Archive for October, 2011

October 28, 2011

How do you like them apples?!?

Apple picking season is coming to an end here in New England, and I’ve got fruit on my mind. I wish I could say that was a good thing, but what’s on my mind is the rotten apples.

Ok, ok, maybe that’s slightly too harsh. What I’m talking about are those things that creep into your Salesforce org for some reason, never get used & sit there – fields that don’t get used, profiles that you create to pilot something and never get rid of, custom report types that no one uses. Over time, these build up and become excess baggage in your org.

Now, I don’t have all the answers, but there are some great tools to help us Admins clean up our orgs a bit. Here are two of my favorites (yes, we are going back to bullet-ed lists):

  • Permission sets – Now I know I touched on these before, but this is a great way to clean up and streamline your profiles. Permission sets are groups of permissions and settings that you can assign on a user-by-user (instead of profile-by-profile) basis. So instead of creating “one-off” profiles, you can use permission sets to grant additional permissions or other access to a user.
  • Field Trip – This is a super cool app (found on the AppExchange, of course) that evaluates the usage on all your fields. It’s a simple way to find fields that aren’t being used, so that you can archive and delete them. Qandor has a bunch of really cool apps to help admins clean & run there org, but Field Trip is definitely my favorite.

So, I know it’s not the right season for spring cleaning, but maybe a fall org clean-up is in order!

October 21, 2011

Get on my CASE

While a lot of my posts tend to be more broad in nature, every once and awhile, I have the urge to write about something a bit more tactical in nature, that I hope people can take value from. This is one of those weeks.

Being someone who doesn’t have a technical background, and also gets frustrated working in Excel, I had never really used the CASE function. About two years ago, I was working with a consultant on a project & he created a formula field in our org using CASE, and my mind was blown. Now, I had some experience with formulas, so I understood IF-THEN, but the IF-THEN-IF-THEN-IF-THEN-ELSE of a case was something new entirely. Love at first use.

As I say frequently in this blog, I can’t be the only one who was missing the power of the CASE, so I wanted to share some of my favorite uses.

One classic example is categorizing aging. If you have a custom field on an object (say the Case object) that calculates the days the case has been open, you could use the following formula in a field to categorize the status.

CASE(Days_Open__c, 4, "Overdue", 3, "Due",2, "Due", "New")

Another great example given by Salesforce is a standard discount rate, based on the user creating an opportunity.

CASE($User.Department, "IT", 0.25, "Field", 0.15, "Inside", 0.1, 0)

Finally, one that I’ve created that I find quite clever. This was looking at child objects on an opportunity. There was a child object of references, of which there were several types. We needed to report on which types were attached to any opportunity. First, I created four roll-up summary fields on the opportunity (left them off the page layout) to calculate which types of references where attached to the opportunity. Then I used the formula below to do all the work.

CASE(Reference_A__c,0,"", "A Reference") & " " &CASE(Reference_B__c,0,"", "Reference B")& " " &CASE( Reference_C__c ,0,"", "Reference C")& " " &CASE(Reference_D__c,0,"", "Reference D")

No, the CASE function isn’t sexy, but its powerful & handy. Do you have any cool CASE usages that you’d like to share? Post in the comments!

October 14, 2011

You could call it a triple jump

Over the past 6 years, I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many great people of different skill levels working with By far, the largest contingency were those similar to where I was at a year and a half ago. The best button click admin they could be, and still wanting to do more.

Since starting this blog, I’ve had a lot of great feedback. One thing I people ask me over and over is how I moved into dabbling in development. Like so many other, I don’t have a technical background. It was incredibly frustrating trying to move to the next level with Salesforce, and it felt as though I was trying to jump over the Grand Canyon. And I don’t claim expertise. I barely claim proficiency, but it’s a base & I’m building on it every day.

So you may be expecting a super complex answer, but I attribute it to just three things.

Training – As I’ve mentioned before, I was lucky enough to take the DEV 531 class. And if you have the time & resources to do this, I couldn’t recommend it more. I would go so far as to say it’d be worth missing Dreamforce once to take this class (only once though). If the class isn’t an option, then I recommend the Workbooks. The workbooks provide step-by-step tutorials to a variety of the technologies, and for the most part they assume no prior knowledge.

Force it – I know, I know. We don’t want anyone to “Get Forced”, but what I mean by this is forcing yourself to try out your skills. I made a decision that I was going to get my first trigger to work & that I wasn’t allowed to give up on it. Plain & simple.

The community – And I can’t lie, I got stuck a few times. But instead of giving up, I got on Twitter and the dev boards, and asked for help. Please don’t go there & just ask the community to write your trigger for you. You won’t make friends that way. But show some effort & ask for assistance, and there are plenty of people out there to help you.

It is possible. You are capable. And don’t worry, there’s a safety net below you.

October 7, 2011

You know that I could use somebody…

Yesterday, Boston hosted the largest Salesforce user group ever! There were 426 registrants, and we packed the ballroom at the Seaport Hotel. In attendance, we had everyone from new Salesforce prospects, to C-level executives at some of the leading companies in the area. We had attendees coming from Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, North Carolina and even a surprise guest all the way from Salesforce HQ in San Francisco.

Boston User Group - credit to @knthornt

I’ve written about the user groups in the past, (and that post wasn’t a huge success). But I’m going to try it again, because I feel so strongly about what these groups offer to those who attend the meetings.

Of course there is the free breakfast and the potential to get some swag, but that’s not why I go. It’s that chance to network, to share some of the things I know, and to see innovative things that others are doing with the platform. I go to see the vendors, and explore new ways to expand functionality. I guess you could say that I go to teach, and to learn.

With over 140 groups worldwide, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be attending. And yes, not every group is as large or as organized as Boston. But it got that way because there are passionate people attending our meetings. What’s to stop you from doing the same?

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