The Top 5 Feature Releases of the Spring ’13 Release

The Spring ’13 Release notes are out. Sandbox previews are available. Salesforce is about to start delivering some rich new features to our Salesforce production orgs. Listed below are my Top 5 Favorite Feature Releases of the Spring ’13 release:

5.) Salesforce Touch
As I mentioned in my previous post on Salesforce Touch, this feature has lots of potential, and Salesforce continues to show commitment in improving its capabilities.

  • Dashboards- You can now view dashboards in Salesforce Touch. However, keep in mind that the Touch dashboards are still somewhat limited. Visualforce components, filters or source reports are not shown, Dynamic dashboards only let you see data as yourself, and Chatter posts and feed tracking are not available.
  • Cases, Lead Tabs and Visualforce Tabs are now supported.

4.) Salesforce for Outlook
Spring ’13 includes the eagerly awaited Salesforce Side Panel for Outlook. This allows you to select emails in Outlook, and then view their Contact and Lead details in an Outlook side panel. There are also blue text links which all you to view details quickly and directly in Salesforce. (Users must have permission to display the side panel and the side panel must be enabled through the Outlook Configurations.)

While Salesforce for Outlook is still not a perfect tool (syncing between Outlook and Salesforce can still be very glitch heavy due to the integrations between Outlook mobile, Salesforce and record sharing rules in Salesforce), any improvement in Salesforce for Outlook is very welcome. I also really like the fact that you can use the new side panel in Outlook to click through directly to Salesforce, which vastly improves Outlook/Salesforce integration.

3.) Chatter Enhancements
There are some nice new Chatter enhancements which emphasize Salesforce’s commitment to improve collaboration.

  • Tasks appear in record feeds – you can turn these on in Chatter settings – check “Generate Feed Items for Tasks”.
  • You can create tasks right in your record feed – if you are generating feed items for Tasks, you can then turn on “Allow Task Entry in Feeds”.
  • Searching in Group Feeds – click the magnifying glass above the feed to search the Chatter group feed.
  • Public Groups Post – you can make a post on any public group, including groups you are not a member of.

2.) User-Focused Help

Over the years, Online Help has deteriorated due to the growth in features. This has been frustrating for anyone trying to learn how to activate and setup new features, or even just seeking more general information about setting up Salesforce within their organization. The Spring ’13 release reorganizes Online Help into topics by feature area, user type, and task. Hopefully this enhancement will make it easier and faster to find needed information.

1.) State and Country Picklists (Beta)
Lack of State and Country picklists have been a pet peeve of mine for many years – ever since I started using Salesforce. It causes a lot of work on the part of the Admin to keep it clean and can really make reporting difficult for any user when trying to report on items by State or Country since everyone enters the information differently and with errors. With the Spring ’13 release, cleaner data is now enforced! Standardized state and country picklists are available in the shipping, billing, mailing and “other” address fields in standard objects Account, Contact, Contract, Lead, Person Accounts, Quotes, and Service Contracts. The state and country names in the picklists are based on ISO-3166 standard values so that they are compatible with other applications. (Click here to learn more about how to enable State and Country Picklists.)

For more details about the Salesforce Spring ’13 Release see the full Release Notes.

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