Sunday, September 5, 2010

It's Official: Winter 11 is almost upon us!

I come fresh and excited from the Salesforce Winter 11 release webinar with news of the latest and greatest to hit our Salesforce shelves (metaphorically speaking of course).

I waxed a little in an early post of what seemed to be making its way to us based on a little insight and the Ideasexchange "Next Release" category. Well I was blown away by how far the release has come and what will eventually be delivered. By the way you can find out when the release will hit you at

The full release can be found in the Winter 11 release notes PDF found here. For a snippet here is what you can find in an Oscars style top 5 lineup in reverse order.

5. The Platform App Login and Security developer upgrade highlights
  • SFDC can now act as an Identity provider for Oauth authentication
  • Many governors removed or increased
  • Cloud based log viewer (More like the Eclipse IDE experience)
  • Pilot program for REST API (Submit a SFDC Case for access to this Pilot)
  • Single Sign-On (Login to Salesforce and non-Salesforce Apps)

4. Other Developer related User Interface enhancements
  • Setup gets a makeover with same skin release we have all come to love ;)
  • Global Search gets the addition of searching for Content
  • Some enhancements for Visualforce including a View State Inspector allowing you to debug a page

3. Sites upgrades
  • Website URL redirects
  • Self-Registration for Person Accounts
  • Customizable "My Profile" page

2. Salesforce Database
  • New Report Builder (we love to drag and drop!)
  • Chatter analytics (now you can build Reports and Dashboards around Chatter)

1. It's all about Chatter and the Collaboration Platform

    This releases Oscar gets picked up by Chatter

  • Chatter Files - Store, update, and share your Chatter files in one place
  • Chatter Search - Search across every Chatter feed, file, profile, and update
  • Chatter Recommendations - Smart recommendations to help you collaborate with the right colleagues
  • Chatter Filters - Find targeted information fast
  • Chatter Email Manager - Tailor your Chatter email settings to receive only the information you need
  • Chatter Email Digest - Get the latest updates from your Chatter feed so you never miss a thing
  • Chatter Topics - Use hashtags in posts to create shared topics
  • Activity Chatter - Collaborate on tasks and events
So that's it folks! If you would like to check out the Webinar Jeff Grosse (@CRMFYI) has placed them on his website the Salesforce Channel. What do you think about this next release? We would love to hear you thoughts.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Admin Tips & Tricks: Accounts and Opportunities owned by Inactive User Reports

Did ever want to see which Account or Opportunity records on your are owned by users who are no longer active?
Well now you can!!!
Just create a new Custom Field on the User object.
  • Field Name: User Status
  • Datatype: Formula(Text)
  • Formula: IF(IsActive, "Active", "Inactive")
Now take your favorite Account or Opportunity report and add your shiny new custom User Status field to the Report Grouping or the Filter Criteria.
You'll be seeing results faster than you can say "Sham-Wow!!!"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Winter 11 Release Early Shape Up

Many of us are wondering what will Salesforce release at the end of this year and in conjuncture what will be the buzz at Dreamforce10. Are we going to ride the coat tails of Salesforce's momentous year with the release of Chatter or is there a ace up Salesforce's proverbial sleeve?

Certainly there is not a lot that could top Chatter but I for one hope that they have a line up for the end of year release that is not completely eclipsed by Chatters launch. Recently made available, although not so available via the Ideaexchange's "View by Status" picklist, is the coming releases line up. To get a peek into whats coming up go to the link here: Coming in Next Release.

Predominantly the line up seems to be the new Salesforce CRM for Outlook (aka Outlook Connector) and some revisioning of Reports. There is a lot of talk going on in the Salesforce Community about the upcoming changes to the Outlook Connector because apart from the dynamic Add Email, Salesforce org administration control, and a few other nifty features it is totted to be supported on Office 2010. This is a relief to many I know.

While the speed, or lack thereof, of Office 2010 support from Salesforce seems to be coming to conclusion there does not seem to be anything new in the Google Apps offering which comes as a bit of a surprise. 

Even though my company is a slow moving turtle and a move towards the Cloud technology from an IT perspective is an almost dead cert no, I am in love with Google Apps and the initial Salesforce integration is just plain a right step in the right direction. However, the spring has seemingly run dry with no real updates from Salesforce in this area.

So what else looms on the horizon for us mere user mortals? Rumor has it that the Chatter application for Mobile may be taking a slightly different approach than an extension to the existing Blackberry or iPhone Salesforce apps. You haven't heard it from me but it's going to be faster and slicker than what can be provisioned inside the current applications and standalone at that and Web facing. I probably know enough to be dangerous here but not enough to give any qualified confirmations so I will zip it before I go too far, but watch this space.

I for one hold out hope that there will be something bigger than the Outlook Connector, improvements on the Reporting engine and a few new Chatter nice to haves. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Business Impact of Online Community Involvement

This is a post I made to the Dreamforce 10 Ideas Community as a paper. I would love your vote!

Many of you have experienced the impact of the Salesforce Community personally with other users coming to your aid in times of need when that Custom Summary Formula just doesn’t do what you wanted it to do, or you have had a brain fart and are not quite sure where that place was that allowed you to change the name of a standard field.

Whatever it might be you have logged your issue with Salesforce Support and are awaiting an answer and just wanted to see whether some kind Pliny the Elder loving Community User could answer it before Support got back to you. You have posted your plea and within minutes you have had a reply and and you have escaped the wrath of your boss as your new wow report has finally been completed.

I for one have sat that same side of every Answer hungry Salesforce User and marveled at the collective experience of you all. I also sit on the other side of being a Community Contributor with the desire to give back to those who have given to me. It is a feel good place to be in that position when you feel you have helped out someone else either because you know the answer or you are just challenged enough to search for the answer yourself and create that formula or workflow rule to see whether there is a viable solution that can turn the corner in your project and make you a better SalesforceUser.

I have come to experience another reason that keeps me coming back and jumping in to the fray and trying to provide order out of your Answers chaos, and that is that it has brought enormous value to my own company. My executive team are so aware of the value of my contribution to the Salesforce Community because of what it has meant to the driving value of our own Salesforce org in our companies business automation. Where once we were under appreciating the value of what Salesforce could do for our company we are now whistling the Salesforce tune and dancing in the light of its automation power (ok I got a little carried away!).

Unfortunately I don’t have any metrics to give you but the experience I have gained as a Salesforce Community contributor has been the catalyst in many of the projects undertaken in our company to drive better business success. Daily I come away from my time spent answering posts with a new snippet of knowledge that I have been able to weave into the fabric of our Salesforce usage.

Now is there a best practice in this story I am not sure, maybe so. If the better practice is to help out others so that you in turn maybe helped out I reckon that is a good thing for your company too.

Customer Portal Profiles Watch Out!

It has been a while since I contributed anything on my blog. I sometimes wonder how others manage to keep up with all the forms of communications like Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, LinkedIn, and Chatter as well as maintain everyday work, husband and father responsibilities. I for one find it hard but was recently prompted to try to Blog more.

So here is my first comeback. Now this obviously won’t affect you all but hopefully to you fledgling Customer Portal creators/admins this may be helpful.

I recently posted this on the Answers Community and here is the link:

So I stumbled on this little gottcha just the other day when I was trying to inactivate some Lead record types. I received a message indicating all the profiles that had assigned to them the particular record type I was trying to inactivate. And there amongst all my standard and custom profiles were the Customer Portal profiles I had created. I then scratched my head and wondered aloud, “but Leads is not an object available to the Customer Portal.”

So just in case I was deceived I hoped on over to those profiles and checked and correct no Leads object, no Leads page layout, no Leads permissions and no Leads record types.

There is a fix, however, and again a stumble upon trying anything to get it to inactivate on the Customer Portal profile. Here is what to do:

Select one of your Customer Portal Profiles and go to the Record Type Settings section. Select the Edit link against your Account Master Record Type and in the URL you will need to remove the word Account at the ***id=Account*** point and type in its place capital L Lead and hit enter. You can now remove the Lead Record Type for that Customer Portal Profile. You will need to do this for every Customer Portal Profile you have.

All I can say is you better keep an eye on those Customer Portal profiles!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Salesforce’s Customer Portal Tip#2: Custom Homepage Components

Ever wondered how to customize the way your Portal homepage looks? You have this big blank space only broken up by some left sidebar components you checked on your Portal Homepage Layout and you want to put some information or maybe a poll or even the 10 most recent Solutions.

Here are my tips for doing this.

You need to consider the information you want to display and style/layout in order to display it correctly.
To do this you need to look at 4 components for each piece of information/section and maybe a 5th if sourcing images as well.

First is your CSS document for styling and layout. The first information section in the image above has a header, a left and right column and a footer. The header contains my title, the left column some text and hyperlinks, the right column some images and the footer for style purposes.

Once you have created your CSS and saved it as a text/css file (I do this in Notepad and save as a .css and file type text) you need to upload it as a Static Resource.

Now you need to create the actual content of the section. I did this as a new Visualforce Component.

(Zoomed in Area)

For the poll I used (free) and used Flash Embed as my source and created my Visualforce Component like this: actually gives you its flash code via embed tags. I chose to redo it using object tags for styling purposes. If you need help on this let me know and I will gladly do so.

You can see from two images above that I sourced the images into the Visualforce Component using the apex:image tag:

apex:image url={!URLFOR($Resource.SolutionImage)}”/

Obviously I had already uploaded my images as Static Resources.

The next step is to create your Visualforce Page. Here you call your CSS Static Resource and your Visualforce Component. This is a simple page.

Now you can create the Homepage Component. You need to have an HTML Area Component and select the Show HTML check box. Very simply you are now creating an iframe.

You may find you need to tweak the iframe height to display the full section based on your CSS layout.
And the last step is to actually select it on your Homepage Layout for your Portal.

Hope that helps you think through some options for display stuff on your Portal Homepage.