Monday, January 22, 2018

Top 7 Exciting features in Salesforce Communities in the Spring '18 release

Here we are looking at another release from Salesforce! It is the Spring 18 release!

In this article, I would like to talk about what is new with  Communities in the Spring '18 release that is exciting to us.

I would like to list out the top 7 things that we believe are exciting to us based on the kind of work we do with our clients. 

1)    Journey Builder for communities - Sales funnel across channels.
In the last release the effort to integrate Communities and Marketing cloud was underway, this feature lets you create a journey for your users to engage more and have a seamless way to onboard or update information. 
This is akin to a Sales funnel but across multiple channels !

Pros and Cons: This feature is exciting to bring abroad new users and increase engagement, however, it requires you have Community as well as Marketing cloud license. 

2)   Security related changes

a)    User Self Deactivation
A lot of times you need to provide your users the ability to deactivate their user id in a community, now we can enable this feature within the community and a new link will show up to enable users to self deactivate.
Pros and Cons : Less call in to support to deactivate a user, however , users might do it by mistake  instead of changing their email preferences or subscriptions. 

b)    Device Validation and different Login policy for Salesforce Community userssd

Now you can enable the feature for a user to validate his device if a new login comes from a different device. This is available for non-community users, now we can enable this for all customer community users.

Pros and Cons : This is an excellent feature for users enabling communities for partners who are extra conscious of their security protocols and would like to fine tune their policies, however, creating additional configuration and policy management for admins and additional verifications for users accessing via multiple devices.

3)   New and Enhanced components for communities - Update Now!

1.     Case deflection components

This is a two part component, when you use the ‘Contact Support Form’ and the ‘Case Deflection’ components, The case deflection component will show possible solutions from your articles or discussions.

Pros and Cons : As a call center head, this great, as this reduces users from creating new cases for already existing solutions. The users are deflected naturally to use those articles rather than creating new cases, However, if you are a new community and you don’t have enough articles or if they are not classified or tagged correctly this feature will not help much.

2.     Enhanced Navigation

If you community is catered towards product support and If your product catalog is much deeper than just 3 levels, no worries! You can now create articles and their navigation as deep as your product categorization goes.

It goes 8 levels deep. No kidding! To a total of 2775 topics and sub topics J

Pros and cons:Ability to match your community and its content to the way your product is structured, however, users might get overwhelmed with the nested navigation and choices. Be careful with your new navigational powers!

3.     Member Profile and settings component

Ok this is not a new component; however, this component has been enhanced and made available for the Customer Account portal.


4.     Survey Component

This I believe is one of the most used feature in any community, the core of customer interaction is feedback and this component makes it easier for us to now integrate surveys from the Community without an external App exchange product.

This component is available for Lightning Apps as well as Community Builder.

Pros and Cons
This allows us to easily create custom surveys and collect feedback easily. However, Survey components have been around for a long time and with a lot of features built in. The current component is not as sophisticated as the established products.

5.     Keep Track of Events with Community Calendars

Now you can share your calendar in your community! WhooHoo!.

What more, if you have customer community plus of Partner Community license, your community users can also create events.

4)   Creating Multi lingual communities are much Easier!

So this feature is cool, it is available in the Lightning community Builder, as opposed to the Sites setting and creating a multilingual community.

So, pop open the gear  icon and choose languages and you can setup another language right there.

The users will start seeing a Language switching icon on the main navigation.

Pros and Cons: This is an easy way to enable multi language support for all users. However, this does not preclude us from maintaining the correct verbiage and grammar in the secondary language.

5)    Sentiment Analysis Dashboard (Pilot)

So, this borders on insights and AI for your community. Here is what happens, this feature, go through your community’s feed items and comments and marks each comment as
a.     Positive
b.     Negative
c.      Neutral.
There is a new dashboard available that we can enable to show how the whole community is doing based on the aggregate sentiments with pretty graphs too J

Pros and Cons: I believe this a step in the right direction to show how well your community users are engaging and how well people are reacting to your organization and its interactions with your community base.Cons : I hope this features comes with some customization other than , positive, negative or neutral. This is still in pilot and there is lot more ground to cover. So, more to come later on this topic.   This is a pilot feature,(ie. Not a GA feature)

6)    Files and folders

Needless to say,  every community aspires to provide its users with as much information as possible, this includes files in a very organized structure(folders).
So this feature is not new for communities, however there a so many new enhancements that were provided in this release for files and folders. I am just excited about these 3 components.  

1.     Upload Component and Cloud Flow Designer

Lets say, you create new flows for your community users, in those flows, you need your users to upload a file(s). Now this component allows you to include a screen that allows user to do just that! As easy as drag and drop.

2.     File preview on the Go!

Now you can access files on your mobile device as well as your laptop/desktop with the same user experience.


3.     Let user navigate all your public files in a new component!

Now you can expose all your folders and files in an easy to navigate component (again OTB!) . This new component is great to share the way you have structured your document. This can also be controlled by role-based licenses.


7)   Bye bye Branding.. Hello Theme-ing!

So, you know how we can change the way our community looks with custom colors and layouts and such. You know how we have to go to the Branding section of the Builder, and how it is kind’a kludge to do these changes. Well, now you can do them all and more using the new “Theme” section of the builder.

So, what is new? It’s easier to navigate these things, not much scrolling, now much of the items are more easily accessible, better builder experience.

Pros and Cons : The new themes section of the builder is easy to navigate and follows similar to the Wordpress customization mechanism. Cons!? not much, I like the way the themes behave now, however, I know branding did not used to be so easy as themes.

One other thing to note is the way to Quickly See Which Theme Layout a Page is Based On.
Though this feature is not great, but as a person making changes on a day to day basis, this is quite useful, so I like it.

Well, that is a quick rundown of all the features we like in the new release Spring ‘18 for Communities. 

For more information, please visit.

Also visit

Rebecca Saar’s post at

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How useful is the Salesforce Credential Status Request?

We all ( I mean salesforce SMEs) have at least one Salesforce Certificate and we are proud of it, right? I am, with my 3 certs. 

If you do not have even a single cert, what are you waiting for, check this post, "How to get your first Salesforce Cert", to get your first cert.

The challenging part of getting a cert is keeping it current. What good is an expired cert or an old cert?  What does that mean?

Every year Salesforce releases 3 new versions with so many new features and capabilities. How can you keep yourself current and demonstrate that you indeed know the latest and greatest?

You do that with "Maintenance Certifications" based on a specific release.

But how do you know which of your cert is supposed to be current?

The latest feature called "Credential Status Request" from the Certificates sites of salesforce helps us know what certs we need to keep up to date.

This takes the guess work and research work out of that process.

Go to the Credential Status Request", page, enter your email or webassessor username and you will a nice clean tabular report of what certs needs to be updated.

Your Credential Status:

Credential Status
Required Release Exam
Completion Due Date
Salesforce Certified Administrator
2 Release Exams Behind
March 30, 2018

July 13, 2018
Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant
2 Release Exams Behind
Maintained by completing the Salesforce Certified Administrator release exam requirements above

Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I
1 Release Exam Behind
July 13, 2018

So, go ahead spend the $100 and get your cert renewed.