Last time in part 1 we had a first look at the Salesforce.com Spring 14 release notes. This week in part 2 we delve a little deeper into the release notes to uncover some more gems.
1. Communities in SF1 – When Communities were introduced in 2013 it was a big milestone and Communities will clearly play a big part in the future strategy of Salesforce. Now we are seeing Communities proliferate the wider corners of the platform. Mobile is another aspect that features heavily in the strategic roadmap and this was clear when we witnessed the birth of Salesforce-1 at DreamForce 13. Strictly speaking Spring 14 is the first officially documented release of SF1 but we have all had a chance to play with it since its launch at DreamForce 14 back in November. Now with the convergence of Communities and SF1 the value of both solutions becomes deeper and enriched.
2. Orders standard object – Orders are a logical extension of CRM so it stands to reason that order functionality out of the box is a no brainer for Salesforce. Orders have been available only as part of a pilot up until now but as of Spring 14 they will be available to all organisations from Professional Edition upwards. Not everybody will use orders I’m sure but there will be a lot of organisations that benefit from the feature. The Order object will be closely linked to the Account and will follow the sharing model from the parent Account. Orders also come with an Order Reduction feature to allow the processing of returns or reductions on orders that have been activated. It looks like Reduction Orders will only be available on Enterprise Edition and upwards though – no Professional Edition support. If you want a quick overview of how orders will work then check out the Orders Cheat Sheet at https://help.salesforce.com/help/pdfs/en/salesforce_orders_cheatsheet.pdf.
3. Skills – We have all seen skills endorsement in LinkedIn. Salesforce Skills works on a similar principal allowing users to add skills to their user profile. Other users can then endorse their colleagues for skills on their profile. To close the loop Skills are searchable from Global Search so users can quickly identify individuals within their organisation with a particular skill set. I was pleased to see that Salesforce have included administration and moderation features so that system administrators can choose to control whether users have the freedom to add new skills or whether it should be an admin only task. Furthermore administrators can configure skill and endorsement objects with custom fields, page layouts, triggers, workflow and validation rules. I think Skills will be a real value add to larger organisations allowing them to leverage the diverse range of capabilities in their workforce from all corners of the organisation. Skills will be in Pilot in Spring 14 so you will need to request access from your Salesforce AE or support rep.
4. Text() Function Picklist support expanded – In the scheme of things this is not the biggest feature but it has been something administrators and developers will be thrilled to see. The Text() function, used to leverage picklist fields, can now be used in Workflow Rules, Approval Rules, Approval Steps, Auto-Response Rules, Escalation Rules, Custom Buttons and Links. What does this ultimately mean? Well it allows more flexibility and freedom to use picklist fields when automating business logic using clicks not code.
5. Permission Sets – Mass user add – A relatively trivial change but it is a victory for all administrators that have suffered the pain of having to add users to a permission set one-by-one from each user record. The addition of permissions sets was much welcomed by administrators with large complex orgs where they had to maintain many different user profiles to accommodate slightly different variations of user profiles. Permission sets made it easy for administrators to keep the number of user profiles relatively low but whilst allowing the flexibility to grant certain permissions to a cross-section of users regardless of what user profile they had been assigned. If you created a permission set that you wanted to add to more than one or two users to though it was a tedious exercise. Well not anymore!
So there you have it. Lots to look forward to from the next release. You can download the latest release related content, including release notes, at http://www.salesforce.com/newfeatures/. As with every Salesforce.com release the Spring 14 release will be staggered across multiple weekends with different Salesforce.com instances upgrading each weekend. The first of the sandbox instances will be rolling out from 7th February and the first production instances will start the following week on the 14th February. For details of full rollout schedules for all instances check out http://trust.salesforce.com/trust/maintenance/.
I am a Senior Salesforce Consultant in Ciber’s UK Salesforce practice. For more details on Ciber’s range of Salesforce.com specific services including training, bespoke development, solution delivery and support check out our website on http://www.ciber.com/uk/index.cfm/technologies/salesforcecom/.