April 15, 2011
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!
March 4, 2011
My local Salesforce User Group leader always starts our meetings with the Benioff-flavored “Raise your hand if…” questions, and inevitably, there is always a round of “What edition are you using?” To this day, it still shocks me that there are people still on Professional Edition.
So what is a company truly missing if they are only on Professional Edition? In my mind, they are missing all the really powerful things about the platform, but let’s dig in & spell out what each of those things are.
- Customization limitations – This is huge & probably the most significant (to me at least). Yes, you can still make custom fields & objects, but you have a much smaller pool that you are dealing with. While the numbers on the PE side may sound like a lot, speaking from experience, you will burn through these fast. Here’s a quick snapshot of the most significant of these limitations:
- Custom Fields: 100/object in PE vs 500/object in EE
- Custom Objects: 50 in PE vs 200 in EE
- Custom Tabs: 10 in PE vs 25 in EE
- Custom Report Types: 50 in PE vs 200 in EE
- Report Filter Limitations – OK, this one I didn’t even know until I started digging in to this, and WHOA! In PE, you can only have 5 field filters on a report. I still struggle with the 10 filter limit in EE, I can’t even imagine having only 5!
- Validation Rules – Ever since the existance of validation rules, I’ve been a heavy user of them. They are a great way for us Button-Click Admins to prevent poor data entry & keep our databases clean. While PE does have the ability to do them, there is a limit of 20 per object (vs 100 per object in EE and above).
You may be thinking, “Well, all of that kind of stinks, but I can make it work. I’ll just scale back.” Sure maybe, but now let’s look at what PE doesn’t have at all:
- Workflow – to me, this is the bread-and-butter of making Salesforce do things “auto-magically.” Firing field updates, emails and task creation with ZERO coding ability is one of my favorite things to do in Salesforce & this is not available in PE.
- Approval automation – Do you want your sales reps to get approval from a manager before giving an 80% discount? Probably, but you won’t be able to automate that process in a PE edition of Salesforce. This functionality even generates a visio of your approval process.
- A sandbox – To me, this is another no-brainer. Enterprise & above editions come with at least one sandbox environment to test changes before putting them into production.
- Profiles & Page layouts – Do your customer service reps need to see data points that your sales reps don’t? Should a customer record look different & contain different information than a prospect record? Without profiles and page layouts, these things aren’t possible. Only one view of the world exists in a PE org. (These are available for an additional fee in PE however.)
- Access to some partner products – Very often, products on the AppExchange just don’t work with Professional Edition, plain & simple.
- Scheduled dashboard refreshes – Again, this goes back to automation. My sales managers think that it great that every Monday morning, they get an up-to-date dashboard emailed to them of our numbers. It makes me look on top of my game, but this is a set-it-and-forget-it project that runs itself, and you can’t do it in PE.
- API access – If you need Salesforce to integrate with any other program, then PE just isn’t going to cut it for you because it doesn’t have API access. That right there is probably a key factor for a lot of companies.
- Entitlements & milestones – A new feature in the platform, but it’s not available in PE or lower editions.
- Exportable backup data – Any EE or UE customer can sign up to receive backup files of their data as CSV files. Again, while this isn’t standard PE functionality, it can be added on with an additional cost.
- Dynamic dashboards – To be fair, these only recently became available in EE, so we did without for awhile too. But imagine this – a world where you don’t have to clone & rebuild a dashboard for every sales rep. Ahhh…bliss!
I didn’t touch on sales teams, territories or the offline access that you also miss out on if you are using PE, mostly because I don’t have a ton of experience with any of them. If any of my readers want to provide some useful comments there, it’d be much appreciated.
You can see Salesforce.com’s PDF comparing the 5 editions here to get some more information. And a huge thanks to Matt(@midlakewinter) for inspiring this post.
Potential topic for next week – how a button-clicker wrote her first trigger. Stay tuned!