With a number of orgs receiving the Salesforce.com Spring ’14 release in April, I thought it would be timely to share another set of useful new Spring ’14 features to get familiar with. These features in particular could end up being significant time and money savers for your organization, especially if you use Service Cloud.
If you haven’t primed yourself with the initial 6 Noteworthy Enhancements in the Spring ’14 Release post, take a few minutes to read through that, as well.
1. Direct-to-Agent Chat Available
Salesforce’s Take: Route incoming chat requests that originate from a particular chat button directly to a specific agent using the Deployment API and pre-chat forms.
My thoughts: For those of you who were not lucky enough to get in on this early, I would highly recommend looking into this option if you use online chat within your Customer Support organization. Sure, there are other options out there and some of those options are more robust than what Salesforce offers. However, having this functionality within the platform is a huge plus for the sake of simplicity and maintenance. Once you set up your agents with their corresponding skills, you’ll be able to route a chat request to one specific agent, based on skill set and availability. Additionally, a few other related enhancements make this even better: Agent-declined chat requests can be automatically rerouted AND chat requests can now be automatically accepted once assigned to an agent.
2. Launch Flows from Workflow Rules – Pilot
Salesforce’s Take: Spring ’14 introduces a new workflow action called a flow trigger, which launches a flow when the workflow rule criteria are met. A trigger-ready flow is a flow that can be launched from a flow trigger workflow action. Because trigger-ready flows must be able to run in bulk and without user interaction, they can’t contain Step, Screen, or Apex Plug-in elements in any flow version.
My thoughts: This is huge! I have heard a number of Salesforce architects talk about the challenges of starting a flow in a smooth, seamless way without significant complexity and here is the apparent solution. To set this up, you’ll need to do the following:
- Create and activate a trigger-ready flow
- Create a workflow rule
- Create a flow trigger workflow action and associated it with the above workflow rule
- Activate the workflow rule
That’s it! However, do keep in mind the limitations. The trigger-ready flow must be able to run without user interaction; hence, they cannot contain Step, Screen, or Apex Plug-in elements in any flow version. Also, this is a Pilot, so contact your AE if you want to get access.
3. TEXT() Function Picklist Support Expanded
Salesforce’s Take: The TEXT() formula function now converts picklist values to text in approval rules, approval step rules, workflow rules, auto-response rules, escalation rules, assignment rules, and custom buttons and links.
My thoughts: This is a welcome and very useful change. There are ways around this current limitation, but having the ability to use the TEXT() function in these additional 7 areas simplifies and expedites configuration significantly.
Here’s a quick comparison of availability before/after Spring ’14:
4. Partial Data Sandboxes
Salesforce’s Take: Partial Data sandboxes include all of your organization’s metadata and add a selected amount of your production organization’s data that you define using a sandbox template. A Partial Data sandbox is a Developer sandbox plus the data you define in a sandbox template.
My thoughts: While this won’t stir up interest with all Salesforce users, this is a major step for any organization that has a large number of sandboxes, refreshes sandboxes frequently, or has a complex data model with data dependencies. The process of refreshing a sandbox and reloading data is a grueling one for many organizations and many delay refreshes for that exact reason.
If sandbox testing is a key to success in your organization, you should look into this. The wild card with this feature is cost; I am not sure if there is a pricing aspect to this option and that will determine the feature’s true values to the user base.
5. Mass Assign Permission Sets
Salesforce’s Take: Now you can assign multiple users and revoke multiple user assignments from a permission set.
My thoughts: If you have ever gone through the process of applying Permission Sets to multiple users, you can let out a sigh of relief. It is truly a pain to go through Users one-by-one and add permission sets to each one. Not only is it time-consuming, but it’s not quick/easy to see where you’re at in the process. This isn’t anything groundbreaking for the platform, but definitely is a time-saver and makes Permission Sets that much more useful.
6. Create Cases from Salesforce Side Panel
Salesforce’s Take: If your users track customer support issues and gripes with cases they create in Salesforce, they can now create them directly from the side panel.
My thoughts: Users can create Cases today within Salesforce for Outlook, but an improved version of that feature is now available. Instead of using the original feature, which requires clicking on a button in the Outlook Ribbon, Users can create a Case right from where they’re working within Outlook (within the Side Panel).
7. Salesforce Console Enhancements – Multi-monitor
Salesforce’s Take: Move portions of a console from your browser to any locations on your screens that help you work best. Pop out primary tabs, custom components, and other console items and drag them to any area on your screens. If pinned lists are set up, place popped out items in a playground to keep track of Salesforce windows when several applications share your screens.
My thoughts: Screen real estate is extremely valuable these days. If you find yourself frequently scrolling or moving components around on your screen, you can relate. This feature could have a real impact on productivity for agents that handle a large number of Cases each day and have a significant amount of data available to them. They can shift around the components, including the Primary Tab, custom components, and SoftPhone, as needed to make their space more effective for their daily work.