Salesforce has just launched the Summer’17 release and once again we’ve collected our favorites from the new features and enhancements. And remember, these are Fluido’s favorites and not a comprehensive list so don’t forget to read the release notes for many many more!
Imagine the difference in grocery shopping between the past and now: in the old times people used to go to a salesperson standing behind the counter and tell them what they wish to buy. If they got a wrong product or didn’t quite like the colour of the apples after all, they had to hand the stuff back and ask for a replacement. This is exactly what is being done with the traditional reporting and BI tools - somebody from business decides what they need, explains it to an administrator and waits for the appropriate report or dashboard being created. Then he checks if it meets their needs, provides further specifications and waits again, and this can go on for days, weeks or even months. Later comes another person from a different department and wants to see the same data from a slightly different viewpoint. By the time everybody gets the data in the correct format for them it might already be too late for what they actually wanted to achieve with it.
Self-service is natural in grocery shopping. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who wants to squeeze their avocados before choosing the perfect one, and who gets inspired by walking through the aisles comparing different products and packages. Why should searching for perfect insights and visualizations from your data be any different to this? With Wave Analytics everybody from your company can bring in their preferred set of data and start exploring it intuitively. Sure, it makes sense for an admin to create some datasets, lenses and dashboards there to start with, but working with Wave is so easy and efficient that really anybody can do it on the fly.
Now that I’ve got your interest, let’s jump into details. What can you actually do with Wave Analytics and how? The easy way to start exploring the possibilities of Wave is utilizing the pre-built Apps by Salesforce - the Sales Wave App and the Service Wave App offer a set of datasets and dashboards optimized for sales and service use. You are able to configure the apps to some extent but for more custom business needs you’ll probably want to add your own datasets and visualizations on top of the variety of pre-built items.
Being Salesforce native, Wave easily connects to the objects, fields and their relationships in your own org. You are able to build a dataset that is composed of any standard or custom object and chosen related objects with your preferred selection of fields. In addition to Salesforce data you can bring in .CSV files or external data through various partner interfaces. The data gets updated regularly with a scheduled dataflow, or you can choose to update it manually.
Once the data is in you can start your exploration. You can dive into the data through a lens that lets you view the data from different viewpoints, experiment with different visualizations and drill down to interesting parts by filtering the data. You can operate with individual lenses and store the most intriguing findings, or you can combine a set of different lenses to a dashboard. A dashboard consists of several widgets that can contain for example graphs, numbers, text, tables or pictures. The widgets on a dashboard can be interlinked, meaning that you can apply common filters to change the whole view at once.
This all makes Wave a highly intuitive, interactive and effective analytics tool. You can get meaningful insights in a flash, regardless what your goal or role in the company is. But, unlike to the more traditional BI tools, with Wave it doesn’t have to stop there. Since it is directly connected to your Salesforce instance you can also take direct action based on the insights. The quick actions in your instance are easily accessible from within Wave. Imagine creating a task to notify a high amount opportunity owner to take action or updating account information based on your exploration, without needing to separately navigate to the record in question. You can even add your customized quick actions to perform various tasks according to your specific needs. It is also possible to share any lens or dashboard to Chatter, either as a link or as a screenshot of the relevant visualization. No more excessive navigation between the different tabs in your org or various emails containing manual screenshots and excel files - with a couple of clicks within Wave Analytics you’ve shared the meaningful insights to everybody who needs to know.
Taking Action Within Wave
And it works vice versa as well. With embedded dashboards you can bring Wave data and visualizations to your record page layouts. Viewing the key figures and graphs on the record itself saves your time and clicks, and you can easily dig in deeper to the data through the embedded dashboard.
I promised you earlier that Wave is accessible whenever, wherever. This is enabled by the Wave Analytics mobile app for iOS and Android. After downloading the app and logging in, your Wave data is available to you in a mobile optimized way. No need for customization or setting up, you’re ready to start exploring and taking action.
When starting with Wave Analytics it is good to keep in mind that the tool is constantly evolving like all Salesforce Clouds. The tool is already impressive but there are some improvement points for the future.
First of all, when things get complicated you need to use code. Luckily it’s simple JSON that even a not so technically oriented admin such as myself can operate with to some extent, but you can’t really assume a business user to edit a .json file. Accessing the code is also not made easy as it’s hidden behind a keyboard shortcut that you just need to know. Let’s hope the rumours are true and even more complicated editing of dashboards, such as combining data from different sources, will be possible through the user interface in the future.
The classic version of the Wave dashboard designer is also lacking some useful features such as being able to align the widgets automatically and sending them to back or bringing them to front. Since this type of functionality is familiar from basic office tools it can be really annoying not to have it. The new beta version of the designer brings some relief to that, enabling placing widgets only to predefined areas nicely aligned. However, this results in some limitations considering e.g. the widget sizes and positions, so no perfect solution available yet.
Even with the current restrictions I personally am convinced about the possibilities of Wave Analytics and feel that it can bring high value to many businesses when properly planned, implemented and brought into use. Be it better real-time insights for your business people or less secretary work for your administrators, surfing the Wave is something everybody in your company can benefit from.
Written by Paula Laitio
New changes in editions seem great:
In Ligthning Experience we warmly welcome following improvements:
Salesforce has been also thinking about how to make life easier for Sales reps and increase the productivity in their sales teams. The most of our attention caught this enhancement:
In relation to Service Cloud we picked few cool tools from Summer 16 release which help you to avoid case feed clutter:
Administration and Customization
Here are some tips our developers like to share with you:
Bits and pieces
And at the end few bits and pieces they are worth to mention:
Well, and that’s it! Here are Fluido's insights into Salesforce Summer '16 release and its new features which we are looking forward to using!
Written by the Fluido Crew
As always, understanding something begins by listening. Listening can begin from the company’s own Facebook page. However, your consumers, brand advocates and aggressive & loud deserters are active in the whole of internet and may even intentionally avoid the brand’s official social channels.
The listening should thus harvest the chatter from all corners of Internet – web pages, blogs, forums and so on. It requires tools that can search automatically the flows of the conversations around your brands. Yet, this information can be overwhelming, therefore the tools that are used must have a way to organize it into dashboards for the analyzes. Once listening has given you a macro level understanding on the state of your brand it is time to make a plan on how to react on all of this. A classic view of customer service is that a customer has an issue with a product or a service which requires resolving. In traditional channels customer gives detailed description of their issues on email, form or phone call.
In social channels customer service is more vague. Customer service may need to react on customers complaining in general about the brand or the company. If the assumption is that company’s brands are often the most valuable assets in the books and in addition messages in social media can spread at the speed of thought then customers going negatively about your brand in social media requires delegate and fast response. Of course those messages can be positive also then it is equally important to react and amplify such brand evangelists behaviour.
The above example could be categorized from customer service perspective as soft messages. In other words something that requires action but doesn’t necessarily require the classic back-end tools and processes available for the customer service. Hard messages on the other hand are actual customer issues on products or services. These messages originate often on the brand’s own social channels, but can also originate on a customer own social media page. Resolving such issues requires classic customer service tools and processes, but also a tool that is able to facilitate the communication from the customer service tools directly to the social media.
Tools for Community Managers and Customer Service
Salesforce and Fluido can provide tools that are able to handle social media customer service from reaching out to social media to listen and finally reacting and responding. And better yet this can all be setup alongside your existing customer service channels and to run with the existing processes. Below are a few words of the solutions we love!
Salesforce Radian 6 offers state-of-the-art listening and analyzing capabilities. It can deep dive into millions of websites and all those blogs and social channels you can imagine and make sense of all that if setup correctly.
Social Studio, part of Salesforce Radian 6, is designed for the community managers to work with the soft messages and identify the hard messages that require further customer service involvement. It allows the community managers to manage the flow of conversation easily within an organized workspace, which has all social accounts linked. They can engage directly from the tool to the social channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Whenever in the flow of posts & messages there is a traditional customer issue, a so called hard message identified, such as broken products, community managers can forward those posts as a case to the customer service team working in Salesforce Service Cloud. They can enter into a dialogue with the customers on Facebook and Twitter directly within the Service Cloud. While waiting for the customer to respond from the Social Channel, the support agent can handle issues coming from other channels, all in the same view and system. From the customer perspective however, it will look as if the service agents are present in the channel that they have chosen as their point of contact.
With these tools you can provide state-of-the-art social customer service that is fully integrated with your existing support processes - a true multi-channel support platform that is able to create a 360-degree view on customer and thus allow a deeper and more meaningful customer relationship.
Written by Antti Katajamäki & Zerdest Duman
Fluido Business Consultants
Very often we run into the requirement of needing dynamic picklist values in Salesforce. A common solution involves getting picklist values through the getDescribe method. The values are then used in VisualForce pages or custom controllers. However, having customized VisualForce page instead of a standard page layout, is not always an option.
A different way to tackle this need is to manage picklist values through Metadata API. Metadata API can also be used for managing fields, objects, pages etc. but our interest here lies in the picklists. Suggested usage would be to create/delete picklist values in a trigger or batch job. For the sake of simplicity the sample code presented here manages picklist values in VisualForce pages and attached controllers.
Interesting code parts for adding and deleting can be found in the addPicklistValue, deletePicklistValue methods. MetadataService.MetadataPort object is created first. The existing picklist is read as a custom field through the readMetadata method. Picklist value is added/deleted and the whole custom field is then updated with the updateMetadata method.
Installing Apex wrapper for Metadata API
When installing the Apex wrapper for Metadata API, there are a few things to take into consideration. In order to access Metadata API in Apex code, the Apex wrapper has to be installed into the sandbox. You can find the Apex wrapper for example in https://github.com/financialforcedev/apex-mdapi. Click the “Deploy to Salesforce” button and deploy the package into your sandbox.
After installation, you should enable the remote site access in the setup menu: Setup -> Security Controls -> Remote site settings and add the sandbox url. Below you can find an example of the page and controller codes to use as an inspiration for your own work.
Salesforce is a rich, powerful and evolving platform. Using Metadata API can further expand the capabilities of Salesforce as a platform. Especially existing solutions can be extended in new ways with Metadata API in places where standard approach does not work when fulfilling customers requirements.
Written by Adam Skorvaga, Senior Software Engineer at Fluido
Favorite Picks by Consultants
Some of our Developers Favorites
Have we forgotten some great new features to mention? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think of these!
Written by the Fluido Crew
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