April 11, 2014

A Spring Fling!

Remember that Spring 14 release we were talking about months and months ago? Well it’s finally here for everyone. Just last week, NA6, NA7, NA8, and NA9 were upgraded. And next weekend, the remaining servers will finally be moved to Spring 14.

The official statement from Salesforce came via email to administrators when the delay was announced back in January. The statement noted: 

At salesforce.com, ensuring customer success through trusted system availability, performance, and reliability is our top priority. We’ve made the decision to postpone the rollout of Spring ’14 to your ### instance with these priorities in mind.

We have identified open items related to the performance and functionality of the Spring ’14 release and are working around the clock to identify, test, and apply fixes for these issues. To give customers the best possible experience with the Spring ’14 release, we are rescheduling the release to complete additional testing.

We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience this change may cause for you or your organization.

A setback, but understandable. I personally would rather wait for a finished product that functions properly than have the release rushed to meet some arbitrary deadline that they’ve set for themselves. But then it gets a bit more complex because, two months later, we all received the same email again. Now, I’ve been doing this awhile, and have only ever seen one other release reschedule (back in Spring of 2010).

What is is about these Spring releases that are so tricky? My theory is this: the winter release always delivers fast wins from announcements made at Dreamforce. People hear about something & they want to use it right away, and Salesforce tries it’s best to deliver. But then that lets the poor Spring release to do clean up work, and to round out projects that may require a bit more refinement. This is a tall order considering that it’s all coming from the world’s most innovative company, so the spring release gets packed with a lot of tiny nuances that add up to a complex upgrade.

Do you have your own theory on what happened with this release? Share in the comments below! And don’t get too comfortable. The Summer 14 release is just 3 months away!

February 21, 2014

Got time?

We’ve all seen the trend. There is a hunger for analytics, and it’s only growing day by day. One of my favorite things about Salesforce is that they help us all to stay on top of that demand, and provide that valuable data back to our constituents. (Don’t agree that Salesforce is committed to analytics? Check out all the goodness coming in Spring 14 & then we can talk.)

clock

One of the requests I hear over and over, with companies I’ve work for & as questions that get raised in User Groups or the Answers Boards, is around time-stamping records. As recently as two weeks ago, I had someone ask about the best way to capture when a lead hits or passes a stage. This is a classic example, but the answer is the same for anything similar.

First, create your Date/Time field (or, if you only care about data-stamping, then a straight-up Date field will work). To help everyone understand when this field is, I would suggestion including ‘Timestamp’ in the name of the field & always add in some help text. (Alternatively, if these data points will only be used in aggregate, consider leaving it off the page layout altogether.) Continue reading

January 24, 2014

Full Blossom

Last week, I started to share all the things I love about Salesforce’s Spring14 release, but there is some much that I wanted to talk about that I only made it as far as the analytics enhancements.  Instead of trying to jam too much into one post, I decide to split the Spring14 goodness into two posts. This week, I am hoping to highlight a few other Spring14things that I’m excited about in Spring 14.

First up – Chatter Enhancements! More specifically, the new Announcements in Groups functionality in particular is interesting to me. It is definitely a feature that end users have asked for, and I think it has the potential to get very useful, but I’m waiting to see how this one plays out. The ability to have them expire is super cool though, and definitely not something I would have thought of, so nicely done Salesforce. One thing I think it will need is the ability to change the label from “Announcement” to something that maybe resonate better with your users. Right now, that’s not possible, but hopefully coming in a future release. Maybe I just spent too many years at summer camp, but that word just makes me think of Continue reading

January 17, 2014

Bloom & Blossom

It’s my favorite time of year – the Salesforce Spring release! For some reason, I look forward to the Spring releases more than any other. Perhaps it’s because I get to start thinking about Spring in the dead of winter. No matter what it is, this year is no different. There are some very exciting things coming in Spring 14, and I’m excited to share my thoughts.

Click for Release Notes

Click for Release Notes

Before you even dive into the new Salesforce features, you run across one of my favorite things about the Spring 14 release – the HTML release notes! Yes, you’ve always been able to be green and read the release notes via PDF instead of printing them out, but now you can easily navigate to the features you want to see & bookmark them. (And as a blogger, I can now provide links that will send you directly to the feature that I’m writing about – total win!) Continue reading

January 10, 2014

Small but Mighty

just-say-never-doubt-for-all-condition-margaret-mead-quotes-margaret-mead-quotes-never-doubt-936x936

OK, so maybe a small group of citizens doesn’t apply here. But what about a small group of fields? Oh perhaps even just one simple field.

This is a field that I’ve added to many orgs that I’ve worked with, and shared with even more admins who have added it to theirs as well. It’s a field that several Salesforce MVPs have their own twist on. A field that when I tell folks about it, I get some pretty amazing reactions, especially for companies that have high-touch processes. And I can’t believe that it took me 4 years of working with Salesforce before I thought to make this field – and once you hear it, I bet that you will think that same thing.

So what’s the field? A time-zone formula field for Leads, Contacts and Accounts (and really, any other object you what to throw it on). Now you want the formula, right? Continue reading

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