One of the great benefits of Salesforce.com is the seamless upgrades the system gets three times a year. Of course, for diligent system administrators, consultants, and developers a new release means slogging through online training and reading the giant (over 300 pages!) release notes. But putting in the effort to review the new release material is important work, and not just because it helps in passing the next certification maintenance exam. Digesting the new stuff can change the way Salesforce is implemented – especially when functionality becomes configurable that once could only be achieved through code.
For the less-than-diligent, one way to start reviewing the functionality in a new Salesforce release is to ask smarter and more diligent people what excites them about the new release. Fortunately for me, finding smarter and more diligent people was easy. In a Google Hangout with three of Appirio’s MVPs: Matt Lamb, Jarrod Kingston, and Rhonda Ross, I asked what they found interesting in the Salesforce Summer 14 release. The following 7 items are a small fraction of what is new in Summer 14, but stood out as important items to note.
1. Description field on the whitelisted IP list
The whitelisting of IPs is a way to give people at certain IP addresses special access to a secured org. Prior to Summer 14, there was no way to document in the system why a certain IP range was whitelisted. Adding a description field is a small but important change, because undocumented whitelisted IP ranges can lead to confusion and potential security problems when resources change.
2. Territory Management 2.0
Salesforce admins have had a love/hate relationship with Territory Management for a long time. While this feature has been an important tool for matching sales reps to opportunities, it has been in need of an upgrade for a while now. Territory Management 2.0, as its being called, allows for greater flexibility. Most importantly, System Admins can now create and preview multiple territory structures and strategies before you activating a new structure.
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3. Price Book entries in Apex Tests
Price Book functionality continues to improve, and with this release developers can now create price book entries for standard and custom price books in Apex tests. This might not mean much to non-developers, but it’s a best practice that developers should keep their unit tests isolated from the actual data in the org. That way, when the data changes in the org, the tests won’t break. Before the Summer 14 release, there was a set of functionality you couldn’t test without exposing all the org’s data to your test method.
4. “Related to” and status on task list on the home page
Tasks are considered part of the “core” of Salesforce, and it’s great that these old but important pieces continue to improve. This is a simple change, but greatly improves usability of tasks, as users can now see what the task is related to and it’s current status on the home tab.
5. Pin your favorite report folders
Most Salesforce users love how easy it is to create reports and report folders. However, it usually doesn’t take long for the amount of reports and report folders to get out of hand. This can be frustrating to users who usually focus on only a handful of report folders. In Summer 14, users can now “pin” their favorite report folders so that these folders always appear at the top of their list.
6. Expanded approval history reports
The approval process has always been one of Salesforce’s strengths, but with this release approvals have become more reportable. Reports were previously only available only for pending approval requests, but now can be run against both completed and in-progress stages.
7. Improvements to Visual Workflow
In my discussion with Matt, Jarrod, and Rhonda, Visual Workflow was a big topic. There is a general agreement that this feature has started to mature, and now should always be considered as an alternative to Apex programming. This release features a lot of improvements to Visual Workflow, which improve the usability and the amount of tasks it can accomplish. But one key improvement is that the Generate Orders package comes with a set of flow templates. It’s always easiest to learn from an example, and using these template as a learning tool is a great way to get started.