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Salesforce Summer 17 Features – Communities, Chatter & Files

Hope everyone is having a great Memorial Day weekend. Right after Memorial Day, Summer 17 begins to hit in early June. It’s a huge release with a crazy 550 page release notes. As always, we’re writing about all of the great features and covered Sales Cloud in Part 1 and Service Cloud in Part 2. In our last part we’ll be covering all of the Collaboration pieces including Communities, Chatter and Files. While Summer 17 was a bit light on the Service Cloud side, this is a monster release for Communities and Files. Let’s get right at it.

  • Partner Central – Napili – now known as Customer Service – has become the default Community template for Customer Communities and self-service but there was always a lot of work that needed to be done to use that as the baseline for a Partner Community. With Summer 17, we get this fixed in a big way with the release of the Partner Central Community template. This is very similar to the Customer Service template, but it’s entirely geared towards Partner Community users. There isn’t a ton of detail of what is included here (as soon as this is live, we’re going to do a deep dive into it and probably write a post dedicated to it) but it looks like there are some out of the box Lightning components that focus on the Partner functionality such as a Leads Inbox, a My Deals (Opportunities) component, and components for Content and Libraries. There also looks to be some pre-built Partner dashboards as well. Most importantly, similar to Customer Service, you can extend this by building custom pages and components as well as adding your branding. It has all of the power of Lightning, but now we’re starting to get some nice out of the box components built for Partner users. Expect to see more and more added to this with each release.
    Partner Center Community
  • More Criteria Based Sharing in Communities – In Spring 17 we discussed how excited we were with the new Criteria Based pages that allow you to present different pages to different types of audiences. This is a very powerful feature that let’s you really target your Community users with pertinent messaging. Well we get a few enhancements to this with Summer 17. First, you can now get even more specific with your targeting by being able to create audiences targeting a specific city or even a specific domain. The domain targeting is really exciting as you can now easily provide messaging to groups of customers and for a few select customers maybe even provide co-branded experiences so that those top customers or partners feel the special attention from you. Second, the targeting that you create is now moved into a section called “Criteria Based Audiences” where you can manage these segments. I expect to keep seeing this improve as this is a terrific feature of Communities.
  • Community Page Optimizer – Interesting new update for Communities here. The Community Page Optimizer is actually a Chrome plug-in that you would install into your browser and it allows you to navigate to a page within your Community and run an analysis of that page. The goal is to help you improve your performance and design of these pages. This is a really robust analysis with seven major sections that detail different aspects of your page. This starts with an Insights page (see below) that provides recommendations based on best practices. Some of these will simply be flags saying you’re all set, but others will be flags that say you need improvement. From here, the other sections are much more detailed. These include Waterfall which shows all of the network requests and performance data, Timeline (see below) which provides a profile of each component and how they rendered over time, Charts which shows trending data about memory, Costs and Components which combined show the amount of time each component takes to process and potential rendering issues, and finally Actions which is a list of all of the different actions performed on the page. You can get this in-depth analysis for any page on your Community. This is super valuable insight especially if you’re having a page that is under-performing or getting complaints from end-users. Now you finally have the tools to get under the hood and see what’s going on.
    Community Insights Report
    Community Timeline Report
  • Files Updates – A big release for Files. A slew of new features as Files really takes a big step forward for Lightning Experience.
    • Libraries – Libraries get some overdue updates in LEX and now definitely have more functionality than they did in Classic. First, Libraries are now a stand-alone entity. Previously they needed to exist with Content, but now a Library can be created on its own and shared with users. In addition, as part of this, these Libraries – and the members to the Libraries – can be created via the API. This opens up a pretty wide range of possibilities. The Library itself now can support sub-folders (about time!) so you can organize away within the Library and you can also add up to 10 Files at a time into the Library. I tried playing with it in the pre-release org, but it was pretty wonky (I think it’s the pre-release, not the feature itself), so I’m going to wait until this is in production, but all of this is very cool.
    • Customizable Files Page – Files pages can now have their own layouts, custom fields, validation rules and record types! This is another big addition as you can now distinguish between different types of Files and potentially display or even require different information depending on the Files type.
      Files Detail Page in LEX
    • Public Links to Files – Just like all of the other file sharing programs like Box and Dropbox, you can now create a link to share a File from within Salesforce publicly. This was already available in Classic, but now is in LEX and Communities.
    • Unshare Files – Users can now unshare files from users. Nice to see this added now that the share tree is the way to add access.
    • Drag Files into Related Lists – We mentioned this in the Service Cloud post because this also works in the Service Cloud Files component, but you can now drag and drop files directly into the Files related list. Nice little time saver here.
      Drag Files to Related List
    • Files Actions from the Feed – Speaking of time savers, this is another one. Now, from Chatter Feeds, you no longer have to go to the File preview page to do something with the Files (always annoying). Now, you can do it directly from the feed.
      File Actions from the Feed
    • Attachments to Files Converter – If you’ve made the move to LEX already, you know Attachments are essentially dead. It makes sense as Files are way more powerful and has a ton of additional benefits over the very old Attachments. However, if you’ve been using Salesforce for a while, you have a load of Attachments built up from before Files existed. We now have a converter tool that will take these Attachments and convert them automatically to Files. Looks like this also works for Private Attachments – however, it looks like an admin can’t convert those and it’ll need to be done by the users themselves. Note on the Private Attachments – if your users want to keep them private, they will be removed from the record. Files uses sharing rules like all other records, so the “private” concept doesn’t really exist anymore.
      Attachments Converter
    • More Room for Files – Last but not least, the limits around Files are expanding. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we get more storage space for Files, but the maximum number of Files has been bumped from 10 million to 30 million. In addition, the number of “daily content versions” (files you can add or modify in 24 hours – which I’ll admit, I didn’t even realize was a limit) has been increased from 36k to 200k and finally the delivery bandwidth has been doubled from 10 GB to 20 GB.
  • Chatter Stream Enhancements – Streams was one of the cooler new features in Spring 16, and it gets even more powerful with this release. Previously you were limited to only 5 streams per person. Well, that’s history now as that has been bumped up to 100 streams. Boom. Your homepage will list the top 5 that you use, but you can drill down into the full list but going to the new Streams homepage. We also now get the ability to add a record or profile into a Stream directly from the Follow for that record / profile. When you click follow, you get a list of your Streams that you can easily add it to (see below). Really handy. Finally, you have some new notification options where for the Stream you can select if you want a notification on every post or never. The cool thing here is this allows you to be notified on posts to records even if you aren’t @mentioned. So, if you have a few records that you really want to stay on top of – create a stream and get notified on every post. Awesome.
    Add Records to Stream from Follow
  • Topics in Chatter for LEX – Anyone who reads these updates know that I am a big Topics fan. My #1 compliant with Lightning Experience has been the inability to add Topics to my Chatter posts. Well, that’s finally solved (I’m going to give a hooray on this one – mostly for myself). Looks like this pretty much behaves the same as Classic. Only thing missing is LEX still won’t allow you to add Topics to records. Hopefully that is next.
  • Connecting your CMS (Content Management System) – Interesting new beta in Summer 17 that allows you to connect your Community to the Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) CMS system. I really like the concept here as the bulk of the time when you’re creating a Community, you’re leveraging assets and styles that are already in place for your website. Now, instead of having to maintain changes to these in two places, you can update your CMS and your Community is automatically updated. This will let you use content like headers, footers and banners from AEM and place them directly into the Community, but will also keep your components, CSS and Javascript in sync. This is a great direction for Salesforce to go, and I expect they will continue to add other CMS vendors to the list once this is out of beta.
  • Global Notifications for Communities – You now have the option to present a notifications section for your Community users. By default this is turned off, but if you turn it on, any event that triggers a notification (@mentions or group posts) will appear in this notifications section and unread notifications will be highlighted in your Community header. A nice feature – in particular for Communities with lots of collaboration between members happening.
    Global Notifications in Communities
  • Unread Posts Filter for Community Group – While in a Group (internal or Community), users can now filter that Group to view all posts that are Unread. Any post that you having scrolled through, viewed, edited or liked will be considered unread. Really handy new feature and as a reminder, this works internally as well as in Communities.
  • Community Polls – Polls are now available to the Community. You can add a Poll from the Chatter feed on a record, group or profile. This seems to behave the same as the Chatter Polls but is nice to see added to the Communities.
    Polls in Communities
  • Reporting & Analytics – Summer 17 brings a bunch of new analytics and reporting capabilities.
    • Community Health Scorecard – This is specifically for a Self Service Community, but it provides an awesome snapshot of how your Community is thriving. From one dashboard you can see your daily active users trended and how many were contributors or just observers, your top Contributors, most active Topics, most viewed Articles, total Members, and more. This is a terrific homepage to start with when reviewing your Community health. To get this, you need to install the Community Management Appexchange package that gets updated shortly after everyone gets Summer 17 (by the way, if you have a Community and you haven’t installed this package yet, you’re seriously missing out. It’s free. There’s no excuse not to).
      Community Scorecard
    • Article Click-Through Rates – Using the Related Content Metrics, we now have a new metric to track the Click-Through Rate for your Articles. This is measured by the amount of times the Article is displayed – either from a topic page or search results – and then how many times it was clicked into. Great insight to find what Articles are under-performing.
    • Community Activity – Another set of reports that are within the Community Management Appexchange package and these track which types of your users log in and participate on a regular basis. There are a series of new Community User’s Daily Participation Metrics reports that breakdown the type of users visiting the Community and whether they have posted a question, answered a question or posted a comment.
    • Top Feed Items – We now have a new object called Interaction Count Reports and it’s available to create custom reports to track up to the top 100 feed items in your Community. Great report to see what posts are trending and really popular.
    • Wave Dashboard Component – No need to build a Visualforce component to drop a Wave dashboard into the Community anymore. We now have a standard component to embed any Wave dashboard into the Community.
    • Sentiment – I always say I don’t like mentioning Pilots, but as I always say next, some are too cool not to bring up. This is one of those. There’s a new Pilot that allows you to track the general sentiment of your posts as either positive, neutral or negative. I’m assuming their is some Einstein logic behind this that evaluates the tone of the post, but this is a pretty wild report type. Especially on Communities with a lot of users interacting with each other, this will let you see the overall mood of a group or the Community itself. For now it’s a closed Pilot that you’d need to get invited to, but really exciting future feature.
  • Feed and Topics in Search – For your Community searches, you can now add all Topic records and Feed Posts into the search results. Especially with those active communities with lots of user interaction, this is a terrific enhancement.
  • Top Articles by Topic – Speaking of Topics and making things easier to find, the new Top Articles by Topic component is exciting. This allows you to create a page where up to 10 Articles per Topic (and you can show up to 21 Topics on a page) are displayed below the Topic. The 10 Articles will be based dynamically off of the most viewed Articles for that Topic. It doesn’t say how you’d select the Topics you want on the page, but I assume that is part of the editor for the widget. This is a really useful component. Basically, as much as everyone says we’re in a “search world” thanks to Google, some users still really want to see their data organized by a Topic. Great way to present the most used Articles. It would be great to see this extended beyond Articles to different types of Content and Records, but this is a solid start.
    Articles by Topic Component
  • Assign Topics to Data Categories – Now that it’s easier to display Articles by Topics, it’d be great if it was easier to assign Topics to the Article Data Categories. Well, it is! Now you can map your Topics to your Data Categories – allowing each Data Categories to represent one or more Topics. Any Article assigned to that Data Category will automatically be assigned to those mapped Topics and display on the Topic pages in the Community.
  • App Launcher with Communities – If you’re using LEX already and if you have Lightning Communities, you can now see your Lightning Communities directly from the App Launcher to allow you to switch between your internal instance and your Communities. You have the option to expose App Launcher in your Community header as well, but by default this is turned off.
  • Language Picker – Previously, the Language Picker component was only available on the Customer Service (Napili) template. Now, it’s available on all templates (including the new Partner Central) and also on login pages.
  • Push Communities between Instances with Change Sets – This one is great. Admins and us consultants are definitely rejoicing at now having the ability to push Communities between Sandboxes and Production using change sets. This not only works with Lightning Communities but also for the old tabbed / Visualforce Communities. Big update for Community admins.
  • Upgrade Community Users – Another big help for administrators and us consultants. Now, you can upgrade your Community users to Plus or Partner without having to create new users and do a big data migration across those users. Previously it was pretty painful to upgrade from Customer to either Plus or Partner. Now all you need to do is upgrade the licenses. Very nice to see this corrected.
  • Koa & Kokua Templates no Longer Available – Customer Service (Napili) really became the primary template, so this isn’t much of a loss, but as of Summer 17, the Koa and Kokua templates are no longer available for new Communities. If you are using one of these already, you’re still fine, but you’re not going to get many new features. Definitely worth looking at customizing Customer Service to meet what you are looking to do.
  • TLS 1.0 Disablement – We also mentioned this in Spring 16’s write-up, but the TLS deadline was extended shortly after. I expect this time there will be no extension which means that finally, it’s the end of TLS 1.0 as of 7/22/17. Salesforce has been sending emails and screaming from the rooftops about how TLS 1.0 will no longer be supported. Simply put TLS 1.0 is not secure. If you’re still using it, you’re creating a major vulnerability for yourself and from July 22nd on, you’re not going to be able to use anything with Salesforce where you leveraged that. Salesforce has a great article here all about TLS 1.0 if you have a concern – and if you do, stop wasting time and get this fixed.

Well, that’s it for the Collaboration features and Summer 17. A lot here as Communities continues to pile on the enhancements and Chatter just keeps rolling. Loving all the new Files updates too. Can’t wait to see this in a few weeks! Enjoy Summer 17 as well as the summer itself. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions or if you’d like help in implementing any of these features.

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.

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