It’s time for yet another salesforce release and the Summer 15 release notes are now available to review. This is another big release – especially some of the Service Cloud features – and includes some of the remaining items that were shown off at Dreamforce but haven’t been released yet.
For the last two write-ups – Winter 15 and Spring 15 – we did the feature write-up in three posts and we’ll need to do the same here. The posts will be broken out as follows:
Part 1 – Sales, Salesforce1 and the general platform
Obviously, there can be some overlap between these topics, but I’ll do my best to reference this where applicable. Alright, let’s have at it. As always, in no particular order here are some of what we think are the most interesting new features:
Lightning App Builder – The Lightning App Builder was one of the big announcements at Dreamforce last year and had been in Pilot previously. With Summer 15 it is now fully available. There’s a ton of potential to really explode your mobile adoption with this feature. Essentially, it gives customers the ability to build focused mobile apps without making the user drill around salesforce1. For example, if your Marketing team wanted a mobile app to allow them to focus on new Leads that have come in and how they were being handled, you could build a “Leads App”. Within this app, you can show a List View of all Leads in the last 7 days, below that, a dashboard chart of how many have been converted already and what the dollar value is for those by region, and maybe even a custom widget to allow them to escalate a Lead that hasn’t been worked. Prior to Lightning App Builder, a user would need to click Leads, find the List View, then navigate to Dashboards and find the dashboard, and then probably go find an individual Lead record to go kick off that custom process. Now, all the user needs to do is click on the “Leads app” on the salesforce1 menu, and all of this is presented in one place. Tons of different use cases for this. From an admin stand-point, I see this as a big way to attack user adoption issues. Have a process that your users are claiming is too complicated? Build a Lightning App focused on that process and now you can literally say “All you need to do is click here and it’s all in one spot for you. And oh, it’s with you at all times as long as you don’t lose your cell phone.” No more excuses. From here, the only way to make it easier is that Psychic App Builder which updates your records just from you thinking about it. That might not be until Summer 16 though. (Safe Harbor)
As of right now, there are a few different component types Lightning App Builder supports. The standard ones are Filter Lists, Recent Items, Dashboard Charts, Rich Text and then Visualforce pages. You also have the ability to design your own Lightning Components. Currently this is in Pilot, but I’m assuming this is also GA as part of the App Builder release. Finally – and lots of potential here – ISV partners will be able to put custom Lightning Components on the appexchange. You’ll have the ability to add those to your own apps as well. Excited to see some of the ideas that come out of that – and we’re kicking a few ideas around of our own to add.
Cumulative Forecasting – Huge improvement to the Collaborative Forecasting and one that a lot of customers have been asking for. Cumulative Forecasting gives you the ability to essentially roll-up the totals across the different Forecast Categories to get a “cumulative” forecast. This is one of those 50/50 things among Sales Managers. Some want to see their Commit broken out from their Best Case. So, if I have $100k in Commit, and $500k in Best Case, I look at my forecast exactly that way. Others want to see it rolled up. So, to them, of course they want to see the $100k that is in Commit in their Best Case total, showing their Best Case is actually $600k. Previously, there was no way to do this without going pretty custom. The release notes do a good job of showing this in a table, which is below. Seems like a simple update, but this has been a really big ask and nice to see.
Rich Notes – We talked about the Rich Notes Pilot in Spring 15, but this is a pretty big new feature so I want to make sure I highlight it. Rich Notes is bringing salesforce Notes up to snuff with a lot of the mobile notes taking apps like Evernote and then adding a bunch of salesforce whistles to it. First, the note taking itself is very similar to Evernote. You click on creating a new Note and it’s automatically suggesting a title for you based on the date. The Note itself is also very similar with a limited rich text, focused on bullets & list items and some text formatting that allows for much better note taking and organization of your notes. A very cool part of the new Notes is that it’s actually leveraging Salesforce Files, so it’s built on the Chatter platform. This allows Notes to be searchable (huge pain that they weren’t before), reportable, shareable (you can choose what users to share it with) and then followable just like any Chatter record. The followable is a hidden bonus I think. On a long sales cycle where your Sales Engineers and overlay teams are all running independent discoveries and tracking notes? Now, you can follow their Notes and you’ll be notified of any updates to them. Finally, purely on the salesforce1 side, two additional features to this. With just a swipe on the Note you can now create an Activity (very cool) and you also have the ability to add the Note to multiple records. Not sure why you can only do this with salesforce1 as that’s pretty useful anywhere I’m in salesforce. Overall, a great enhancement. In Summer 15, this is actually in Beta, but it is available to anyone. One thing to pay attention to is apparently this doesn’t work from the communities side. Probably not an issue with Customer Community, but I could see Partners trying to do this. Also, once you turn this on, all new Notes will leverage it. It’s an all or nothing.
Salesforce1 Improvements – Not as many as were in Spring 15, but a bunch of new salesforce1 improvements.
Customizable Actions – We can now setup different Actions in salesforce1 than what users see from their laptops. This allows you to change the Quick Actions (the icons at the bottom of the records) as well as the Actions in the Action Bar. In addition, with Visualforce Custom Actions, you can now hide the standard action bar which typically just got in the way. Great way to focus the mobile experience.
Convert Leads – You can now convert Leads from salesforce1, just like from the laptop
Notifications for Group Posts – If you belong to a lot of Chatter Groups (like I do) or if you are OCD about your notifications bar being empty of all notifications (like I am), this might get out of control, but you can now receive mobile notifications on new posts within a group you follow even if you weren’t specifically mentioned. If you have your Group notifications set to “receive email every post” you will receive these notifications (assuming your admin has turned on the feature). For a critical group I could see this being very handy, but personally I rely on the email notification vs. the mobile notification, but that’s just my preference.
State & Country Picklists – The State & Country picklists are now supported in salesforce1. A small hole fixed there.
Lightning Connect Data is now visible – Previously you couldn’t see data you had setup Lightning Connect for from the mobile device. This is pretty big as it’s a big use case for Lightning Connect.
Ability to Add Multiple Topics – If you are a frequent reader of these blogs, you know I have a thing for Topics. Now you can add multiple topics to posts from salesforce1 and use this killer feature even more!
Territory Management Improvements – Some new improvements to the new Territory Management functionality. First up, is a much improved way to assign Territories to Opportunities. Basically, there is now a pecking order of how the opportunity will be auto-assigned to a Territory. It now looks at Territory Exclusion flags on the Opportunity (doesn’t assign a Territory if the Opportunity is excluded), and also gives you the ability to flag a Priority Value to a Territory where Accounts have more than one Territory and you couldn’t automatically figure out the Opportunities’ Territory due to that. In addition, users can now simply manually assign a Territory to an Opportunity or you can actually do it with some custom logic leveraging the API. With all of this flexibility now, you pretty much have full control on assigning Territories to Opportunities. Big improvement. A few small updates are also going live in Summer 15, including the ability to Chatter on a Territory record, the ability to set ExternalIDs on the Territory object (especially useful if your territories are loading in from another source via integration), and finally you can now add custom buttons and links to a Territory record. Altogether, this is making the Territory object more like any other object which is all goodness.
Duplicate Management for Apps – Pretty cool enhancement that you can now call the Duplicate Management logic salesforce rolled out in Spring 15 from within 3rd party apps. I love this idea. Now, from your ISV apps, you can make sure you’re not generating duplicate records whether it is a Contact, Account or even an Order. Some of the e-commerce apps out there could definitely use this (you know who you are).
License Refresh for Sandboxes – Until you’re burnt by this and need to refresh your sandbox in the middle of a project just to get new licenses over that you just purchased you don’t know how painful this was. Now, you can pull down your licenses from Production to the Sandbox without refreshing. Boom! This deserves a hooray.
Process Builder Improvements – If you missed our write-up on Process Builder, it’s worth the read as this is a super powerful feature that was released in Spring 15. We highlighted a few issues, and some of these have been fixed in Summer 15, the biggest being a much improved Version Control. This was really needed especially for complex Processes where you were working with tons of versions. Before this it would just get unwieldy to manage. In addition, it’s not in the release notes but a few of the bugs / known issues we hit look like they are corrected in Summer 15 which is terrific.
Well, that is it for the Sales, salesforce1 and the platform features. Part 2 is going to be on Service Cloud, and that will be a big post as there are a ton of new features on the Service Cloud side including one of my all time favorites – Presence. Really looking forward to writing that post!
Harry is the CEO and founder of GearsCRM, with more than 18 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.