As usual, the latest Salesforce release contains all kinds of beneficial updates and enhancements. Here’s a look at the ones I feel will be most beneficial to Salesforce users.
What’s with all the Chatter about Chatter?
At a March 2013 presentation, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff claimed that Chatter would become the primary Salesforce.com interface. Salesforce seems to be holding true to that statement, as there is a clear focus on Chatter in the Summer 13 release. Two of the most prominent enhancements to Chatter in this latest update are:
1.) Chatter Topics
The Chatter Topics feature allows users to organize a stream of unstructured conversations in a way that works similar to hashtags(#). (In fact, Salesforce will be converting/upgrading all prior hashtags(#) to Chatter Topics.) This feature should make searching and organizing Chatter posts much more efficient.
Salesforce’s built-in “Topic Suggestion” engine will automatically “suggest” how to categorize your post. Users can enter just those suggested topics, or add them to their own entries. Users will also see the new “Topics” link on the lower left of the page. This link takes the user to a summary of all current topics, and shows them the number of people discussing each topic and the related conversations (with the most recent posts on top.)
2.) Publisher Actions
Users can now create records in the Chatter feed using Publisher Actions, and records created via Publisher Actions respect all validation rules and workflow. These changes should make the creation of objects in Salesforce more intuitive, provide more options for different business process/use cases, and foster better collaboration. Below are a few examples of how this feature works.
-First, an example of how users can add the Create Account Action to the Global Feed.
After clicking on the Create Account selection, a small page layout allows the user to create an Account within the Chatter feed.
Next, an example of how to add a Create Contact Action to the Chatter feed of the Account.
Note that when the Create Contact selection is made, a small Contact page layout is presented, with the Account already filled in.
Considering Salesforce’s dominance in sales automation, it’s always puzzled me that the ability to split revenue credit and/or provide revenue over-rides (tasks so common in sales organizations) required customization. That’s changed with the Summer 13 Release! Salesforce has now implemented Opportunity Splits as part of the Team Selling capability. This feature gives users the ability to distribute revenue among a team of salespeople, and the ability to report on these distributions in a way that no longer requires customization.
The total Opportunity Split must equal 100%, and any revenue over-rides must be entered in the Overlay section. (Overlay splits provide credit to team members who contribute to an Opportunity, but who aren’t responsible for generated revenue. Because these splits aren’t limited by the Opportunity amount, they can total any percentage, sometimes exceeding 100%).
Below is an example of an Opportunity with both a Revenue Split and an Overlay. Note that in order to be a part of the Opportunity Split, the user must also be a part of the Opportunity Team. In the related Opportunity Splits list, you can see that there is a Revenue split between the Salesperson and Sales Manager, as well as an additional 5% Overlay for the Sales Manager.
Enhanced Sharing for Reports and Dashboards
This latest release includes great improvements to the level of security granularity regarding Report and Dashboard folders. The Enhanced Sharing feature lets users share folders with individual Users, Roles, Subordinates and Public Groups, and allows Viewer, Editor or Manager level access for each established share. This eliminates the previous requirement of setting security access to specific reports through the use of public groups.
Here is a screen shot of Enhanced Sharing:
(One thing I should note: as I was writing this blog, I did discover issues with the Report Scheduling function of this feature. It seems that Report Scheduler does not recognize the new structure, even with Enhanced Sharing activated. I have submitted a case to Salesforce, who have confirmed the bug and are in the process of fixing it.)
Record Owner Object Access
I’m really excited about this one! Salesforce now provides access to all User and/or Queue fields for record owners. Until this latest release, the User and/or Queue objects only showed record owner name and/or ID, and access to other fields required a custom trigger. With this latest release, users can create formulas that include all of the fields from the User and Queue objects. I created a test object below to show the familiar > for traversing object relationships.
While the record owner is polymorphic (User or Queue), there are 2 separate lookup relationships provided. Below is an example of traversing the Owner Queue:
Here is what traversing the User object looks like:
You can also traverse from a record’s owner to the manager, and so on:
Here’s a formula that pulls the department from the user object (which is also the owner of the Test object I created!
How The Updates of Salesforce’s Summer 13 Release Benefit You
As you can see, these enhancements will help you use Salesforce to communicate more efficiently, foster better collaboration, and improve the way you report on sales and revenue. Click here to download the complete Summer 13 release notes, which go into even more detail about these exciting new features.
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