limits, API call out limits etc. Since I have been using Lightning Process Builder it is one of those topics that have crept up into my line of vision. I realize now it is just as important for an Administrator to be aware of Process Limits as it is for a Developer.

Out of the box there are set limits which are per organization limits. Salesforce has plenty of resources and documentation explaining any and all limits (check some out here: Process Limits). These limits go hand in hand with daily email limits, apex governor limits and SOQL query limits. These limitations were placed for a reason of course. The more processes and limits you reach the slower your organization may run. Since businesses prefer instant gratification you may want to keep your limits in mind. With that said there are some limits that are just inherently too low such as the Chatter follow limit of 500 follows across all objects.

This became a problem for my company because we are shifting our business goals to be more Sales focused. So this limitation wasn’t just a problem for us but would impact any B2B business and those who are Sales driven. If you have Sales teams that are nurturing relationships whether individually at the Contact level or organization wide at the Account level they will be limited on the records they can follow from Accounts, Contacts to Opportunities. Chatter unfollow rules can help mitigate this being a problem initially but 500 records across all objects is really low.

This is one of those really easy limits to have increased. Salesforce Support will increase your Chatter limit once your Administrator submits a case giving a fairly simple business reason. We were able to increase our Chatter limit from 500 to 2000 by simply saying we needed the increase for our Sales teams to nurture Business Relationships. We were able to get this request approved in a matter of hours. I think it was the simplest and fastest Support case I have ever submitted.

Of course this is not the only Salesforce limit you can request an increase for. Process Limits, depending on how complex you have built your organization, can also be increased. As noted in the link above Process Limits start at 50 rules or processes per object. Granted this didn’t initially seem like a high number until you realize it is per object. So this in and of itself is a pretty high limit. But in an instance where you find yourself creeping your way towards the 50 limit for a particular object you can request a limit increase. According to my Executive Account manager Salesforce tries not to go higher than 300 per object here. As with any computer, IOS or even your cell phone the more applications and processes you have running at the same time the lower your performance will be. With that being said don’t let yourself feel that you are held to the initial limits Salesforce has set up, anything can be changed to suit your particular business need all you have to do is ask!

Links that you may find useful:

 

Salesforce App Cloud …. If you can think it you can build it!

Salesforce is leading the way into the world of App Developement. We as a culture and society are consumed with technology which continues to make leaps and bounds. Everyone is striving to beat their competitor. While the rest of us mere mortals sit back and eagerly await what new toy we will race to purchase the day it debuts. Salesforce is a little more subtle.  App cloud is according to Salesforce “at the core of the Salesforce ecosystem” (http://www.salesforce.com/platform/overview).

App Cloud is where you can build custom personalized Apps for your users, partners and customers. App Cloud is what is leading the way for IT departments and CIO’s to keep up with their Business demands. Here Administrators can design and build custom apps without complex configurations and code. App Cloud allows Admins to assess a business need and proceed with building and automating an App with simple Clicks within hours. App Cloud is transforming IT departments from being heavily bogged down with App Development requiring complex coding that could take weeks or months to complete a project to days with no code.

Every time we use our smart phones we are using Apps. Businesses and IT teams know Applications are driving business, and fostering adoption among users. We can take complex Business strategies and simplify them by automating it through an App built within the platform. This increases adoption and can lead to insightful feedback and oversight. In the last year I have seen this myself. I have assisted and built over 15 Apps within App Cloud and have seen the business impact this can have. I have also seen an increase in user adoption which every company regardless of industry hopes to see when investing in a product or partner that can make or break their business.

Technology is advancing at such a rate that most companies are being left behind. The best way to keep pace is by tackling the demands your business have for simple easy automated Applications. It can stream line individual user work and automate business processes to ensure that opportunities do not fall through the cracks. Now with App Cloud coupled with the power of the Salesforce Platform Administrators can produce Apps within hours and days alleviating the brunt that can weigh down an IT team and hold a business back from keeping up with rapid pace of developing technology.

App Cloud is simple and easy to use. If you can think it, App Cloud will help you build it and make it a reality. This is the best way to take complex business strategies and turn them into simple pain free business and profit. If you can dream it then you can build it yourself!

 

Related Articles:

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2015/09/salesforce-app-cloud.html

http://www.salesforce.com/company/news-press/press-releases/2015/09/150910.jsp

https://developer.salesforce.com/gettingstarted

https://developer.salesforce.com/trailhead/en/modules

https://developer.salesforce.com/dreamforce/2015-recap

http://www.zdnet.com/article/salesforce-launches-app-cloud-puts-developer-resources-under-one-roof/

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/salesforces-app-cloud-finally-gives-developers-a-unified-paas/

 

 

 

Salesforce Process Builder… Are you using it?

When I first started as an Administrator in Salesforce (and even now 7 years later) workflow rules continuously tripped me up and proved difficult. When Salesforce introduced the Lightning Process Builder in 2014 I did not give it much thought since it wasn’t going to solve any problems I had at the time they mentioned it. Of course once I stepped into my current position in January 2015 I started learning more about what Salesforce is really capable of at an accelerated rate than I had the previous 5 years. When Lightning Process Builder became available in our Sandbox as a Beta test I was skeptical about whether we should begin using it.

By the time Process Builder was available in Production we were impatient and eager to use it. Process Builder takes complicated single workflows and combines them and simplifies their flow. The whole layout is clean and reads just like a flow chart where you write out the process flow starting with the target object and defining the initial criteria. The Process Builder allows an Administrator to create a configuration that would have originally required a Developer and knowledge of Apex. Salesforce is now on a mission to encourage point and click automation over code configuration. They want their customers to be able get jump in and be able to work smart and efficiently without having to be bogged down with code writing and complicated customization.

By introducing Process Builder as the first part into the Lightning Platform they opened the way for Administrators to be able to better refine business procedure using fewer processes than multiple individual workflows that may have needed complicated Apex code written by a specialized Developer. Process Builder is so easy and clean I activated nearly 5 processes the same day the tool was released from Beta testing and launched live. Since then there have been 3 releases that have all included upgrades and improvements to an already simple tool.

When I attended Dreamforce this past year I was stunned to find so many Administrators, Developers and Customers who were hesitant to use it. I encouraged anyone I met that was not already using it to test it and demo it. Process builder is one simple tool that can streamline an entire Business. What is the harm in using an easy, user friendly point and click automated tool? So if you are asking whether or not you should use Salesforce Process Builder to automate business functionality and flow within your platform the answer is as simple as the tool itself. Of course you should use it!

 

Related Articles:

http://www.runconsultants.com/blog/comparing-salesforce-workflows-to-lightning-process-builder/

http://developerforce.github.io/lightning-process-builder-tutorial/

https://help.salesforce.com/HTViewHelpDoc?id=process_overview.htm

https://developer.salesforce.com/page/Lightning_Process_Builder

https://developer.salesforce.com/trailhead/en/business_process_automation/process_builder

https://help.salesforce.com/apex/HTViewHelpDoc?id=process_limits.htm&language=en_US

http://brainiate.blogspot.com/2015/05/unleashing-power-of-salesforce.html?utm_content=buffer1744e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=plus.google.com&utm_campaign=buffer