Archive for April, 2011

April 29, 2011

The why and the what

With my recent media buzz (hold your applause), I’ve been panicked about what my next post should be. I have a ton of ideas in my queue, but none of them seemed to be the right piece to be next. It all got me thinking as to why I started blog & what I want my blog to be to the world. A clear vision for my blog means that the readers get it, and when the readers get it, they will return to read more.

My end game is to be a resource for all types of people on the Salesforce spectrum – from prospects who want a reason why, to veteran Admins looking to take baby steps into development work. I imagine a mix of tips & tricks, horror stories & lessons learned, and excitement about news & rumors surrounding Salesforce. My goal, as it probably is for most bloggers, is to remain relevant to the readers.

To that end – I’ve made some changes to my Contact page, opening it up to post requests/suggestions and guest posts volunteers, as well as feedback. Like I said, I have some posts queued up, but I want to make sure I stay true to what my readers are looking for.

Now I know this post isn’t very Salesforce-heavy, so I’d like to end with promoting the Cloudforce city tours. Salesforce has just announced several dates around the US leading up to Dreamforce in August. I highly recommend getting to one of these FREE half-day events, even if you are going to Dreamforce (and especially if you aren’t).

Cloudforce2011See you there!

April 22, 2011

It’s OK – you can trust me

December 2005. January 2006.

I remember the events so clearly, for two reasons. One – They were major disruptions & completely halted business operations. And two – it hasn’t happened since.

I’m talking about the hours-long service interruptions that users experienced over 5 years ago. With all the buzz about what’s been going on with Amazon Web Services and what it means for the cloud, I couldn’t help but to think back to the last major cloud disruption that I experienced.

As a Salesforce admin, as in my life, I like to know every detail about everything. I’ve said it before, I’m all about the data. But so often we are left in black holes. How many times have you had a flight delayed & you can’t get a concrete answer out of anyone, and the airline’s website has more details than the person behind the counter? It’s incredibly frustrating. Why treat your customers like that?

So how did Salesforce react to their outages? Just weeks after the episodes, they launched, giving the whole complete visibility to their system status. Not only did they show issues & disturbances, but average speed of transaction & upcoming maintenance notifications. Complete and total honesty leads to trust. Nothing can be perfect 100% of the time, but I certainly appreciate when a vendor respects me enough to be honest.

Oh – and 128 days until Dreamforce11!!

April 15, 2011

Here comes the Sun!

It seems like just yesterday that I was blogging about the Spring 11 release, and yet there’s already a buzz about what’s coming out this summer. I was able to take some time this week to read through the release notes, and there are definitely several things that I’m excited about. In no particular order – here’s my Summer ’11 highlight list:

  • Enhanced Profile UI – Hallelujah!! Every admin knows how much it sucks changing permissions on profiles. The new UI will help to streamline the process, drastically reducing the number of clicks it will take to update permissions and settings. I am not exaggerating when I say this is hours & hours of productivity gained for admins.
  • Loads of Chatter updates – The first 10 pages of details in the release notes are dedicated to Chatter enhancements.  If it wasn’t already apparent, the Collaboration Cloud is definitely where efforts are focused for the foreseeable future. There is a ton going on here, but what I’m looking forward most are:
    • Chatter favorites (a great way to parse out details/topics from your Chatter feed)
    • Searchable @-mentions
    • Personal Chatter stats on your profile
    • The ability to set a default email frequency for new groups that you join  & setting the out-of-the-box default to off (Why the heck was the default set to daily for all new groups? Email overload!)
    • Tips-and-tricks Chatty User – this is going to be great for new Chatter rollouts. A system user that will post & give examples of good Chatter content, with no effort required from an admin
  • Automagic comes to Salesforce Knowledge – I use ‘automagic’ to refer to workflow rules and approval processes – the stuff that makes Salesforce effortless for users. With the Summer 11 release, these are now available in Salesforce Knowledge
  • Yay for analytics! – I like data. Doing this job, how can you not? So any enhancements to analytics is a win in my book. In Summer 11, we have two small but important changes to look forward to: faster loading of the preview of results & multiple field selection for adding them to reports. Granted, these will only apply if you are using the new report builder, but you should be anyway – it’s an adjustment, but once you get used to it, you’ll never go back.
  • Analytics add-ons – on top of those changes, you will also have the ability to purchase add-ons to supplement your analytic limitations (more scheduled refreshes, more dynamic dashboard, etc). I’m thrilled that Salesforce is giving customers this option, and I hope that the cost is reasonable. This is great of organizations that are metric-heavy & really want to fully leverage the power of dashboards.
  • It’s small, but for those of you lucky enough to be on UE – your limit on custom fields just increased from 500 to 800 per object. Consider me jealous.

The one real bummer for me is that there isn’t a ton going on for the Sales Cloud – just 2 pages in the release notes, and all simple enhancements to existing functionality. Probably the most notable is that Content Workspaces will now be called Libraries.  I’m hoping that the lack of changes for the Sales Cloud means that there will be some huge changes that will be announced at Dreamforce 11. Wishful thinking maybe, but not completely out in left field.

What are you most looking forward to in Summer 11? Did I completely skip over something that you can’t wait for? Share!

April 8, 2011

Let me blow your mind!

I knew the week that Dreamforce registration went live was going to be a crazy one, but I had no idea how crazy. A unexpected delay on one project threw me head first into another. It was a project & a team that I knew nothing about, and was I in for a surprise. This team was managing all their work with Outlook Tasks! Shocked doesn’t do it justice, and I can’t even begin to describe all the heavy lifting the team leader does to get work assigned. (Reminds me off way-back-when, where I was stuck manually assigning the leads coming in from web-to-lead – can you even imagine?) Half of this supervisor’s time was spent managing this inbox & assigning tasks. And just imagine if she wanted to take a vacation day!

This team wasn’t asking for much either. They wanted to be able to track & report on the work that they do. They wanted to be notified of an event of a certain type being created. And their “nice to have” was email notifications. I spent one day building them a custom object to track their work. I even wrote a trigger that would create a record when that event type was created, thereby eliminating another step in their process.

This was a fairly simple project on my end, but a really big win for this team. Literally hours of productivity daily! That’s huge! I think sometimes we as admins get wrapped up in fairly complex problems, and forget that there are some really easy projects out there that will dramatically effect the organization in a positive way.

Where do these opportunities exist in your organization? Hunt them down & go blow someone’s mind today!

April 1, 2011

Acquisition Engine!

Earlier this week, the internet was a buzz with the news that Salesforce had entered into an agreement to buy Radian6 – a “social media monitoring platform.”  But with all the flurry on that acquisition, I was shocked that there wasn’t more talk about how else Salesforce is extending their reach & expanding on what ‘cloud’ computing really means.

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