The 5 Salesforce Communities Features You Need to Know about in Winter ’19

I went through each and every nugget of Community Cloud goodness in the Winter ’19 release notes and, based on my experience with and knowledge of the product, have identified five high-value enhancements that anyone involved with Salesforce communities — as a builder, manager, administrator, or any other role — should know.

NOTE: Everyone will have Winter ’19 in production by October 13, 2018, although some communities features will be delivered separately, after that date.

Let’s dive right in.

Discover CMS for Community Cloud (Beta) 🌏

Official Description:

“Create and manage content right in your community with CMS for Community Cloud, accessed through the new Content Management tile in Community Workspaces. Organize your content or even snag information from your Salesforce CRM and add it to your communities with just a few clicks. With a few more clicks, adjust the layout to meet your needs.”

My thoughts:

Create content (e.g., news articles) for your community. Display it aesthetically and with ease. The creation piece itself isn’t necessarily mind-blowing, but the layout options are fairly flexible. This won’t be an end-all, be-all content management solution by any means, but it will definitely satisfy smaller organizations (or smaller budgets) by providing a basic, no-code option for content creation that is free.

Featured Content page

Export Themes, Just Like Whole Sites and Pages 🌏

Official Description:

“Have a theme you’ve created and want to share it, but not the rest of your site? We’ve got you covered. From the Developer page in Settings, you can export a bare theme, without any other site structure, so you can share it around via file or AppExchange.”

My thoughts:

This makes total sense and should be widely used by those in the Community Cloud ecosystem. It brings custom themes into the fold by listing them on the “Change Theme” page (the alternative way to find a custom theme is not intuitive) and allows for marketing text and images to be associated with the theme. Absolutely be on the lookout for a “Theme Store” to pop up on Appexchange; that seems like a no-brainer for Salesforce.

Provide description information during the theme export process
Easily select an exported/imported theme on the “Change Theme” page


Filter Search Results in Communities 🌏

Official Description:

“Give your community and portal users the opportunity to refine their searches. Users in a community can now filter their search results for the following objects: accounts, knowledge articles, cases, contacts, dashboards, files, leads, opportunities, people, and tasks.”

My thoughts:

Greatly needed in communities. Leverage the fields you select in your internal org for search layouts and expose them for filtering in a community. While community search is still far from being considered excellent, this takes a major step in the right direction to provide users with much power and control in their quest to find data and content.

Filter search results by selected criteria

Drive Data Sharing in a Multi-Tier Distribution Channel with Partner Relationships (Pilot) 🌏

Official Description:

“Use clicks, not code to quickly set up partner channels and manage the complex relationships between partners. With Partner Relationships, you can easily model multi-tiered distribution networks and share only select information between partners so they can work better together. For example, with Partner Relationships, distributors can see all of their resellers’ opportunities and franchise owners can update the leads of their retail stores.”

My thoughts:

This isn’t a glamorous pick that will wow end users, but, without a doubt, it provides great value for organizations looking to support partner communities with a multi-tier channel model. In theory, this will reduce complexity and provide a level of clarity to the configured sharing for these types of communities.

Use Sharing Sets with All Customer and Partner Licenses (GA) 🌏

Official Description:

“Previously, when you upgraded to Customer Community Plus, you lost sharing access via sharing sets because they were limited to Customer Community users. Now your Customer Community users retain sharing sets after upgrading and you can also use sharing rules and role-based sharing to control access to data. And you can even use sharing sets with users who have Partner Community licenses.”

My thoughts:

This was always a bit of a head-scratcher. Sharing sets were originally created for the benefit of communities leveraging customer community licenses to fill a gap, since customer community licenses cannot leverage advanced sharing. However, sharing sets themselves provided something unique that, conversely, couldn’t be used by partner or customer community plus licenses. Finally, sharing sets have been opened up to all. What are sharing sets? Well, at the most basically level, they allow the sharing of objects that are not already Public, Read/Write to be shared based on a record’s — and the current user’s — relationship with a particular contact or account. A common example would be providing Read-Only access to Cases associated with a Contact at a particular Account with all other community users associated at that Account.

Now, include partner and customer community plus profiles for sharing sets

Well, that’s my take! Follow me on Twitter for more…


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