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Salesforce Spring 20 Features – Communities & Quip

Post Series: Spring 20
Spring 20 Release

Salesforce Spring 20 Release

Spring 20 is getting close and there’s a ton of new features in it. In Part 1 of our Spring 20 write-up we covered all of the Sales Cloud features (including a bunch of free Einstein!) and in Part 2 we covered all of the Service Cloud and Field Service features (lots of features for Service). We’re on Part 3 and as per our usual, we’ll be covering all of the collaboration features: Communities, Chatter, Files and Quip. Spring 20 doesn’t have much for Chatter and Files but there’s a lot in Communities and Quip, so we have plenty to cover.

Speaking of Communities, if you’re a big fan of Community Cloud and want to work on super cool and challenging projects leveraging it, we are looking to add a couple of Community Specialists to the team. We were just recently placed within the Top 10 for Best Small Consulting Firms to work for (voted on by our employees, which makes me incredibly proud to achieve) and we are an entirely virtual, work-from-home company. We’re hiring for a bunch of positions, but if you want to join a fun group of Salesforce geeks, this is the spot.

Let’s get right into it. I have a great mix of The XX going and as usual, the order of features is pretty random, but mostly based on what I think is the most interesting first.

Communities

  • Report Builder in Communities – This came out as a beta all the way back in Summer 19 and with Spring 20 is now going GA. Pretty cool feature that allows Community users to create, edit, delete and run their own reports. Without a doubt, there are a lot of use cases for this – especially with Partner Communities. When your partners are doing more than just passing leads over to you and actually helping to drive and manage your business, this gives them the ability to be even more self-sufficient without having to ask you to build each type of report they need. I could see power users at your bigger service customers also getting a huge benefit from this. Obviously, field-level security still kicks in here, so they only have access to the data fields you give them, so this won’t allow them to get at data they shouldn’t (assuming you’ve set up your security right, of course). One thing to be careful of here is they can also be given delete access, so make sure they don’t accidentally delete a key report that everyone uses. Overall though a great feature.
  • Guest User Changes – If you have a public community and you’re leveraging the Guest User this is a must-read as this is a pretty major change. With Spring 20 a critical update is being pushed (you have no choice on this, so it’s happening) that is really locking down the Guest User capabilities. First off, the Guest User will only be able to View or Create going forward. They will no longer be able to Edit or Delete. Delete probably isn’t as big of a deal as most people are probably not doing that, but a lot of us out there are using Create. Basically, this is a security lock-down to ensure a malicious attack can’t leverage the guest-user to, for example, essentially destroy all of your Case data. The tricky part here is a lot of you might be using this logic without realizing it. A perfect example is Case or Lead assignments. If you have your Guest user setting the “put the record into lead / case assignments” using process builder, essentially that is an edit. The record is created and then it gets assigned and that running user is still your Guest User. It’s an easy fix to replace that with apex that is not leveraging the Guest User, but you need to do this ahead of time before your public community suddenly starts failing. Similar to this, the sharing model and some of the permissions are also being locked down. Guest users now are forced to private in the sharing model. You can expose records to the Guest Users still, but you need to use object-specific sharing rules to do this. The issue here is you probably don’t have these rules set up, so you need to get them in ahead of Spring 20 going live or your Guest User processes will break. Again, this is for security to prevent someone outside leveraging the Guest User to access all of your records. The other lock-downs are specific to permissions that are being removed for Guest Users. These include: View All Users, Enable UI Tier Architecture, Remove People from Direct Messages, View Topics, and Send Non-Commercial Email. Finally, records should no longer be assigned to a Guest User. We now have the ability to set a default Owner for all records created by the Guest User – again, this is for security. All of these combined is a pretty big change if you’re leveraging Guest Users. If you have no public community or public pages leveraging the Guest User you have nothing to worry about. If you do though, you absolutely, need to be testing all of your processes in your Sandboxes prior to the release to ensure this isn’t breaking something. You still have time to put in fixes for this, but you only have 6 weeks, so you need to get on it.
  • LWC Based Template – We don’t typically speak about Pilots – especially ones that can’t even be used in Production yet – but this is definitely a big one we need to talk about. Over the last few releases, Salesforce has been rolling out the ability to create Lightning Web Components (LWC). LWCs are essentially replacing the older (but still not that old) version of Lightning components with Aura. Lightning components were terrific compared to Visualforce but they had some limitations which tended to hit more with Communities than internal Salesforce, as Communities are usually trying to be part of a website experience. The new LWCs are much more like traditional web development (think frameworks like Angular) and due to this they simply perform better and give your developers much more flexibility. For Communities, in particular, this is a very good thing. As of right now, you can leverage LWCs but there are some limits to dropping them into your traditional Lightning templates. This all goes away with this new LWC Based template. This template completely lets you leverage LWCs and really is a roll-your-own type template. Basically, use one of the pre-packaged templates, or if you want your own custom Community, use this template and LWCs and have at it. This opens up a ton of potential for what you can do with Communities and will let you get to that pixel-perfect experience much more easier than you can today (the irony is, the original Lightning components are only a few years old, and if you think about how long we were working with Visualforce to do this, this is yet another massive step above where we were just a few years ago…). Keep in mind though, this truly is a build-your-own template – no more Community Builder (sorry, Experience Workspaces) – so you need developers to do this. This is not a drag and drop community an administrator can build (unless that admin is also a developer, of course). Now, all of that said, temper your excitement for probably one more release. Right now, this template is only available in Dev orgs. So you can start playing with it and getting familiar with it, but you can’t get this into your own sandboxes or production. However, if you have a Community coming in 2020, or especially if you’re still sitting on an old Visualforce + Tabs Community and you want to modernize it, you should be looking at this and seeing if this is the way to go. This is a game-changer once it’s live.
    LWC Based Template

    LWC Based Template

     

  • Deploy with ExperienceBundle – Deploying Communities to other sandboxes or production has always been a bit of a pain when compared to other clouds. A lot of the setup has to be re-done manually while other pieces can be deployed using change sets. It really causes you to have a multi-step deployment and as always, if you have manual steps it increases the odds that something is deployed incorrectly, and suddenly something that was working great in the sandbox is broken in production. The ExperienceBundle is a new way to deploy Communities and really lets you bundle everything into a single deployment. That said, this definitely is not as simple, config-happy as change sets. This is a lot more like Workbench or IDE so you need to be comfortable with that type of environment to use this. Developers would have no problem with this, but I’d probably say this is more of an advanced admin feature. So if you’re not a developer, be very careful playing around with this especially for your production pushes. If you have a developer or you’re that advanced admin that is comfortable with code, this is a potential big time saver for you managing your Communities.
    Deploy with ExperienceBundle

    Deploy with ExperienceBundle

     

  • Expanded Audiences – The total number of audiences that you can create has been expanded to 1,500. This increases a very cool feature and really lets you build out more granular audience groups for your Community. In addition, now that you can have so many audiences, the audience search has been improved to allow wild cards and sort so you can find a specific audience easier. Finally, audiences can now be created and targeted via the API. This was a pilot previously but is now GA. This is pretty cool as you can use the API to create a new audience but also to immediately do all of the normal setup around audiences like assigning team targets for pages, components, and branding. This will definitely save you a few steps as a Community Manager but also lets you create audiences more dynamically if you’re suddenly detecting new user types.
  • External Account Hierarchy – This was tossed into the “Other Changes in Communities” bucket which usually rounds up the really small changes, but this is actually a pretty nice one. If your instance uses Account Hierarchies (and a lot of us do), this lets you apply those same hierarchies to your sharing rules for the Community. This used to be something you had to do manually or with code, but now if a Community User is linked to a parent Account you can easily allow them to see records that belong to any of the child Accounts below the parent. This isn’t limited to just the Account record of the child Account, but any records belonging to that child Account. Anyone who has struggled with this by building it out custom knows how painful this was, so this is a really nice new feature. Just as a heads up, it is a beta for Spring 20, and especially being related to sharing rules, test the heck out of this before you push it to Production.
  • Text Message Identity Verification – Especially now, not everyone has an email address (or knows how to use email) which makes email verification of your identity a potential issue. Now, Community Users have an option to use text messaging for verification instead of email. They’ll need to verify their phone number to make this an option, but once they have, they will be able to verify using text messages. In particular, we’ve seen this a lot with FSL and Communities when our customers are using subcontractors. This is definitely a great feature.
  • Full Feed & Feed Item Navigation – Spring 20 fixes a bit of a nit with the navigation from the feed to a specific item and creates a better experience around this for users. Previously if you were navigating a topic page or a feed and you clicked View More to get more details and then dove into a detailed view, when you back-arrowed out of the detail page you went all the way back to the beginning of the feed. So if you’d already navigated down a bit into the feed, this was pretty annoying as you’d need to drill back down to get to where you were. Now, the feed remembers where you were and brings you right back to that point. Definitely a better user experience.
  • Toggle Lightning Locker On/Off – Lightning Locker was a security-related critical update that Salesforce did a while ago. Basically, Salesforce needed the ability for Lightning components to be isolated from each other. For example, if you have a component collecting a lot of PII or sensitive data like credit cards / social security numbers, it could be a security risk if another Lightning component is able to access that same data. It’s possible the second component could expose that information. With the locker, essentially the components are locked down and isolated from each other – but it does add some development pain. If you didn’t need this level of security there was a workaround by developing your components with API version 39 or older, but that’s not a scalable long term solution, and with this toggle, Salesforce has fixed the issue. Now if you don’t need this level of security, you can simply toggle off the locker and it’s not needed. However, this does put the security totally in your hands, so if you are building components that are working with sensitive information, you need to make sure you’re turning on the locker and using it.
  • Fave&Follow 2.0 – It’s not officially part of the release, but we just released Fave&Follow 2.0. Fave&Follow is an app that allows your Community Users to bookmark and save your Community content as well as subscribe to Knowledge articles. It’s a terrific way to keep your Community stickier but it also lets you report on what content is important to your Users. We’ve received a bunch of great feedback from our customers and this release includes two major new features as well as some other updates. The first big feature is that Fave&Follow now supports public unauthenticated Communities (including the new Guest User restrictions above). Users can now save or subscribe to your public Community content by providing their email address. Just like for authenticated users, these will be stored so you can report on what is being saved. The other big feature is the ability to pre-load bookmarks. This was a big one we received via customer feedback. Basically, this lets you pre-load bookmarks for your Users so that when they first come into the Community, certain content is already saved for them. Terrific for Articles or Content describing how to use the Community. Read all about the new features in our release blog post. If you’re interested in this, please reach out and we’d be happy to show you a demo and even install into your sandbox so you can play with it.
  • Apple ID Support – Community users can now authenticate using their Apple ID if you activate the new Apple authentication. In particular, if your community is for a B2C market this is pretty handy for your users.
  • Permission Set for Delegated External Admin – This is a nice little feature to help clean-up your profiles. Previously if you wanted to give your Community users Delegated External User Administrator access you needed to create a new profile for it. Now, you can do it via Permission Sets instead which is always preferred.
  • Account & Opportunity Team Related Lists – We recently got the ability to customize our Account and Opportunity team objects allowing us to add custom fields and layouts. However, these changes were not visible within the Community – until now. With Spring 20 this is updated and now your Community users can see all of the changes you make to these objects.
  • Prevent Standard Community Profiles from Self-Registration / User Creation – Salesforce has always said leveraging standard external profiles for your users is not a best practice and that you should always use a custom profile (I never understood why they just don’t force this behavior and use the standard profiles to clone only). Now, as a way to suggest that best practice even more aggressively, there is a critical update that is being enforced with Spring 20 that will de-activate the ability for self-registration to use standard profiles. In addition, new users will be blocked from being assigned to standard profiles. Now, the interesting this is, there is actually now a toggle “Allow standard external profiles for self-registration and assignment to users” which will then override this critical update and let you do it. Basically this is Salesforce saying, don’t do this, but if you’re going to, it’s on you and we want you to be fully aware that it’s on you. It’s a little lazy to not be following this best practice, so do the right thing and just fix your profiles versus flipping the switch. Who knows, this might be like Lost, where every release you need to do a new code to keep using them or your Community blow up.
  • Unsupported Browser Warning – Now if a community user tries to access your community with an unsupported browser they will get a warning about this and be asked to update their browser. The warning is definitely helpful as most of the time these users would just assume your Community was broken and get annoyed. Now at least they know it’s their browser. That said, most people using these older browsers are being forced to by their company, so upgrading is probably not an option.
  • Internet Explorer 11 Support – Speaking of unsupported browsers, Spring 20 brings an end to Internet Explorer support for working within the Experience Workspaces (Experience Workspace is the new name for Community Builder and Workspaces by the way). In other words, if you’re a Community admin, you can’t modify or update the Community if you’re using Explorer 11. This really shouldn’t hit too many, but if it does, my condolences as that is an awful existence.

Quip

Lots of new updates for Quip with Spring 20. This is probably 4 releases in a row where Quip has added a ton of functionality, and most of it is to make it more and more seamless with Salesforce and with your processes within Salesforce. Just as a reminder, Quip is not included with your regular Salesforce licenses and is an additional license you need to acquire.

  • Dynamic Live Apps – A very cool new feature is the Quip Associated Documents Lightning component which allows you to see Quip documents that are associated with records related to the record you are on. That’s a mouthful, but basically, if you’re on an Account record, you can now easily see Quip documents from all of the Opportunities, Cases, Contacts, etc. that are related to that Account record. Within the component, you can even see (or drill into) the record the document is associated with. A very nice way to expose all of the vital information within Quip without having to go drill around to all different records to find it. Super handy.
    See Quip Documents from Related Records

    See Quip Documents from Related Records

     

  • Dynamic Live Apps – Dynamic Live Apps is a pretty cool new feature for Quip that allows you to embed different types of applications to a Quip document that is embedded within a Salesforce record. These Live Apps can automatically update based on that record’s data. An example of this is the ability to add a record’s related list into the Quip document. These related lists will show the same lists as what’s in the record the Quip document is embedded to and automatically refresh. Lots of potential with this feature.
  • Quip Workflow with Process Builder Actions – With Spring 20 we can now automate a ton of actions within Quip documents leveraging Process Builder and Flow Builder. The first of these is pretty key and really will help drive adoption of Quip and that’s automated user access. If you’re a heavy user of Quip, there’s a ton of valuable data within these documents and if users can’t get at them, they are missing that critical data. Leveraging Process Builder you can now automate adding users and their access to the document as well as removing users. We already have the ability to sync access to the record’s access, but what if it’s a scenario that is more complex than that – like an escalation or a process where the user is asking for assistance from a different team? Now when that escalation or the ask for help occurs, the user trying to help can automatically be added and then removed once the help is done. Very slick. In addition, we can now automatically flip a Quip document to Complete and then lock edits to it. Maybe once a Case is complete or an Opportunity is closed, you can automatically also close out all of the Quip documents associated with that record. Finally, when creating new Quip documents you can control if you want different sections cloned from Salesforce data or even automatically copy comments over from another Quip document. Automatically start a new Quip document off with a ton of information versus having a user need to do it. Potential big time saver.
    Dynamically Add Users to Quip with Process Builder

    Dynamically Add Users to Quip with Process Builder

  • Embedded Salesforce Reports Enhancements – We already have the ability to embed a Salesforce report within a Quip document, but this feature gets beefed up with two quick enhancements in Spring 20. First, you can now add dynamic filters based on the record the document is embedded to. We do this a lot with Einstein Analytics where you have an embedded dashboard and the whole dashboard is automatically filtered to only show data around the record the user is looking at. This is the same concept but done within the Quip document. Really cool. Second, you can now show a summary of the report and hide the details of the report within the Quip document – just like you can with normal Salesforce reports. Especially for those bigger reports, this definitely helps make them more readable.
  • Quip Insights Dashboard – With the new Insights Dashboard within Quip, you can now measure your user adoption of Quip and the engagement with Salesforce. Especially since Quip is an additional cost, this is nice to have to make sure your team is getting the most out of these licenses.
  • Add Quip Slides to Salesforce Records – Quip Slides can now also be added to Salesforce records. These slide decks can be viewed directly from the record and even from the mobile app. Pretty nice.
  • Mail Merge Limits – Previously, Quip had a limit of 20 lookup fields per mail merge template. This has now been entirely removed.

Alright, well that’s it for the Community & Quip features. For Communities, some big changes with the guest user and the LWC template on its way. If you’re a Community Manager, these are pretty foundational shifts to how Communities will be built, so it’s definitely worth digging in and understanding all of these changes. Next up is our final Spring 20 write-up which is always a rotating topic. This time it will be around Manufacturing Cloud which is a very exciting new industry cloud. In addition to the Manufacturing Cloud post, we are also doing a webinar on Manufacturing Cloud which will include a live demo of all its features. Definitely worth catching if you’re a manufacturing company. It will be on 2/25/2020 at 2EST / 11PST and is free. Go here to learn more and sign-up. As always, if you have questions or want help with any of these features, feel free to reach out and a Solutions Architect will get right back to you. Thanks for reading.

Harry Radenberg

Harry is the President and founder of GearsCRM, with more than 15 years of experience working with the Salesforce platform. Outside of Gears, Harry enjoys debating Star Wars and Marvel with his son and sharing music and videos with his daughter. He is an avid racquetball player, bleeds Dodger blue, cries Jets green and always tries to find spare time to read a good fiction novel.

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