Salesforce Admins Podcast (general)

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re bringing you another monthly retro. We highlight the standout blog posts, videos, and all the other great Salesforce content from February.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Blog highlights from February

Mike points us to a thorough overview of everything you need to know about the upcoming MFA requirements coming in 2022. As we’re seeing cybercrime and data breaches continue to rise, we want to help you take steps to protect your org and secure your data, and there are a lot of resources to get you started. Gillian points out a post by friend of the pod and Awesome Admin Sarah Pilzer, which shares how her training as a marine biologist informs her current career as a Salesforce admin.

Podcast highlights from February

We squeezed a lot into a short month on the pod. Gillian had an opportunity to sit down with one of her favorite people in the Salesforce ecosystem, Megan Peterson, to talk about her new show, Trailhead News, and hear all her tips for creating engaging video content. Mike, meanwhile, wanted to highlight his conversation with Lizz Hellinga about her stint with the Admin team and a sneak peek of what’s coming down the pipeline.

Video highlights from February

Gillian was busy cranking out a “pilot season” of videos for the Admin Youtube Channel. We’ve got the 2-minute “No Silly Questions” series where experts answer anything you want to know. If you have a question, send us a video!

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Direct download: February_Monthly_Retro_with_Gillian_and_Mike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Megan Peterson, a Trailhead Evangelist based in Sydney Australia. We’ll learn about Trailhead News, a new way to keep up with everything going on with the Trailhead platform.

Join us as we talk about how Megan started Trailhead News, her tips for creating a great online event, and what’s coming up with Trailhead events.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Megan Peterson.

Trailhead News.

With the changes that have come in 2020, Megan came up with an idea to do a news show to take advantage of the new Trailhead Live platform. “We’ve got our Trailhead Newsletter that goes out, but we don’t really have a way to tell everyone everything that Trailhead does,” she says. So every two weeks, she puts out a new episode to keep everyone in the loop.

Trailhead has so much going on beneath the surface, and Trailhead News is here to help you make sure you don’t miss anything. Megan talks to people behind the scenes to get the full story, and you can get started with a simple Trailmix that gives you links to everything mentioned on the show.

How to get started with online events.

Organizing something new in a changed landscape has taught Megan some important lessons about what works and what doesn’t in a digital format. “I think people get a little stuck on trying to make what would’ve been a face-to-face event a virtual event, but trying to do it the same way,” she says, “shake that off and think about why you’re doing this event. What’s different about it?”

Megan recommends taking the time to picture what your online event will look like, and start from there. Make sure you have a niche: some kind of unique audience or reason for what you’re doing. And, of course, there are the practical considerations: how are you going to record it? How are you going to edit it? Where are you going to share it?

Why you don’t need a big budget to make a great event.

One big difference between digital and in-person is that you need to change it up frequently. “We would’ve sat through a 20 or 30-minute presentation from a single person in the Admin Theater,” Megan says, “the propensity to sit and listen for a long amount of time is getting shorter and shorter.”

It might be changing your voice, having another person come in, or even just giving your viewers a quick visual break. “You can do this on a zero budget, and if you’ve got budget you can make it a little bit more polished,” Megan says, “but there is definitely ways you can make it creative, different, interesting, and natural for yourself.” And one thing she’s seen time and again with guests is that you’re better than you think you are—be yourself and trust that if what you have to say is important to you, it’ll be engaging to an audience.

Listen to the full episode for some more great tips from Megan about online events, and don’t miss the ANZ Salesforce Live event coming up on March 24th.

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you be an awesome admin. This week, we are diving into the very important world of Trailhead and Trailhead News with Megan Petersen, Trailhead evangelist based in Sydney, Australia. One of my favorite people from down under.
In this episode, you'll hear all about Trailhead News and get some tips and advice for your content delivery in this virtual world. So without further ado, let's welcome Megan to the podcast. Megan, welcome to the podcast.

Megan Petersen: Woowoo. I'm so excited to be back on the Admin podcast with you, Gillian. Thank you for having me.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, it's always great to have your voice on the awesome Admin airwaves here. I wanted to check in with you. It's been a while. I know you've been up to a lot of amazing things and one of the things I wanted to start with is Trailhead News. Can you talk to us a little bit about what Trailhead News is?

Megan Petersen: I sure can. So I came up with this idea to do this fun little news show back in 2020, when we were all unable to leave our houses. I thought, why not take advantage of this great platform in Trailhead Live that had just been announced at the Dreamforce just before.
And we've got our Trailhead newsletter that goes out, but we don't really have a way to tell everyone everything that Trailhead does. I don't think people understand that Trailhead's beyond trailhead.com. It's our Trailhead Academy, all the certifications, all our wonderful classes, all our instructors. It's admins, it's devs.
There's so much that goes into the word Trailhead when you say it. So, the idea behind starting Trailhead News was giving us a way to talk about end-to-end what we're doing with Trailhead and keeping it fun and topical. There's so much that we're talking about all the time.
At first, I thought, "I hope we have enough to talk about on every show," but I soon found out that every two weeks or so, I could definitely have some top Trailhead News. Came up with some fun segments. A fond memory is the Behind the Hoodies that we did with Steve Molis and Nana Gregg. That was a fun little segment taking a, this is your life look at their Salesforce careers. And then we always do an interview as well and pepper a lot of fun in between.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you've got some star-studded cameos that happen. I think you've done some with Parker Harris, our co-founder. As you mentioned, some of our rock MVPs in the community. And it's a really fun way to get a taste of how we like to keep Trailhead weird. But also as you said, the incredible amount of things that are involved with the idea of Trailhead, it's not just the Trailhead product, but it's the community, it's all the activities around it. And it's pretty awesome.

Megan Petersen: Yeah. Talking to Parker, I do have a lot of admiration for Parker. So that was an amazing moment to be able to interview him on the last episode last year. And we had the wonderful Sarah Franklin is now our CMO. Heather Conklin. Yeah.
If you haven't checked out Trailhead News, there's a very simple little trail mix where you can find links to everything that's mentioned on the show and all the previous episodes as well. And Gillian can share that in all the notes.

Gillian Bruce: It will be in the show notes. Absolutely. And you forgot to mention the fun themes and costumes that sometimes you and your guests don on Trailhead News, which make it even more exciting and surprising.

Megan Petersen: I think I just try and put myself in the shoes of someone that is choosing to spend some time looking at more screen. And I think, "What could make this just a little bit more entertaining than just sitting and talking to someone?"
So yes, we had our awesome 80s themed episode. We had our Halloween spooktacular. I think I went well overboard on the spooky puns in that one, but it was very fun. Had a lot of community faces in that episode as well.
It's just, if I'm going to sit there for 20, 30 minutes and watch an episode, I want to find a reason to smile and there's always good little hidden Easter eggs in every episode to make sure that you get a laugh. And information.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. You want to be entertained and informed at the same time. And there you go.

Megan Petersen: Indeed. Indeed.

Gillian Bruce: So, speaking of that, I would love to hear a little bit more about some of the things you've learned doing Trailhead News. Now, while you are in Australia and you have at least somewhat of a normal life that has returned.

Megan Petersen: We're very lucky. Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Not everybody else, especially I'm thinking of me here in San Francisco. We're still on lockdown. I think I've been on lockdown for a year now, it feels like. But a lot of us admins and otherwise, we're still trying to figure out how to engage virtually. Right.
We're all stuck at screens, as you mentioned, the last thing a lot of people want to do is watch something else on the screen. So, what are some things that you've learned from doing Trailhead News and doing other virtual experiences over the past year, that might be useful for admins as they're trying to figure out how to either engage with their users or engage with other people in the community?

Megan Petersen: Yeah. Lots actually. It's been a really good learning experience to try and... So I actually do write, produce, film, edit, the whole thing by myself. So there is a lot that goes into doing that. So if you are looking to create your own virtual event, you're going to have to dust off a few possible new skills.
So, it's been a learning curve. When I look at some of the earlier episodes, I go, "Oh, you hadn't learned how to do that then, yet. I see you do that better now with your editing." Or even I had to get a nice microphone. At first, I was like, "It's fine. They can hear my voice." And now I had to get a special Yeti microphone, which makes me sound a little bit better. So you hone the craft.
But luckily enough, I'm actually in the process of writing a badge, that's coming out onto Trailhead, talking about this virtual event production. Hopefully it'll come out in the next few months, but it'll be all around virtual events.
And one of the first things that I do is sit there. If you're trying to replicate something that would have been something in-person for example. So we're going back two years, let's say, when face-to-face events were normal.

Gillian Bruce: The olden days.

Megan Petersen: The olden days. Yes. Back before 2020. And I think people get a little stuck in thinking about trying to make what would have been a face-to-face event, a virtual event, but trying to do it the same way. So I want to say, shake that off and think about why you're doing this event. So what's different about it?
So when I said Trailhead News, it was about talking about everything that Trailhead is doing at that point in time and bringing a bit of fun. No one else was doing that. So that's my little niche reason to be creating it. So think about why you're doing this event. What is the hole you're plugging? What's the message you're trying to deliver?
And then I always say, if you could just shut your eyes, you need to see it. So try and see what you think this event is going to look like visually in your head. It might not be super clear, but usually I get some early idea. I've got a document where, in the middle of the day, I'll suddenly get some random idea.
I've always wanted to do a slow motion walk. And so I was like, I'm going to do that one day on Trailhead News. So watch out for that one day, I'll do a slow motion walk because I've seen the movies. I'm like, "God, it'd be so cool. Do a slow motion walk." And I can do that on Trailhead News. It's one of the fun little nuggets I'll weave in.
But close your eyes, visualize what you see on the screen and start from there. And there's a lot of things that are going to go into crafting that vision. But you want to make sure you have some kind of niche, some kind of unique audience, or reason, or message that you're bringing to the listeners, to the watchers.
And then there's a lot of factors, like how are you going to record it? How are you going to edit it if you need to edit it? Where are you going to let people see it? Where are you going to share it? So there's those kind of logistical, operational elements. But then if you're the one person that's bringing it all together, you also have to make it creative.
And if I've learnt anything, you need to change it up really frequently. So, I think whereas we would have sat through a 20 minute, 30 minute presentation of a single person, if we're sitting say at the admin theater or the admin meadow back at Dreamforce. Sitting there and listening in-person, that was fine. But doing that in a visual digital way, is just not the same these days.
And I think the propensity to sit and listen for a long amount of time, is getting shorter and shorter. So, think of ways to change it up. Sometimes that might be changing even just your voice, changing a quick visual break, having another person's voice come in. There's little things that you just want to keep it interesting. Keep it engaging. And there's a lot of planning that does need to go into it as well, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. Well, yes. I have been privy to the planning, at least part of the planning that you go through to put Trailhead News together. And it's quite impressive.

Megan Petersen: Well, you were my first interview on Trailhead News.

Gillian Bruce: I know. It was amazing. You helped me learn things about Zoom I didn't even know I could do. It was great. But I think one of the things that you touched on that I think is really relevant is, this is a one woman production, so to speak. And so, a lot of the things that you've learned... I mean, hey, not everyone is going to probably beef up the editing skills quite as much as you have. But if you're recording a video or something that you're trying to maybe just deliver a training to your users, I think a lot of the tips and the things that you have learned are very helpful.
I mean, you mentioned things like just changing up your voice, changing up the visuals. Hey, instead of thinking of it as a 30 minute meeting or a 30 minute presentation, how do you mix it up and keep it engaging? And I think that's one of the things that I have noticed quite a bit in our screen fatigue. There are industries completely devoted to entertainment that have cracked the code on some of this. But there's some easy things that we can take from that to help create content that is more engaging, albeit still on a screen.
I think for any, hey, maybe you've got a video you want to send to your five users for them to watch, you can still take a lot of these tips. I mean, like you said, even just adjusting the microphone, maybe you don't have to buy a fancy microphone.

Megan Petersen: No. You do not have to. You can do this on a zero budget and if you've got budget, then it's just going to make it that little bit more polished. But start small, like you say, if this is about sharing some training with your users.
And humor might not be your strong suit, but you can still make it engaging. I obviously like to put puns in there and put jokes in there and that feels natural to me. But humor's not everybody's strong suit, but there is definitely ways you can still make it creative, different, interesting, and natural for yourself.
And I do just want to say, I've had to record with a lot of people and I've asked a lot of people to do videos for me. And often I'll ask someone and they'll email me and they'll go, "This is just terrible. I hope there's something usable. I'm sorry. I tried. I hate looking at myself on camera."
This happened yesterday to me, someone sent me a video. And I watched it for five seconds and they looked happy, engaged, connected with the camera. They were talking with confidence. And I have no idea what they were thinking in their mind when they said that to me.
So, I think it's that, if you think you're going to fail, you're going to fail. But if you go in as confident as you can, make connection with the camera, try not to read a script. We used to be able to do that when we're up on stage.
Making eye contact with the camera is a simple... If you do nothing else, looking at the camera is going to connect with your audience better than you looking down constantly or reading off a screen. So just talk from the heart, talk from experience, connect with the camera and be confident. Trust me. You're better than you think you are if you're doubting yourself, for sure.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's a great message. Basically, what you're saying is be authentic.

Megan Petersen: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: And I think any viewer can always tell if the person on the screen is being authentic or not.

Megan Petersen: 100%.

Gillian Bruce: I know a lot of admins, we may struggle with feeling like maybe a little imposter syndrome or whatnot, but hey, if you've got something that you think is important enough to share, you got it.

Megan Petersen: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: You know it.

Megan Petersen: That's what I always say. I'm like, "I want to tell your story, but if I don't know your story, I can't tell someone that you have an awesome story." We had some Aussies on the podcast at the end of last year, which was fantastic because I've seen them at our Trailblazer community group meetings, or I've heard it through the grapevine that they're doing an amazing presentation at their companies.
So, speak up. Even if you come to us directly in a little moment of confidence, let us know. We'd love to showcase anything amazing that our whole ecosystem is doing.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, absolutely. Well, speaking of that, this is a great segue. Thank you for that.

Megan Petersen: Cool. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We've got a little... Speaking of virtual events, we have one coming up pretty soon here. It's the ANZ Salesforce Live event.

Megan Petersen: Correct.

Gillian Bruce: Can you talk to us a little bit more about that?

Megan Petersen: I can, it's going to be amazing. So this is our first big event here in ANZ. If you don't know what ANZ means, it stands for Australia and New Zealand. Where I am from, I'm in Sydney, Australia. And it's going to be on March 24th, which is a Wednesday here, which would be a Tuesday, Pacific Time.
You're more than welcome to join in if you're anywhere in the world. Just because it's in Australia, New Zealand doesn't mean that you can't tune in and hear what we're going to put together. And there's going to be some amazing Trailhead content coming to that event.
We're going to do a special Trailhead News actually, coming to you live from Salesforce Live ANZ, which is a first for me. So, figuring out how that's going to work and look, and sound, and be entertaining for those that are watching. And we might even have some admin and developer sessions coming down for our audiences. Maybe a bit of community involvement, would you say Gillian?

Gillian Bruce: I would say, yes. I think we've got some community faces that will be a welcome addition to the event. And I think will be really fun. It's one of the things I think we all missed a lot last year, was we did the best we could to pivot and deliver great content to the global Salesforce community.
One thing that was missing that we typically have at every single in-person event, was the chance for Trailblazer community members to present and share. Hey, we're figuring out a way to do it this time. So it's very exciting.

Megan Petersen: It's exciting. It was very important. It's what we did last year, actually for a world tour Sydney last year. This is when everything was starting to lockdown. If you go back a year ago, we had very short notice to turn around this huge digital event a year ago.
And that's where the idea for Trailhead News actually originally came from, because we did the whole thing like a news program back then. So we definitely want to bring some of those vibes into this year. We won't do eight and a half hours of content like we did last year. I won't do that to you. It'll be a little bit less.

Gillian Bruce: That was a lot of content. It was a lot of content.

Megan Petersen: You tell me now that I had to turn around eight and a half hours of content in 10 days. I still don't quite know how that happened, but it's amazing. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I don't think you slept. Right.

Megan Petersen: No, not really. Not really.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that's really... So it's March 24th. And as you said, anyone can tune in, but it is intended for the... I love saying ANZ because we don't say Zed here in the United States, we say Z. So it sounds more authentic.

Megan Petersen: Ah. Oh, Zed. Right. I got you.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Megan Petersen: We can bust out the old Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, if you want to, Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Do it, do it. I love it.

Megan Petersen: Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Then you say, "Oi, Oi, Oi."

Gillian Bruce: Oi, Oi, Oi. Yeah. I remember. Come on. I've been there a couple of times.

Megan Petersen: Yes. Okay. Okay. All right. Yeah, there's a whole chant. I won't take up too much time doing the whole chant. Aussies know what we're doing here.

Gillian Bruce: This has been awesome. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. I will keep the Trailhead News awesomeness going. And I'm looking forward to sharing that great virtual event preparation badge that you're working on at Trailhead with the admin community. So, as soon as you've got it ready, I will happily share it out. And reminder to everyone to check out the event of March 24th, to tune in. Yeah. Any other parting words of advice you'd love to share with our admin community?

Megan Petersen: Be awesome. Keep putting yourself out there. Be positive and be authentic.

Gillian Bruce: Love it. Thank you so much for joining us and we'll talk to you again soon.

Megan Petersen: Bye.

Gillian Bruce: Always wonderful to catch up with one of my favorite Aussies. Thanks so much, Megan, for joining us on the podcast. Now, for some of my takeaways from our conversation to help you as an awesome admin. Number one, when you are thinking about creating content to deliver in this virtual environment, really think about how to keep your users engaged. Take a minute and envision what will keep your viewers wanting to look at what you're doing.
So mix it up, have some new visuals, bring in some other voices. And you don't have to spend a bunch of money on fancy equipment. You can use the equipment that you have. Some tips that I've even just learned from podcasting is just make sure you got a microphone that's close to your mouth. So don't just use the microphone that's on your laptop or your computer. If you've got headphones that have a little mic attached to them, plugging them into your phone, that will even just make a big enough difference.
And be authentic. Megan really pointed out how you can tell if someone's just reading to a camera and not connecting. And that is not engaging. We've all watched those. So, look at the camera. Speak from your heart and your mind. You know this content. Whatever you're presenting, clearly you know it enough to feel that it's important. So, just trust yourself. Have a conversation with the camera. It's much easier to keep people engaged by doing that than otherwise.
Also, stay tuned for Trailhead News. We've got the next is coming out on February 23rd. So just next week after this podcast drops. And you can find all of the Trailhead News episodes at the link in the show notes. And tune in for the March 24th ANZ Australia, New Zealand Salesforce Live event. The link again, is in the show notes so that you can register for that. You don't want to miss it. It will be really, really awesome.
So, if you want to learn about all things Salesforce Admin, as always, you can go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And a reminder, if you love what you hear, be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. We promise, we definitely read them all. Mike and I love reading them. Well, most of them. No, I'm kidding. We love reading all of them. So please continue to give us some reviews.
You can also stay up to date with us on all things Admins on social, @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can find our guest today, Megan Petersen on Twitter, @MeganPTweets. I'm on Twitter, @gilliankbruce. And my cohost, the amazing Mike Gerholdt, is @MikeGerholdt. With that, we hope you have a great day and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: Trailhead_News_with_Megan_Peterson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

This is the Salesforce Admins Podcast! A show for Salesforce Admins where we talk about Product, Community, and Career to help you become an awesome admin!
We are Salesforce Admins just like you, and we have a ton of experience on the Salesforce platform. We love learning about all the new features and capabilities that enable us, as Admins, to do awesome things with Salesforce to transform our organizations, communities, and careers. Every week on the podcast we talk to product managers at Salesforce about what they are building and to Salesforce Admins just like you about the problems they are solving, giving you tips and advice on how to be an Awesome Admin.

What you said about us

As a current job seeker in the Salesforce Ecosystem I am really encouraged by these podcasts. As my goal is to remain revelant and plugged-in the knowledge shared by Admins and others is invaluable to gaining confidence and skills. By building knowlege via Trailhead badges and then demonstrating undersramding & assessment of those skills by conquering the Superbadges I am inspired to keep going and constantly learn more each and every day. Keep up the Great Work! – Chad Kleve

I’m so glad that I stumbled upon this podcast! As a new “Accidental Admin" all things salesforce can be quite intimidating! There is so much to learn but this podcast helps me stay on top of the important things to look out for and newest features to check out. I also LOVE that it is not a boring stuffy podcast! I find myself learning, laughing and sometimes crying (happy tears) while listening to the episodes on my daily walks. – TrishainOmaha

I love listening to this podcast in the mornings when I’m getting ready for work. Each episode contains something new that I didn’t know about salesforce, and a new view on someone’s journey into the salesforce ecosystem. Loved the accessibility series on making your orgs more user friendly for everyone. – ibbyanne

You can find our show on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, and Spotify or by searching "Salesforce'' wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. And, you can find even more great content at Admin.Salesforce.com.

Direct download: SFA_560.1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we hear from Mat Hamlin, Senior Director of Product Management at Salesforce. We’ll dive into multi-factor authentication (MFA), and why all Salesforce users will be using it by February 1st, 2022.

Join us as we talk about multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, tracking and adoption, and a little bit about barbeque.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Mat Hamlin.

How should you manage MFA in your org?

So should you use an existing single sign-on (SSO) implementation or roll out a standalone MFA? “As a general rule,” Mat says, “if your organization does have a centrally-managed single sign-on solution that can or does support multi-factor authentication for its login processes, that’s the recommended solution.” Your internal IT department already thinks about managing identity and security risks all day long, so letting them have control over your authentication and verification processes helps them centralize and apply policies.

For some organizations, however, it might make more sense for you as the Salesforce admin to manage MFA on the platform. You can even configure it to handle all of your Salesforce products in one place: Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and more. Think about it as a great excuse to start a conversation with your IT folks about what works best for your org.

A helping hand to monitor adoption and more.

There are also some great tools to monitor adoption and general usage baked-in to Salesforce. You can generate reports with the login history fields to get a picture of what’s going on. There’s also the new Security Command Center feature to help you keep track, and there will be even more login metrics coming in Spring ‘21with the Lightning Usage App.

MFA Assistant will be with you every step of the way, giving you suggestions and references to make things simple. That said, MFA will add a step to the login process. “As administrators, as you start rolling out MFA, it’s good to be very communicative about the process but also the reasons,” Mat says. You want to explain why it’s so important to reduce the risk of data loss and protect your organization.

Finally, it’s helpful to show your users exactly what the changes to their login process look like. “Fear of the unknown can cause people to be anxious,” Mat says, but if you can show them how easy it is and what to expect you’ll find a lot more success. As you’re showing them, make sure to emphasize that you’ll be there to support them whenever they need help.

Links

Social

Direct download: MFA_and_SSO_Implementation_with_Mat_Hamlin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to Lizz Hellinga, Salesforce MVP and change enabler. We’ll go over everything she’s looking forward to that’ll help us help users.

Join us as we talk about how the platform has evolved with automation and assistance, all the new setup guides and assistants that make things easier, and why you should start playing with Tableau.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Lizz Hellinga.

Looking behind the curtain

Lizz has recently pinch-hit for LeeAnne on the Admin team at Salesforce, and getting a look behind the curtain has given her a lot of insights into what’s coming up and what admins should pay attention to in the new year. “When you think about some of the new things with In-App Guidance, In-App Learning, Notification Builder, Dynamic Forms,” she says, “all that is to help admins increase adoption and help their endusers do what they need to do when they need to do it.”

For Lizz, the new MFA assistant coming out in Spring ‘21 is especially exciting because it helps you focus by giving you a ready-to-go adoption checklist. The bottom line is that you can add the guidance and extra help you need right where your users need it the most. “I remember when I had to do my first implementation, and I created all of these little working guides to help people when we launched,” she says, “and then I realized they would be stale after just a few weeks or months, depending on how much change we added to the platform.” Now you can add a single prompt to keep people up to date, helping your users actually focus on how to use the platform rather than worrying about how to work it.

Why you should get started with Tableau

Lizz worked with pod regular John Demby and his team on Tableau video content, and she got an insider’s perspective on just how easy it is to incorporate into your org. The biggest thing she learned is that you should just get started trying it out—there are data sets already there to play around with, and sample dashboards so you can see how everything works. “Don’t be afraid, just hop right in,” Lizz says, “Tableau can combine data streams for your organization to give better insights but you just have to start doing it.”

For next year, Lizz wants to learn a lot more about MuleSoft Connector. “Admins work on multiple features at one time, we toggle between different features, and we’re constantly using them to enable our end users and enable successful processes,” she says. She’s also psyched about Service Setup, which makes it so much easier to get acquainted with Service Cloud.

Links:

Admin Preview Live - Release Readiness Live, Spring '21

Spring 21 Release Highlights 

Social:

Lizz: @LizzHellinga

Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns 

Gillian: @GillianKBruce

Mike: @MikeGerholdt

Full Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week we're talking with Lizz Hellinga, Salesforce MVP and change enabler. In this episode, you'll hear from Lizz about the fun stuff that she worked on. The exciting new opportunities for admins. And the features she is most excited to learn more about this year. So with that, let's get Lizz on the pod.
So Lizz, welcome to the podcast.

Lizz Hellinga: Thank you so much for inviting me. I'm thrilled to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: Lizz, you did a ton with our admin team over the last, I will say, it's specifically 249 days, coming on to help us out while LeeAnne was on parental leave. And we wanted to have you on the pod to help send forth admins and give them some wisdom that you gained and insights that you have on where they're going and things they should pay attention to. That's kind of how I'm kicking off our discussion.

Lizz Hellinga: Great. It's been such an adventure to support all of you over the last... How many days was it? 259.

Mike Gerholdt: 49, but-

Lizz Hellinga: 49 days.

Mike Gerholdt: ... maybe feels longer. We have a pandemic going on.

Gillian Bruce: And Salesforce years, it's like dog years, right.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Lizz Hellinga: Right. It was truly an incredible opportunity. And I think before we really get started into what I've learned, I just would love to give a shout out to all of you on the admin team, what you do every day to support and promote admins. To be on the inside and see how you always have admins at the forefront is incredible to know. And I just want others to know that as well, how thoughtful you all are and how they're always top of mind.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, thank you very much.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Thank you. I mean, Lizz, thank you for all the work that you've done for us because I don't know how we would have gotten by without that. So kind of back at you. I would love to know Lizz, Hey you got to work on a lot of things this year. You probably learned a lot that you didn't expect to learn. What are some of your kind of top insights for admins based on kind of where you've seen the platform evolve over the last year and kind of things that admin should be looking at and paying attention to these days?

Lizz Hellinga: What I'm thrilled to see is how the platform is evolving to help admins manage and support adoption within their orgs. When you think about some of the new things with In-App Guidance, In-App Learning, Notification Builder, Dynamic Forms, all that is to help admins increase adoption and help their end-users do what they need to do when they need to do it. And when I think about, for me, my personal perspective, I love change management. It's one of the things I love to talk about with others, looking at the new MFA Assistant that's coming out in spring '21 and how it even has change management components built into it. So that admins have this great, ready to go checklist to help them help their end-users adopt change.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I would say I love how getting started everything feels now. Before, a lot of the tools came out, and it was, "We'll figure out how to make it go." And now, with MFA and we saw in spring '21 was Service Cloud Setup and Macros Builder, everything has that kind of coaching component to it. I think of it akin to all of the apps that we have on our phones now that let us stream information. There's almost like a walkthrough of everything.

Lizz Hellinga: Exactly. And the thing too is that it saves admin's time so they can focus on enabling business processes and efficiencies because they can start to add that adoption right inside the app and support their end-users. When you think about In-App Learning and In-App Guidance walking their end-users through processes. But then also with dynamic forums. Having them just fill out what they need to fill out correctly at the right moment. It's just incredible how it can support the end-users.

Gillian Bruce: Well, and Lizz, I'd like to maybe... you've been working in the Salesforce ecosystem for a while. You've been an MVP for a while. I mean, I'd love to, maybe, hear a little bit of your perspective of the evolution, right, because a lot of the things you described are kind of new within the last year. Do you see kind of the admins' day-to-day functions shifting a little bit as the platform has evolved?

Lizz Hellinga: A hundred percent. I remember when I had to do my first implementation and I created all of these little [inaudible] guides to help people when we launched. And I did all these end-user trainings to just help them be able to use the platform correctly. And then I realized quickly, "Oh, these are a little bit stale after just a few weeks sometimes or months," depending on how much change we add in to the platform. But now, I mean, you can deliver information with just a single prompt to let people know, "Oh, Hey, we added this picklist value, or now you can do this," all within the app. Saving the admins time. Saving them phone time, response time. It's incredible.
And ultimately what that means is that they can really focus on creating real change with the platform, deeply analyzing some of the processes that need improvement, collaborating with their stakeholders to understand how they can improve it and what needs to be done. Yes. I mean, I can't wait to launch a new org with the new... Oh my gosh, what is the name of it? Admin guide, guidance center for admins. That's incredible. And based on your skill set, it will evolve the information to what your experience is. So even tenured admins can learn something from it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And speaking of launching new and kind of reaching out to stakeholders. One of the projects that you worked on a lot was working with the Tableau team and specifically John Denby, who if you didn't watch any of the Trailblazers Innovate or DreamTX or TrailheadTX stuff that we put out. He put out some amazing video content that you helped him with on Tableau. I'd love to get kind of your perspective on what admins can do this year with Tableau.

Lizz Hellinga: Oh, Tableau, that was just such a fun opportunity to work with John and to collaborate with him and how admins can use Tableau. I think the biggest thing that admins can do is just try it out. You have data that you can work with on it. Don't be afraid, just hop right in. There's datasets that you can download to play around with it that you can do a trial org. All of that can help you start to see how Tableau can combine data streams for your organization to get better insights, but we just have to start doing it. I think that's my biggest piece of advice. Don't wait. Just start trying it out.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, we've got so much coming all the time that if you wait, you'll kind of be behind the curve a little bit, right.

Lizz Hellinga: And then there's also some sample dashboards too that are available so that you can easily use those and play around with them and tweak them for your needs. So similar to how you would download dashboards from the app exchange for reports and dashboards within the app.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, that's a great resource. And there's so many. I mean, I just remember when we had John on the podcast to talk about Tableau, and literally while we were talking to him, he was talking to us about all of the publicly available Tableau dashboards that people have built. And I went down so many rabbit holes. I was just floored. So yeah, there's a ton of great resources that are out there for anyone, even if you're not a Salesforce Admin, but you wanted to play with Tableau. There are ways that you can kind of start getting involved. But great perspective there, Lizz.

Mike Gerholdt: For DreamTX, we kind of threw something fun out there of how do we stitch together a whole bunch of features that we normally show, I'll say, a la carte, and put them in one episode. And that was a fun episode. You got to work with SE Platform Judy Fang, who's also based in Australia. I say, also, because we had a lot of guests from Australia on the pod recently. But I'd love to know your perspective on that. And some of those features that for sure you want to invest further in in this year.

Lizz Hellinga: Wow. I want to learn a lot more about MuleSoft Connector. I think that will be a powerful tool in the Admins Toolkit. You know what was so interesting to me about working on that presentation with Judy was admins do that. We do work on multiple features at one time in the short amount of span in that 20 minutes. We're toggling between different features, and we're constantly using them to enable our end users and enable successful processes. But Service Setup is a new thing that I think, especially for me I haven't had a ton of exposure to Service Cloud and then having something like Service Setup where I get it off the ground and running quickly using industry best practices. It was probably the highlight of that session for me.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, Service Cloud has given us so many great things like I mean the Console View, Macros. There's so many great things that originated in Service Cloud that now bleed over into all of the platform that are just so incredible. I mean, I remember the first time I built a Console app, and I was like, "Oh, this is amazing." And so I think it's really great to kind of get that exposure from different parts of the platform, because then you realize, "Oh, I could use this in this way. I can use that in this way." Lizz, one of the things I would really, really love to know, especially since you have... you've got the perspective on being on the inside, so to speak, and being on the outside. I would really like to know what are the things that you see are most valuable for admins in terms of types of messaging or content. Knowing kind of how we come up with stuff and knowing how the community responds. What are some things that you think are maybe the most impactful and most powerful?

Lizz Hellinga: In terms of the admins? What content is out there and available for them?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Lizz Hellinga: I guess, for me. I had always been impressed with Release Readiness and pulling them all together. For the admins I think it's just such a great way for them to attend some of the... watch some of those videos, read some of the blogs and then go back to their orgs and their teams and their leaders talk about how these changes could benefit and impact their team in their instance. And how they can best use it to meet their business objectives. It's a way for them to be proactive. I think about even just In-App Learning that's coming out in spring '21, being able to say, "Hey, we can now easily assign Trailhead modules through In-App Learning right in the panel so that they can take it right from there."
And they get to be proactive and sharing that information with their company and seeing change happen as a result of it. So to me, the Release Readiness is some of the best content out there. But also just the quick, and I'm a little biased because I did some of the Did You Know videos. The short ways to see how to do something, how to accomplish something that may be new to you or that you hadn't tried. I don't know. I love all the content. The podcasts are great. I love hearing from other individuals in the industry and what they're doing, and how they're solving problems. Oh, the Essential Habits. I don't know. It's like asking me to pick a favorite child. Sorry. There's just too much. But if I had one thing to focus on as a new admin, it would be the Essential Habits and Release Readiness Live and all that goes with it.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Well, that was literally where I was trying to think of what I would ask you is, you've got so much experience in the ecosystem that where would you spend your time? I would also expand on your answer and love to know from you because there's a lot of ways and information to learn. Where do you spend your time in terms of community engagement?

Lizz Hellinga: Oh, the one thing that has been we're all missing, right, all of the in-person events. But one of the neatest things is to be able to attend community events virtually. I've attended some in Boston, in St. Louis, in Texas. I've attended Salesforce Saturdays virtually. It's been a wonderful way to connect with people. And I've made friendships this year that I would never have made because I attended things virtually. So that's where I try to spend some time because I always have questions. What admin doesn't have questions. And when they're working on their org or working in another org. The peer group out there has so much support. You put it on Twitter. There's even a informal OhanaSlack put in the Trailblazer community. Someone will answer your question.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think that's really a good plan Lizz because I think one of the challenges... I mean, gosh, we all miss going to events, right. We all miss meeting new people. And shout out to you because you've been a great advocate of this. For me especially is, taking the time to reach out to new folks and make new connections. Hey, a video call is still a connection. Getting to know a new person. And I think you exemplify kind of what that is. Is to continue to reach out and connect with folks. And it's something this year that I have placed new value on is asking people, "Hey, do you have someone I should talk to because I will reach out to them, and I will make new friends on a video call." So I think that's really important, especially given the way that we're all working these days.

Lizz Hellinga: Well, and just you miss out on things when you're not in person. So I think everybody now is being more thoughtful about how we do connect with other people and how we can connect to others together. Like, "Oh, you should know, this person, right. Have you met with them?" I see that happening more and more, especially over the last four to five months.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. Well, Lizz, I want to thank you for taking time out to be on the pod and for producing some amazing video content for admins on the YouTube channel and really helping the team out this last year.

Lizz Hellinga: It's been incredible. You all are wonderful. I love how you keep the awesome admin at the forefront of everything that you do. And I know with the content that you deliver, it's such high quality, [inaudible] it's geared to help people be successful. And I think that's what really matters to individuals that come to the blog or they listen to the podcast. It's really helping people find their path to success.

Gillian Bruce: Well, Lizz, thank you for helping us help other people find their paths to success. The content that you delivered is definitely going to resonate for a lot of people for a while, and thanks for your contributions. And also, thank you for being such a great representative of the awesome admin community.

Lizz Hellinga: Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: Well, a huge thanks to Lizz for taking the time to chat with us on the podcast. So great to be able to recap some of the amazing things she did this year and some things she's excited about coming up for all of us admins. So first, my top three takeaways for our conversation with Lizz is number one, Hey, the platform has evolved quite a bit. And in fact, it's kind of changing the role of the Salesforce admin. Enabling us to do some more strategic, some more complex things because there is so much automation and assistance built into these features now on the platform. Stuff that you would normally spend hours, maybe even days doing couple of years ago, you don't have to do that anymore. So it was pretty exciting to get that perspective. Also, pay attention to all of the new setup guides and assistance that are available for admins. There are so many admin tools.
And Lizz talked about a few of them here in the podcast, but I mean, it's a continuation of that first point, right. It's how much the platform has evolved to make our jobs easier because our job is to make users happy. And so all of these features are making it a lot easier for us to achieve that goal. And then, finally, step in and start playing with Tableau. I mean, Lizz had a really great opportunity to work closely with the Tableau team this year. And we learned a ton, and the Tableau team is very passionate about enabling admins to use the super-powerful Tableau tools. So, listen to Lizz. Go play with Tableau, get started, lots of resources there.
If you want to learn a little bit more about any of the stuff from this podcast or about anything Salesforce Admin related, go to admin.salesforce.com, my favorite website, to find more resources. You can also stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no i, on Twitter. You can follow our guest Lizz Hellinga on Twitter @Lizz L-I-Z-Z Hellinga. I'm on Twitter @GillianKBruce. And Mike my amazing cohost is on Twitter @MikeGerholdt. So with that, I hope you enjoyed this episode and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.


This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the first monthly retro of 2021. We’ll cover standout blog posts, videos, and all the other great Salesforce content from January.

Join us as we talk about the must-see content from January and listen to Mike and Gillian quiz each other on our new quiz show: Which Happened First?.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Blog Highlights from January

Gillian is hooked on Marc Baizman’s “How I Solved This” series, and this month’s article is a fun story about how to use emojis to highlight key pieces of data in your org. Mike’s must-read blog post from January covers some exciting new things on the product roadmap that bring us some much-asked-for features.

Podcast Highlights from January

We had a lot going on with the pod this month. Gillian traveled across the globe—virtually—to speak to Preena Johansen. She’s an Einstein Analytics Consultant at Telstra, the biggest telecommunications company in Australia, and she had a lot to share about using Einstein Analytics and Tableau at such a large organization. Mike and Gillian also talked to Woodson Martin, the EVP and GM for Salesforce AppExchange, who started out as a Salesforce admin himself.

Video Highlights from January

Gillian has been hooked on the “Essential Habits for Salesforce Admins Marathon,” which helps you build a solid foundation for all of the things you need to know to be an awesome admin. “It’s a great way to kick off the year if you’re wanting to set some goals and priorities to improve some things for your organization or how you administer Salesforce,” Gillian says.

Listen to the full episode to hear the first edition of the exciting new game show, Which Happened First?.

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, the first monthly retro for 2021. Oh, we're finally out of 2020. Hurray. I'm your host, Gillian Bruce, and in this episode we will review the top product, community, and careers content from the entire month of January. And to help me out, I am joined by the one and only Mike Gerholdt.

Mike Gerholdt: Hello. I made it to 2021 too. The first version of 2020, for a second.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, sure. The 21st year of the 2000s? I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: There's no 2020 loser. There's only winning 2021.

Gillian Bruce: Can only get better. Can only get better. So, Mike, we had a lot going on this month, kicked it off with a bang, the new year. We had some blogs happening.

Mike Gerholdt: We did, and we did Essential Habits marathon on January 20th. So shout out to Mark Baizman for hanging around ye olde chat and chatting with all of our Salesforce admins on that marathon. You can binge watch Essential Habits.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, I think I binge watch everything I can on every other platform. Now I'm going to binge watch all of Trailhead live content. It'll be great. But the Essential Habits series...

Mike Gerholdt: Cheaper than anything else, right?

Gillian Bruce: It's true. Yeah, you don't need a special app for that. But the Essential Habits series is pretty awesome. It's also a great way to kick off the year if you're wanting to set some goals and priorities to improve some stuff for your organization or just how you administer Salesforce. It's some really great resources there.

Mike Gerholdt: Love it.

Gillian Bruce: Love it.

Mike Gerholdt: So must read blog for January. Gillian, what was your must read blog for January?

Gillian Bruce: Well, I'm a big fan of the How I Solved This series that Mark Baizman has been putting together on the blog. And I love it because it's always featuring what a customer has done to solve a specific problem. So this one's pretty cool, because guess what, it has emoji in it, and I love emoji. So this is How I Solve This: Easy Image Flags With Emoji by Michael Kolodner. It's pretty dang cool. If you are looking for a really interesting way to make your data pop on the screen, you can use emoji for that and he shows you how he did it step-by-step. Just imagine, you're in this list view and you would love to see very quickly which things are green or yellow or happy or sad. You can plug in some emojis there. It's pretty awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: We use emojis in the org that we make the podcast with. Makes it easy to find the episode.

Gillian Bruce: Sure do I. Hey, if I had it my way, there would only be emojis. Screw those letters. I communicate solely in emojis.

Mike Gerholdt: Which episode are you at? I'm at the dog cat left foot shoe up arrow episode. Awesome. Okay.

Gillian Bruce: Mike, what was your most read blog from January?

Mike Gerholdt: So this one came out in January 18. It's the Three New Ideas on the Product Roadmap post. And I picked it mostly because it's three, not new ideas, but three ideas that just make me feel warm and cozy inside. The first one is field history tracking for tasks and events. I won't say how old it is, but oh my goodness am I glad that this is out because I have been asked for this since I was an admin back in my wee early days, and I know that admins all over have wanted field history tracking for tasks. So that made me happy. And then just the old man in me loved the analytics winner, which is the ability to print dashboards, because we all got executives, stakeholders that don't log in Salesforce. I mean, they log in all the time and they totally never ask you to print a dashboard. Never-

Gillian Bruce: Never. Never.

Mike Gerholdt: Have I tried to print a dashboard in my life. And we can do that now. So what's old is new again. And then the third one, custom fields for dashboard gauge values, just like, yes, thank you. Amazing that we can put in exactly what the field is for the value, as opposed to what my Thursday used to be, which was readjusting gauge values.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, those are just... These are the things that make admins happy. Just to save us some time, make our lives easier. It's really exciting to see that these are going to happen. So huge shout out to everybody who voted on them because that's how they happen.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. Yeah. So go back and read that post, check it out. You can see there's some really great screenshots in it. It made me happy.

Gillian Bruce: We like happiness. I mean, we're talking about emojis and all kinds of good product roadmappy things. Happy start to 2021. We also had some happiness for your ears in 2021 this year.

Mike Gerholdt: We did a podcast.

Gillian Bruce: We did quite a few. Quite a few.

Mike Gerholdt: What was your must listen?

Gillian Bruce: Well, I had the opportunity to transport as much as you can these days to the other side of the world, and I had a really wonderful chat with Preena Johansen, who is an Einstein Analytics specialist at Telstra, which is a huge, probably the biggest communications company in Australia. And she's talking to me from Brisbane where it's nice and hot, and she's going to go hang out by her pool and have a nice cocktail. And I am sitting in my basement with the heater on full blast because it's cold here in San Francisco. So it was great chatting with her. She had some really, really great insights about how she works at such a huge organization using Einstein Analytics and Tableau, and really what that specialization looks and how admins can really benefit from thinking about using some of those same approaches and strategies. So that was really fun. But Mike, I think we had another podcast that both you and I were pretty excited too.

Mike Gerholdt: I did, and I also offered up, it could be your favorite podcast too. So we talked with the very important Woodson martin, who is the EVP and GM for Salesforce AppExchange. What a fun pod, if you haven't picked this up. I won't spoil it for you, but Gillian, just to highlight one part of the podcast where Woodson said, "Behind every successful Salesforce project, there's an admin who's sweated the details, really invested to understand their users, what people are trying to accomplish, see beyond what may be executive objections, and tune into the users and the jobs they need to get done every day and the circumstances in which they need to get those jobs done." And I just was so... I need a moment of silence after that.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, what a way to fire up the awesome admin community in the new year, because Woodson dropped not only that, but he also dropped that he is a former admin. That's how he started with Salesforce, which is pretty awesome. I always love learning about super senior exacts who started as Salesforce admin. So he's got admin in his heart and fantastic podcast, really fun interview. I highly encourage everyone to listen to it if you have not already.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. I mean, at some point, it being January and all, at some point we will have interviewed someone who will be president of the United States that was a Salesforce admin. I have to believe that, right?

Gillian Bruce: I love that. All right. Let's put that out there. Just put that out there.

Mike Gerholdt: It was great that Woodson... What he does, and literally I was just in AppExchange tweaking something for an app for a video I'm going to shoot for you, Gillian, so the admin AppExchange, it's Batman and Robin. Peanut butter and jelly.

Gillian Bruce: Totally. Peas and carrots. I love it.

Mike Gerholdt: Peas and carrots. Right.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that was a lot of great content that we had, Mike. I still want to keep this fun vibe going for the beginning of 2021. What else you got?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I think we kicked off talking about video so we can end this portion talking about video. I don't know if you had a must-watch video for January that you enjoyed?

Gillian Bruce: I mean, I was enjoying the Essential Habits marathon, so those deep dives that Mark put together are pretty amazing and help with all of the things you need to know to be an awesome admin. So it's a good go-to, it's a solid foundation and a great... Like I said, great way to kick off the year.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. I concur. I thought that was the must watch videos for us in January. So then the fun thing, if you listen to the December pod, we wrapped up December and all the topics of what we enjoyed or binge watched. I thought it'd be fun to start January off with, "Hey, which happened first?"
So, because January being the first month of the year, so Gillian, I put some questions together for you and it looks you put some questions together for me and-

Gillian Bruce: Yes I did.

Mike Gerholdt: And at home participation is encouraged, so we will give you a few seconds to think about it and just randomly shout out your answer.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, make sure you shout it really loud so people around you get really confused.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely, yes, because it it'll be fantastic. Or you could put a little Twitter video together of us answering. I would enjoy that. That would make me happy. Okay, so Gillian, I have three questions for you, all of which are, I want to know what you think which happened first, and of course I got to queue up the answers here. Okay. So Gillian, which happened first, the AppExchange or Visualforce.

Gillian Bruce: I think I'm going to say Visualforce.

Mike Gerholdt: That's what I thought.

Gillian Bruce: But it's not right?

Mike Gerholdt: However, bonk, you're incorrect. AppExchange launched in 2005, and the development of Apex Visualforce and more happened in 2006.

Gillian Bruce: Wow, okay.

Mike Gerholdt: It's close, but AppExchange came first. What a great segue from the Woodson Martin podcast, by the way. It's a great podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Seriously, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay, Gillian, second question. Chance to redeem yourself, which happened first, Dreamforce or the Salesforce IPO?

Gillian Bruce: Well I just missed one of these as an employee by about a year or two, so I know for sure Dreamforce happened first.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I was... Let's see, I'm scrolling through just to double check your answer, because you'd think I put the answer inside of the doc, but I didn't. But I was shocked to find that Dreamforce happened in 2003, and that was actually what helped launch the IPO.

Gillian Bruce: Yep. And I remember the IPO, I think, was 2008, I believe, which was-

Mike Gerholdt: [inaudible] after.

Gillian Bruce: Two years after I started at Salesforce, so I just missed that two years before I started.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, 2004.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, it's 2004, then nevermind. I missed it by way more than what I thought. So nevermind. I still got the answer right.

Mike Gerholdt: Dreamforce annual convention was held at the Westin Hotel in San Francisco in 2003, and then coming off that had 8,700 customers and numerous potential investors. Salesforce held an initial public offering in 2004.

Gillian Bruce: There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: The company's day one stock price stood at 17.25. I'm getting that from thestreet.com, so public information. $17. Oof. Here we go. All right, so then ending on a fun note, because we love musicians and I think one of these is your favorite band, which happened first, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Metallica playing at Dreamforce?

Gillian Bruce: Such great memories. Such great memories. Again-

Mike Gerholdt: I will say the first time Metallica played at Dreamforce.

Gillian Bruce: Right, before they became the house band. I very vividly remember this moment in the basement at... Well, the basement. In the big hall at Moscone, And it was for sure, my man James and Metallica rocking the house with the worst acoustics possible. But I didn't care, because I was in the front row and I was making eye contact with James Hetfield and I was in heaven. It was one of my best experiences ever.

Mike Gerholdt: Ding, ding, ding, ding. So you went two out of three. Metallica played Dreamforce 9 in 2011, and Red Hot Chili Peppers played Dreamforce 10 in 2012. That was in front of-

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, the Chili Peppers, they were in the front of city hall with the cool light show on the facade of city hall. It was pretty awesome. I miss concerts.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, it was fun going through looking at the concerts, but I was like, "Oh, some of these are too obvious." Except for Foo Fighters. I had no idea that Foo Fighters played in '08 and in 2015. They were the first returning band. So for those of you quiz [crosstalk 00:15:40]-

Gillian Bruce: Salesforce trivia. This is a bevy Salesforce trivia. Okay, Mike, I-

Mike Gerholdt: Here we go.

Gillian Bruce: I've got some for you. You ready?

Mike Gerholdt: Boy, I got to run the board.

Gillian Bruce: You sure do. You sure do. Which happened first, Astro or Cody used as a release logo?

Mike Gerholdt: This is hard. I feel like... I feel like I want to say Astro, but no. Okay, I'm going to go Astro because I think we didn't have a cartoon release version of Cody soon enough.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you are correct, sir. But so close between the two of them because Yeti Astro first appeared for the winter 18 release, followed by a Cody watering his bonsai plant for spring 18. And then a Cody was the release logo again for summer 18. So we have quite a Cody celebration there for two releases in a row.

Mike Gerholdt: A Cody parade. I was only going off the fact that we had that one scary bear costume Cody for a while.

Gillian Bruce: That's right. Just a random person walking around in a very realistic bear costume. That was Cody,

Mike Gerholdt: Just bear hugging executives in keynotes. It was wonderful.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you get in the elevator and you're like, "Oh, okay, hi."

Mike Gerholdt: "Oh hey, this is happening."

Gillian Bruce: Oh man. There were so many fun release logo questions I could have asked, but I thought that was the least challenging of them all.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, we could do a whole show on release logos.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I got a lot of release logo trivia. Anyway, that's another show. Next question. Which happened first, the headquarters of Salesforce at Rincon Center or at One Landmark in San Francisco?

Mike Gerholdt: Man, this one's even harder. One Landmark is what I know, but I feel like, from that video, was it Dreamforce 2019 that they put together the history of Salesforce? I feel like there was a picture of maybe Parker in Rincon before One Landmark. So I'm going to go Rincon Center.

Gillian Bruce: Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. You are correct. That is a fun... It's a really tricky trivia question because the first headquarters that was not in the Telegraph Hill apartment where Benioff and Parker were hanging out was in Rincon Center, but they quickly then vacated for a larger space at One Landmark. And then we were at One Landmark for many years before coming back and expanding back into Rincon Center. So we did a little hopscotch there.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure. One Landmark was the first time I'd been to Salesforce headquarters.

Gillian Bruce: Now we have a tower. a couple of them. Okay, my last what happened first question, Mike, is also an office related question. What happened first? Which location was the first non-US Salesforce office? Was it Tokyo or London?

Mike Gerholdt: This one I have a little experience with, in that I know we opened the London office after I joined Salesforce. So I have to believe that the Tokyo office happened before that. So I'll go Tokyo office.

Gillian Bruce: Congratulations, you are correct, sir. But I thought I was going to trip you up because in fact it was 2001 where we opened the first offices outside of San Francisco, and that was Dublin and Tokyo.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I had no idea. I knew it would be early, because I remember as a customer seeing the Chatter use case with Toyota. I had to have believed that we would have had a Tokyo office or something. That was what I was going with.

Gillian Bruce: So there you go. So you got all of them right.

Mike Gerholdt: Ding ding, I ran the board.

Gillian Bruce: Three out of three. Mike Gerholdt, you are the winner of What Happened First?

Mike Gerholdt: And by winning, I don't know, you don't get anything, there's no prizes. It's all [inaudible 00:20:37].

Gillian Bruce: It's pride. You get pride as your price.

Mike Gerholdt: One million Schrute bucks for you.

Gillian Bruce: I'll send those in the mail right now.

Mike Gerholdt: Redeemable nowhere. Awesome. Well, this is fun. I think we had a really great kickoff to 2021, Gillian. If you're listening to this podcast, I would love to hear what your answers you thought would be right. So tweet them, send us a video. That would make my Twitter timeline super fun and enjoyable.

Gillian Bruce: Or submit some more Salesforce trivia questions. Those are always good.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah, that would be super fun. Taking questions from the listeners to answer. Yes. I'm also really afraid what they're going to ask, but that's okay. What happened first? I don't know. We'll find out. If you want to learn more about all things that we just talked about in today's episode, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find the links and many, many, many more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no i, on Twitter. I'm on Twitter @MikeGerholdt, and Gillian is @GillianKBruce. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We will see you in the cloud. This is all I could find. Kind of fun, huh, that one?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, I feel I'm getting ready to start a Jazzercise class or something.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay everybody, it's Peleton riding time. Okay, we'll get rid of that. I have no idea. Some of these buttons... Oh, there we go.

Gillian Bruce: That's a good one.

Mike Gerholdt: Awesome.

Gillian Bruce: Score.



Direct download: January_Monthly_Retro_with_Gillian_and_Mike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re sitting down with Ruchi Kumar, Product Management Senior Manager on the Core Service Team of Service Cloud at Salesforce. We’ll cover what’s new in Spring 21 for Admins with Service Setup Assistant and Macros Builder.

 

Join us as we talk about everything she’s working on for Spring ‘21 and how you can get involved.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Ruchi Kumar.

 

New features for Setup Assistant.

 

The Core Service Team that Ruchi is in charge of the “bread and butter” of Service Cloud: Service Consoles, Quick Text, Macros, Knowledge, and more. Ruchi’s team, in particular, is in charge of improving the setup experience and making the admin experience better so they can discover and adopt new features.

 

In Spring ‘21, there are a ton of improvements coming to Setup Assistant. “If you think of your journey as an admin, the power of the platform of Service Cloud and Salesforce is supermassive, but sometimes you just want to have a prescriptive out-of-the-box experience so that you can get ready right away with your new app and let your team focus on what they do best,” Ruchi says. It sets up a new Service App for you preconfigured with the best productivity tools so you can get going as soon as possible, drawing on all the knowledge of best practices Salesforce has.

 

The power of Macro Builder.

 

Ruchi’s other team works on productivity tools, especially macros. “It really cuts down time and creates instructions so agents can automatically perform routine tasks such as closing a case or sending an email,” she says, “you just need to write the instructions for the macro and they just hit a button.” Macro Builder is a Lightning tool that makes creating macros a point-and-click affair. Just highlight the component and choose the actions you need to happen.

 

In Spring ‘21, you can switch between tabs to create a more complex macro for your complex page layout where you can run more multi-steps and navigate easily between pages. “Any way we can make macros easier to build makes them easier to implement, and helps you deliver faster resolution times to make your agents and customers happier,” Ruchi says.

 

Most importantly, Ruchi and her team want to hear your feedback about how they can improve on the admin experience. Consider this your invitation to the Service Admin Advisory board to be a part of creating and coming up with the next set of admin features.

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Direct download: New_Spring_21_Feature__Service_Cloud_Macros_with_Ruchi_Kumar.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05am PST

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Grace Li, Product Manager for Admin Home, In-App Learning, and Guidance Center at Salesforce. She’ll fill us in on everything new in Spring 21 or Guidance Center and In-App Learning, and be sure to check out January’s Release Readiness broadcast for even more info.

Join us as we talk about the powerful new features you can use in Spring ‘21, and what’s in store for the future.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Grace Li.

The keys to a successful project.

“We’ve been hearing from admins that they really want to know more from Salesforce, they want guidance, they want to know best practices and they just really want to know how to set their org up for success,” Grace says. In-App Guidance takes all of the knowledge we’ve gathered talking to customers all over the world and puts it right in front of you.

If you’re spinning up a new org and you want to follow best practices, you’re going to see a new thing called Guidance Center. It’ll give you a checklist of all the things Salesforce thinks will be helpful for you as you’re setting up your new org. It’ll tailor itself according to your level of experience, so whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran, you’ll get some timely advice and a spotlight on features you’ll want to play around with as you get everything configured.

Coming up in the future, Grace and her team are looking to broaden the scenarios where In-App Guidance can play a role. For example, to help you prepare for an upcoming release and get a handle on new features.

Learning has always been an important part of being a Salesforce admin, and In-App Learning kicks it up a notch. “We’re bringing that fun Trailhead experience right inside the application where you’re doing your work,” Grace says, and this can also help you train your users by putting the right training in the right place.

You can also assign Trailhead modules to specific users in your org, so if you have someone who needs to review something they can simply open their panel to see what you’ve put in there for them. You can also give business leaders the opportunity to customize what shows up for their team without needing admin privileges, so they can take the lead on training and coordinating their team.

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Direct download: New_Spring_21_Feature__In-App_Learning_with_Grace_Li.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

In this week's special bonus episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Woodson Martin, EVP and GM, Salesforce AppExchange. He shares some amazing success stories of Salesforce customers that have made transformative adaptations over the past year.

Join us as we talk about why a balance of speed and preparation is the key to any successful project, how to practice presenting to stakeholders, and why it’s important to make the case for why what you want to do is better than the alternatives.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Woodson Martin.

The keys to a successful project

Woodson runs the AppExchange on Salesforce, delivering over 5,000 applications that help you get a head start on your projects or deliver new functionality for your users tightly integrated into Salesforce and ready to go. “If I look at the history over the last 20 years of all the Salesforce projects that I’ve been part of, really successful ones share this careful blend of speed and preparation,” he says.

For speed, if you’re leading a new project or upgrade or anything else, really focus on that question of what is your Minimum Viable Product? What is the simplest set of functionality you need to deliver in order to learn what your users really need, and how do you set yourself up to iterate on that? We use the Agile methodology at Salesforce and it’s really based on this core principle of deliver early and deliver often, and the AppExchange can help you do that by speeding up your ability to deliver.

If you’re looking to implement something new from the AppExchange, you’ll need to get leadership to buy in. And as an executive, we wanted to know if Woodson had any advice for how to convince stakeholders to go with your plan: “I want confidence that a presenter knows the subject matter, has done the homework, really understands the problem, and is bring well-defined alternatives forward,” he says. In other words, it’s not just about what you want to do but why it’s better than the other options on the table; including doing nothing.

An admin at heart

“One of the incredible things about the Admin community at Salesforce and with our customers is just how amazing that group of experts has been this year at adapting to such incredible, disruptive change,” Woodson says, “we have seen so many of our customers take giant leaps forward in digital transformation, digitizing their business, automating process, and going virtual.” There are so many great stories from the past year that team created a dedicated page on the AppExchange website just to put them all in one place.

Woodson actually started his Salesforce career as an admin, and he sees them as a crucial component in customer success. “Behind every successful Salesforce project there is an admin who has sweated the details, really invested to understand their users, what people are trying to accomplish, looked beyond executive objectives, and tuned into the users and the jobs they need to get done every day, and then customized or built what users need to make their businesses successful,” he says. “Salesforce doesn’t magically happen in companies—all of our success is tied to the work of the admin community.”

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce:
Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt:
And I'm Mike Gerholdt.

Gillian Bruce:
And today we have a very special guest joining us. We have EVP and GM of AppExchange here at Salesforce, Woodson Martin, joining us to talk about presenting to executives, awesome admin AppExchange magic, all kinds of good stuff. So without further ado, let's get Woodson on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt:
Woodson, welcome to the podcast.

Woodson Martin:
Thank you. It's great to be here.

Mike Gerholdt:
For those that haven't met you or seen you on any of our stages, can you tell us what you do at Salesforce?

Woodson Martin:
Sure. I run the AppExchange at Salesforce, which if you don't know about it is the world's leading marketplace for enterprise cloud apps. And we have more than 5,000 applications there that our customers use to get a headstart on their projects or deliver functionality for their users, all tightly integrated into Salesforce and ready to roll.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah, absolutely. I love the AppExchange. Helped me in my many years of being a Salesforce admin.

Woodson Martin:
Yeah. Great. Me too.

Mike Gerholdt:
For admins that are looking to get started, it's New Year. Let's ramp our org quickly or maybe a migration or a new project, what would you suggest?

Woodson Martin:
Yeah, well, I would say that if I look at the history over the last 20 years of all the Salesforce projects that I've been part of, or watched closely, they all share ... The most successful ones share this careful blend of speed and preparation. And so I think of those two words a lot.

Woodson Martin:
And for speed, I think it's all about taking a flexible, agile approach. And I think it's just really important if you're leading one of these projects or you're diving into a new project or an upgrade or anything else, to really focus on this question of what's my minimum viable product, what's the simplest set of functionality that I need to deliver so that I can learn what my users really need so that they can embrace my app and make the whole project a success and then quickly iterate on that.

Woodson Martin:
So to me, that's just one of the most important things is focusing on speed. And I'd say, if anybody listening hasn't studied up on Agile or Lean methodology, it's a really good place to start and inspire you for how to tackle new projects in the new year.

Gillian Bruce:
That's a great recommendation, Woodson. I mean, we use that here at Salesforce. That's how we are able to do what we do and put that out there. I know many, many partners in the AppExchange, if not all, probably use some version of that as well, correct?

Woodson Martin:
I think that's probably true. Certainly the most accomplished do. And I think while it's a great methodology for delivering product, it also works really well for projects. And for our own internal projects, we use Agile methodology. And it's really based on this core principle of deliver early, deliver often.

Woodson Martin:
Don't give yourself such long runways in your laboratory where you're working on getting things ready, but nobody sees them. It's really much more effective if you can deliver early, deliver often and respond to the needs of your user community quickly. And they can feel that there's this pace of innovation happening and that their needs are being met.

Gillian Bruce:
Yeah, I think we can all get caught in our own head of what we think is the right answer. And then, "Oh, we need a little reality check there," right? So this is actually what people want to hear.

Woodson Martin:
Pretty basic idea, but sometimes it's easy to overlook it, especially in companies that are making big plans in the back of projects and are placing big bets. It's tempting sometimes to shift to that, "Well, we have to do it all or we have to get it all right the first time." And there's a lot of power in iteration.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. And I'm just thinking of when you mentioned speed, the ability to use the AppExchange to ... In one of the projects I was at, we didn't know what we needed for a project management app. But to try out different ones, we weren't spending six months building a project management app. We actually tried one out in six weeks and knew what we wanted and what we didn't want.

Woodson Martin:
Yeah, which I think is obviously one of the huge advantages of Salesforce as a platform and of the AppExchange. Because every Salesforce expert really also wants to be an AppExchange expert because one of the best ways to bring speed and preparation to your project is to lean on people who've already tried that same path.

Woodson Martin:
The AppExchange is where you can find thousands of these solutions that have already been built, tested, proven to solve challenges. Look, there's a lot of commonality in what ... Each of us has our own business. They're all different, but there's a lot of commonality in terms of what we need to be successful and deliver for our users.

Woodson Martin:
And so a lot of the problems are already being solved and you can find a lot of those solutions on AppExchange and speed up your ability to deliver pretty quick.

Gillian Bruce:
Okay. So let's say I'm an admin. I found a great app on the AppExchange that I want to implement in my organization, but I need to get some buy-in from leadership. Since you are an executive, I would love to get your perspective on how can an admin best present that idea to leadership, kind of bring that app to the table and get buy-in from the leadership of their org to get that app approved and so they can get work in, and up and going.

Woodson Martin:
Yeah. Great question. I'll just say that communication, presentations like any other skill, you've got to practice and test your skills. But there are, of course, simple rules that apply to all kinds of executive communication and certainly executive pitches. And just as an executive, I want confidence that the presenter knows the subject matter, has done the homework, really understands the problem and is bringing well-defined alternatives forward.

Woodson Martin:
I think it's really important that when you pitch your ideas, you always frame them versus alternatives. And you back up your recommended alternatives with data, with feedback from your users, your customers, any other stakeholders that matter to the executives you're presenting to. And I'll also say that a simple brief presentation is always best. And then you want to have kind of a healthy appendix for all the backup data you might need to support your recommendations or your strategy.

Woodson Martin:
And I would just say, this is a place again where preparation helps a lot.

Mike Gerholdt:
Sometimes saying little take more practice than saying a lot.

Woodson Martin:
Yeah, absolutely. And we can practice our pitches. Whether you can get one or two of your key executive stakeholders to listen to an early version of your pitch, give you feedback and then support you as you pitched to the broader executive audience.

Woodson Martin:
Or if that's not possible in your situation, then what you can do is find some of their lieutenants who you might be able to practice the pitch words and get feedback early. And just use all that to distill this into something crisp that you just really believe in. And you've got backed up with data and then always, show how it stacks up against alternatives. And there's always an alternative, which is do nothing.

Woodson Martin:
But every alternative has consequences. And you'll want to include all that in an executive pitch.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would be curious. I mean, it's crazy because a year ago, I think do nothing was a viable alternative. And now with COVID, there's a barbecue restaurant just down the street from me, do nothing was a choice. They had to move to curbside pickup. They had to move to ... They actually started to do a school lunch delivery program with grilled cheese sandwiches.

Mike Gerholdt:
I would be curious, do you know of a story that's using the AppExchange during COVID to kind of re-imagine their business?

Woodson Martin:
Well, there are so many of those stories and I think one of the incredible things about the admin community at Salesforce in our customers is just how amazing that group of experts has been this year at adapting to such incredible disruptive change. I mean, we have seen so many of our customers take giant leaps forward and digital transformation digitizing their business, automating process, going virtual, not just in the way that they meet but also in the way that they deliver for their customers.

Woodson Martin:
So yes, tons of great stories. We actually got a page on the AppExchange that documents so many of these stories, and you can get there by going to sfdc.co/api-customers. So API without like the character not happy. And there's a ton of stories there, but some that pop out to me like Purell, a brand that has become ... If it wasn't already familiar to you before the pandemic, it is now.

Woodson Martin:
For them, they had such a massive change in demand for their product. Overnight, across all the ways they distribute their product, both in the grocery stores and in hospitals. Any medical wards got Purell stands all over the walls. And they had to go for a super rapid growth in the teams that maintain, keep those things filled, deliver all that stuff, but also install those things because they had to put them in so many new places.

Woodson Martin:
And they actually chose an AppExchange partner called ProntoForms that helped them do this, which is really focusing on simplifying, automating, documenting the process for each of these technicians. And they were hiring thousands of them to go out and service of this equipment or install new equipment to make sure that we could all keep ourselves safe. And I think it was just an example of somebody taking an application off the shelf to be able to implement change rapidly. And that one to me is just a great story. It's documented on that site I mentioned earlier.

Woodson Martin:
And then maybe I'll just also mention Graymont Medical, so medical device company. They make all kinds of machinery that patients use for rehabbing from surgery or for helping with lactation for new mothers or a variety of other uses. All of their medical equipment requires them to train typically hands-on with technicians who come to your house and help you install and learn how to use this stuff. And obviously, that didn't work anymore with COVID. It wasn't safe for their teams to do those kinds of home visits.

Woodson Martin:
So they had to shift entirely virtual with this. And they used a whole host of applications from the AppExchange, from Mogli SMS to Zenkraft, DocuSign, basically take virtual process which had been very in-person for their whole history. And hats off to their admin, Wade Wheatley, who made quick work of all this change and really has helped them to continue to deliver on their service level promise and keep all their employees safe during the pandemic.

Gillian Bruce:
I love a shout-out to the admin who did that. That's awesome, Woodson. Wade, what was his last name?

Woodson Martin:
Wheatley. Like Wheat, L-E-Y.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, Wade, you're awesome. You just got a great shout-out on the podcast. Woodson, actually on that note, we are knee-deep and embedded in the admin community. We love admins. We understand how important they are and the incredible work they do. I know you, especially in your role leading AppExchange, you see the work that admins are doing every day as well. Can you give us a little bit of your perspective on kind of the role of an awesome admin in making a successful Salesforce implementation work in helping businesses really kind of function?

Woodson Martin:
Yeah, I mean, yes. Well, I started my Salesforce life as an admin. Before I worked at Salesforce, I worked for a company that doesn't exist anymore called BusinessObjects. But I brought Salesforce in. I started in this role. I don't know that I was a great admin, but certainly, it inspired me to really invest in my career in Salesforce.

Woodson Martin:
But I am keenly aware of the super important role that our admin community plays in our customer success. Behind every successful Salesforce project, there is an admin who has sweated the details, really invested to understand their users, what people are trying to accomplish, see beyond what may be executive objectives and tune into the users and the jobs they need to get done every day, and the circumstances in which they need to get those jobs done and then tune Salesforce or add to Salesforce through the AppExchange or by customizing or building and delivering what users need to do their jobs, grow their businesses, make their customers successful.

Woodson Martin:
And we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to this community. So thank you. My hands are making the little thank you sign right now to our admin community. It's a critical role and obviously, Salesforce doesn't magically happen in companies. All of our success is tied to the work of our admin community.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, I love that you're also a former admin. That is so cool, Woodson. I did not know that.

Woodson Martin:
Well, long story for another day, but I began my Salesforce experience.

Mike Gerholdt:
But that's the way you tease a segue to a part two of the sequel to this podcast.

Woodson Martin:
Yeah. Right.

Mike Gerholdt:
One of the things, and I'll echo with Gillian, I think it's so cool you started as an admin. One of the things I love as a customer, and I love learning more about the people I work with, is kind of getting to know what they do outside of Salesforce. Because at work, we all really love to geek out at our platform and some of the stuff that we can do on it. I know on a previous podcast, we had Vin Addala on who worked on Dynamic Forms, and unbeknownst to us, is a huge board game fan. So I would love to know, what are some things that you're passionate about or things that you do outside of work?

Woodson Martin:
Well, thanks for asking. My big focus outside of work ... My job is pretty demanding. But outside of work, my big focus is on immigration issues. And I spend a lot of my time volunteering with ... I'm on the board of two non-profits who are focused on immigration issues here in the United States. And part of that is around humanitarian relief for people in the asylum process in the US. And part of that is around people who are ... And a lot of that at the border with Mexico down in Texas. And then a lot of that is about communities that are local here in the San Francisco Bay area, where I live, and helping with everything from legal assistance through the immigration process to humanitarian needs.

Woodson Martin:
And we've just wrapped up a really exciting project this winter we called Project Reindeer to deliver Christmas to a whole host of newly arrived immigrant families who'd been really impacted by the COVID pandemic. And all got a Christmas tree and presents for the kids and stuff that really helped to brighten what was a pretty tough year for most of them.

Woodson Martin:
So that's sort of how I spend my spare time. And I'll just make mention of one project within that domain that I'm really excited about, an organization called Mobile Pathways, which is a nonprofit and which uses Salesforce technology to deliver legal assistance and information to folks who are tied up in the immigration court process. And it's just an awesome story of how the technology that we work with every day can have such a big impact on the lives of individuals.

Woodson Martin:
If you are a recent immigrant to this country, you're attempting to gain legal status through the immigration courts, one challenge many folks have is just basic communication. The courts only communicate through the mail if like most newly arrived immigrants, you are not living in the same place a year after you started the legal process, you may not get notifications of your court dates. If you don't show up for court, you risk being deported. And using Salesforce technology now, we're able to keep all of those folks informed proactively about changes through mobile messaging and using WhatsApp and the technologies that they live with every day.

Woodson Martin:
And it's just super powerful to see the impact of the technology and the spirit of volunteerism that's driving that project. And that's another thing I'm passionate about and spend my time on.

Gillian Bruce:
Wow, Woodson, that's incredible. I mean, what I really love about that is that, I mean there's a clear connection between obviously your Salesforce life and your outside Salesforce life, because you've been at Salesforce forever. You really do embody the whole giving back aspect of what it is to be part of the Salesforce Trailblazer Community. So thank you for that and being an awesome example. And also, thank you for the impact that you are making in this very tough space and using Salesforce to help make a difference.

Gillian Bruce:
And I mean, Project Reindeer, who doesn't want to work on something called Project Reindeer? That sounds amazing.

Mike Gerholdt:
Seriously, absolutely.

Woodson Martin:
Well, thanks. It's all just getting started. Of course, there's still plenty of work left to do in all their domains, but a huge honor for me to be here with you guys today and with our admin community. I hope it's been a useful dialogue and look forward to coming back and doing more.

Gillian Bruce:
Oh, well, careful what you say because we will be back. We will let you get very far. Woodson, thank you so, so much for your time today. Thank you for sharing with us. Thank you for bringing your OG admin spirit to the admin community as well, and doing some amazing things within the AppExchange world.

Gillian Bruce:
And just again, thanks so much. And you've got lots of awesome admin love. So everybody hit up Woodson if you've got some good [inaudible 00:20:35] and share with them. And hey, you never know, he could call you out on the next story about a great AppExchange success story there. So, Wade, we're talking about you.

Mike Gerholdt:
So it was great having Woodson on the podcast. And wow, we learned a lot. I boiled it down to three big things I learned I think admin should take away. First, speed and preparation. If Woodson didn't drill that into our head, what is the MVP? And to focus on speed, we can of course do that with the Salesforce AppExchange. We can try out different apps, and of course, learn Agile or Lean methodology. So if you haven't picked that up, now is a great time 2021 to learn Agile or Lean methodology.

Mike Gerholdt:
The second, when presenting, practice and test your skills. We've seen that. LeeAnne on our team does that a lot with demos and presentations. We practice, practice, practice. You can't practice enough. And of course, we asked, so what should admins do when presenting to leadership? And this is my big third takeaway. Woodson told us, when you present to an executive, have confidence. Do your homework and bring well-defined solutions forward.

Mike Gerholdt:
And of course, always have an alternate. Be ready to back that up with data. And I love that he even secretly worked in SABWA data from your users. So what your users want, this is why we talk to our users every single day. And much like my three things, keep it simple and brief. Executives are super busy, moving on and to the point.

Mike Gerholdt:
So if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And as a reminder, if you love what you hear, pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. It's 2021. I want some fresh reviews. You can stay up to date with us for all things social on admins, @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can find Woodson on Twitter. He is @woodson_martin. I'm @MikeGerholdt on Twitter and Gillian is @GillianKBruce. Yeah, everybody keeps it simple.

Mike Gerholdt:
So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: AppExchange_Success_Stories_with_Woodson_Martin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

This week, for the first Salesforce Admins Podcast episode of 2021, we’re joined by Preena Johansen, Einstein Analytics Consultant at Telstra, Einstein Analytics Champion, and the co-leader of Women in Technology Brisbane. She has some great tips about how you can be more analytics-minded as an admin.

 

Join us as we talk about how to set up your data on your records for Einstein Analytics, the power of visualizations, and why you shouldn’t be scared of analytics.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Preena Johansen.

 

What is an Einstein Analytics consultant?

 

So first question, what does it mean to be an Einstein Analytics consultant? “At Telstra, my role is to work with the business to understand what their requirements are and what their end goal is—what they want to achieve,” Preena says, “and then we use the data we have from Salesforce and our external legacy systems being brought into Einstein to develop a dashboard.”

 

Telstra is the biggest telecommunications company in Australia, so Preena’s normally working with a huge amount of data at an enormous scale. She works with every department in the organization, from sales to finance to marketing, which naturally leads to a large range of projects. She’s built a suite of dashboards to help her support team get a better picture of how they’re hitting their SLAs on the various case-types they have, and another for marketing that lets them follow lead generation from each of their campaigns, which is also useful for sales.

 

“One of the main things about my role is understanding what the end-goal is for our users,” Preena says, “how are they going to use what we’re developing for them?” Every dashboard they make is embedded within Salesforce, which ultimately means users spend less time “swivel-chairing” between legacy databases and more time focusing on what the customer needs.

 

The tools of the trade.

 

Preena does a large amount of work directly on Salesforce and Einstein Analytics, with some help from an internal team to get information from legacy systems into a data hub that brings it onto the platform. She also leans on Excel to double-check things, Jira to track her Agile stories, and Confluence to document her work and coordinate with her team. For development, she uses Validator, an online JSON editor, and Notepad++ on desktop to write out JSON and check it.

 

If you’re trying to start working with your data in Einstein Flows, Preena has some advice. First of all, make sure that your permissions are set up correctly to allow anyone working with your fields to be able to see everything they need. Also, field validation can greatly minimize the need for data cleanup further on down the road, especially when you’re talking about free text fields.

 

“To get started, I didn’t go to uni, I didn’t study anything analytics-related,” Preena says. Instead, she created her first data visualizations in Tableau and then moved onto Salesforce when her company was one of the first in Australia to adopt Wave. “It was really about getting in and giving is a shot,” she says, “the skills that I have today are from on-the-job learning.” With all the great content out there between Trailhead and other resources, the best thing you can do if you’re interested in doing more with Einstein is to get started and create your first visualization.

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Direct download: Einstein_Analytics_at_Scale_with_Preena_Johansen.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:56am PST

It’s the final episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast for 2020, and this week, we’re bringing you the monthly retro, with a holiday haul of December Salesforce content. We’ll spotlight all the great blog posts, videos, and everything else from this month so you don’t miss out.

Join us as we talk about everything neat and new in Salesforce content from December and a look back at all the things we’ve found that gave us joy in 2020.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

DreamTX

One of the bright spots of this year is it marked the first time anyone from anywhere could participate in Dreamforce. Mike put together a bunch of great videos for the Admin channel, including presentations on Tableau, #LowCodeLove features, and security and privacy center. The best thing is that because the entire event happened online, you can go back and watch anything you missed and still get the full experience.

The New Essential Habits

Essential Habits has gotten a makeover and there’s so much more beneath the surface. We’ve combined the succinct, top-level themes you love with deep dives into everything that goes behind it.

Blog highlights from December

Mike highlighted Flow Orchestrator in a blog post you shouldn’t miss. “This is really what we’ve wanted as admins for a long time,” he says, “the way that Orchestrator is set up helps us automate an entire business process.” Gillian, meanwhile, wants to make sure you don’t miss Lizz Hellinga’s roundup of low-code features you can use right now in your org.

Podcast highlights from December

If you haven’t yet caught Mike’s episode with Madeleine Coutanceau, who has really embraced new features with a declarative approach that lets them get the most out of Salesforce without accumulating technical debt. Gillian spoke to Mary Crozier, a military spouse who created a team to build the Ombudsman Cloud Care app to help manage communications with the families of 5,000 sailors on an aircraft carrier. If you don’t know what an ombudsman is, check out the episode.

Listen to the full episode to hear about our favorite shows, podcasts, recipes, and everything else we’ve been doing with ourselves during the rollercoaster ride that has been this year. Also, our favorite Salesforce features of 2020.

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Direct download: December_Monthly_Retro_with_Gillian_and_Mike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am PST

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Mary Crozier, Salesforce Consultant and the Ombudsman Cloud Care Founder. She tells us how she created the incredible app she’s created to champion volunteerism and service.

Join us as we talk about what an Ombudsman is and what they do on a ship, how she saw an opportunity to overhaul the Ombudsmen team’s workflow with Salesforce, and the power of the Salesforce community.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Mary Crozier.

What is an Ombudsman?

Mary came across Salesforce when she was working as a consultant in Japan. As a military spouse, building a career with remote opportunities was essential because frequent moves come with the territory. “Two years ago, I started on my Salesforce journey,” she says, “three months later, I was certified.” At the same time, she was moving to San Diego where her husband took command of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier with a crew of 5,000. While she was to build up her Salesforce experience, she also got to know the ship’s Ombudsman.

“An Ombudsman is a liaison between the command and the families,” Mary says, “not just the immediate families of the sailors on board, but also the extended families—they all rely on getting information from command, and that happens through the Ombudsman.” This is a volunteer role on a ship and with 5,000 sailors, it can be a lot of work. Mary got thinking, wouldn’t this all be a lot easier with some sort of case management tool? She started working on the project in January, without knowing how the pandemic would make the need for a tool like this that much more acute.

How Ombudsman Cloud Care creates digital transformation

When Mary first started working with them, the Ombudsmen had nothing automated, not even an autoresponder on their inbox, so it was an absolutely enormous amount of work for a volunteer position. They were relying on sticky notes and notepads and in the face of COVID-19 that had to change.

Mary created Ombusdman Cloud Care, which is not just an app but a broader initiative to retool the way Ombudsmen work. Previously, they alternated weeks, but crises don’t happen that way, and they had no process for how to work together if a deluge of communications suddenly came in.

The app is primarily focused on case management, making it much easier to track everything, automate key processes, and report on communications to command. This cut down on a lot of phone calls, time spent tracking down information to put into spreadsheets, and a whole lot more. Long story short, Mary and her team brought digital transformation to the Ombudsmen team.

The keys to creating an app quickly

To help this project off the ground, Mary created a tiger team to get things done fast. She had Michael Kolodner, who could really help with the implementation and getting everything working; and Shelley Bolt, who was able to work with the Ombudsmen to understand what they needed and how to help them even more. 

The Salesforce community also was a big help, especially for giving the app a security review. “If you’re not reaching out to them for help, then you’re definitely missing out because they’re such a resource—it’s a whole community of go-givers,” Mary says. 

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Direct download: Ombudsman_Cloud_Care_with_Mary_Crozier.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

A Declarative-First Approach with Madeleine Coutanceau

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to Madeleine Coutanceau, Global Head of Systems & Processes and Salesforce Administrator at simPRO Software. We learn how her company has taken a declarative-first approach to implementing Salesforce wall-to-wall.

Join us as we talk about all the different roles admins have in a business, the importance of having key champions in your organization, and why it’s so important to align what you do in Salesforce with your organizational goals.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Madeleine Coutanceau.

Why it’s so important to be fully involved with your implementation.

“I’ve always worked with the business on the side of processes and moved through to the systems side,” Madeleine says, “so naturally, I fell into the system administrator role with our implementation.” At simPRO, that means she’s in charge of every piece of software that isn’t the product they develop. That means they’re running systems like CPQ, Chat, Pardot, Engage, Knowledge, Adobe Sign, Zinc, Exactly, JIRA, and more.

The secret behind managing so many different Salesforce systems is a great implementation. “We were told to drop everything and be part of this implementation, 24/7,” Madeleine says, so they were involved with everything from training to putting together procedure documents. That really gave them the expertise they needed to lead and train teams across the world.

How to automate without a developer.

When Madeleine’s company decided to adopt Salesforce, she was told from the start that she wouldn’t have a developer to work with. “We develop systems for our own clients,” they said, “we’re putting you on Salesforce so that we can manage this internally, not have developer resources that take up a lot of time.” That meant they needed to build everything with minimal code so they wouldn’t need extra help, so they leaned on Flows.

“I feel like my life changed at work once my Flows clicked into place for me in Salesforce,” Madeleine says, “suddenly, I realized I had all these processes I could just automate—I got a little bit Flow crazy.” This process didn’t happen overnight, however, as it involved a lot of trial and error and really digging into the nitty-gritty to understand Flows from the ground-up.

The magic of Flows.

When you get Flows working for you, it can seem like magic. For Madeleine, a big challenge was removing users from the org for a company with offices not only in Australia, but also in New Zealand, the UK, and the USA. This process used to involve setting alarms for the middle of the night, but she was able to make it happen automatically without writing a single line of code.

Communicating process changes can always be tricky, especially in a large organization with a multinational presence. Madeleine and her team solved this problem by setting up private Chatter groups for each country that are used just for communicating process changes. Whenever they create a new user, they simply log in and subscribe them to the appropriate channels to make sure they get the notifications they need to see.

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Full Show Transcript

Mike: Welcome to the Salesforce Admin's podcast, where we talk about product, community and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week I am talking with Madeleine Coutanceau, global head of Systems and Processes and Salesforce administrator, about how her company has taken a declared first approach to implementing salesforce wall to wall.
In this episode, you will hear from Madelyn about how she manages so many systems, how she uses flow to make her admin life easier, and lessons that she has learned after being an admin for four years. So let's get Madelyn on the pod.
So Madelyn, welcome to the podcast.

Madeleine Couta...: Thanks for having me.

Mike: Let's start off, I love talking about this idea of declared it first, but before we dive all the way deep into that, why don't we get started with what you do.

Madeleine Couta...: Sure. So I'm the Global Head of Systems and Processes at simPro, and I am one of a team of two of admins for the business. I've worked at simPro for about nine years now in a couple of different roles, and this is my most recent role that I've been in for probably about five years, six years or so. I've always worked with the business on the side of processes and sort of moved in through to the system side, so naturally I sort of fell into that system administrator role with our implementation.

Mike: Wow. So if I'm looking through and I see your title as head of sales, you're also the salesforce administrator?

Madeleine Couta...: Head of Systems-

Mike: Head of Systems.

Madeleine Couta...: ... and Processes, not sales.

Mike: Systems. Sorry, I heard you wrong.

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah.

Mike: That sounds even bigger.

Madeleine Couta...: So Head of Systems and Processes.

Mike: Okay. All right. I'm always interested in what admin titles have, right, so I like that. So you mentioned head of systems, what kind of products and systems do you use?

Madeleine Couta...: So I look after the systems on the side of our internal systems on the operational side. So we are a software company, there is a big side of the business that I don't really deal with on the systems side, that is of course our developers and product. But when it comes to the operational side of our operational entities in the different countries, I look after those internal systems. So we're talking about salesforce and its sort of connected ecosystem, so we use a lot of salesforce products, all the way from sales, service, CPQ, Chat, Pot-Ot, Engage, Knowledge. And then we have those installed apps across the host system as well like Adobe Sign, Zincked, Exactly, we connect with Jira, Rollout Palpa, that kind of thing. So it's quite a big sort of suite of systems that I essentially look after.

Mike: I would say. I feel like when I look at the customer 360 wheel, you're coloring in all of our products.

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah, yeah.

Mike: You're getting close to collecting them all, good job.

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah, I feel like I should get a prize at the end, where've you got them all.

Mike: Oh you do, you do. So with all of that and all of the users that you have across many continents, how do you build and manage this robust system?

Madeleine Couta...: It's tricky, but I think we really had a really fantastic implementation. And not only did the team that implemented for us do really well, but I guess we were a part of that journey the whole time. So me and my other admin, we were pretty much told to drop everything and be part of this implementation, and do it 24/7. Every day we were in on the project, making sure that we were learning the whole the system. And then across, we essentially ensured that we did all the training, we put together all the procedure documents, any kind of LMS learning we put together as well, and essentially documented the whole system on a training level and how it was all put together.
And because we have that knowledge, it flows through into that everyday sort of support and being able to manage different teams around the world. We also are part of a software company, so our users are really, really good at embracing change. We preach that to our customers every day, so we're really good at changing, and improvements, and challenging things, and trying to get that process improvement. So not only do I have great users, but also a great team to sort of manage that process as well.

Mike: Yeah, wow. Wow. Right now admins are all jealous that you've got a bunch of users that are embracing change like, "How do we sprinkle them around the world?"

Madeleine Couta...: I think I feel like I've been spoiled to be honest.

Mike: Absolutely. So being a software company, I'm guessing you were all about code with salesforce then?

Madeleine Couta...: No, not at all. So I was pretty much given the approach of, "You will not have a developer, we develop systems for our own clients. We're putting you on salesforce so that we can essentially manage this internally, not have developer resource that takes up a lot of time. You guys are admins." I don't know code, my other admin doesn't know code. "You guys are going to have to ensure that you guys can administrate it without a developer," and that's what we've pretty much done from the beginning.

Mike: Wow, so wall to wall with all those products, and you haven't written a line of code.

Madeleine Couta...: Well, we maybe have one little bit of code with our action plans, I think.

Mike: There's always a little bit.

Madeleine Couta...: It's a tiny bit.

Mike: [crosstalk] had a little bit, right?

Madeleine Couta...: It's biting me in the butt thought, it's causing me problems. Yeah, I don't have a resource, so I have pretty much tried to go as much no code as possible.

Mike: So then I'm guessing a lot of what you do is through flows?

Madeleine Couta...: Yes. I think my... This sounds a bit silly but, I feel like my life changed at work once my flows clicked into place for me at salesforce. And all those things that I had been wanting to do for the last couple of years, that I was like, "No, I can't automate, sorry," saying sorry to users, "I know that's a lot of clicks, I know that this is a big process." Suddenly it was like, "Oh my goodness, I have all of these processes that I could just automate with flows," and it was very exciting. I got a little bit flow crazy, now I'm just trying to tidy them up a little bit.

Mike: Yeah, I believe the official term is flownatic, that's what I've heard.

Madeleine Couta...: Oh, I like it, I like it.

Mike: So I'm sure there's t-shirts out there to be a flownatic. Brian Kwong can probably... He has a wizard cast, you should be on his wizard cast because he will talk to you about being a flownatic. I'd be curious to know, I want to dive a little bit deeper into that flow, because I would like to know what you mean by, when flows just clicked for you.

Madeleine Couta...: I started learning on flows with the classic version, so before they brought the lightning improvements and changed-

Mike: Oh, the hard version.

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah. So I found it was really difficult to find a lot of documentation on it, to be honest. I had to watch a lot of YouTube videos to sort of understand variables, and the elements, and all that kind of stuff. And it wasn't laid out very nicely, and a lot of the lightning side of things now, they create all these variables and record variables for you and everything, which is fantastic. All of the things that I was like, "Why doesn't it do that," it does it now, which is great. But I think because I'm a logical person, it just took me a lot of goes to really and just try and try and test the process to really finally have all the pieces click together for me.
I really struggle to learn something if I don't understand it obviously, but I can't just go and copy something, I have to sort of understand all the little pieces and the why's. And then once I sort of researched enough into that and did enough simple flows to sort of get it, it all just clicked into place. It literally went, I went, "Ah, I get it now," and then I was able to just create a whole bunch of flows, which was amazing. So it was mostly through self-learning. Now there's a lot more resources though, and it's much easier to learn how to use flows, and I have got my other admin now creating flows which is fantastic.

Mike: Yeah, I feel flow builder is very much a learn by doing.

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah.

Mike: I've done a few of the trailhead modules, and I was, "I have no idea what that was. Oh, that's neat. Oh, that makes sense now." And it's one of those where until you do it, do you really understand it, and you almost just have to absent of what the tool can do, just think of, "What is something I'm trying to solve for, and what is something I've never been able to do?" I thought it was so fascinating that you could do decisioning, and screen flows, and loops, like you could have a look to see if a record exists. And I was like, "Oh man, that's all the stuff admins have so wanted at our fingertips," and looked at all of these 400-line triggers on stack issues, like, "Okay, well I've got to figure out a way to put that in my work."

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah, it really makes you feel like the possibilities are, maybe not endless, but close to when it comes to doing something without code. And just those little things where a user has to click or create these records that look really, really similar every time, and you'll suddenly be able to create a flow to be able to solve that, which feels really good and the users love you for it too, and you look like a magician.

Mike: I'm telling you. Now, I think a lot of, and true to kind of the admin mantra, you're always thinking about how you can improve things for the user. I'd love to know, have you used flow to help your daily job be any better?

Madeleine Couta...: Yes. Yeah, so there's one that didn't take me long to create, was actually probably one of the quickest flows I've created, but it has a really bit impact on me and my admin. So we are located in Australia in Brisbane, and our head office is here and we have one of the businesses here as well, but we're also located in New Zealand, U.K. and the U.S. and those guys of course are on a completely different time zone, or you guys are on a completely different time zone to us. So we're dealing with users that are all around the world, and we're only admins in Australia. So we used to when there was a termination or something like that where we had to freeze a user, or deactivate a user, sometimes it would be a 3:00 AM or a 5:00 AM wake-up call on a Saturday morning to set an alarm-

Mike: Oh no.

Madeleine Couta...: ... we'd get a chat, or you'd set an alarm to quickly wake up, bleary-eyed, open up your cellphone admin app and freeze them, then go back to sleep. It's not fun. So I created a flow, which I push from my salesforce admin cases, that essentially allows me to assign a user to a case, and then uses that user to then book in a time and date to freeze them, and it's awesome. So I use a pause element, and then essentially I create a screen flow. I've got two flows, screen flow that essentially allows me to input the details, the user, the time, the date, I submit that and then it pushes through to a second flow which does a pause and waits until that date, and then freezes them.

Mike: Oh.

Madeleine Couta...: It's awesome.

Mike: That's just wonderful anytime. And speaking as somebody who I once had, I think a few weeks of scrum calls, where I had to be on at like 4:00 or 5:00 AM, I actually brought, at the time I was working in office, I actually brought a coffee maker into my office, because I was like, "I don't want to have to... I want to sleep the maximum amount of time at home, get up come to the office and not have to waste time making coffee at my house. And I can do it during the call."

Madeleine Couta...: Any way to save time.

Mike: Any way to save time, yeah. And lo and behold, I should've had flow. So one of the things that you talked about early on is, rolling things out and being declared of, I'd love to jump into how you tackle documentation-

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah, sure.

Mike: ... and how you kind of bring those changes to your ever-happy, always open to change users.

Madeleine Couta...: Okay. Okay, maybe I put them in too much of a good light. No, no, no, they're great.

Mike: They're all going to listen to this and be like, "We're not going to do any of the things she sends from now on."

Madeleine Couta...: They're going to be horrible.

Mike: Right.

Madeleine Couta...: Like, "Oh, we're too easy, let's challenge them more."

Mike: Arms folded, "Oh, I need 10 check boxes."

Madeleine Couta...: No, no more check boxes. Okay, so documentation. We deal with our documentation using Docs, but also then publishing them through salesforce using Files to Library. So we have Library set up for each of the different teams, we have general libraries as well. We share those out with the teams, and then we upload new versions depending on changes. We also manage some of our projects through a little project management tool on the side, outside of salesforce as well, using Asana. I really like Asana. And managing different tags, how different pieces of the system and a bunch of different projects and little changes all happen, and we just make sure that we update all the procedure document that relates. If we've got email templates, we realize we need to change all of that as well.
And then what we do is, upload the new versions and we have a chatter group which we then post changes to. So we have a salesforce updates chatter group, which is like a broadcast only, and then we have private chatter groups for all of our teams in each country. So this works really well for us, and I'm glad we worked this out. But essentially, and I definitely recommend it for any admin that wants to use chatter to push out changes, we create a chatter group for every team, so let's say AU Sales, or U.S. Sales, U.K. Training, and New Zealand Training. We had Cradle these private chatter groups, and then we have all of the users that relate to that group we add them in. And whenever we set up a new user, we actually log in as them and subscribe them to every post.
So that ensures that they receive notifications. And because they're private, we only use these kind of for broadcasts. They don't use this for communication within their teams. This is really just for us as admins to go, "Hey, proceed to change, we've got new fields, or we've got a slightly different process happening here." We go through all the changes, we link our files document for the new procedure, and then we add-mention the teams that are relevant. And then they all get an email notification, and then they can see that change come through. And that just makes sure that everyone sees it, we don't miss anybody, and it works really well.

Mike: So how do you find time to create all this documentation, because that's the question that I think only do Markle have essential habits that we do on Fridays, and you can watch that on Trailhead Live.

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah.

Mike: And we talk about documenting, right? Like, when you make changes to your org, document it so that you know you made the change, and your users have insight to what this field is and what that field does. And inevitably, and I'm the same way, it's like eating your broccoli.

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah.

Mike: You're like, you just want to make the change move on, "Oh, now I've got to write down how we did it." How do you quantify that or work that into your day?

Madeleine Couta...: To be honest, I'm probably not so good at that piece. So not every... I mean, when it comes to procedure change and your process change for the users, we're really great at documenting that, but when it comes to really minor edits or changes in our org for our own salesforce documentation, I have to say that is a grind. That is really hard to get done. I try to put aside time every week to ensure that we get that done, but I know I'm well-behind. So I think I have the same issue as probably every admin, including yourself.

Mike: Yes, absolutely. And I think just because the amount of... Well, for me it was the speed, like the ability to go into a Sandbox, make a change, you're like, "Oh cool, is that what you want?" "Yes." Okay, and then push production and everybody's happy, right?

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah.

Mike: It feels a little bit sometimes like being an admin is like working in an emergency room,-

Madeleine Couta...: Yes. Get it done.

Mike: ... like you want to triage everything and fix it and get it done, and it needs to be a little bit more methodical like building a house, you've got to have blueprints, and plans, and...

Madeleine Couta...: Yes. And I think because being one of a small team and having that very agile approach, I probably don't have enough experience in that more methodical way, but I probably just need to actually find out what is the best way to do that and be a bit more... thinking better about what I'm doing in my org to then document that. But I mean, I try to do it as much as possible, but you're right, "Here's a problem, oh, I've got to solution." And I love pushing out a fix, because I love solving those problems. But as everything gets bigger, you definitely need to make sure that you are doing the best thing for your org overall.

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. So I would love to kind of wrap on, you've been in the salesforce community for a while, you've been on a journey, you have an amazing resume. I mean, you manage a lot of systems. It sounds like you have a receptive user base, you're doing documentation, at least as well as we can, but what advice would you give to admins who are maybe just starting at a new position or coming into an org, based on your experience?

Madeleine Couta...: Well, definitely if you're being assigned as an admin on an implementation, I would definitely make sure that you are pushing yourself into that implementation as much as possible. I found that knowing exactly how things are set up is really crucial to your full understanding of how the org is created. I mean, I've only been in one salesforce implementation, and I've only been on salesforce org, so I only know from my experience, right? But if you're coming into a business that already has salesforce, I mean, you'd hope that that was documented well, but I guess that's a luxury probably with a lot of implementations. But I just think take stock of what you've got, see how the business is running.
I found that through my experience with pushing salesforce into our business, before I did that I was actually... I looked at all of the business processes across the operational side, so I was actually really intimate with how things were running. And I found that really useful to really understand our users, and to understand the process end-to-end. So if you know what the goals are, how to get there, and what you're trying to achieve, you can really tighten up I think the steps to get there and the way your org is used to get there as well, and just make things a bit more efficient.
So I think before you delve into how is salesforce run, what is the business, what are your goals, what are you trying to achieve, how does each team run, is really important, that side of building base to understand, "Okay, so now how is salesforce going to achieve that, and what is it doing now, and how can I make that better?" Because constantly, day-to-day, my job is not only to implement new processes, new products, new teams, but constantly just looking at, "Hey guys, what are you doing? Are you enjoying what you're doing?" Users will just continue to do something sometimes without them even complaining about it, or realizing that what they're doing is actually inefficient. So how is it going, how are you using the software, and then really just understand that to sort of tighten up the process I think is super important, and I do that on a day-to-day basis as well, as well as support and all of that.

Mike: Yeah.

Madeleine Couta...: It's an ever-changing challenging role, but it's very, very interesting I have to say. Being a salesforce admin is never boring.

Mike: I would agree, and I also think to me that's really, I don't want to say fun, but the part that excites me the most is, it's a job where you're not sure what tomorrow looks like, but you're confident that you have the skills. And if you don't, it's a new challenge, right, and it's something to try and you're always building on what you've done. I feel even when I worked really hard on Sales Cloud roll-outs, "Okay, now we're doing Service Cloud." "Oh boy, I don't know Service Cloud," "Okay, well, but you know the fundamentals and you've done Sales Cloud, right?" And so it's not like you're starting from scratch with a new adventure, right? It's almost like-

Madeleine Couta...: Totally.

Mike: It's like getting a new modified job every single day. And then the business process changes, and you're like, "Okay, cool. Well, here's everything I learned from the last time I built this app, and now I can move those experience and that lesson into the next app that I build, so I'm excited." That's what I loved about it.

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah, yeah. And it always presents with new challenges every day, and it's really good and keeps you on your toes for sure.

Mike: Absolutely. Madeleine, I want to thank you for taking time out to join us, and it sounds for sure like you're going to be busy today, whatever day it is with all of those users, and especially when the podcast goes live, they'll find out how incredibly exceptional they are.

Madeleine Couta...: They are, they really are.

Mike: Shop them around, and maybe we'll have them all get on the podcast and give advice to the other salesforce admin users about their receptivity to change.

Madeleine Couta...: Yeah. And I think having those key sort of salesforce champion people within each team, really, really helps that as well, because without them and without managers flowing all that information up from their users, it would just be chaos I think. So that's important for us as well, especially since we're such a small team. So yeah, they are great.

Mike: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Having your users voice every day all the way up to the admin, is key, so fabulous. Well, this was super fun chatting with you, I'm so glad we got... And it sounds like probably in a year from now, we'll have 10 times as much for you to talk about.

Madeleine Couta...: Hopefully.

Mike: And we'll have you back on the podcast.

Madeleine Couta...: That would be amazing.

Mike: So it was great having Madeleine on the podcast. Three things I learned in our discussion, first, you know what, salesforce admins have different titles. How cool is it that she is the Global Head of Systems and Processes? I love it. Two, she mentioned key champions are super helpful as they roll out different features and functionalities, and I think that's super important too. In fact, in the show notes I am going to link to a blog post I did about building your internal advocates. And then three, and boy do we bring this home in a lot of our presentations, I love how Madeleine pointed out aligning salesforce goals to the goals of the organization. That was a key driver in all of the successful things that they have rolled out at that organization, and I just think it's super, super important for every admin to do.
So, if you'd love to learn more about all things salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins, we are @salesforceadmns, no I, on Twitter. You can find our guest, Madeleine on Twitter @mcoutanceau, I will put a link inside the show notes for you. Of course, I'm on Twitter @mikegerholdt and Gillian who also hosts the podcast is on Twitter as well @gilliankbruce.
So with that, stay safe, stay awesome, and be sure to stay tuned for the next episode of the Salesforce Admins podcast. We'll see you in the Cloud.



Direct download: A_Declarative-First_Approach_with_Madeleine_Coutanceau.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined once again by Shannon Hale, Platform Product Leader at Mulesoft. We learn what Mulesoft Composer is and what it can do, why she’s so passionate about making admins’ lives easier, and what the Shannon Hale Salesforce SWAT Team is.

Join us as we talk about what Mulesoft Composer can do for you and your org, and why admins hold a special place in Shannon’s heart.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Shannon Hale.

Integrating multiple systems

“It’s always a challenge when you have data in one system and data in another system but your workflow doesn’t necessarily take that into account,” Shannon says, and if you don’t have any sort of integration you’ll find yourself manually entering data from one to the other. Not only is that highly prone to error, but it’s time-consuming. “Anytime you can automate those processes,” she says, “you can save yourself time and you can streamline those business processes.”

To solve this problem, Shannon and her team are building a new Design Time tool, Mulesoft Composer, for building integrations across different systems to connect your data sources together, developed specifically for admins. “You’re just a person, trying to do a job, and your job happens to have data in two systems and you want them to talk to each other,” she says.

Why Mulesoft Composer makes Integrating easier

When it comes to how to put Mulesoft Composer to work for you, Shannon says to start with the things that are time-consuming or error-prone in your org—anything that happens frequently. So you can identify where you need your integration to happen, then which data you need to move over and whether or not there are multiple steps involved (like sending an email or Slack message), then switch over to the composer.

Mulesoft Composer comes as a Managed Package, so it’s embedded directly into Salesforce, so the next step is to start a new flow and create your integration. From there, you log into both systems, choose the fields, objects, and triggers you want to work with, and then choose an action and a system to do it to. Think about it like Flow Builder, but for creating integrations between two systems. At the end of the day, this is about putting tools that were previously only in the purview of developers into the hands of admins to help them work their magic and make things easier for everyone.

Listen to the full episode for more info about how to get executive buy-in and why Mulesoft Composer is a lot like the point-and-click tools you’re already used to using.

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Direct download: Shannon_Hale_on_Mulesoft_Connector.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Sarah Pilzer, Director of Operations at Country Dance and Song Society and Golden Hoodie winner. She tells us how she uses automation to serve her users.

Join us as we talk about why it’s always best to start with standard functionality, how to borrow from what people have already built, and how she checks in with users to make sure she’s building what they need.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Sarah Pilzer.

How Sarah puts Salesforce to work for her organization.

As Director of Operations at the Country Dance and Song Society in Massachusetts, Sarah is in charge of all office procedures, including running their Salesforce instance. “I am the in-house Admin, as well as doing all of the building and architecting necessary to create the systems we need,” she says.

Sarah’s organization uses Salesforce in a bunch of different ways depending on the department (sound familiar?), including registration and staffing for their arts education classes and fundraising. Making that work involves a mix of using what’s already in the Nonprofit Success Pack and building some custom solutions.

When to use standard vs. custom functionality.

To figure out what will work best, Sarah recommends sitting down with your users to find out what they do now and how it’ll best translate to Salesforce. “I try to start with an out-of-the-box feature if that’s possible,” she says, “if it’s already built, we should take advantage of that. We can save our time to work on other issues at the nonprofit like our mission and vision and really get to the programming if we’re not spending all of our time building tools.”

Sometimes that means trying a standard feature and seeing what the limitations are. For their program registrations, they started out using campaigns to track who was in which program but ran into some limitations when they also wanted to track donations. In the end, Sarah ended up building out a custom camp program object that fit their needs better. “My advice would be to start standard if you can, and if you find that’s not fitting your needs you can go custom,” she says.

Verify that automation helps your users.

One thing that helps Sarah help her team is leaning on the automations already built into Salesforce. Flows are a big part of that, including Screen Flows that walk her users through the automation. For the camp registration example, they have a Screen Flow that they expose to external users to create a self-service feature. This frees up time on the backend as they previously had to rely on paper forms that would be manually entered into the system.

“I think it’s really important that the automation works for who’s using it,” Sarah says, “so if I’m going to build out automation, I need to talk to the end-users first and make sure that what I’m building isn’t going to make their lives harder.” That’s a combination of conversations with her internal people, and beta testing on forms that go out to the community before they go live. Sarah isn’t afraid to call a quick twenty or thirty-minute meeting to make sure she understands what her users want, and she’s established an internal Salesforce user group to check in every month.

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Direct download: Building_Automations_That_Work_with_Sarah_Pilzer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:20pm PST

This week it’s our monthly retro, bringing you the highlights from November’s feast of tasty Salesforce content. For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we spotlight all the blog posts, videos, and everything else from this month that you won’t want to miss.

Join us as we talk about great Salesforce content from November and our favorite things about Fall.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Blog highlights from November

For Gillian, Samantha Shain’s “How I Solved This: Dive Deep Into the Debug Log” was a standout blog post. “You don’t have to know how to write code, but you can know how to learn a little bit from the naming conventions you’ll uncover in the debug log,” Gillian says. The post that stood out to Mike in November was “Salesforce Release Notes Have a New Home: Salesforce Help!” by Geri Rebstock, about why we’ve moved the Release Notes to a new place.

Podcast highlights from November

This month, Gillian was thrilled to speak to Ariel Ridley about how she built her own app and got it listed on the AppExchange. “I hope that some of our listeners got inspired to build their own apps and share them with the community by listing them on the AppExchange as well,” she says. Mike wanted to highlight his conversation with Mia Pacey, where they talked about her unique “campfire” approach to weekly meetings and user check-ins.

Video highlights from October

“When we make a video, we really make a video,” Mike says, and this month we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss our seven tips on how to pass your Salesforce Administrator Certification exam. Reach out to us on Twitter to let us know which tip helped you the most—or your favorite thing on Gillian’s shelf.

Listen to the full episode to hear about Mike and Gillian’s favorite Fall activities, and how to make a hot apple pie cocktail.

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce admins podcast, the monthly retro with Gillian and Mike episode, where we review the top beast worthy product, community, and careers content from November to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike: And I'm Mike Gerholdt who can't believe it's November already. Holy cow!

Gillian Bruce: What a year it has been.

Mike: Eleven months just flying by all of a sudden. Really just since maybe August, I guess.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. In some ways I feel this year counts as five years. It's like a dog year.

Mike: Right. [crosstalk 00:00:51] I would like fall-

Gillian Bruce: I guess it would be seven years.

Mike: ...Could I get fall back? Because fall was just a day, where I live.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, right. Because it's already winter there?

Mike: Well, periodically, and then it becomes summer. Today it was 65, which in the Midwest in November you're, "Yay! Shorts" and a hoodie.

Gillian Bruce: Fur, says the San Francisco girl.

Mike: I know.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Oh man. [crosstalk] Well Mike, we had a lot of awesome admin content this month to talk about starting with some of our amazing blog posts. Now, one of the ones that I got pretty excited and nerdy about was the bog post of How I Solve This by Samantha Shane, all about how she used the debug log to help solve a form issue that she had.
I really liked this because it's super nerdy and it's definitely a great way push your awesome admin skills to the next level because she talks about how you can use the debug log to prove... You don't have to know how to write code, but you can know how to learn a little bit from the naming conventions that you'll uncover in the debug log. And what's great about this too, is this was inspired by another trailblazer, Jess Lopez did a session at Dreamforce to help inspire Samantha to do this and it's a great use case. And then a great example and I think it's a good way for any admin to go play with the debug log and see what you can figure out and you'd be surprised what you already know.

Mike: Yeah. I love the How I Solve This series. I think it's great. It ties right back into what we heard at Dreamforce from admins last year of being problem solvers. And to your point of reading the debug log, I feel like it's when you took a foreign language in college, I could always read and understand what was going on, but just don't ask me to regurgitate it or especially write it in a sentence. It's always better reading a foreign language.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I took way too many years of Spanish to admit that I can't speak it very well unless there are some margaritas involved. So I-

Mike: Then everybody can
Gillian, I chose what I thought was really cool announcement, especially for people getting into the ecosystem. And even some of the long time Salesforce admins who have been around for a while. And that is that the Salesforce release notes have a new home and they're in help. And up until that point, it always made sense that you search out release notes and then you always went over to this help area. And now they're hanging out their quarantining together, forever.

Gillian Bruce: In true 2020 style.

Mike: In true 2020 style. But if you think about it, it makes logical sense, right? Go to one location for everything, and it's all in help. And I think as a new admin coming in it so helps as... See it's literally in the description it so helps because now you know where to go for help. Where [crosstalk] your release notes?

Gillian Bruce: And you do one of the things that I think everyone experiences, especially if they're newer to the Salesforce world is we have so many resources and so many places that you can go to get information about all the things. So to be able to tie these two very, very useful, probably our most useful resources together, I think is really awesome. It's a move in the right direction.

Mike: Yep. A hundred percent agree. Gillian, we did a bunch of podcasts in November. What was one of your favorites? I know we had many, they're all our favorites. Just to be clear.

Gillian Bruce: We don't like picking favorites.

Mike: How about we say that highlight.

Gillian Bruce: Highlights. Yeah. For anyone who watches the crown, we're not picking a favorite child. Okay. So this is one of the ones that I think learned the most and was the most inspired by this month was the podcast I got to record with Ariel Ridley. She is a really amazing PepUp Tech alum. She has got a great story about actually building a lightning transition app with Kelly Walker, who is our light or lightning champions expert here at Salesforce and getting it listed on the app exchange. And it was one of the tools she used to help learn the platform and learn how to build apps. And now she's got an app on the app exchange. She is doing amazing things at Copado. She has really launched her career and the way she talked about how she approached building the app, iterating on it and going through the process of getting it listed on the app exchange to share with the world.
I thought was really inspiring. And I really hope that some of the listeners got inspired to maybe build their own apps and share them with the community by listing them on the app exchange as well.

Mike: Yeah. That was super fun pod to listen to. I'm going to go with, and I just realized that we did a commendable job of having quite a few APAC people on in the month of November because my podcasts that I picked was campfires with Mia. So Mia Pacey talks about what I feel is so vital and that's sitting down and interacting with users and having stakeholder meetings and she calls them campfires because hello, isn't it fun to be on brand with Trailhead? Maybe that's just the marketing geek in me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, and that means S'Mores are involved. Right?

Mike: I brought that suggestion up to her and I'm hoping that she implemented, you can do virtual S'Mores. There's a fun conversation about having S'Mores and fudge Stripe cookies. I realize, I think they call fudge Stripe cookies something different in Australia, but fudge Stripe cookies are a fun way to cheat S'Mores because then you just buy the cookies and the marshmallows and you get S'Mores. You don't have to... It's already half put together.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think they call them biscuits in-

Mike: Could be.

Gillian Bruce: Australia. And the UK our cookies are their biscuits. I don't know. That's from watching way too much of The Great British Baking Show.

Mike: I loved it. Listen to that episode because Mia gives you tips on how she communicates this out, how she deals with having lots of different users on a call, separating users out and how she worked with executives to get buy in to keep the branding of campfires going. And most importantly, to have executive support her effort of keeping campfires going, which I think is really key to driving adoption and to having attendance. So it was super fun to do that episode.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and we've got some good Asia Pacific representation on the podcast. I think we even have a couple more in the queue. So trying to make sure we still have our global admins represented on the podcast this year. But Mike, we may not have had a lot of videos this month, but there was one video where we try something a little different.

Mike: When we make a video. We really make a video. I was just watching this video. Gillian.

Gillian Bruce: Yes Mike. And how did you feel about it?

Mike: I feel like I learned seven things to help me pass my Salesforce admin certification.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, well, I'm so glad you learned those seven things to help you pass your admin certification exam. Because this was actually based on a blog post from a while ago, but we updated a little bit of the info and it holds true. It's a quick digit nail style video on tips on how to pass the cert exam. And I had a lot of fun recording it. It's a fun to play with some different models there.

Mike: Yeah, and we should definitely have anybody who has watched this video listening to the podcast now. I'd love to know what the favorite thing is in Gillian's background because you got a few things to pick from back there.

Gillian Bruce: I've got quite a collection of- [crosstalk 00:08:57].

Mike: Falcon, maybe the Lego Cody?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. My little snake plant over there in the corner. I got all kinds of weird stuff going on. I just keep adding to it at some point it's going to be the shelves will just give out and be like, okay. Too much, too much, too much. But yeah, if you watch the video, please make a comment on the video or comment in Twitter. I'd love to know what your favorite tip is. Or like Mike said, putting out weird things in my background is always going to-

Mike: Or tell Gillian what the next digino video should be. That would be fun. What do you want to talk about next?

Gillian Bruce: Or When you take your cert exam? That's really what I want to know because that was the whole point of the video. So we got your cheerleaders right here for you.

Mike: So Gillian, we end each of these episodes. I think it's kind of fun to go retro-ish on things for the month that are appropriate. So I thought I'd pull out what a fall fun activity would be.

Gillian Bruce: I like that.
Now let's also... We just talk about how global the podcast is. So we realized that in other parts of the world, fall is not exactly the same. It's all here in the Western hemisphere. How about that?

Mike: Yep, absolutely. So I listed a few, ironically you would think Apple picking and going to a corn maize is what Midwesterners do. And a lot do, not this guy, not me. Haha I know a corn maze is just called a cornfield to me because they're all of maize. I've ridden a hay ride once, I almost fell off. It was really cold, by the way if you've never ridden on a hayrack, they're really cold. Even if it's warm out, you walk outside, "Oh, it's going to be fun. Hay ride today." Bring extra layers because it is going to be cold.
But I will say my favorite fall activity. I always enjoy it all summer long, even in the spring. So for those of you that are in spring or different seasons, I do love going to a farmer's market. And especially in the fall, I love going because there's usually, at least in my area we get a little bit more of the artists that come out and they do fun, fall wreaths and ornamental, there is a little less produce and a little more crafts. So I always enjoyed the farmer's markets.

Gillian Bruce: It's pretty good. I don't think I've done aside from the farmer's market because I do live in San Francisco. I don't think I've done any of the other things. I've never picked apples except for maybe off of a Apple tree in a friend's yard. And-

Mike: And that's exactly what Apple picking is by the way.

Gillian Bruce: Especially go to an orchard and you're supposed to get a basket and look all picturesque. I never done that [crosstalk]
Yeah.
Yeah. And the corn maize thing, I have never done one of those. We don't have a lot of corn fields in the Bay area.

Mike: No, I've never seen one, to be honest with you.

Gillian Bruce: And aside from riding basically a trailer you'd put a car on. one of those flatbed trailers, with two bales of hay on it, around in a parking lot. That's the closest I think I've ever come to a hay ride.

Mike: it's pretty, pretty close to what a hayrack is. you're not missing much.

Gillian Bruce: There you go. Well, I will say that one of my favorite fall things, and again, we don't get a lot of this here in the Bay area because we don't really have that drastic change in seasons. But I do love looking at TikTok videos of dogs, jumping through big piles of leaves. That is my one of my favorite fall activities because the glee they get on their faces. They just pop, pop, pop through the big piles of leaves. It looks so fun. So that is pretty great. Especially when all you see is either their ears or their tail sticking out of the pile and the sound, anyway.
The biggest change that we get here in the Bay area is we get a little rain. It actually started raining here just last week. And so those cozy, rainy days, we can curl up on the couch and just watch the rain outside and put on all your layers. And I love it. And you get to wear boots. I love boots. So it's the season that you finally get to pull out your boots here in San Francisco. Not that you really need them, but it's an excuse to wear boots.

Mike: I don't know. Some of those step offs of the curbs are pretty high. And if the street is flooding a little bit, then you would want a boot.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, also fun boots. I like boots. I'm not leaving my house anytime soon, so I don't really need any boots this year.

Mike: You could buy them, look at them. "Oh, remember when we used to wear boots?"

Gillian Bruce: "Remember those boots"

Mike: Well, staying inside on cozy rainy days, sounds like a favorite fall beverage. So I think the big trend...geez, I saw pumpkin spice Cheerios the other day.

Gillian Bruce: ugh.

Mike: We don't have to pumpkin spice everything, one or two things is fine, but-

Gillian Bruce: Isn't Pumpkin pie enough.

Mike: It's more than enough for me.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Yeah. I'm not, I'm not a big pumpkin flavored person.

Mike: No, no, no. I do like hot cider. That is nice, it feels cozy.

Gillian Bruce: You maul it with some spices. It makes a whole house smell good.

Mike: Yeah. that's fall.

Gillian Bruce: And then you could up your hot cider game by adding a little Tuaca and whipped cream and turn it into a hot Apple pie cocktail, which is one of my favorite fall drinks. Seriously. It's like drinking dessert. It tastes like an Apple pie. It's so good.

Mike: We can definitely try that but not going to pumpkin spice the rest of the stuff. Cocoa maybe. So it is interesting. When I looked this up, hot cocoa came up as a fall beverage. I don't know about you? You can tell me on Twitter different. Hot cocoa to me is when it's got to be winter and there has to be snow on the ground or really cold, but hot cocoa to me, isn't a fall drink.

Gillian Bruce: I am on the same page Mike. I think of hot cocoa as something you get when you go to the ice rink and you need a warm up and you pull off the gloves on your hands and you have the hot cocoa and it burns the top of your mouth

Mike: Ski lodge stuff. But not when there is crunchy leaves out with dogs flying through them.

Gillian Bruce: I wish it could always be like that. Can I get a big pile of crunchy leaves delivered to my front yard? That would be fantastic.

Mike: There's the next billion-dollar startup idea

Gillian Bruce: Be like, look at those bougie weirdo, San Franciscans, ordering piles of leaves to be delivered so their dogs can jump through them.

Mike: Well, we used to be able to order kittens from Uber. How is this any different?
Just add to it. I'd like three kittens and 100 pounds of dried leaves

Gillian Bruce: And you get to come clean them up after too- [crosstalk]

Mike: Yeah. that's got to be part of it. Maybe that's a separate app

Gillian Bruce: And it can be called better be-leaf it.

Mike: There you go. See, free million dollar advice. Go out, get some investor money. See how that works for you. You got at least one customer, Gillian. So there's your pitch.

Gillian Bruce: I don't know if the rest of the household would agree with my decision, but-

Mike: No, it doesn't have to. Oh, fun stuff. Anyway, if you want to learn more about all the things that we talked about in today's episode, minus the billion dollar leaf delivery app, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and so many, many more resources. You can stay up to date with us on all things social for admins. We are at Salesforce admins, no I on Twitter. I'm Mike Gerholdt on Twitter and Gillian is at Gillian K Bruce. So with that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: November_Monthly_Retro_with_Gillian_and_Mike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

For this week’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Mia Pacey, a Salesforce Admin at Surf Life Saving NSW. She shares how she holds weekly campfires with her users to drive adoption.

Join us as we talk about her Trailhead-inspired weekly Salesforce meetings for her users, how she gets executive buy-in, and how to make a great demo.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Mia Pacey.

How Mia drives adoption in a new Sales Cloud implementation.

“I was the fix-it person at my organization,” Mia says, “I loved figuring out ways to help my users do things a bit better.” That meant that she soon found herself getting certified as a System Administrator at a Trailhead Bootcamp in Gold Coast, Australia, and dove straight into a Sales Cloud implementation.

Hitting the ground running has meant doing a few special things to make sure everyone gets with the program. “I work with our users very closely because I feel like they’re very important for user adoption and the success of your platform as a whole,” Mia says, “so I call what I run a campfire.” It’s a weekly time for her users to get together and watch a demo, do a training, or just chat about what they’d like to see on the platform.

What is a campfire?

For Sydney World Tour Reimagined, Mia had viewing areas in her office for everyone to catch all of the different channels and content. “The users loved it so much and it was super engaging as an atmosphere,” she says, “so, I thought, why don’t we just do this again but more of an internal conversation?” That’s how the campfire tradition was born.

Because she’s working in a new implementation, Mia has found her campfires to be especially helpful when it comes to rolling out new features, landing key demos and training, and just generally making sure that Salesforce is meeting her users’ needs. Right now, they have these meetings on a weekly basis at 30-60 minutes a session, so they’re easy to fit in the schedule and well worth the time. “A campfire doesn’t sound scary,” she says, “so calling it that gives the executives something to promote and doesn’t turn off users.”

Making demos that matter to users.

“When I’m thinking about what to demo or what to showcase, I just have to remember it’s not scary,” Mia says, “these are my users—they understand the platform because I understand what they’re using.” In other words, you’re not presenting to an audience of strangers who are coming to it cold. You know something about their experience and what matters to them, and you probably already have the material on-hand from user testing and user stories for a new feature you’ve implemented to make a great demo.

Mia’s sales users are actually some of her biggest fans, “because if I demo something that’s an end-to-end example of what they’re doing in their day-to-day life, they’ll have so much buy-in, they get so engaged,” she says. And remember, you don’t need to have meticulously crafted demos every week, you can also take the time to highlight features, open discussion, and encourage conversation. 

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Direct download: How_to_Drive_Salesforce_Adoption_Using_Campfires_with_Mia_Pacey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Ariel Ridley, a Customer Support Specialist and PepUp Tech alum. We learn how you—yes, you—can build an app and list it on the AppExchange.

 

Join us as we talk about why it’s so important to get on the phone when you’re troubleshooting, how Ariel built her app, and why you need to put what you’re working on in front of users to get that feedback loop going.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Ariel Ridley.

Why All Salesforce Admins Need Customer Service Skills

Ariel is a Customer Support specialist helping people when they encounter issues and creating knowledge articles to answer common questions. While most admins aren’t in a direct customer support role, they still need to work with users to make sure they know how to get the most out of Salesforce.

For Ariel, there are a few things that help: “I make sure to ask plenty of questions,” she says, “I’ve found, overall, that it’s helpful between me and the customer if we really discuss what’s going on—sometimes they’ll even resolve the issue on their own just by us hopping on a quick call and going over what’s happening.”

The Transition Helper for Salesforce app

Ariel created her own app, Transition Helper for Salesforce Lightning. “The main goal of it is to establish a plan for moving between Classic and Lightning,” she says. The app provides documentation and links to help orgs create a rollout plan and stick to it. As you move through the app, it asks you a series of questions to help you learn about the components of Lightning and what you need to know in order to transition smoothly. You can also deploy it to your team to help them, too.

For Ariel, there was so much information out there that it felt like many organizations still stuck in Classic simply didn’t know where to start. The Transition Helper for Salesforce helps guide you along a path so you can get started without sifting through pages of documentation and know you’re making the right choices for what you need.

How You Can Make a Salesforce App

Making the app was a bit of a process. They had to plan everything out on paper, first, writing out what documentation they wanted to include and how they were going to structure everything. Once Ariel started building, she made sure to put it in front of friends who were at orgs still stuck in Classic to get their feedback about how she could make it work better. This feedback loop was key to making something simple and effective.

Posting it on the AppExchange was fairly simple. You have to create an account on the Salesforce Partner Community, and then go through some steps to create a listing and complete a security review. “There’s always people available if you have any questions,” Ariel says. “I never would’ve thought that I could have created an app, and now I have one that’s out there that can help a lot of people,” she says, “it’s a great feeling.”

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Direct download: Build__Share_Your_App_on_the_AppExchange_with_Ariel_Ridley.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am PST

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got new Salesforce Admin Courtney Coen. We learn how she set herself up as a superuser and got certified to be a Salesforce Admin, her approach to solving challenges from her users, and why being a Salesforce Admin is one of the most social jobs you will have

Join us as we talk about her technique for visualizing the process to communicate to her users, how her story shows how superusers can help you, and why it’s so important to be social as an admin.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Courtney Coen.

From superuser to Salesforce Admin.

“About four years ago, I was working in a call center and we were doing a lot of things manually, and I hated it,” Courtney says, “I wanted to spend my time helping customers instead of having to count out individual things when we could definitely report on them.” She played around in Salesforce and found the reports and dashboards tab and started figuring it out on her own.

Courtney ended up being the de facto admin for her customer services department and, after she had already built over 150 reports and dashboards, the development team at her company realized they needed to talk. It didn’t take long for them to figure out that she should be a full-time admin, so she got started on the path to certification with the support of the team and her supervisors in customer service, which she finally completed this year in May. “It was very much a story of sponsorship and mentorship, and without everyone’s help I wouldn’t be here,” Courtney says.

How Courtney uses visualizations to explain process changes.

Courtney has a unique visual approach to problem-solving. “The first thing I do when I’m tackling a business challenge is talk to the people who are having the problem,” she says, “and I draw the process we have now and color code it and talk to them about why it’s a problem and what their proposed solution is.” That makes it easier for her to adjust all the different components of the workflow to see where she can save people clicks or add automation to save time.

One thing Courtney uses her visualization method for is to keep her users updated about changes she’s making to their workflows. It’s important to her because not too long ago, she was one. “Users don’t necessarily understand all the technical mumbo jumbo,” she says, “but sending them a visual representation of how you’re going to fix something is a much better way to communicate with them.”

Why being a Salesforce Admin means you have to be social.

Courtney likes to say that being a Salesforce Admin is one of the most social jobs you will have. “As an admin, your users are your customers,” she says, “they’re our customers, they’re our clients, it’s our job to make everything easier on their side.” The first thing Courtney does when she’s handed a new issue is to set up a meeting to talk through the process and, ideally, watch them work through it as it currently stands so she can ask questions.

In the current remote work environment, many of us find ourselves in these days, that can be a little trickier because you can’t just do some SABWA (Salesforce Administration By Walking Around). For Courtney, video conferencing has been a lifesaver: “We’re actually meeting more now than we did before,” she says, and those meetings are paving the way for even more improvements in the org.

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Direct download: SFA_547_MASTERED.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am PST

We’re back with some tricks and treats and another great batch of Salesforce content. This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, Mike and Gillian, we’re bringing you the October edition of the Monthly Retro episode to spotlight all the blog posts, videos, and everything else from this month.

Join us as we talk about all the helpful content from October, Mike and Gillian’s favorite Halloween costumes, and the most popular Halloween decoration in 2020.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Trailblazers Innovate series

For four amazing weeks on Tuesdays, the Trailblazers Innovate series brought us the latest and greatest of what’s coming next. We take a moment to highlight the admin episode, “Go Digital Fast,” which was chock-full of helpful demos, including DevOps Center, Dynamic Actions, and Admin Home.

Taking the lead.

Both Mike and Gillian loved Emma B-F’s blog from October, “Leadership Tips for Salesforce Administrators.” Even if you’re not an admin, these tips are super helpful no matter what you’re doing in your organization and your professional life.

Podcast highlights from October.

For Mike, the Jason Teller episode stood out as a highlight from October. If you’re looking to automate more within your organization with all the amazing things Flow is capable of, make sure you give it a listen. For Gillian, it was the episode about Salesforce Anywhere with John Brock. As we’re all finding new ways to work, the innovations coming with Chatter and Quip can make things much easier for you and your team. Make sure to check them both out!

Video highlights from October.

Mike’s standout video from October is about Tableau Connector. It’s simple to set up and get amazing visualizations in a snap. Gillian loved this month’s Low Code Love video, which helps us learn new ways to do more with our existing skills.

Listen to the full episode so you don’t miss Mike and Gillian’s favorite Halloween costumes, their favorite candy, and the number-one selling decoration for 2020.

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Direct download: October_Monthly_Retro_with_Gillian_and_Mike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24am PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking with Neha Ahlawat, Director Product Management at Salesforce and the Product Manager for Custom Metadata. We dive into all things Custom Metadata: what it is and why you should care about it.

Join us as we talk about how Custom Metadata types can make your app more sophisticated, and why you shouldn’t fear the CLI.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Neha Ahlawat.

Why Custom Metadata types are better than Custom Settings.

“Custom Metadata types are custom versions of metadata that you, the customer or developer, can create and use,” Neha says. It works very similarly to a Custom Object, but it works like metadata, letting you unlock some powerful Salesforce features. With low code or no code, you can simplify common processes like replacing hardcoded data on validation rules and making them much easier to maintain.

In the past, you may have used Custom Settings to help you out, but Custom Metadata types have a few advantages that you should take advantage of. They’re reusable, because the rules of a Custom Metadata type are application metadata, allowing you to redeploy and package them for other purposes. There’s also better protection mechanics to cover not just the type, but the individual records. You can create relationships between Custom Metadata types, and even reference them in validation rules. “Basically, you can make an application a bit more sophisticated and customizable by using Custom Metadata,” Neha says, in ways you can’t do with Custom Settings.

Don’t fear the CLI.

Neha and her team just released a CLI plugin for Custom Metadata types. “Do not fear the CLI, admins, it’s very simple to use,” Neha says, “it’s very simple to use those single-line commands that can allow you to do much more powerful stuff with Custom Metadata directly from the command line.”

You can bulk insert records for a Custom Metadata type, allowing you to add up to 10,000 records with one command execution. If you’ve been using the third-party Data Loader tool and run into some roadblocks, you might consider switching to the CLI plugin so you can get help directly from Salesforce.

New features for Winter ‘21 and beyond.

With the Winter ‘21 Release, there are a few new things coming to Custom Metadata. The CLI plugin is out, but so is the ability to create relationships with the geolocation compound field. Looking forward, they’re trying to focus on bridging the gaps that exist between Custom Settings and Custom Metadata types to make it easier to switch over. 

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This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got John Brock, a Product Manager for Salesforce Anywhere. We talk about this amazing tool and everything it makes possible.

Join us as we talk about all of the amazing ways Salesforce Anywhere can save you time and help your users and how you can get started with the beta today.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with John Brock.

A more powerful and personalized Salesforce experience.

“The real premise behind Salesforce Anywhere is trying to create persona-focused experiences for Salesforce and really make Salesforce more focused on the end-user,” John says, whether that’s you, the admin, or your service agents on the front lines. It lets your users customize and personalize their experiences without requiring a bunch of extra work on your end. “When you’re administering a large org, or even a small org, it’s really difficult for you to know exactly what every sales rep will need,” John says, “so why not let Salesforce do it for you?”

One feature that’s been a hit so far is personalized alerts. “When Salesforce data changes, often that means something to a user that’s looking at that particular record or that piece of data,” John says, “today, Salesforce reps are creating reports to watch changes to their specific opportunities or the accounts they’re monitoring, but the retrieval model is pretty manual.” That probably means an admin had to spend time putting those reports together, and the end users are scouring them each day for changes. Personalized alerts makes that whole process a lot simpler, and is scalable no matter how many users you have.

How you can get started with Salesforce Anywhere.

All of this is trying to decrease the time admins spend hitting the clone button for the umpteenth time and focus more on high-value jobs. This also extends to actions. Salesforce Anywhere monitors the changes individual users are tracking and automatically suggests actions to improve their workflow, with a little help from Einstein.

“When I joined the Salesforce Anywhere team a little over a year ago,” John says, “we were trying to figure out what were the ways that we could make the experience for end-users more efficient, easier to use, and more personalized.” This started out as a chat-focused interface, but although it made some things a lot easier, it was too disorienting for general use. That kernel of an idea, however, became an app to actually get more feedback and make Salesforce Anywhere even better.

The Salesforce Anywhere beta is available right now in your Salesforce Setup page for a huge number of customers, so you can start saving time. If you don’t have it, you probably need to sign some beta and pilot terms and conditions. Either way, we’re looking towards the Spring ‘21 Release to bring Salesforce Anywhere to every org.

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Direct download: Salesforce_Anywhere_with_John_Brock.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:07am PST

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Marco Casalaina, SVP, Product Management, and GM of Einstein at Salesforce. We go over all things Einstein and what you should do with that all-important free prediction.

Join us as we talk about how to translate what you need to know into an Einstein prediction, how to know if you have enough data, and understanding what to do with the recommendations you get.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Marco Casalaina.

The werewolf behind Einstein.

Marco started at Salesforce way back in 2005, working on what is now the Service Cloud as one of the original developers before eventually moving into product management. “A lot of old school admins who are listening to this podcast might know me as ‘Werewolf,’” Marco says, which was his handle on the old Answers and developer.force.com discussion boards where he has literally thousands of posts. While Salesforce has gone through a lot of changes since his developer days, some of Marco’s original code is still a part of the platform. “Whenever you click to dial a phone number...I wrote that code myself, it’s still there,” he says.

Today, Marco is the GM of Einstein, an AI that adds intelligence to the apps you build and use in Salesforce. With over 45 different Einstein applications and platform capabilities available today, “but the philosophy behind it is that it should be accessible to a Salesforce administrator,” he says, “you shouldn’t have to know how to code to use Einstein and you certainly shouldn’t have to know how to use algorithms.”

How to get started with Einstein.

If you’re like a lot of us, with all the Einstein options available it’s hard to figure out where to get started. Marco recommends taking a look at the pre-built applications. Many of these are included in the base Salesforce licenses, and even more importantly, they give you valuable insights on your data you can use right now. This includes smart features like opportunity scoring and case classification, a new feature in Winter ‘21 that can automatically read emails and classify them based on what it already knows about your previous cases. This feature is super easy to set up but can potentially save your organization tons of time, and it’s included in the base service cloud license.

To support you, there’s a new Prediction Builder module on Trailhead to help you get a handle on everything. “When it comes to Prediction Builder, you as an administrator—you’ve got to apply yourself a little bit,” Marco says, “you’ve got to think through what is it exactly that you’re trying to predict.” That means getting specific and boiling it down to KPIs you can put into the application.

“You can predict a yes or no question or a number so you have to reduce it to that,” Marco says, “then the next question is, do I have enough data to make this prediction and is that data in Salesforce?” Einstein needs a minimum of 400 records to make a guess, but with algorithms, the more the merrier. What you get is a probability, and it’s up to you to translate the results and figure out what to do about it.

What to do with your free prediction.

So you get one free prediction to make the case to your organization that they should invest more in Einstein—what should you do? Marco highlights a few common predictions, including late to pay, prospect scoring, and the likelihood of churn (which is basically the likelihood of something not happening). Next Best Action is another powerful freemium feature that is only getting better, so check it out.

One of the coolest things about Einstein is that it’s constantly learning and retraining itself. Lots has changed in 2020 and businesses need to be nimble—you may find yourself selling to a new market, or in a new way that you hadn’t considered before. Unlike other lead scoring methods where you need to write a set of rules, Einstein automatically makes predictions itself based on the data coming in. It’s only getting more and more powerful as time goes on, so now’s the time to make the case to your organization that they need to get smarter.

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Direct download: Get_Started_with_Salesforce_Einstein_with_Marco_Casalaina.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to Jason Teller, Senior Director of Product Management at Salesforce. We cover all the new features coming to Flow in Winter ‘21 and how you can make big performance gains for your org.

Join us as we talk about how auto-layout mode helps with blank canvas anxiety and why the before-save trigger offers big performance improvements for updating fields.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jason Teller.

Why the admin community had a big impact on Jason.

You might recognize Jason from the Winter ‘20 Release Readiness video, where he teamed up with Gillian to talk about all things automation and Flow. He’s a certified Flownatic, and he joined Salesforce specifically to work on the Flow team. “The thing that impressed me so much about Salesforce when I joined was actually the admin community,” he says, “because Flow and automation gives somebody like the admin the power of a developer, it allows you to build things that help people actually do the work they need to do.”

What Jason loves so much about automation at Salesforce is that the focus is always on putting the people first. “In order to do that, you need a level of automation that makes you able to build out richer screens, to build things quickly and easily that fulfill people’s needs in terms of whatever job they need to actually do,” he says. Luckily, there are lot of features coming out specifically in Winter ’21 that’ll make things easier than ever before.

New Winter ’21 features.

Working with Flow is great until you can’t figure out why it’s not working. Luckily, Jason and his team are coming to the rescue with new debug features in Winter ’21 and more on the way. There’s an autolaunch flow that visualizes what path your flow took when it run, which helps you see how it’s working and where it might’ve gone wrong.

Auto-layout mode (beta for Winter ’21) can help you get your ideas out there faster and clearer. “I did a lot of work around trying to eliminate ‘blank canvas’ anxiety,” Jason says, “auto-layout gives us the ability to provide an easy bit of guidance and make flow building a lot more straightforward and easier.” It’ll take you through a step-by-step process to make building a flow simple and intuitive.

There’s also some special super powers coming that were once previously only available to devs. Things like trigger-on-delete, scheduled flows, before-save triggered field updates, and after-save trigger. These triggers save time, but they also have a big impact on performance because they only run when they need to. This is all to help make Flow your go-to tool for building anything you need. Listen to the full episode for more about this and the ins and outs of Swiss double cream.

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Direct download: Powerful_New_Salesforce_Flow_Features_in_Winter_21_with_Jason_Teller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

At the end of each month, we take a moment to cover all the great Salesforce content you might not have caught. This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, Mike and Gillian, we have September’s Monthly Retro episode to highlight all the blog posts, videos, and everything else from this month.

Join us as we talk about everything groovy that happened in September.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Learn MOAR about the Winter ‘21 Release

There’s a lot of excitement building around the Winter ‘21 Release, and we put out a series of five blog posts to help get you up to speed. From Lightning Email Templates to the new improvements to Flow, there’s a lot to learn and we’ve brought it all together in one place so you can dive in.

#LowCodeLove

If you’re looking to uplevel your skills and take advantage of all the great tools Salesforce has to offer, spend some time with our #LowCodeLove content. We cover Flow Builder, how you can more effectively drive change management, and what you can do to create a multi-layer security strategy in your org.

Podcasts

This month, we tackled security on the pod. We learn all about MFA, SSO, and all the best practices and tips for how you can protect your org. We also had a great conversation with Tiffany Thomas about how her work as a business analyst helps her be a great Salesforce admin.

Content Retro

Take a moment to journey back into the past with us and look at what was going on two years ago, four years ago, and five years ago, including the Awesome Admin Dance, Admin stories, and the first time we had a stage of our own in the very first Admin Zone.

2 years ago:

4 years ago:

Listen to the full episode so you don’t miss our recap of all the groovy songs and movies we loved from the ‘70s.

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Direct download: September_Monthly_Retro_with_Gillian_and_Mike.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Tiffany Thomas, Senior Salesforce Business Analyst at New York Life Insurance. We learn how getting your users to collaborate can have a huge impact on buy-in and adoption.

Join us as we talk about why active listening and good communication skills are the foundation of being an effective BA, how that’s changed with more remote users than ever before, and why it’s so important to remind your users that they are the experts on their own business processes.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Tiffany Thomas.

SABWA? More like SABZA.

Tiffany always knew she had an interest in technology, but it wasn’t until she got a chance email from PepUp Tech that she got a chance to make those dreams a reality. “PepUp Tech is an amazing organization that inspires and empowers underrepresented people by teaching technology skills, such as Salesforce,” she says, “and also provides a strong network of support to help people launch a successful career in tech.”

These days, Tiffany is focused on a new challenge: migrating her org from Classic to Lightning. “We’re not just taking everything that was in our old house and bringing it to our new house,” she says. She’s in charge of meeting with all fourteen service teams to go over their business processes—especially in light of more people working remotely—and creating user stories around them. In other words, Tiffany does SABWA (Salesforce Administration By Walking Around) as a job, though these days it’s maybe more like SABZA (Salesforce Administration by Zooming Around).

Maintaining business relationships in a remote environment.

When Tiffany first started at New York Life, financial services was a new industry for her. That meant she had to really understand what her users are trying to do and what their workflows look like. Most importantly, she was able to ask why they do what they do, and understand what’s important and what’s not.

Prior to COVID-19, New York Life already had employees working from home, so Tiffany had experience helping those users through Salesforce. However, one thing that’s been different is not getting the chance to run into people and find out what’s on their mind. “For me, the most important thing was trying to maintain the relationships I’ve built with my users and letting them still feel like they’re playing a part because they are,” she says.

The two skills every BA needs.

Tiffany is a Business Analyst working in Salesforce, and she has a couple of tips for how to harness a little BA magic for yourself. “One of the most important skills that a business analyst can have is being an active listener,” she says, “listen to understand.” You might not know all of the business processes, but being able to hear what your users say and understand the Why behind it can go a long way.

The other key skill is effective communication. “Communicating back what you’re hearing will help when you’re trying to get buy-in,” Tiffany says. “I like to start each meeting reminding my users that they are the experts in that business process,” she says, which brings them into a collaboration with her on how to improve their workflow and, ultimately, helps drive adoption.

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Gillian Bruce:
Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt:
And I'm Mike Gerholdt.

Gillian Bruce:
And today we are talking to Tiffany Thomas. She is a senior Salesforce business analyst at the New York Life Insurance Company in New York. And we had Tiffany hop on the pod to talk about how to think like a BA or a business analyst. It's very helpful for admins. She had some great tips. And so without further ado, let's welcome Tiffany to the podcast.

Gillian Bruce:
Tiffany, welcome to the podcast.

Tiffany Thomas:
Thank you so much for having me.

Gillian Bruce:
Well, I'm very happy you took the time to join us. I wanted to get you on the podcast to talk a little bit about the idea of being a business analyst and kind of what that means for being an admin. But before we get into that, can you give us kind of a brief overview of your journey to Salesforce?

Tiffany Thomas:
Yes. My journey to Salesforce actually started about three years ago. I was working full time in high education and I've always had an interest in technology. During the last year of my Master's program, I joined some tech mailing lists just to do as much as I possibly can so I could break into this industry. A little while after, I received an email about this program that helps people start their careers in tech. And of course I applied immediately and that program was PepUp Tech. PepUp Tech is an amazing organization that inspires and empowers underrepresented people by teaching technology skills, such as Salesforce and also provides a strong network of support to how people launch a successful career in tech.

Tiffany Thomas:
I was accepted into the program in October 2018 and Selina Suarez, one of the founders was my instructor. I was in the program for about 10 weeks and over the course of those 10 weeks, I learned about the Salesforce platform, I built a recruiting app and really began networking with members in the community. And I learned this after the fact that the reason why I was even able to know about this PepUp Tech is because of a partnership that CUNY and PepUp Tech had. And that was spearheaded by a PepUp Tech alum, Shaquille Cameron. That's how everything came to life with that. I'm like, oh my goodness. I didn't know it until I actually heard his story on the podcast. I'm like, wow. It's just really amazing, things that we can get from PepUp Tech and that an organization like PepUp Tech exists. That's how I broke into Salesforce.

Gillian Bruce:
I love that Shaquille was one of the vehicles that led you to the Salesforce ecosystem. That's pretty awesome. I didn't know that.

Mike Gerholdt:
Yeah. I think it's really cool also that there was more than one vehicle. I think, hearing that intro, Tiffany, I'm always struck by when you read on the community, everybody's like, what's the one thing you did? Well, it wasn't one thing, it was multiple things and multiple introductions, which is kind of how the community blankets people, I guess I'll say.

Gillian Bruce:
Right. Blanket is good, Mike, I like that.

Mike Gerholdt:
Well we're heading into fall so it's blanket season.

Gillian Bruce:
It is. Tiffany, tell me a little bit, so now, you've been introduced to the Salesforce ecosystem in a few ways, by some really amazing people and by amazing programs, what are you doing with Salesforce now?

Tiffany Thomas:
Oh, with Salesforce now, one of the biggest thing is working on the move to Lightning. We're still in classic and right now I am meeting with the user. I work at New York Life. I've been at New York Life for about a year and I'm approaching my milestone, my year and a half milestone next month. That's pretty exciting.

Gillian Bruce:
That's awesome. Congrats.

Tiffany Thomas:
Thank you. Thank you. And, okay, so we're moving into the new org and we're not just taking everything that's in our old house and bringing it into our new house. No. I'm actually responsible for meeting with the service users. There's about 14 different service teams and I would meet with them, go over their business processes, see if anything has changed with the move from working in the office to now 99% remote and just trying to solidify those requirements, create user stories around them and working in concert with the development team to build out some of those requirements in an innovative fashion. That's the biggest thing that takes up the majority of my time. That's what I'm doing with Salesforce right now.

Mike Gerholdt:
You do like SABWA as a job?

Tiffany Thomas:
Yes.

Mike Gerholdt:
Salesforce administration by maybe, oh SABZA, Salesforce administration by Zooming around.

Tiffany Thomas:
Yes. Financial services is new to me. Stepping into insurance, specifically, everything was new. And one of the things that I did is I met with my users and just sat with them, show me how you do this. How do you process this transaction? Why are we doing it this way? What is the importance of this? And there was a lot of value in that, in that my team, the users were able to show me how they do their job. And more importantly, I was able to learn from them as well. And it just made for a really great, start off a great professional relationship. I started to build that with the different team members across the service department.

Mike Gerholdt:
Tiffany, I'm curious, was it more important for you to be in tech or more important for you to be in financial services? When you were choosing this as a career and as a path, I think sometimes people try to marry the two, but often one is more important. Which kind of weighed on you as you thought about taking this position?

Tiffany Thomas:
That is a great question. It was important for me to break into technology, but I also have a bachelor's in finance so it was almost a perfect fit in a sense that yes, here come this bachelor's degree in finance and this interest in technology and throughout my journey, I've actually been doing business analysis, even though I didn't know it was called business analysis at the time, I was doing it. It just seemed, it was beautiful how it came together. It was a perfect fit. Now I'm a BA and I'm working in technology and financial services. I could pull on those different experiences to help me in my current role.

Gillian Bruce:
It's amazing how, when you fall into these situations in life, where you get to use both kind of the areas of expertise and what you care about, it's pretty amazing. Good for you, Tiffany. It's really great. You did the work to get there. Like you said, you had your bachelor's in finance and then, you're really passionate about breaking into tech and kind of did all of the things that you needed to do to kind of open those doors and get there so go good for you. But it does, it takes work to kind of get those things aligned.

Gillian Bruce:
One of the things that you mentioned, Tiffany, on things that you're using Salesforce for is adjusting to kind of this 99% remote life that all your users are doing. Can you talk a little bit about maybe some of the challenges that you've had to overcome to make that happen? It sounds like, as Mike said, you're doing a lot of SABZA, Salesforce administration by Zooming around, and kind of figuring out what users need to get their jobs done with this kind of new environment. Can you talk maybe a little about a couple of the challenges that surprised you or that you've come across in kind of this transition?

Tiffany Thomas:
Sure. One of the good things I would say is prior to COVID, we actually had remote workers. We were using Skype and for users that were working remotely, I would meet with them via Skype to just see what their business processes were. The challenging or the part I had to get adjusted to was users that were in the office because I was headquartered in New York City and we had quite a few people that would work in the office and those random interactions that you would have with people just by seeing them, that is something that I had to adjust to in the now well, 99% remote environment and still building and maintaining those relationships that I have with the users. Now that they're not seeing me day to day and seeing my face.

Tiffany Thomas:
With Zoom and Skype, yes, we could get on the camera and see each other and go over the business requirements or any new things that may have come up since we moved working remotely. And then of course, with the technology issues, sometimes they don't always work. That's always a challenge, but for me, what the most important thing was trying to maintain those relationships that I've had with the users and letting them still feel that they are playing a part because they truly are. I value what they have to say and their business processes and any areas that we can possibly improve on. Just making sure that they feel heard in that regard and maintaining those relationships. And we're doing pretty well, given the circumstances.

Gillian Bruce:
That's awesome. Yeah. I think, finding a way to maintain those relationships with technology exclusively is a challenge, but congrats to you on doing the work to make that happen. Now, one of the things that you said that I thought was really interesting is having your users feel like they're a part of it. Can you tell me a little bit more about that? I know your role is kind of a business analyst and realizing that you've been doing this for a long, basically being a BA for a long time. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of having your users feel like they're part of what you're doing and how you accomplish that?

Tiffany Thomas:
Sure. In order to accomplish that, I think one of the most important skills that a business analyst could have is being an active listener, in that for me, I listen to understand. As I mentioned earlier, I was new to this industry and as a BA especially, you may not know all of that business' processes, especially if it's a brand new industry. You're not going to know everything and just being able, so listen, so what those processes are and listen to really understand what it is and not necessarily to solve for the pain point right there, but listen enough to understand so you could then communicate that back to your users is helpful. And that's another important skill, being an effective communicator. Now that you have an understanding of your users' business processes, yes communicate back what you're hearing and then that will help when I'm trying to get buy in. That's what I found.

Tiffany Thomas:
And I would say things like, "Well, what I'm hearing is," or, "this is my understanding of the process, please, correct me if I misstate anything or if what I'm stating is incorrect." I give them that opportunity. And I like to start each meeting letting my users know that they are the experts because they truly are. They live and breathe this during their workday. They are the experts in that business process or those several business processes. And I say that because I believe it and I want them to feel a part of it. And I appreciate those type of environments where we're coming together, understanding what the problem is and we're working together on a solution.

Tiffany Thomas:
And what I found is that that helps with driving adoption, because here you have this subject matter expert who told you what the problem was, worked on the solution with you and now they're going to train, let's say their teammates on that new process. And it just, it's been a really great experience so far and I think it's important as we're building out solutions for our users that we remember it's for a user or for a group of users, for a human I like to say it and not just, oh, this is great for the system, but it's your users that would have to use it on a day to day. Getting their buy in is important.

Mike Gerholdt:
Tiffany, I'd be curious to know, it sounds like your job was mostly in the office and somewhat remote and now, users are working from home. You're most likely working from home. What adjustments have you made to be in the Zoom? I think I heard it on the news the other day, the Zoom culture that we live in, what adjustments have you made to show that you're being an active listener and a good communicator? Because I find that there's some fidelity loss in a webcam.

Tiffany Thomas:
True. For me, I nod, even while we're here on this podcast. I nod to show that I'm listening because I am. I'm listening. And then there's some moments where I may like put up a finger because wait, I have a question. Let's pause right there. They still get to see, I would say, your personality. That human part of it, even though we're in front of screen and we're seeing each other on camera, so trying to keep some of the human elements to it, I find helpful. And then, now they have those, wave or raise your hand, but I actually raise my hand on the camera, if we're on camera or if we're not on camera, I will say, "Wait, wait, can we just pause here for a second? And let's step back for a little bit."

Tiffany Thomas:
But using language such as that, but when they're seeing you on the camera, it does help break down some of that, I guess, barriers, if you will, that makes this in a remote environment. It's not as, I guess, it's not that it's not user friendly, but it's missing certain human elements, but we just adjust. It's temporary. We don't know how long, but we just adjust and we're here for a reason and we're going to solve it and work toward that solution.

Gillian Bruce:
I think, that whole idea of active listening and letting your users or whoever you're talking with, we know that you're engaged. I think it's really important. I think those are some great tips for how to do that in a remote world. One of the other things that I heard you talk about was getting users to train and enable other users. Kind of creating those kind of those champions or those kind of mini evangelists within your organization. What are some of the ways that you've been able to do that? Because I know that's kind of a secret to success, especially in this world, where it's all about the relationships and you can't have Zoom meetings with every single person in your company. How have you been successful in kind of creating those enablers or those implementers, kind of your super users, if you will?

Tiffany Thomas:
I think one of the benefit is this project that we're working on with the new org. What I would do, I tell the team leads. There is a junior team lead and a senior team lead on this project that we're working on. And I do let them know their importance, what the expectation is that I have of them, which is they will come to us with process improvement ideas, any problems that they have regarding the current state and any ideas for the future state. And I do let them know that they are the leaders of this. You will be leading this, you will be training people on it. And what I find is it gives people an opportunity to step into leadership in a sense because let's say your primary job is a call center representative, for example. Now, you're doing something that's a little outside of your primary function, but it's something that you want to do. You've expressed interest in it.

Tiffany Thomas:
What I do, I tap into that, I'm like, okay, well, here's what we're doing regarding this state. We're in the initial state of the project. Right now we're just solidifying the requirements and then building it out. And I let my users know that. The next stage is when we develop and after we've tested it, they too, the leaders that we have selected, will be part of that. I do let them know what's coming and if they have any questions or concerns, I ask them. I answer whatever those concerns may be. And for the most part, the people are excited about this because we're all in this remote environment. And well, how do I still show up? And how do I still lead when no one can't see me? And I think that's what we're addressing here with giving the team leads this opportunity, because they're going back to their teams and asking their teams, "Hey, this is what we've been thinking about. What other things have you thought about?" Everyone gets to input on that. And then the team leads will bring it back to my team and we'll collaborate again with it.

Tiffany Thomas:
I think that that helps, building those relationships and making everyone feel included and getting your users to step into those leadership positions in a sense, or those leadership roles that they wouldn't normally step into in a different environment or if they were just focusing on their day to day. Little projects like this helps. And if you have let's say, multiple projects happening at the same time, maybe you could pull on a different user. Now you're giving exposure to other people who've shown interest in learning more about technology or just even just stepping outside of their role. That would be my advice to get users to do it.

Gillian Bruce:
I like that, giving other people chances to shine and lead. I think that's a really good way of framing it. And I like how you say you set the expectations at the outset. Of here's what it's going to mean of you and here are the opportunities it may provide for you and all that. I think that's really great.

Gillian Bruce:
Tiffany, I'm wondering what tips do you have for admins who may be thinking a business analyst might be new to them. What are some things that you have that might help an admin kind of put on or learn about how to use a business analyst mindset?

Tiffany Thomas:
Oh, I'll have to go back to listening. And it's a little bit difficult because with the platform, so for example, if the user comments are saying, "I'm getting email notifications from this group, another group and the format is completely different or it doesn't have the information that I need and I always have to go back or pull it up." I think when we hear something like that, we're automatically thinking, okay, this may be a use case for, let's say an email template or an email alert. That can help standardize that process. But what's really important here is we need to understand why is this a problem? It's that why and I think that's what's really helpful. That's what admins can tap into, as opposed to someone coming to us and saying, "Hey, well create this check box and create this field." And we don't understand the why or what is this checkbox? Or what is this field going to solve?

Tiffany Thomas:
By tapping into what is it going to solve will help us better understand the business process and what is it we are being asked to do as admin. I think we need to listen and ask them those questions why. Why are we doing this? But ask it in a nice way. and let them know you're not trying to offend them, but it's really, I'm trying to understand what we're solving for here. What is the problem? Let's step back. Let's go back to the beginning. What is the problem? And why is this a problem? Because the way I tie it, I will make an analogy here. You wouldn't want to go to a doctor and they just started prescribing you medication without first hearing what your problem is so don't do that to your users.

Gillian Bruce:
That's a great analogy. I love that. I love that. Tiffany, this has been so great. Thank you for sharing on the podcast. Thank you for the expertise that you bring and the real, tangible, tactical tips that you shared, I think are going to be very helpful about active listening, especially in a remote environment, how to empower your users to empower each other and lift each other up. I think that's these are all really great. I really appreciate your time and sharing with us.

Tiffany Thomas:
Thank you so much, Gillian and Mike, I appreciate speaking to you both today.

Mike Gerholdt:
It was great speaking with you. And turn on your webcams. That's what I learned. One of the things.

Tiffany Thomas:
Yes. And I would say one more thing here. If you want a webcam enabled meeting, let people know ahead of time, because I think there's a lot of pressure every time people see Zoom, the expectation is they're going to be on camera. But if you set it up in the offset, in your meeting invite, hey, I really want everyone to be on camera for this meeting, it gives them an opportunity to prepare, instead of you just forcing this on them when they're in a meeting. Turn on your webcam. No, wait, I'm not ready yet. That's one other, I guess, tip.

Gillian Bruce:
Hey, I appreciate that. Especially as a female who likes to brush my hair, maybe put on some lip gloss, that's fair.

Tiffany Thomas:
I need to know what I'm getting into.

Gillian Bruce:
Excellent. Well, thank you again so much, Tiffany. I really appreciate it. And thanks for sharing all your expertise with our amazing admin community.

Tiffany Thomas:
Thank you so much you guys.

Mike Gerholdt:
It was great to meet with Tiffany and Gillian, thanks for setting that up. I loved the discussion that we had with her. Few things that stood out for me. One, Tiffany did a really great job of combining her education. She had a BA in finance with her new found tech career. And I think as I mentioned in the interview, that's one of the things that I always get asked and Gillian, I'm sure you get asked as well is, how do we decide what industry we can go into because Salesforce works in most every industry. I like that she found the industry that she was both passionate and knowledgeable about, to combine her tech knowledge.

Mike Gerholdt:
And then the second thing, one of the keys to Tiffany success, as she mentioned, was being an active listener and being a good communicator and even more so in this era, the Zoom culture that we live in, where we have to do a lot of listening. And we also have to do a lot of active communicating. I think it might be a few more times that I'm going to start raising my hand on calls when I have questions to bring up because that's a good way to get everybody's attention.

Mike Gerholdt:
And the third thing that stood out and it's something that we often forget because as Salesforce admins, we're experts in our field, but remember, when we're talking to our users, they're really experts in the process that they're helping to manage and that they're helping to make better. As you be a good active listener, as you be a good communicator, this is one of those times when you can sit back and talk with them because this is the process that they work with and that they're really trying to make better every single day, as are you.

Mike Gerholdt:
Now, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And as a reminder, if you pop on over to iTunes, please give us a review. Honestly, that helps the iTunes algorithm move the podcast up so that more admins can find this amazing podcast and hear all of the great stories like Tiffany Thomas. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. You can find me on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholdt and of course Gillian is @GillianKBruce. With that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Gillian Bruce:
Let's do this. Tiffany, Oh yes, Mike?

Mike Gerholdt:
Nothing.

Gillian Bruce:
All right.

Mike Gerholdt:
We've been doing this for a while. It's always funny when one of us is like, okay, we're getting serious now.

Gillian Bruce:
Yeah. Mike.

 

Direct download: From_SABWA_to_SABZA_with_Tiffany_Thomas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re bringing on Laura Pelkey, Senior Manager of Security Customer Engagement at Salesforce, as a guest interviewer to talk to Kerry Schoepfle, Salesforce Engineer at Rackspace, and a member of our new Trust Champions program. We learn all about Multi-Factor Authentication and how you can use it in your org.

Join us as we talk about how important MFA is to security and how easy it is to implement, how to make it easy for your users to buy in, and how to make security fun.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Laura Pelkey and Kerry Schoepfle.

Why every org should consider MFA

Kerry first got started in Salesforce working as a Certified Financial Planner at a wealth management firm. “We used Salesforce to keep track of client information and assign operational tasks, but I knew there was so much more we could be leveraging the platform for,” she says. Since her firm didn’t have a dedicated admin, Kerry thought she’d give it a go and quickly discovered that she enjoyed building on the platform, so much so that she decided to change careers.

At the firm, Kerry was super excited to roll out MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication), which provides an extra layer of security to your Salesforce login process. This requires users to verify their identity with two or more pieces of evidence to show they are who they say they are. There’s even a free Salesforce Authenticator App which you can download to your mobile device to make the adopting MFA as easy as possible with no coding required. Securing your customers’ data has never been easier.

Making adoption easy for your users

With security, it’s helpful to think in terms of layers. “In the security world,” Laura says, “this is called a Defense in Depth security strategy (DiD).” What can be difficult is getting buy-in from users as to why these extra steps are so essential. “As admins, I think we have a responsibility to be thoughtful and deliberate with the changes we make to our end-users’ experience,” Kerry says, “people can be resistant to change, especially if they don’t understand the reasons behind those changes.”

For Kerry, the answer is to always focus on how to make things as easy as possible for her users. She created a one-page job aid with instructions on how to download the Salesforce Authenticator App, and also spent time with each department to answer any questions they may have had. “Once the users were educated on the benefits of Multi-Factor Authentication, understood how it would protect them and our clients, and saw how easy it was to use, we really had strong adoption,” she says.

How to make security fun

One thing Kerry did to encourage adoption was to gamify the process a little bit by encouraging some friendly competition between departments. Think creatively about how to make the process fun, whether that’s hosting a launch party, or making special videos reminding people that changes are coming. “There’s lots of ways out there to get buy-in from your users by adding a little fun, gamified aspect to it,” Kerry says.

Making MFA a reality means getting buy-in from leadership, and that starts with educating yourself so you can make the case for the benefits of implementing it. Kerry recommends hitting up Trailhead and the Trailblazer community to get started. “Connect with other individuals who have experience with implementing MFA, get their feedback,” she says. There are a number of options for MFA, so think about what makes sense for your org and you can make a strong case to leadership.

Links:

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Social:

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt: And I'm Mike Gerholdt.

Gillian Bruce: And today we are talking about security, a very near and dear topic to all of us Salesforce admins, because we know, well Salesforce trust is our number one value. And I know as a Salesforce admin, it is one of your top priorities for your organization.
So we are featuring a guest interviewer and a guest today. We have Laura Pelkey, who is a senior manager of security customer engagement here at Salesforce. She's been on the pod many, many years ago, and she is helping pioneer our new trust champions program. You've heard [Prague] on the podcast a little while back, who is one of our trust champions, and we got Laura on the pod because Hey, she's a security expert here at Salesforce, and we wanted her to highlight another amazing trust champion, Kerry [Shefali 00:01:14]. So without further ado, Laura, take it away.

Laura Pelkey: Thanks, Gillian and Mike. Hi everyone. My name is Laura Pelkey. I am on the security communications and engagement team here at Salesforce. And my job is to talk to customers and partners about how they can secure their Salesforce data. So I'm really excited to be here today with one of our amazing trust champions, Kerry Shefali. And we're going to talk a little bit about Kerry's story with security and just get to know her a little bit more. So hi, Kerry, how are you doing today?

Kerry: Hi, Laura. I'm doing great. Thanks for having me on the podcast. It's a pleasure to be here.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. So excited. So just to get things kicked off, I'd love to hear a little bit about how you got started as a Salesforce admin?

Kerry: Yeah, it's been an exciting journey. I was working as a certified financial planner at a wealth management firm, and we used Salesforce to keep track of client information and assign operational tasks, but I knew there was so much more, we could be leveraging the platform for. We didn't have a dedicated admin, so I took the opportunity to start learning the admin tools myself, and I rolled up my sleeves, hit the trails on Trailhead and discovered that I really enjoyed building solutions on the platform to solve business needs. So that sort of prompted my career pivot from certified financial planner to becoming a Salesforce admin. And now I'm a four time Trailhead ranger, I have six certifications and it's been a lot of fun.

Laura Pelkey: That is awesome. That is definitely quite a pivot, but I love that you who were able to utilize Trailhead and just kind of learn everything you needed to learn and be successful. That's great. So as I mentioned, a few seconds ago, you recently joined Salesforce's trust champions program. Can you tell us a little bit about one of your favorite security related projects that you run as an admin?

Kerry: Yeah. So one of my favorite security related projects is when I rolled out Multi-Factor Authentication or MFA, at the wealth management firm, in order to add an extra layer of security to protect our orgs data. So MFA adds an extra layer of security to your Salesforce login process by requiring users to verify their identity with two or more pieces of evidence or factors to prove they are who they say they are.
So these factors are something the user knows, like their username and password, plus something they have like the code from an authentication app, on a mobile device or physical security key. So we use the Salesforce authenticator app, which is free and can be downloaded to your mobile device. And there's some initial configuration necessary, but it's a very straightforward process for admins to set up. There's no coding required. And once it's configured users will receive a push notification on their device every time they log into Salesforce and with a single click, those users can either approve or deny the login.
And MFA is really a very effective way to add that extra layer of security to your orgs data. Because even if an attacker or what we call a bad actor were to obtain a user's login name and password, it's highly unlikely that they would also have access to that mobile device as a second factor. So they'd be blocked from gaining access to your org. And what I love about the trust champions program is the focus on educating Salesforce, admins and users about the benefits of MFA, as well as providing resources for admins every step of the way.

Laura Pelkey: Well, we are so excited that you were willing to join our trust champions program. This is a newer program that we just started here at Salesforce, and I'm really excited about all the great things that you champions are going to accomplish.
So it sounds like MFA is kind of a magical thing that helps protect you against some really just common things that we face nowadays with security, like phishing attacks. So that's great that you decided to roll that out at your company. Can I ask, what made you decide to implement MFA?

Kerry: Sure. So as we all know, and Salesforce holds very important, customer trust is a sensitive topic for companies in every industry, but particularly when you're talking about access to someone's personal and financial information, it doesn't really get much more sensitive than that. And at the time we decided to implement MFA, there were some high profile data breaches in the news that impacted millions of people's financial information. So this sort of prompted us to examine our own security practices and evaluate how we could best protect our client data. Obviously, the threat landscape is constantly changing, It's a lot to keep up with, but it was clear to us that user credentials alone are no longer adequate to guard against unauthorized account access.
So we chose to implement MFA specifically because it's an effective way to add another layer of security to our environment. It was something that we could implement quickly, and because it was the right action to take for the duty that we have to our clients.

Laura Pelkey: That's awesome. And you mentioned an added layer, and I just want to call that out. We definitely think about security in terms of layers, and the more layers you have, the more secure you are basically. And this is called, in the security world, it's called a defense in depth security strategy. So I love that you brought that up and MFA is definitely a really important layer of security for really any account.
So this definitely sounds like a little bit of an undertaking rolling out MFA. I know there is several components to doing something like this and getting all of your users to adopt MFA. What was the most challenging part of rolling this out for you, would you say?

Kerry: As admins I think we have a responsibility to be thoughtful and deliberate with the changes we make to our end users experience. Now people can be resistant to change, especially if they don't understand the reasons behind those changes. We're probably all guilty of operating on autopilot at times, and any deviation from that can seem disruptive. So I really tried to make it as easy for the users as possible. I created a one page job aid with instructions on how to download the Salesforce authenticator app. And I spent time with each department in order to answer questions, provide assistance, and just sort of walk them through that process.
And once the users were educated on the benefits of Multi-Factor Authentication, understood how it would protect them and our clients, and saw how easy it was to use, we really had strong adoption.

Laura Pelkey: That's awesome. Yeah. I know one of, probably the biggest deterrence for admins to implement MFA is probably the work that's involved, getting your users to actually use it. And I would say, it is definitely a little bit of an undertaking initially, but after the second time a user logs in, it's just kind of second nature. I want people to feel who are listening and who might be interested in MFA that it's a little bit of an undertaking at first, but it definitely is worth it in the long run, and users get used to it pretty quickly.

Kerry: Absolutely.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. So security can kind of be a bit of a dry topic you can say for users and for even some admins, it's not necessarily the most exciting thing. And you said this also Kerry, sometimes it's just not a huge priority for users, especially. What are some ways that you have made security fun for users or made using MFA a little bit more fun or the rollout? How did you kind of make that appealing to your users?

Kerry: I think we made it fun by keeping it simple. We've really put the focus on reducing the potential for user frustration by having strong communication about the change over a period of weeks before we actually implemented it. So depending on the version of Salesforce that you have, there's some flexibility when implementing MFA that can help you strategize your rollout. You can roll it out to all of your users at once, or you can adopt a phased approach, which is what we did. So we had a smaller group of pilot users that we implemented first, and we walked them through the initial setup and collected their feedback before rolling it out across departments.
But once we did roll it out to other teams, we tried to gamify the process as much as we could and add some friendly competition just to see which department it could reach full adoption first. But there are other ways that you can introduce some fun into implementing MFA as well. You could have a launch party, you could send out special videos reminding people that the change is coming up. There's lots of ways out there to sort of get the buy in from the users, by adding a little fun gamified aspect to it.

Laura Pelkey: I love that you talk about gamification. We are huge fans of that at Salesforce and especially on the security team here. Some of the listeners that are tuning in today may have attended a Dreamforce or Trailheadx where we ran a game called secure the force, which is kind of something that I am a big fan of which sort of gamifies learning about how to secure a Salesforce org.
And so I can speak to this firsthand. If you want to make security engaging, make it into a game. I love the idea of having different department's kind of competing against each other to adopt MFA and even having a launch party. I know, at Salesforce we use MFA as well. And when we started having employees use that years ago, we had some internal events where we were trying to build awareness internally and make it fun and appealing, and you can give away some prizes to like the first some number of people who downloaded the Salesforce authenticator app. So there's definitely things you can do and ways you can make security a little bit more fun for your users.
Now kind of going from the user perspective over to the leadership perspective. So admins are often required to work with IT teams or technology leadership to implement these larger changes to their org. What advice would you give to an admin who's trying to get buy in from leadership in order to implement MFA?

Kerry: The first step I would say, would be to educate yourself as an admin. There's a great Trailhead module called user authentication, that provides a lot of information on the background of why MFA is so important. And it also gives admins the hands on opportunity to implement MFA in a Trailhead playground or a developer org. And then I would say to leverage the amazing trailblazer community, connect with other individuals who have experience with implementing MFA, get their feedback. There's a great community group called MFA getting started, that has linked to a lot of excellent resources. There's an implementation video and admin setup guide ebook. And then after you reviewed these resources, you can evaluate the implementation options within MFA, think about really what makes sense for your organization.
So this could be based on your number of users, your number of geographic locations, or if you're already using tools like single sign on at your organization. So yes, you'll definitely want to coordinate with your leadership, with your IT department to determine the best approach. And of course, finally, you'll want to make sure that you communicate that plan to your users, preferably in multiple methods, whether it's a job aid or email communication during staff meetings or creating short videos, you want to make sure your users are informed about the changes so that they can make simple the processes simple for them as possible.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah, that's really good to point that out. Communication is key. So I think you also mentioned earlier doing a phased approach when rolling out MFA, and I think that's super important as well. We look often at who would account have the highest level of privilege or access you can think of. Who has the most access at your company inside of Salesforce? And that would most likely be a Salesforce admin or the equivalent of an admin and an executive probably. So I think getting buy in from executives and also having them be part of your pilot group is a great way to do that. Just demonstrating how important it is to secure their access and the accounts that have very high access is a good thing to point out.
And we do have some resources. Salesforce has created a bunch of resources to kind of help walk you through how to have these conversations and the change management that is involved with this kind of a rollout. So we'll be creating some of these and releasing some of them soon to help admins who are maybe interested in rolling out MFA, but aren't sure how to handle the change management aspect.
So Kerry, last question for you. If someone listening is considering implementing MFA, what would be one piece of advice you would give them?

Kerry: So I would say to educate yourself as an admin, that way you can have all the tools in your arsenal, then be prepared to have those conversations with your leadership, be prepared to have those conversations with your users. Tap into the Ohana, get in touch with people who have already rolled out MFA. The Ohana, as we all know, lots of help. So post your questions to that MFA getting started group. There's also the Salesforce trust website. That's at trust.salesforce.com. It has a lot of great tools and resources for admins. So I would start there.

Laura Pelkey: Awesome. Yes, we are here to help. There are resources that are out there and also don't feel afraid to contact your success manager or post questions in the trailblazer community. We're here to answer your questions and to help with this process.
So Kerry, thank you so much for joining us. I really loved chatting with you about your experience rolling out MFA and with security. And I appreciate you coming on the podcast.

Kerry: Thanks for having me, Laura. It's been a lot of fun.

Laura Pelkey: Yeah. So I will hand it back over to Gillian and Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: So it is great to meet Kerry, and I'm so thankful that Laura could jump in and be our guest interviewer this week. I do think everybody who enjoyed this podcast should tweet Laura, ask her to come back, we're always happy to have a guest host, especially when we're talking about really fun things like security.
So, let's get into the three things that I learned and I'm sure you learned as well from our discussion with Laura and Kerry. So first MFA is an important layer of security and can be implemented without code. That second part super important, I think, because it's very empowering to know you can implement a layer of security without code. Making change is easy for users to understand the benefits and always think about what's in it for them. So a lot of change can be very difficult, but always think of that benefit for, what's in it for them.
And of course, if you didn't get from the interview, Laura and Kerry loved to have fun with security. Make it fun for your users, keep it simple, reduce user frustration with a lot of communications. I think Gillian, we say that a lot in all of our presentations for admins, it's all about communication, communication, communication. And think about a phased approach. Maybe gamify it with a friendly composite competition. I'm always a fan of doing that. It's a good reason for you to put out a chatter post every now and then.
Now if you want to learn more about all things, Salesforce admin go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And as a reminder, you love what you hear, be sure to pop on over to iTunes, give us a review. That helps other admins find us when they're looking for something to listen to. So, you're helping other admins by giving us a review, I promise. And you can stay up to date with us on social for all things, Salesforce admins, we are @SalesforceAdmns on Twitter. You can find our guest hosts, Laura Pelkey on Twitter, she is @Laurapelkey1. Of course, I'm @MikeGerholdt on Twitter. And Gillian is @Gilliankbruce.
So that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Gillian Bruce: Tadaa. Yeah, I'll take a drink of water too. It sounds good.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, it's coffee.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I could tell by the way you sipped it. Because there's like with coffee, you always do a little bit of like a Slurpee thing. Because it's still a little hot.

Mike Gerholdt: Even if It's not hot, I think you have to do the Slurpee thing.

Gillian Bruce: It's just the way you drink coffee.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I wouldn't know. I don't drink coffee because God knows what that would look like. Hi, my name is Gillian and I love coffee.

Mike Gerholdt: I know. There would be no periods in your sentence and exclamation points in between every word.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, it would make transcribing a podcast very difficult.



Direct download: Security_QA_with_Laura_and_Kerry.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to Prag Ravichandran Kamalaveni, Salesforce Lead at CloudKettle. We learn all about the new Trust Champions program, which recognizes trailblazers who have expertise in and champion or advocate for good security practices and effective use of Salesforce technology to protect their company’s data.

Join us as we talk about security best practices, lessons he’s learned about how to roll out Salesforce security features, and what you can do as an admin to get started.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Prag Ravichandran Kamalaveni.

 How Prag became a Trust Champion.

“For many Salesforce admins, security is something that they’re less comfortable with,” Prag says, “so when I started attending and hosting Trailblazer community meetings, most of my topics were around security.” When people started thanking him for helping them understand complex topics, Prag realized he not only had a gift for decoding security on Salesforce but for explaining it to others.

One big tip that Prag has is to use pen and paper before you turn on or off any security feature in Salesforce. “When it comes to security, there’s no user interface for how the sharing works,” Prag says, “so make sure you write down your sharing model and see how data is going to be shared. Spend time on visualizing how security is going to work inside your org.” Take the time to actually map out how everything is going to work to make sure you understand what’s going on.

Practical security tips for your org.

Admins often have god powers in their own orgs, but when it comes to best practices, you want to restrict access across the org and apply the principle of least privilege for user records. “Salesforce provides so many great features on the verification and authentication process,” Prag says, “and my leveraging these features, Salesforce admins can significantly increase the level of security for sensitive operations by raising the users’ permissions to high assurance under session settings.”

A big part of keeping everything secure is taking advantage of the multi-factor authentication (MFA) features that are baked-in to the Salesforce platform. Safeguard access to your user accounts, and make sure that there’s more protecting your accounts than just usernames and passwords written down on a piece of paper somewhere. “As security threats grow increasingly common, it’s essential to implement stronger measures of account security,” Prag says, and he has some tips and tricks for how to get better adoption from users and get buy-in from leadership.

It’s important to remember that these security features are complicated and can often be nonintuitive, but you’re not in this alone. “Look to the community if you need help,” Prag says, “there are thousands of community groups in your local area, so feel free to log in and ask your question.” In the meantime, educate yourself and make sure you understand all of the security features Salesforce offers, and see what you can do to roll them out to your org.

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Direct download: Trust_Champion__Prag_Ravichandran_Kamalaveni.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:26am PST

The Podcap - August

 

It’s the end of August, which means a new special episode to recap all of the Salesforce content you may have missed. This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, Mike and Gillian have a new episode with a new name, the Podcap. Thank you, Matt Graessle! Do you have an idea for a name? Reach out on Twitter.

 

Join us as we talk about everything going on in August that you shouldn’t miss out on.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

 

Things that Stand out:

 

Watch some Low Code Love videos to learn about all the amazing ways you can get your job done easier and faster and empower your users, all with minimal coding. There’s even more coming with the Winter ‘21 Release, so make sure you’re on top of everything and get psyched. The pre-release is live, so check your Sandboxes to get started, and take a look at those pre-release notes. There’s a Release Readiness Live on September 18th, as well as the Learn MOAR campaign with five blog posts, a Trailmix, AND a chance to win cert vouchers.

The Did You Know Series

This month, Liz Hellinga took a deep dive into case merge, which can help you consolidate your cases and clean up your data. We’re also big fans of the “Did You Know” video series in general, a great bite-sized way to learn how to do something new in Salesforce whenever you have the time.

Podcasts

We had a lot of great episodes on the pod this month, covering data visualization, how to get your first admin job, and an inspiring story of how you can fuel your career with your passion.



Trailhead Live

Trailhead Live continues to be a great way to keep up to date with the latest and greatest in the ecosystem. Don’t miss all of the exciting content and pick up some new skills along the way. There are things going live for every timezone, so be sure to take a look.

The Waay back machine - Mr. Peabody

 

In these Podcap episodes, we like to take a look back to see what was going on in the not-so-distant past. Here’s a selection of great episodes you can go back and listen to if you’re feeling a bit of nostalgia.

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Direct download: The_Podcap_-_August.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:05am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to Juan Marte, Jr., Data and Donor Services Specialist at the One Love Foundation. He has some great wisdom to share about staying true to the things that you love and how he uses his passion to empower his users.

Join us as we talk about why he’s so passionate about data, how his love of technology has lead him to success, and how One Love Foundation is adapting moving forward.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Juan Marte, Jr.

An organization that changes the world, relationship by relationship.

“The One Love Foundation fundraises and educates young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships,” Juan says. It was founded in honor of Yeardley Love, a young woman who tragically lost her life 10 years ago at the age of 22. Her death was preventable, and the foundation exists to make something like that never happens again. To help with that mission, Juan is in charge of the data that makes them be able to do what they do, coordinating and supporting volunteers across the country and internationally so they can run workshops and trainings.

Collaborating with teams across state and international borders is tricky, and Juan definitely has his work cut out for him. “I make sure that everything that comes in through either of our platforms that sync into Salesforce gets spread to the engagement coordinators and program team from One Love,” he says. In short, he makes sure all the information they need is organized, up to date, and as easy to use as possible. “It’s a team effort,” he says, “but being able to be that advocate for them and compile the information they need is an amazing feeling because I’m helping someone else progress—I thoroughly enjoy helping others excel.”

Why going with your passion is the key to longevity.

“I’ve always had a passion for technology,” Juan says, “it’s just a great feeling that I can take something I love, something I enjoy using and doing, and help others.” Along the way, that passion has helped overcome whatever obstacles are in his way. “I’ve always used what I’ve loved in order to better the next person,” he says, “something you love is something that will give you longevity.” He also owes a lot to PepUp Tech for helping him get the knowledge he needed to get started on this path.

Right now, the One Love Foundation is transitioning between platforms, but Juan wants to make sure the user experience is largely the same, especially when it comes to uploading opportunities. He really wants to shift formats to make things more reportable and, in general, to help people more easily help themselves. “They have so much on their plate doing so much for the community, I don’t want them to wrack their brain,” he says.

Most of the One Love Foundation’s education is usually done in person, so everyone in the organization has had to adjust and be innovative in response to the current situation. “The passion that the whole foundation has in order to get their message across and being able to adapt has been truly remarkable,” Juan says.

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt: And I'm Mike Gerholdt.

Gillian Bruce: And today we are talking to Juan Marte, Jr., who is a Data and Donor Services Specialist at One Love Foundation in New York. Juan has some great messaging to all admins about how you should stay true to the things that you love, and I loved hearing about his passion about how he empowers his users. So without further ado, let's welcome Juan to the podcast. Juan, welcome to the podcast.

Juan Marte, Jr.: Thank you for having me, Gillian, and I appreciate it.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I am stoked to get you on the podcast, not only because I think you are fun to talk to, but because you are doing some really cool things with Salesforce. First, can you tell us a little bit about a very brief overview of what you do, and then the organization you work at?

Juan Marte, Jr.: Sure. So I am the Data and Donor Services Specialist with the One Love Foundation. The One Love Foundation is a foundation where they fundraise and educate young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships, and it's due to a passing of Yeardley Love, which is a person that passed away 10 years ago due to domestic abuse or domestic violence. And since then, the family of Yeardley Love has decided to start a foundation and educate not just the United States, but the world, of how to pick up on unhealthy and healthy relationship in order to have that facet of togetherness.
So they've prepared a nationwide campaign in order to get that message across. And in my part, what I do at One Love is I help with the data information in order for them to be able to do what they do. So we've had different people from different parts of the United States trying to compose these different campaigns to spread out. So I help them with that data, and help them would pick up trends or what information they would need in order to give to the audience when they do these trainings or workshops to detect these. So that's just a small aspect of what I do. In a donor's side, we also do receive donations from people that help us progress and get that message across the United States, if not the world.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. I know that that's a tough community problem, and so I very much admire the work that you, and One Love do. Let's talk a little bit about how you and your team collaborate. So, you mentioned US and international. So I bet that means that there's a lot of remote teams, remote working, I guess everyone's really remote right now anyway. Tell us a little bit about how you and your team collaborate.

Juan Marte, Jr.: So in my aspect with data, I make sure that everything that comes in through either of our platforms that we have that sync over into Salesforce basically gets spread to the engagement coordinators or the program team that we have instore with One Love. So I made sure that everything is correct for them, and precise, up to date, so that when it comes to reporting back not only the trends, but also getting their education across, I make sure that they can have that up to the information. I'll get many requests on updating contact information within the Salesforce system, to coming up with a report for them to see a layout of who they should contact in order to get things rolling. In the international aspect, we have had certain donors that have seen the product that we had to offer over in One Love, so they like to contribute their services and help spread that word.
So what I've been doing, since I'm the back end, I observe who comes in internationally and let the rest of my team know that puts this word out of healthy relationships, and let them know what's happening so that they know how to proceed in continuing to give me this lovely information of healthy relationships to who needs to hear it. So I play more of the up-to-date to make sure that my team is up to date.

Mike Gerholdt: Part of our admin team, and Gillian does this too, will go to user groups, and we go to Salesforce classes that are being taught virtually now, and greet new admins, and greet people that are just getting started in their admin career. And a lot of times the questions are, "Well, what can I expect in my day-to-day?"
And I think to the time when I was admin, things are different based on your position. Based on your position, and you don't have to get into intense detail, but what is your day-to-day if somebody was coming to work or job shadow you as an admin, what are some of the things that you would expect them to do or, or that you do every day?

Juan Marte, Jr.: One thing I forgot to mention earlier that I've been with this company for about seven or eight months with One Love. So being one with Salesforce, this is my truest opportunity of owning that. That being able to have that day-to-day, what I have to do kind of situation, obviously Trailhead in with the company that assisted me in getting to this position. They've helped me a lot to be knowledgeable in that aspect.
So for me a day-to-day is first thing I do, I make sure all information that sinks into Salesforce is processed, whether it be donations, whether it be workshops that we host, I make sure that that information is precise. Because then if you were to put in on Salesforce faulty information, then I can't deliver accurate reports to the rest of the team, if not the entire foundation. I have a dashboard that gives me some, I would say, inefficiencies of what's not right. So that's the first thing I do every morning. I make sure that's up to date. Then from there, I can go into request on importing information into our Salesforce database, whether it be contacts, accounts, whether it be opportunities, donations, I've had, blessed by the team, the knowledge in order for me to do that as well as also joining with [Tep Up 00:07:19] Tech, which is a great organization that I love so much.
If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be in this situation, but I make sure that those requests are processed. So if, in fact, my team gives me a whole bunch of contacts, I make sure that they're lined up to the appropriate affiliation, and just update that information for them so that they can have easy access to that information, especially remotely, and especially during this pandemic. But overall, that information could be handy to them within a blink of an eye, rather than just searching through a whole bunch of files and finding it. I provide that information for them.

Gillian Bruce: So you are basically the person who just makes it easier for people to do their jobs.

Mike Gerholdt: Pretty much, pretty much.

Gillian Bruce: ... easier for people to do their jobs [crosstalk].

Juan Marte, Jr.: Pretty much. Pretty much. But do we do have others in the team that do add that information, so it's not just solely just me, but it's a team effort. I must admit that this team... I think with this team is unique, especially with the work that they do, but being able to be that advocate for them to be able to get that information and compile it for them is just an amazing feeling because I'm helping someone progress at their own position, at their own message. It's not an overwhelming feeling, but it's a feeling that I own because of the fact that it's just I enjoy thoroughly helping others itself.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's awesome. I think that's one of the core traits that we find with all awesome admins is a passion for helping people. I think you got that several-fold, Juan, because not only do you kind of do that in your day job for the people you work with, but you work for an organization that does help people as its mission, which is very cool as well. Look at you. You got the double helping people-

Juan Marte, Jr.: Pretty much. The thing is, it's like, at first, it didn't sink in, but as time progressed, especially now, you're not distracted. You're focused, have that narrow mind of just seeing what's in front of you. You absorb so much and see so much from that aspect, and it's just like, I think I did a great job. Not saying I'm cocky, but the fact is... I know, [inaudible]. It sounded wrong at first, but just being able that within a millisecond of data uploading I can help someone get even more to learn about this foundation, and just having that opportunity is amazing.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. You mentioned you joined seven months ago. Were you already in that space, or was there also a learning curve for you in terms of understanding that... I don't want to call it vertical, but that area that you're in of what the company does and how it uses Salesforce.

Juan Marte, Jr.: It wasn't a parallel transition. It was a vertical for me. At the time, I was very knowledgeable of Salesforce. I had training in Salesforce. I know I spoke to Gillian about this before about being able to take what you've learned and taking it to a whole nother level. That was my surprise because of the fact that I had the knowledge, but then the fact that I was in a position that not only was I was able to take what I've learned, but definitely evolve that to a whole new level, that was the great feeling.
I wasn't dealing with Salesforce before I was knowledgeable of Salesforce, but before I transitioned into this position, the fact that I was doing something somewhat totally different than what I was doing before, it was just like this is the change that I needed in order to be me. That's how I took it when I switched positions from my last employer. But this was more my alley because I've always had a passion for technology. It's been in me for I would say my entire existence if I had to really think about it because I've always had a sense of technology from a young age, and it evolved each and every year of manipulation of information to be able to do use technology to my advantage, not only work life, but also personal life. It's just a great feeling that I can take something I love and something I enjoy doing, I enjoy using and helping others. It wasn't an easy transition, but I would say it's like a career change, but it was the smoothest career change I can ever make.

Gillian Bruce: I love how you mentioned this as kind of... Basically, you say you found your jam. This is what you feel like you were meant to do, and I think that's really amazing, Juan. I would be curious, so in how you are using Salesforce at One Love, what are some of the things that were maybe steeper learning curves for you in the last seven months, and what are some of the ways that you've been able to overcome some challenges or some problems in your journey?

Juan Marte, Jr.: Well, I would say when taking on this position, I wasn't hesitant, but I always had questions to the fact where I knew the information, but just as a refresher, I've always asked because of the fact that maybe between that time I trained to use Salesforce to going into my position, things might've changed.

Gillian Bruce: No. Salesforce doesn't change. What are you talking-

Juan Marte, Jr.: You know-

Gillian Bruce: ... about?

Juan Marte, Jr.: Even for example, I was accustomed to using Classic, and Lightning started to arise from the ashes kind of situation, so the differences of Classic and Lightning was a slight obstacle, but I still knew the tricks of the trade using Classic while using Lightning. One of the challenges I must say was adapting to making the changes on Lightning in regards to the fields and relationships and the page layouts.
That was a transition all in all, but the one true thing I must say that I take ownership and success that it was a challenge but I was able to overcome was developing the mass uploads from my team in order to get that into Salesforce because inputting information, we all know, into Salesforce, any information whatsoever, whether it be an Excel, whether it be Salesforce, it's tedious, but Salesforce, and this is what got me over the edge, is that Salesforce is Excel on steroids. What you would do would take you 30 to 40 minutes could be instantaneous in Salesforce and just one fell swoop. All that information could be uploaded into the system. That was the smoothest challenge, and the reason why I called it the smoothest because I was able to pick up on it fairly quickly.
Reporting for me also was a challenge as well because it's just getting the right information to the team and putting the pieces to the puzzle [inaudible] wanted to get that report established for my teammates or for my colleagues was a also tackle for me as well, but I was able to get that groove together and being able to get the appropriate fields that I would need in order to give them that information. Even though it's very lower admin, but it's still an obstacle that I know I struggled while commencing my or starting my tenure with this foundation.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, well, you don't need to talk to me about reporting struggles. I still struggle with formulas, so I got it.

Juan Marte, Jr.: Well, the thing is that, with my experience, I have not had to dealt with formula so much yet. I know that's coming in, but I've been able to do what I can as the data guy in order to get whatever information that the team-

Juan Marte, Jr.: The data guy in order to get whatever information that the team needed as quickly as possible.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, just wait. The more data you give them, the more complex it will become in terms of requests.

Juan Marte, Jr.: I'm hoping for that challenge, I just don't know when it's going to come.

Mike Gerholdt: Just keep feeding them data. Trust me, it's exponential.

Juan Marte, Jr.: And then what's also cool is that, each of our regions within the foundation have their own dashboard. So they have an overview of what's coming in, what's happening, any updates, it's all real time. So, being able to edit that and being able to give that to the different regions within the foundation is awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: So looking back at kind of your journey, if present day self were to give, I don't know, nine, ten, one year ago self some advice, what would it be?

Juan Marte, Jr.: I mean, everybody says do what you love, because not only will it show work-wise, but after work, you don't feel that sense of, not disappointment, but you're not upset of what you've done. Going back to my younger years of using technology to my advantage and even to my past employers, I've always used what I'd loved to use in order to better the next person, or better the process of what I'm working with now.
So my young self will tell my self one year ago, you should have stuck with what you love, because eventually you're going to fall into a place where you're at peace. And that hits hard for me, because even though I don't like to brag about it, but I'm somewhat of a techie. And I love using technology for life purposes. Even if it's off the 9:00 to 5:00 or sometimes 9:00 to 10:00, whatever the case may be, I leave and go back to technology. I go into gaming. I go into podcasting. I go into just using my technology to my advantage. So I would have told my younger self, stick to that because you would have been at a place at peace way before you are now.

Gillian Bruce: That's good advice, pay attention to your gut, right? Pay attention to what feels good.

Juan Marte, Jr.: Pretty much, that's the simple way of putting it. Go with your gut feeling, because you never know where you're going to end up. You know yourself, that this something you love, is something that will get you longevity. And even though I've had a lot of obstacles that led me to this, I can honestly say for the first time in my professional career that I feel at peace. Even though there's obstacles within the position, because there's going to be obstacles all over the place. But the fact is, you know where you feel at peace when you're not comfortable [inaudible] when you're happy, and that's where I am now, I feel that.

Gillian Bruce: That's such a great message. I love that. This is the spiritual Salesforce Admin Podcast now.

Juan Marte, Jr.: I didn't bring the incense, so I do apologize.

Gillian Bruce: Bring your own incense episode. That's great. That's great. So Juan, I think some of your messaging about stay true to yourself, follow what you're passionate about, understanding how you can make an impact and finding ways to do that, is all very, very powerful. I would love to maybe hear about a specific problem that maybe [inaudible] was having that you've helped solve, using your Salesforce skills.

Juan Marte, Jr.: Trying to think of something recently. So, all right. I do have one recent one that actually currently, well, not dealing with, but it is an issue that will help us in the long run. So, one thing about platforms is that they could come and go, different platforms that syncs over, or we use to better when the foundation ... Things could come and go. So one thing that I'm currently dealing with now, is how to adapt switching platforms, but making it better for our opportunities that we have in our system.
So currently right now, we have a situation where we no longer use one platform, but we're using a new one, but want to make sure that we're still able to continue to have a similar layout where we upload different opportunities. So what I've done is, after talking to several people, what I would want to make sure that reporting wise, I would want to make sure that all this information could come up in a report without having to go crazy and looking for them.
So what I've done, I suggested that we shift some fields that we had in our opportunities, in order for make it reportable. So if I'm not looking for a report for a colleague, they can easily find it on their own, or it would be easy to detect without looking to see what field it would work.
So one thing that I'm currently doing is switching those opportunity to make it easier for people to find what they're looking for. Or the fact is, they can view what they're looking for, without pulling their hair. And being able to be that person to make that switch in order to make their jobs easier, that's the biggest challenge for me, because I don't want them to rack their brain.
They have so much on their plate, doing so much for the community. I want to make that transition smoother so that they don't have to figure out, "Oh, something different came in. Let me try to figure out how I'm going to do this." Let me try to take that and make it easier for you, so you don't have to worry about that. And that's one challenge of many that I'm dealing with now, that I'm helping my foundation in the long run.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. So field management, layouts?

Juan Marte, Jr.: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Got it.

Juan Marte, Jr.: Pretty much. And then changing some title so that it's identifiable and reportable for when they do that research or when that research is brought to them, that it's just under that umbrella, under that field. And being able to just differentiate which is which. So coming up with that process on the back end and being able to have that available for the team, that's one thing, especially that's one project I'm doing right now, that's helping on the long run.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome.

Juan Marte, Jr.: They're pretty much on the back end, we all know that try to make it comfortable in a viewable for non detailed Salesforce users. That's another thing too, because want to make sure that even though they might not dive in into Salesforce as much as I do, but they can see it without even ... Just clicking a button and it's there for them. That's one thing I thoroughly enjoy about helping my team, is just having it visually set for them and yeah.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. That's great. Well, you're doing a lot of amazing things, Juan. And I want to make a shout out to your amazing organization, who's doing incredible work in the community that I bet, especially times like now, is especially challenging, right?

Juan Marte, Jr.: It is. It is.

Gillian Bruce: Actually challenging, right?

Juan Marte, Jr.: It is. Especially being able to be innovative to continue spreading the word in a time like this, which most of our education is usually typically done personally, but just being able to create an innovative way to get the message across, especially during this. And especially with that team, it's been an amazing journey and we continue to prepare for what's to come, even if mentioning the second wave, how to evolve with what people are calling the new norm. That's one thing part of this journey, working with this foundation that's been a great thing to see.

Gillian Bruce: Well, yeah, I mean, you're undergoing digital transformation as an org. Right?

Juan Marte, Jr.: Exactly, pretty much. It's just the passion that the whole foundation has in order to get that message across and being able to adapt. It's been truly remarkable.

Mike Gerholdt: Fabulous. Well, thanks for taking time out of your day to share your story with us and inspire other admins and be super productive and helpful to your users at the organization. I think that's fantastic.

Juan Marte, Jr.: It's been an incredible journey thus far, and I look forward to see what's to come, especially with all these different innovations, not just within the foundation, but just with Salesforce itself. It's been an amazing trip to absorb that information and being able to spread that as well.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you'll never be bored being part of the Salesforce community.

Juan Marte, Jr.: That I agree. That I definitely agree. When there's an obstacle, I research it and I know one thing I want to do is being able with my research to try to create an environment within Salesforce, for my team or for the foundation to make it like it's always easy, but to do it the easiest way possible. That's just what I want to be able to contribute is because they do so much and I commend the entire foundation for what they do. Coming in, I didn't know what to expect. I knew about the mission, but I didn't know what to expect about the speed of things when it came to working for a foundation like this, but it's been eyeopening and it's been remarkable. It's one of those things I will never forget and regret taking on, especially with this career move.

Mike Gerholdt: Fabulous. Well, Juan, I hope you keep us updated as you continue to progress along.

Juan Marte, Jr.: I will. And thank you guys for having me. Before ending, I'd like to give a couple of shout outs if that's okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Juan Marte, Jr.: Because I know I didn't mention these groups, PepUp Tech big shout out, goes out to them because without them I would not be knowledgeable to be the advocate that I am for my foundation so shout out to them. I encourage everybody. Look, this is an opportunity worthwhile, especially not just because of the pandemic, but it's a great stepping stone because if you're not working, you get to be able to learn so much attributes by just diving in. Trailhead, Obviously, of course, but I also want to give a shout out to my family and my sister, Evelyn, because without them, I would not have the love of technology that I have now in such an early age. Shout out to them. Just keep an open mind because without it, you won't be able to learn what's going on out there.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. That's awesome. Great note to end on, Juan. Thank you so much for joining us today and we also look forward to seeing what's next for you and One Love and keep up the great work.

Juan Marte, Jr.: Thank you guys. Thank you, Gillian. Thank you Mike, for having me and I look forward to it.

Speaker 1: It was great to meet with Juan and I am so thankful for all of the work that the nonprofits and NGOs do, that you Salesforce, a big shout out to all of you right now. I'm especially appreciative for the work, like what Juan does the Salesforce admins at those nonprofits and NGOs that are helping to drive their mission forward. Today, these three things I learned from Juan; so first ensuring user productivity. Wow. I was leveled when Juan talked about how passionate he was about going around and making sure his users had the right data in. Thank you Juan, for doing that. The second thing I learned was he kind of had a predisposition to being in the industry and the company he's working for, and that I believe is really leading to his success. Thank you for doing that. And also, as a good guiding light for any admins that are thinking about what industry to look for a career in. And then the third thing, and this resonates through I would say almost every podcast that we have done this year, is stick with what you love.
Juan gave a shout out you heard to his parents and family and friends for getting him exposed to tech and really helping him thrive and be interested in technology. And that's helped him stick with what he loves, which has contributed to his success. I would say it's been the same for me as well. If you want to learn more about, Hey, all things tech or like Salesforce admins go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. Just as a reminder, if you love what you hear, be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. That helps other admins find this podcast and it helps iTunes surface that podcast towards the top, really appreciate it.
On top of that, Gillian and I love reading the reviews and hearing what you have to say. You can say on top of everything else going on with Salesforce admins on social. We are @Salesforceadmns, no i on Twitter. I am on Twitter as well. I am @MikeGerholdt and of course Gillian, the host of today's episode, is on Twitter as well. She is @GillianKbruce. With that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: Follow_Your_Passion_with_Juan_Marte_Jr..mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:08pm PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Tiffany Spencer, COO of Esor Consulting Group and the founder of HBCUforce. We learn how she helps students gain the experience they need to land their first Salesforce job.

Join us as we talk about why process and solving is key to working in tech, how to gets hands-on experience with superbadges and case studies, and some great tips for networking effectively.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Tiffany Spencer.

Producing an impossible report

Tiffany says she does everything, and she’s really not kidding. “I’m a consultant, a CRM manager, a business architect, a solution architect—it kind of depends on who you ask that day,” she says, “a big part of it is working with individuals that I train and helping them understand how to better utilize the Salesforce platform and how to continue on their journey.”

Tiffany started as an admin for a small land development company after only a week of training and quickly became all things Salesforce for her organization. “It was a really great position where I was able to play many roles,” she says, “I was the admin, I was the BA, the project manager, the architect, the trainer, and that sink-or-swim moment set the tone for all of my other positions.” She went on to several roles as both an admin and later a business analyst.

The craziest part about her whole journey is that that first job never mentioned Salesforce in the job description. Little did she know that her chance encounter with the platform would shape her entire career.

Bringing Salesforce to Students

Tiffany is the founder of HBCUforce, a nonprofit organization that partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to create programs that provide early access to cloud computing careers through exposure to Salesforce and their partners. She got the idea about two years ago when she visited her alma mater, Bethune-Cookman University, and decided to pop in a classroom. She started talking with some students about their career plans and explained to them what she does, and when she saw their interest she realized she could work with the school to create a program to show them exposure to everything a career in Salesforce can offer.

While many students aspire to land a position at Microsoft or Google, Tiffany’s found that they don’t often know that Salesforce is just as big (and innovative) of a company. Not only that, but 97% of Fortune 100 companies use the platform. In technology, it’s really about processes. Tiffany always tells students, “I’m not a coder, you don’t have to be a coder or a programmer or a developer to be in technology. There are all these other pieces of the puzzle that help developers do their job that you can be involved in.”

Getting Your First Salesforce Job

When you’re looking to get your first Salesforce job, Tiffany has a few tips that she’s seen work for her mentees. For one thing, you can do case studies and superbadges to get some hands-on experience. The other thing that really helps is getting familiar with Agile, whether that’s using a tool like Jira or Trello or even reading the Agile Manifesto.

Tiffany also tries to give her mentees opportunities to tackle real-life problems by bringing them into her pro-bono projects. If you don’t have a Tiffany in your life (yet), there are still ways to seek out something to get you started. “There are plenty of Tiffanys in the Salesforce ecosystem,” she says, “people are more than willing to guide and help so the first thing to do is to get involved with the community.” Start with your local community group, or organizations like PepUp Tech or Salesforce Military. “There’s not a shortage of people doing amazing things,” she says, “so you just got to get out there and start networking and connecting.”

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Direct download: How_to_Get_Your_First_Salesforce_Job_with_Tiffany_Spencer.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk with John Demby, Lead Creative Strategist at Tableau.

Join us as we talk about how Tableau got its start with Pixar, the amazing things people are doing on Tableau Public, and how to start tinkering with this powerful tool today.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with John Demby.

Producing an impossible report.

John first found out about Tableau while he was working in pre-sales at a Salesforce customer. He wanted to create a report to see where people were spending their time, but was running into problems with one company, in particular, that was in their org seventy different times because of all their different legal entities.

“With the tools I had in Salesforce, I couldn’t produce a report,” John says, which is how he came across Tableau. “Within 15 minutes, I had a dashboard I couldn’t have had before,” he says. He was able to group data, create aliases and hierarchies, all with a simple drag-and-drop interface. When he was looking for a new opportunity and Tableau became a possibility, it was a no-brainer.

Bringing better data visualizations to everyone.

Pat Hanrahan, Tableau’s Chief Scientist, originally started at Pixar developing the RenderMan Interface, which helps translate data into visuals. Behind Tableau is the idea of automatically rendering data using design best practices to create the clearest visual representation possible. “Tableau doesn’t ask you, ahead of time, to pick a chart type,” John says, “based on your actions and what you’re doing and how you interact with the interface, it figures out what the best chart type is for what you’re trying to do.”

As Tableau has grown, the community has played a big role in driving innovation. There’s all sorts of community-driven content, not just for business reporting but visualizations for Game of Thrones or the Marvel Universe. “The community has really helped us take Tableau to the next level,” John says, “they’re the ones who have helped us find all of the uses cases and all of the goodness and the ability to discover data that has transformed Tableau into what it is today.”

How Tableau makes a positive impact.

As an organization, Tableau is really focused on having a positive impact on their community through the Tableau Foundation, working to overcome everything from poverty, inequity, and climate change, to global health issues. “Early on, we realized that getting Tableau in the hands of students and teachers was really critical,” John says, and so they offer free one-year licenses for K-college.

Listen to the full episode for all of the amazing things you can do with Tableau, but the bottom line is that they’re focused on helping you see and understand your data better. “There’s no other way to explore data unless you can see it,” John says, and Tableau helps you dig deeper than you ever thought possible.

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt.

Gillian Bruce: And I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt: And joining us today is John [Demby] from Tableau, to talk about all the amazing things that Tableau can do. And I got to tell you, we really geek out in this episode because there's a lot of fun stuff for admins to learn, and understand, and get into some visualizations. We'll share those in the show notes. So, with that, let's get John on the podcast.
So John, welcome to the podcast.

John Demby: Thanks. Thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: It was so much fun working with you and the Tableau team for TrailheaDX. I told Gillian, as a follow up we had to get you on the podcast. Had to hear your story about how you got started with Tableau and some of the amazing things that are going on in the Tableau community. And then just us chatting before we even pressed record, I'm like, "There is so many neat things that we have to talk about. This could be a 17 part podcast." Gillian, this could be an entire season.

John Demby: Yeah, yeah. We just keep bringing John back for more, more fun. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: It's the John Demby Tableau corner.

John Demby: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, it could be a thing.

Mike Gerholdt: Right, I think it should be. So John, let's get started. For those who didn't see you at TrailheaDX virtually, haven't met you, kind of, where did you get started? How did you get started using Tableau?

John Demby: Yeah, so I've been with Tableau for almost four years now. But my journey started back in, it was a Salesforce journey. I was a Salesforce customer working at another software company. I was in presales just like I have been here at Tableau. And I led a team that was a global team, and we logged our time in Salesforce. So just like you're used to using Sales Cloud. We'd have accounts, we'd have opportunities, I'd have my guys and gals actually log their time against this. And then I'd want to see a report just to see where we were spending our time. Well, the problem was probably like a lot of people encounter, companies have lots of different names, and so sometimes those companies are in your Salesforce or once, twice, in this case there was a company that had three letters that starts with an I that was in our Salesforce work 70 different times because they're 70 different legal entities.
And I couldn't, just with the tools I had in Salesforce, produce a report that let me see where we were spending our time. And so, a Google search, and this was seven years ago. I did a Google search, the first thing that came back was Tableau, never heard of it. Downloaded it. Installed it on my computer. Took a export out of Salesforce and opened it up into Tableau. And within 15 minutes, I had a dashboard that I could not have had before. It actually allowed me to group data, create aliases, all this kind of stuff, hierarchies, drag and drop. And then best of all, Tableau's built with a lot of visual best practices so, it didn't even ask me what kind of chart or vis it wanted, it just showed it to me. I just clicked on it and it's like, "Wow, okay, I see a little bar chart, this is where my guys are spending their time."
So that's my Tableau story and Salesforce story. And then fast forward, I was looking to do something different and the stars aligned, and then minute Tableau came on my radar I knew that's where I wanted to go, so.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome. I mean I love how you describe what a lot of admins do, right? Is they Google, they try to find solutions, trying to figure out how to make this work. But, the fact that you landed on Tableau and were so quickly able to kind of get what you needed out of it. I mean I can hear the, "Ha, ha. I kind of fell in love with this at first site." In your story.

John Demby: Oh yeah, and then as we started looking for other things to use it within that particular company, next thing you know our sales ops people are using Tableau. Some of our sales teams are using it to look at different things. I believe we even started doing some forecast reports in Tableau. Again, for the same reasons, because they were able to aggregate and quickly combine data, and different data sources in Tableau in a way that they just hadn't been able to do before.

Mike Gerholdt: I think, and that to me was the really cool part is, in seeing the visualization, kind of the demo that you did for TrailheaDX. And then talking with you now, a lot of what I would deal with as an admin is, there's a lot of structured data that we have in Salesforce, and then there's also, because it's Tuesday, an executive decides to throw you a curveball of, I need all of this structured data in Salesforce. And then, oh by the way, I have all this other kind of unstructured data that so and so's been keeping in a spreadsheet and I got to put it all together. And watching you walk through that visualization and combining that data, that to me was just the neatest part. I also thought, in talking things through with you, the one thing that you said Tableau didn't render for the longest time was a pie chart.

John Demby: Oh yeah, yeah. In fact we reluctantly were drug to that thing.

Mike Gerholdt: Tell me why. Because everything else in the world has a pie chart as the default choice.

John Demby: So, it's really simple. I mean, if you're going to compare really in essence, more than two things. So if I'm going to look at something and I've got three attributes, or something like that. So maybe I've got three regions of a country or something like that. The minute you go to a pie chart, you can't visually discern the size differences. But if I convert that to bar chart which is a best practice, I can very easily see that one bar is slightly larger than another bar, but on a pie chart I can't see that, or a donut chart, I'll throw that in the same category.
And so that was one of the reasons that Tableau, just because it wasn't a visual best practice, didn't support pie charts. And so later we did, we have added those and stuff like that. But it's a visual that you won't see on a lot of Tableau dashboards just because most of our community realizes that a better visual to compare more than two, or more than three things, or three or more things, would be a tree map even would be better than a pie chart, so.

Gillian Bruce: So you're saying people should go on a pie chart diet.

John Demby: Yeah, yeah. Actually, that's the quickest thing you'll see a lot of people go is like, "Oh no." A lot of times I'll see a customer's dashboard and the first thing I see is 15 pie charts and I'm like, "Okay, let's step back from the ledge of the pie charts here for just a second."

Mike Gerholdt: What, are you opening up a bakery over here?

John Demby: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Is this a dashboard or a bakery?

John Demby: Yeah, there you go, so.

Gillian Bruce: So, let's back up just for a second John. So I know you are clearly a Tableau expert, a leader, can you give kind of a high level overview for admins who maybe have heard Tableau but really have no idea what it is and how it interacts? You talked about how you couldn't get what you wanted from the native kind of Salesforce reporting tools. Can you kind of give a high level overview for admins about what Tableau is and how it interacts with kind of the core features of Salesforce that admins are used to?

John Demby: Yeah, and I'm going to take a one step back, because there's something that makes Tableau different than anything else that's out there. And it's kind of how Tableau was built on the ground up. So when Tableau first came to market, it really was around 1999, 2000. It was really born out of Stanford. One of the cofounders and creators of Tableau worked for a really small kind of movie company, animation company. You might have heard of it, called Pixar. And he was one of the cofounders of an application called RenderMan. And he is what makes Pixar Pixar. So it's a whole idea of taking data and rendering it visually.
And so then what happened there at Stanford was, they started looking at other data. Could they build a system that would automatically render best practices, look at data, and give it to you in a visual way. And so that's where Tableau kind of came out of. And it was a different way of just looking at just mounds and mounds of data, but to look at it from a visual perspective. And it's one of the reasons why when you use Tableau, and you start exploring your data, one of the things you'll find out very quickly is Tableau doesn't ask you ahead of time to pick a chart type. It actually, based on your actions, and what you're doing, and how you interact with the interface, it figures out what the best chart type is for what you're trying to do.
And so, when you add all that in to just data exploration. Just connecting to data and trying to understand and get insights from your data, that ability to have a helper, or a tool, or a platform like Tableau that just lets you almost immediately see those insights, and find things, and outliers, and things that you didn't know about. And then with other clicks, make things interactive. To me it's one of those things that if I'm an admin, I want in my toolkit. I want to be able to, when I get some data, be it either Salesforce data or any other data, and somebody asks me to explain what's going on, Tableau is really going to give me that edge up where I can see that data very quickly. So that's kind of my thought in why an admin and stuff would be really interested in Tableau.

Gillian Bruce: I had no idea the connection to Pixar. That makes me love Tableau even more because everything Pixar does I'm a huge fan of.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: It's amazing.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. That's so cool. Let's talk John, about the community. Because you were bringing up with us about some of the public visualizations and the kind of, just this whole... Because I feel like there's a big crossover in the admin community of individuals that really, really love digging into data and also helping others understand it.

John Demby: Yeah. I mean, one of the things that's amazing with Tableau is, just like with Salesforce is, our community. We have fans. I mean I literally, I can... Back before COVID when I used to fly or get on a plane to go see customers and stuff like that, if I wore anything with a Tableau logo, I almost felt like people were asking me for my autograph or something. Because they were like saying, "Oh wow, you work at Tableau?" And they'd want to tell me all the things they do with Tableau. And the community is what keeps, and has really helped us innovate.
And so we were talking earlier about a great place where you just want to immerse yourself, is Tableau Public. And it's a good example of where our community really dives in and creates and shares amazing things. There's over a million and a half pieces of content up on Tableau Public. We've had two billion views. It's a platform where we've had major Fortune 500 companies build out annual reports that are visual, that you'll find up there. You'll see content that's been shared on newspapers and websites and news organizations. You'll see nonprofits use it. And then if you're into Game of Thrones, or Star Wars, or Marvel, or you just pick your favorite hobby, you can dive into and see some amazing things.
But coming back to the community, it's the community that really has helped us take Tableau to the next level. And they're the ones that have helped us find all of the use cases, and all of the goodness, and the ability to discover data that I think has transformed Tableau into what it is today.

Gillian Bruce: So Tableau Public is a place where I mean, you kind of said, pick your topic and you can probably find something that somebody's built on Tableau Public. Which is exactly what I plan to do later today, by the way. I'm trying to resist doing it now. Tell me a little bit more about how someone... You described your begin with Tableau... I'm a Salesforce admin, I'm super interested in this, what are the first steps I take? Do I start with Tableau Public? Is there some kind of trial thing I can play with? Where do I go to kind of start dabbling?

John Demby: Sure, yeah. So one of the things is, yes. You can get a trial. It's a 14-day trial and it's fully functional. You can go up to the website, get it right now. What that's going to give you is what we call Tableau Desktop. So that is a solution that would install on a Mac or a Windows machine and allow you to connect to any kind of data you could expect. From a relational database, to cloud data sources, to cloud-based apps like Salesforce and others, to just spreadsheets and csv files, to spacial data. You name it, you can probably connect to it in Tableau. But that's a great place to get started.
And then the support is amazing. We actually kind of adopted the, what I call the YouTube learning mantra. So the idea of people wanting to watch very short videos and how-tos. And so you'll see on your website a tremendous amount of videos to help you get started. You have a question about filtering, go watch the three minute video on filtering.
And then the community is ultimately the last piece. Get plugged in on Twitter, start asking questions. You'll really kind of learn that the community is so embracing. They help people figure out things. It doesn't matter where you go look them up. It could be Tableau community, it could be Public, it could be Twitter, it could be anywhere. And that's a great way to get started.

Mike Gerholdt: If there's a long pause on the website it's because one of us is searching Tableau Public and finding something incredibly amazing.

John Demby: Yeah, there you go. Well you know-

Gillian Bruce: Mike stop it, focus.

Mike Gerholdt: Totally, totally wasn't doing that. Totally wasn't reading about The Dark Knight and Joker.

John Demby: Yeah, there you go. But you know what else is... I'll tell everybody here too. This is something, I'm a parent, most everybody, if you're not a parent you know kids, or you know people that have kids, or you know a teacher out there. And so, one of the things that Tableau did early on was, we realized that in all of the things that we want to do for good, we do embrace, just like Salesforce does, nonprofits. And we try to do good with our software. We've done some amazing stories, if you go look at our Tableau Foundation, about helping stamp out malaria. Helping with Ebola. Nowadays we're everything COVID up on Tableau Public in our data hub.
But early on, we realized that getting Tableau in the hands of anybody, especially kids and students and teachers, was really critical. And so you can actually go to tableau.com, I think it's tableau.com/student, or tableau.com/teacher. Our academics, or something. And you'll actually see where you can sign up for a one-year license for free. And that's K through college. And we encourage those that are in college, when they go off to their internship, to take Tableau with them, use it at their internship to help kind of propel their career and things like that. My kids have used it in high school. We've had data kids where we've shown things... I think at one point we had an event in, it might have been Hong Kong or Singapore, where we had a seven year old come up and show a visualization.
And you'll see some of that on Tableau Public. You'll actually see some kid's visualizations as well. So if you see one that's a little bit more Pokemon-oriented, that might be a kid that actually has charted his Pokemon collection or something in Tableau. So but yeah, it's things like that I think is what makes Tableau, Tableau.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, that's so cool. I think especially now where a lot of people with school age children are having a rough go of it given the current climate of maybe school's happening, maybe it's not happening, oh my goodness. I mean, what an amazing kind of resource and oppurtunity for students to dig in a little bit. I can just imagine the As that I would've gotten on so many reports had I had access to Tableau and been able to tinker around. I mean, I would've looked amazing to my teachers, so-

John Demby: Yeah so, so let me tell you a funny story about that with my middle daughter. So she just graduated, but she took stats her senior year and they had to go get... They were analyzing I think, football metrics. So they had to pick a team, she picked Cincinnati Bengals, mostly because I went to TCU, we're a TCU family. And Andy Dalton, who used to play at TCU is the quarterback there. So that's why she picked the team, not because they've ever won anything, right?

Gillian Bruce: I was going to say, that's an interesting choice in a team.

Mike Gerholdt: [crosstalk] clearly their winning record.

John Demby: [crosstalk]. Yeah so, but so she had all this data but then the stats teacher was asking her things like, "Well, I've got to have the mean. I've got to have this and that. All these stats questions." And I said, "Well look, let's just take that data you just got from the Cincinnati Bengals website, let's load it up into Tableau, let's build this little quick visual." And then there's an info card that you can click, and then it gives you all the stats. And I said, "Write them all down. Give them to your teacher." She's like, "This seems like it's cheating." And I said, "Well, I don't know if it's cheating or not but, at least they gave you all the answers without you having to go run all these complex statistical analysis." So maybe it was cheating. But, that's the kind of thing that I think is really enlightening in Tableau, and some cool things you can do. And yeah, she got an A, I think, so.

Mike Gerholdt: Even though she picked the Bengals.

John Demby: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: The only winning thing the Bengals have ever been a part of.

John Demby: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

John Demby: Right.

Gillian Bruce: All right. But I think that's so cool because, to your point though, it's not cheating because the technology exists out there and you know how to use it. And I think that really ties back to kind of admins, we should all pay attention to this because, I mean, it is incredibly powerful. And just like the teacher wants to know these specific data points, you've got executives that want to know the same thing and you can save hours and hours and probably years of training to be a data scientist by tapping in to the power of Tableau and being able to pull that.

John Demby: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And Gillian, I also hear tinkering.

Gillian Bruce: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Which is a lot of what we talk about on the podcast, a lot of what Leanne talks about. Just the ability to kind of get in there and tinker with something, but also have the tool intuitively help you, right? I don't think necessarily, it's cheating. It's just, you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time you build something that has a wheel, right?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, there's a reason we invent stuff, right?

John Demby: Yeah, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And this helps, you get that a little bit farther. And to me, I think it helps make the subject more interesting so that you really do want to dive into it. And as an admin for me, I'm thinking, well this the very important part that I can help my users understand why it is so critical that they input the right data, so that we get the right output so that we can make the right decisions.

John Demby: Yeah it is. I mean it's a... And even just I think, Tableau just in general as a... Our tagline is, "We help people see and understand their data." And so much of that is the exploration and seeing your data for the first time. If you look at it in a spreadsheet, you're not going to see anything. But if you start bringing that data in, you'll be amazed at what you can find. You might find... We could spend hours talking about stories where, in one particular customer, an intern came in, used Tableau liked we talked about. They gave them... This was an auto manufacturer. They gave them some data that was related to warranty claims, and said, "Do something with it." And then he came back and found about $6.5 million of fraud.

Mike Gerholdt: Whoa.

John Demby: And basically what he found out was, there was some dealers that were selling cars on paper, then they were performing different warranty things, and billing it back to the car manufacturer, and then they were putting the car back in inventory. And so, I mean, and that was just one example but just finding just, even outliers in your data that make you wonder, "Okay, why is this..." And over the last couple years, we built some of that technology into Tableau. We actually have a feature now that's called explain data that, if I'm looking at a chart, or looking at a whatever, and I click on something because it doesn't seem right, it'll actually analyze all the data and then come back with a report saying, "The reason this is higher than this is because you had these particular things going on." Or it may be one unusual record that you should take out, or something like that.
So really, just seeing your data, that's what Tableau's all about. And there's no other way really to explore data unless you can see it. And that's the hard part that I think a lot of people don't understand.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm going to nominate that as soon as Salesforce figures out how to make Tableau talk that it sound like Jarvis from Iron Man.

John Demby: Yeah, I think that makes sense. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Oh [crosstalk].

John Demby: We do have natural language so we can sort of talk to Tableau, but no, we don't have a voice out. So that would be it. That would be an interesting-

Mike Gerholdt: Not yet. But forward looking statement.

John Demby: Yeah. Add thing.

Mike Gerholdt: John this was super fun. We need to have you back and do a Tableau corner every, I don't know, every time you feel like it.

John Demby: Yeah, no. Anytime. I would love to come back, share more stories, examples that customers have used Tableau both with Salesforce and just with data inside of their organization to do transformational things. Tell you a little bit more about things we're working on and the solutions, some additional kind of exciting things that we're doing to make access to data even easier. And all that kind of stuff. But yeah, I'd love to come back anytime.

Mike Gerholdt: Cool. I'm definitely... We'll include a link to the Tableau Public so you can shop the cool Tableau things. I will also include the link to the Joker one that I found.

John Demby: Yeah, there you go.

Mike Gerholdt: And I think we'll probably include something about Game of Thrones.

Gillian Bruce: Yep. There was a pretty morbid one that I found that I am very excited to dig in further tonight, so.

John Demby: There you go. Well my work is done here. I guess I have helped you explore the interesting side of data. But yeah, and you know just in closing on that, Tableau Public just turned out to be a, I don't know if I want to use the word life saver, but it's become a critical component to the COVID thing. I can even show you, if this was visual, I could show you the spike in Tableau Public traffic that happened once organizations started building COVID-19 dashboards. There's maybe almost every state probably has something built up on Tableau Public. You have organizations, people have looked at the Tableau data hub for COVID-19, and reswizzled that data and published in sites. And so, the spike in the amount of resources that... I mean traffic doubled when COVID happened. And it was because it was a public, free, sharable resource that people could create those insights very quickly and then share them out to the world, even embedding them in their own websites or whatever. So yeah, big fan of Tableau Public. Like I said, it's kind of the YouTube of data visualization out there.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. Thank you so much John, I really appreciate you taking the time to share with us. And I am excited to hear more and see what else people do with Tableau, with the Salesforce connection now. I mean gosh, there's so many possibilities, this is really fun.

John Demby: Yeah, we're excited. Sky's the limit. I mean now that we have all these different additional resources and stuff there's amazing things on the horizon for us and for Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: Sweet. Thanks John.

John Demby: All right, thank you guys.

Gillian Bruce: Well that was a great conversation with John. Gosh, we could really talk with him forever. Which, don't worry, we'll have him back. So you'll get more of John for sure. Some top takeaways, I mean geez, so much we talked about. Especially about Tableau and all the amazing things you can do. My top three takeaways are number one, I didn't know that Tableau had roots in Pixar which is pretty amazing, and that explains a lot about how amazing the visualizations are. Kind of that focus on visually representing things in the world.
Tableau Public, check it out. It is such a cool resource. As John says, it's like the YouTube of visualizations. So take some time to poke around there. There's some really amazingly powerful data sets in there. Especially given all the things happening in the world right now that are helping a lot of organizations do important work. And you may be able to find one about the death rate of Game of Thrones and who's responsible for the most deaths. Hint, Khaleesi's responsible for more than half of them. And I'm not surprised.
All right, and thirdly, anyone can tinker with Tableau. So admins, this really is one of the most powerful tools that you can now add to your tool belt. You can sign up for a free trial for 14 days and if you really kind of want to use this and implement more in your org, I mean, use that trial to kind of demonstrate what you can do, show that to your executives, get some buy-in and then hey, Tableau and Salesforce, we're now one, we play together. So bring that into your org and I promise it's going to be a huge one. You'll get the As on all those reports that you otherwise might get from your executives.

Mike Gerholdt: #tinkerwithtableau.

Gillian Bruce: Ooh I like that.

Mike Gerholdt: I know, it's good. They could a tweet a picture of what they tinkered with.

Gillian Bruce: I love it. I love it. Tinkering is great. Well if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, make sure you go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And as a reminder, if you love what you hear on this podcast, please make sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. I know Mike and I absolutely pay attention to those, we read them, we really appreciate your feedback, so take a moment and do that for us please. It helps more people find us and get all this great information.
You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins @salesforceadmns, no i, on Twitter, and you can find myself @gilliankbruce, and my amazing other host Mike Gerholdt @mikegerholdt. Stay tuned for the next episode and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: How_I_Fell_in_Love_with_Tableau_with_John_Demby.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm PST

July is almost over, and that means another special episode to recap great Salesforce content this month. This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, Mike and Gillian are back with a new What Do We Call It episode. If you have a better idea for a name, reach out on Twitter. We’re all ears.

Join us as we talk about the latest and greatest Salesforce content from this month, and all the great things that happened at TrailheaDX.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

  1. We Did TrailheaDX!

The first-ever virtual TrailheaDX happened on June 25th, but don’t worry, you can still catch all of the great content. “What was really special about this was there wasn’t the barrier of having to pay to fly to San Francisco, there wasn’t the barrier of having only so many seats in the room, there wasn’t the barrier of conflicting sessions,” Gillian says, “we had so many more people getting the content we spent a lot of time creating.”

  1. Blogs and Videos

There’s some amazing blogs and videos you missed, covering everything from how setup home has changed in Lightning Experience to how to think through using the Einstein Prediction Builder. “Since the advent of having AI as part of platform, we’ve really tried to stress how important it is to think about the implications and the uses of this really powerful technology,” Gillian says, “it’s like training a dog: you train it for good, not for evil.”

  1. Podcasts

If you didn’t listen to every episode, there are a few this month that are worth taking a listen to. We talk flow builder and automation tools, service cloud, and how to optimize your org for better performance. Something that is very top of mind for everyone these days is how to get back to work safely, and our episode with Wade Wegner about Work.com has a lot of information you should check out.

  1. Trailhead Live

Trailhead Live honestly makes webinars feel dated—it’s on-demand culture. Tune in and you’re ready to go. This month, we’ve had a lot of great content for people newer to the ecosystem and maintenance for those that need a refresher, as well as Trailhead News to keep you in the loop.

The Way Back Machine

We go back to see what was going on around now in days past. There’s everything from Einstein bots to a live episode from TrailheaDX with an amazing story and everything in between.

Social

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast and the We Still Don't Know What to Call it episode, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt: And I'm Mike Gerholdt.

Gillian Bruce: And Mike, we got a lot to talk about because it's been a little while since we did one of these we don't know what to call it episodes.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. We don't know what to call it, but we know what to talk about. That's for sure.

Gillian Bruce: There's no shortage of us being able to talk about things.

Mike Gerholdt: No, we just can't name things very well.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you know we all have strengths in other areas.

Mike Gerholdt: We we have a lot to taco about as we wrap up the month.

Gillian Bruce: Lettuce get to it.

Mike Gerholdt: That's all I got. We're going to shred the topics.

Gillian Bruce: I'll meat your puns with...

Mike Gerholdt: Dammit, I was thinking of that one too. Now, I'm out, I'm out. Never getting a pun off with Gillian, especially if you're like T-ball league. I'm like T-ball down here.

Gillian Bruce: Jalapeno in your face.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Anyway, to try and switch gears to not be punny. TrailheaDX, holy cow.

Gillian Bruce: Oh my gosh. TrailheaDX. It happened, it was amazing. It was the first ever virtual TrailheaDX. And I mean, Mike, we pulled off a thing.

Mike Gerholdt: It was fun. So I think I just as we head into it, I don't think anybody listening to the podcast really understands the work that we put into some of the events, the virtual event for this one was super fun to get ready for. Yes, you have yours, I have mine over my other side of my pile of [crosstalk 00:02:05].

Gillian Bruce: You got that TrailheaDX props you know-

Mike Gerholdt: I do. I have lots of props.

Gillian Bruce: Because he did a ton of video. I mean...

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, no, this is a fun, like seriously fun learning experience for everybody involved.

Gillian Bruce: We all became like Salesforce TV producers.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yes. And some of us are more TV producers than others. That's for sure.

Gillian Bruce: But I mean, you know what I think was really interesting is normally for an in person event, we have hundreds of sessions that we put together and we are-

Mike Gerholdt: It's almost too much.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and we're so used to that format. And maybe there's 100 people in a session. What was really special about this is there wasn't the barrier of people having to pay or fly to San Francisco, right? There wasn't the barrier of having only so many seats in the room, there wasn't the barrier of conflicted sessions and all of that. We had so many more people getting the content that we spent a lot of time creating, which I think was pretty rewarding.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, no, it was... There was a wide array of things to talk about and we fit a lot into short sessions and it was interesting. It was a lot, boy, it was just a ton of fun to put together, seriously like working with the PMs. This is from a content creator standpoint, this was the first time that we really got to see the polished product before it got broadcast. Usually it's you walk out and you've been through rehearsals and you've seen people present, but this was wow. Here's what it looks like now. We're ready to go. It was just very cool. Very cool.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and I think what was also interesting is it forced us to kind of bubble up the things we thought were the most important, because it's very hard to take hundreds of sessions and boil that down into what we had, eight 18 minute episodes, so to speak.

Mike Gerholdt: Ish. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: And you had the live ask me anything panel that you hosted with some of our other PMs. It was very cool and the great thing is that this content is also totally available for anyone to go watch it on demand, which is...

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, you didn't miss it. You didn't, so if you didn't participate on the June 25th date of TrailheaDX, you didn't miss anything. Right? I feel like this is a fun analogy. I binged watched Breaking Bad a few years ago and I didn't miss anything that people that watched it in the moment we're having. Right? And you can go back and watch everything in the moment just as it was happening. You could do TrailheaDX tomorrow if you wanted to.

Gillian Bruce: You could, although you do miss out on the fun little interstitial things that we did.

Mike Gerholdt: Right, because Gillian you were the MC.

Gillian Bruce: I did, I got to MC for five hours, it was a marathon, but it was really fun because we had a Trailblazer Lounge where we had trailblazers from all over the world. So we had like [Olay] from Ukraine, and Roy from Israel, and we had several people from India. We had Tiffany from Florida. I mean, we had seven different trailblazers from around the world, joining me in the lounge to do live chats about what they're doing in the community, which was really cool. And we had a master Lego brick builder, [Aaron] joining us in the lounge. He built a live... Live, he built it live, I don't know. He built it over the live [crosstalk 00:05:50].

Mike Gerholdt: He live built.

Gillian Bruce: He live built. Instead of dead built? I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Anyway, he built a Lego [Cody] that's like over two feet tall over the course of the broadcast and it was so cool, because if you were live, you got to help vote what went on Cody's base and it was really cool to [CA 00:06:08].

Mike Gerholdt: A nose.

Gillian Bruce: A nose? Yeah, so it was really fun and fun fact, I get to go pick up the Lego Cody structure this weekend.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my.

Gillian Bruce: So maybe next broadcast you'll see.

Mike Gerholdt: Get some rope and stanchion outside of your house and have walking tours.

Gillian Bruce: Totally. Drive by.

Mike Gerholdt: So there's the admin channel, which was a lot of what I got to work on. And there was a ton of episodes, well eight episodes there, and the ask the experts. Ask the experts was really fun because we dove into service cloud mobile and security, which I felt were three areas that don't get a lot of ask the expert people, and so those were really cool. But if you missed any of this, your user groups are having global gatherings. In fact, I'm going to do one tomorrow, which would be last week when this airs, and we're going to sit and chat about what was some of the stuff at TrailheaDX. And there would be people there that watch some of the videos, people there that didn't watch some of the videos. The last user group I was at, we talked about some of the people that watch just stuff in the developer channel or just things in the architect channels. So that was really cool.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I just did a global gathering myself for the Santa Barbara community group and it was interesting. There was about half of the people at the meeting had not watched any TrailheaDX content. So it was a great way to highlight some of the things I was like, "So you need to go watch this one."

Mike Gerholdt: I feel like it's like showing up to the book club, having not read the book.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, you're supposed to read the book? You're not just supposed to drink wine at book club?

Mike Gerholdt: Sure [crosstalk 00:08:02].

Gillian Bruce: Oh, I've been doing it wrong.

Mike Gerholdt: It's that commercial where the guy asks his Amazon card to like, tell me the story behind something. Nope. It's funnier in my head, like a lot of things are.

Gillian Bruce: It's all right Mike. It's all right. So TrailheaDX was fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Hmm. It was. I thought, so. We also have Salesforce Anywhere, anywhere.

Gillian Bruce: Anywhere.

Mike Gerholdt: And everywhere.

Gillian Bruce: All the places.

Mike Gerholdt: And we have a link that we'll put up in the show notes about the blog post that we did about Salesforce Anywhere. Gillian, I think it was the most interesting, fun launch was when we got Salesforce Anywhere for our team.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think it was... Was it like an all hands call or something was going on?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: And I was around in our own like [62 org 00:00:08:57], which is our own Salesforce instance. And I was like, "Whoa, there's a new button up by my profile picture. Let me click that." I was like, "Salesforce anywhere." And I was like, "Oh my gosh." And so I started sending all kinds of trailmoji, and gifs, and really putting the Salesforce Anywhere technology to the test for our team.

Mike Gerholdt: It's what we do.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So it's really fun. Salesforce Anywhere is... I mean, it's live collaboration within Salesforce. It just kind of continues to bringing that ability to work with your peers no matter where you all are on the same thing within context, which I think is really powerful.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Or Quip.

Gillian Bruce: Yep.

Mike Gerholdt: Or mobile like that was the nerdy part for me, was, oh, wait a minute. I can publish this from a chat in Quip, and it showed up in Salesforce Anywhere on my phone right away. It was, I don't know.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's all connected.

Mike Gerholdt: It's anywhere.

Gillian Bruce: Anywhere and everywhere.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So true to what we do in this episode is help you dig through the month that was and get ready maybe for the month that is, I don't know about that.

Gillian Bruce: I think they're really like new months at this point, I feel like we're still in a holding pattern since March, but...

Mike Gerholdt: July is long. June happened. May didn't feel the long. We had a, in the U.S., we had a holiday. I guess we had a holiday in July too, but it still feels longer. I don't know why. It's like when you sleep and you wake up in the middle of the night and you're like, oh man, it's got to be time to get up, and it's like 02:00 AM.

Gillian Bruce: Well it's the summer where you take a vacation, but you can't go anywhere. So yeah, everything seems longer.

Mike Gerholdt: Where did you go for your vacation? The edge of my yard.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, my backyard or the weird corner in the living room, that I never go to. I don't know. It's exciting.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So let's dive into some blogs and videos that came out that maybe read, maybe you didn't read, maybe you should go back, much like all of the TrailheaDX video content you can go back. So the first one I have on the list is take a tour of Setup Home in Lightning Experience.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, if you haven't done this in a while, it's a highly, highly recommended activity for all admins to do because Setup, I mean, gosh, you think about what Setup was like four years ago.

Mike Gerholdt: It was painful.

Gillian Bruce: Oh man. Now you've got things like... I mean, remember when the object creator tab, like the fact that you could see all of your objects just in one tab in Setup was like, boom, mind blowing.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: But that was kind of the beginning, and now there's a whole bunch of stuff now and Setup Home that, I think the team's done a very good job of listening to feedback.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. I also... I mean, looking through this post, here's what I probably have taken for granted is if you're an established user, and I mean, geez, I've been using Salesforce for like 14 years now, the new Setup Home, you just kind of like intuitively know where stuff is. But if you're a new user, which I think a lot of people listening to the podcast might be, you just didn't intuitively know where things were or new things appear, right? Like the create button off to the right, or you probably just went to the familiar things. I don't know. I found this post incredibly insightful in calling things out that I had just taken for granted.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, I think as most admins do, we just tinker and we figure it out, but then to actually understand the why and all of the rationale behind designing some of the things, why they're designed, makes it a lot easier to understand how to best use them.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So moving on Einstein Prediction Builder, thinking through predictions with bias in mind. So this is like a re-publish. I helped the team go through this and kind of reread this. I thought this was... I love reading about how we can use Prediction Builder. I think Prediction Builder for admins is so incredibly easy to use that it's almost wrong of us to not have a conversation about what can we use Prediction Builder for, and also thinking through, so are we gathering all of the right data to help guide say, sales, and what opportunity they should most call? Because I mean, time's valuable, right? So if you're going to go through, yeah, I got to make all these phone calls, but boy, if you're like me, I'd really want that momentum early on. Give me the calls that I know I need to make, and also how do I make sure that I'm going through and grabbing the right data so that I'm not perhaps building a prediction that sways us in a certain way?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, it's a topic I think that we very early on, since the advent of having AI as part of our platform, we've really tried to stress how important it is to think about the implications and the uses of this really powerful technology. And it's not that hard to think about these things, you just have... I mean, we have frameworks for this and it's really just like paying attention. I mean, you train Einstein, so it's like training a dog, right? Train it for good, not for evil.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, unless you want one of those like crazy junkyard dogs, I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, I think it's a great post Mike and I think it's really cool because it's one of the things that admins can do to be AI experts, which is pretty awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: AI experts.

Gillian Bruce: AI experts.

Mike Gerholdt: AI experts. So how I solve this, which is part of what Mark on our team is fostering, these are just fun to read, right? So we had how I solved this intuitive record links. I think these spawn for those people that haven't read it or missed out on Dreamforce. We collect a lot of data at Dreamforce and our team sat down and we kind of brainstormed, what do admins want out of all of this? And we looked for the answers in the data and a lot of the answers was, show us an example of literally how you solve this, and so that's where that came from. And Mark's been doing a great job fostering going out into the community, getting these stories, helping them build these blog posts, and so that's kind of where that came from. So I anticipate these will continue because you're solving really cool things that I think other people need to know how to solve.

Gillian Bruce: Well, yeah. And this example was from the Nonprofit Success Pack, but it's totally relevant to any, basically any record or any object that you want to put this on. This is a really cool concept that you could absolutely find relevancy for your own org.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Very cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. I love that series. Fun series.

Gillian Bruce: Very fun.

Mike Gerholdt: So those are the blogs.

Gillian Bruce: Lots of blogs, but you know what? There were also a lot of podcasts.

Mike Gerholdt: There were a few podcasts, just a few, hey, in no particular order, but in the order that they came out, let's see Gillian, you kicked off July with Flow Builder and Automation with our friend of the pod, John Kucera.

Gillian Bruce: John is one of our long time friends of the pod, long time awesome admin advocates, even before we had this program, had begun this program. I mean, his roots are back in trying to improve that Setup experience for admins. John has now the amazing responsibility of overseeing a lot of the flow tooling, and it was so cool to talk to him because again, we talked about, think about what flow looked like three, four years ago and think about what it looks like now.

Mike Gerholdt: Do I have to? Please don't make me.

Gillian Bruce: I know it gives me anxiety. I mean, I remember way back when one of the first projects I worked on with John was trying to figure out how we were going to end of life, Google AdWords for Salesforce. And now he's like, "Yeah, look at the cool, shiny things my team are building now. We're not just killing old stuff we're making the future happen." So it was really cool to talk to John about Flow Builder, automation tools in general, talking about the future vision of where Flow is going, and hint, hint, nudge, nudge the future is Flow.

Mike Gerholdt: Very much, very, very much. Okay. And then Gillian, we had a fun episode of getting to know Work.com with Wade Wegner, who I think probably has forgotten more than some of us have learned.

Gillian Bruce: Wade, I don't even understand how he does everything he does, but fun fact, Wade is definitely vying to get some time with the Lego Cody structure that was built at TDX, because apparently he and his kids are huge Lego fans. So we might have to arrange some Cody visitation, but Wade, I mean, Wade's team built Work.com in like what? A month and a half, not even?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And it continues to get better too.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. So it was great talking with him, Work.com it's new, but it's a really cool way to help get your business back on track after all the disruption that we've all encountered this year, whether you're ready to reopen offices or you're just trying to get all of your employees back into the groove, really enabling your business to get back on it. And it's a great set of tools and the team did such a cool job of pivoting real quickly and developing this for our customers.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And it helps you think through, I think the one thing that I learned from that podcast, it helps you think through at executive level, what is all involved and how do we track this all in one place? And as an admin, hey, you're perfectly positioned because you understand Salesforce. So you're in the driver's seat to help set this up and it's going to be really fun and you get to be in all of those conversations. Plus I like logistical conversations, figuring out how to move people and get in elevators, and that just, I don't know, it seems kind of neat.

Gillian Bruce: Well, and that's the thing I think that's interesting about Work.com for admins, it gives us the opportunity to work with different business units, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: So now, we're very familiar with working with our sales teams, and our service teams, and our IT teams, but now it's working with HR, it's working with facilities and when those teams realize the power of Salesforce that you can bring to them to help make their lives easier as we get back into this next phase of pandemic life, I think it's-

Mike Gerholdt: Quarantine.

Gillian Bruce: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: Quarantine life.

Gillian Bruce: Quarantine life.

Mike Gerholdt: Be positive, quarantine life.

Gillian Bruce: Well, why are we in the quarantine? Anyway.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I know, but...

Gillian Bruce: I think in the U.S. we're feeling it a lot more than other places, unfortunately, but it's cool because it gives admins the opportunity to become an advocate of Salesforce with new parts of the business and establish themselves as leaders with new parts of the business, which is kind of cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. And then if you listened to the podcast last week, which I'm sure you all did.

Gillian Bruce: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: Just edge of your seat, Lightning Speed with Chris Marzilli, so that was another fun episode that we kicked off. I think Gillian, that was the first episode with my new microphone.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. It sounds... Your voice-

Mike Gerholdt: Which is the highlight of the episode.

Gillian Bruce: It sounds so smooth. It's like syrup dripping off the back of a spoon.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Right?

Mike Gerholdt: I wonder who's going to...

Gillian Bruce: Anyone remembers that you get bonus points.

Mike Gerholdt: I know seriously, that is...

Gillian Bruce: Callback.

Mike Gerholdt: [crosstalk] machine. So Chris came to us with this presentation because he actually works with varying customers of different size on their Salesforce implementation, really optimizing their Salesforce implementation. I think if you listen to the podcast and you should, I had a big takeaway of lazy load, but a lot of what I took out of the podcast was really, it's almost thinking of it like a delivery truck culture, kind of like how do you deliver, put what needs to be on the truck for that time, as opposed to everything. Right? And it's the same with pages, and he talks through that and using Dynamic Forms, and thinking through user experience to optimize page load times. So it was a really unique way, because too often I feel like Salesforce admins are just throw it in the truck, and next thing you know, you got this huge thing that you're trying to load all the time when [user just needs a field. 00:00:22:53]

Gillian Bruce: Well, yeah. And I think we get... There are so many cool new ways to customize things and admins we have all these options. Chris really breaks it down as like, look, if you want to make it speedy, this is how you do it. And I think that, that's really... It was great to talk to him. I mean, I learned a ton, so I thought it was great. And Mike, we almost forgot to talk about Purvi, Purvi and Service Cloud.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh yes. I know. Well, I was saving the best for last.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, okay.

Mike Gerholdt: That's why.

Gillian Bruce: All right. That makes sense.

Mike Gerholdt: I was saving that because I have a renewed respect for Service Cloud, and I really feel like as Salesforce admins, if we're not in those service discussions by now, we need to make them happen or get in those doors, because I mean, just the other day I had one of my vacuums break down, which it's so odd that machines break breakdown anymore. Right? It used to be commonplace, but I called the service center and they said, "If you're on a phone that we can send you a text message, because so many of our service centers are shut down. We would like to do that. So press one, if you're on a phone," which mobile phone, yes, boom. And literally, it was like six texts, they troubleshot what the issue was, and vacuum's fine.
And so I'm assuming that was a bot that did that, but as a Salesforce admin thinking through service, this is where we need to be, because our sales teams are probably out there hammering out phone calls, but our service teams are what are going to retain those customers. And to me, that was just like, okay, that was amazing. And I also have adapted to the culture of I don't really want to, if I don't have to talk to somebody on the phone, I know it's so weird to use your mobile phone to talk to people.

Gillian Bruce: I know we shouldn't even call it a phone anymore.

Mike Gerholdt: I know.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, it's mostly a texting and internet device in my [land 00:25:06].

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yep. Yep, but so the podcast that we did was with Purvi was we covered a little bit about what was in her TrailheaDX session, but really dived, I think, deeper into the idea of personas, and working through personas in the call center, and understanding how what types of case solvers you have, and how they operate the fastest. Because for me, and working with Purvi on her TrailheaDX session was amazing. She had really fun ideas about how to shoot the video and get the video and the demo done, but also just thinking through Salesforce Service Cloud, the end user is really consuming the product at the moment of interaction with the customer, as opposed to like Sales Cloud, where they could be entering their call notes later or prepping before. This is like real time [how to search 00:26:10] knowledge articles. So yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, it's like, your customers are actually touching Salesforce, right? As opposed to just you using it, and then... I think that's a really good point. I hadn't thought about that.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And she walks through chats and she's a huge macros fan, which coincidentally, we may have a Did You Know video on macros.

Gillian Bruce: Macros are awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: Macros are amazing.

Gillian Bruce: Macro tacos. All right.

Mike Gerholdt: [crosstalk] Taco.

Gillian Bruce: Speaking of taco, you know what else starts with T? Trailhead Live?

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Nice segue.

Gillian Bruce: Thanks.

Mike Gerholdt: That was smooth.

Gillian Bruce: Like syrup dripping off the back of the spoon.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: So we had some really cool Trailhead Live content this month. In fact, we've now got a regular cadence of every Friday, every Friday morning, Pacific time, we're doing an admin essential habits session.

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep. And I would say Trailhead Live for me is like, it makes webinars feel so dated. I was thinking through this the other day, I was like, remember when he used to have to register for a thing and then try to get in, and it was at this one time, and oh, the room's full. Now, it's just like, no, it's on demand culture. Oh, it's 10:00 AM Pacific, I tune in to Trailhead Live.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, easy peasy. It's the modern experience. It's amazing.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and I think Mark [Baseman] has been running most of those. So you get to see his beautiful fascia and have him tell you about some essential habits for Salesforce Admin. So anybody who's new to the ecosystem, maybe you got a new admin starting on your team, or somebody who's newer in their role, this is a great session to recommend to them.

Mike Gerholdt: Or you've been in your role forever and you need a refresher kind of like what's on the homepage.

Gillian Bruce: It's quick little kind of maintenance session for ya, inspiring you to get back to those good habits.

Mike Gerholdt: Exactly. And then in addition that Gillian, I think you've seen these, the Trailhead News.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. I think that I have been on a Trailhead News. I think you have as well. Haven't you?

Mike Gerholdt: No, not yet.

Gillian Bruce: Not yet. Oh, don't worry. It's coming,

Mike Gerholdt: Still waiting on my invite from Meagan. I'm sure it's lost in the mail.

Gillian Bruce: But Trailhead News is awesome. Meagan Peterson from just outside Sydney, Australia, location.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Ranger Meagan does a great job wrapping up all of the things that you would want to know about being in the Trailhead Salesforce ecosystem, including new Trailhead content, great events, other Trailhead Live sessions, podcasts that are coming out, and all kinds of great stuff in that vein of learning and continuing to beef up your Salesforce skills. So definitely check it out. It comes out, I think every Tuesday is her schedule. So...

Mike Gerholdt: Every other, every other Tuesday.

Gillian Bruce: Every other Tuesday.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, every other, because there's a lot, she does a really good job. It's like this episode, except she knows what to call it.

Gillian Bruce: It's a little more put together.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Ours is very put together. We have a Quip doc.

Gillian Bruce: It's true. We do. We have that. This is so true.

Mike Gerholdt: That's a lot put together for us.

Gillian Bruce: It is. It is.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So I always add in kind of at the tail end of this, the way back machine. I hope you're not sick to your stomach watching this on video now, but I think it's fun to look back at stuff that we published or things that were going on. And so two years ago, Gillian, do you remember you had this really great, speaking of bots, great conversation with Molly Mahar about Einstein Bots.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. We had a whole series of bot pods. So we had...

Mike Gerholdt: Bot pods.

Gillian Bruce: I love my bot pod crew. This was so fun. Essentially, I got wind of how admins can really use Salesforce bots. And I was like, cool, let me learn more about this. And I went down the rabbit hole, and I learned so much, and I met so many amazing people that I had three of them join me on the podcast. So we had, I think it was Molly, George, and Greg join us and talk about different aspects of what it means to use a bot, some best practices about a bot, and some cool things that bots can do. It was really, really cool that actually ended up turning into a couple of really cool Dreamforce sessions that year too.

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I like that. And then three years ago...

Gillian Bruce: Oh, my God.

Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, you and I were at TrailheaDX. So very apropos that we kicked off the episode TrailheaDX talking... I remember doing this interview outside. I believe it was the third floor on some tables.

Gillian Bruce: Third floor, Moscone West.

Mike Gerholdt: Moscone West. We talked with John Schaff.

Gillian Bruce: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: About how he had reinvented his career.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, amazing story. It's someone that we met through the JVS program here in San Francisco and he had a very significant accident that he wasn't sure he was going to recover from. And as part of his recovery, he engaged his brain by doing Trailhead, and now he is a rock star in the Salesforce community. And that was the first time we had met him. He was just beginning, I think he had just gotten his first Salesforce job, and now, I mean, I can't believe that was only three years ago. It feels like a lot longer.

Mike Gerholdt: I know, that's why I had to look it up. I was like, really? That feels like yesterday. And then four years ago, so it just kind of builds on itself. I was just blown away by the number of things that I found like July, July has always been a good month for us. So this was, I remember doing this interview at Midwest Dreamin'. It was [Leanne] and I, because you, Gillian, were off shooting videos somewhere, but we talked to Zac Otero, so we'll link to that. And that was just an amazing story, just floored us, and I, the previous year at Dreamforce 2015 had met Zac when he came up to me to tell me his story and it was... Boy, that was one of the hardest, yeah. Hardest podcasts to get through.
And I remember Gillian, you said like, "When you sit down and talk to Zac, make sure you ask him about the rainbow." And I, to this day recall sitting there and thinking like, okay, I made the note and Leanne and I were looking at each other and I said, "Okay, so tell us about the rainbow." And I was not expecting the answer that I got, like I was just absolutely floored, and four years ago, hard to believe, four years ago.

Gillian Bruce: It's wild. I mean, I'm getting chills and I'm getting tears thinking about that, because that was the moment where you realized how special Zac was, what he had done, and also just the significance of how Salesforce has enabled people to completely change their lives. I mean, gosh, it's crazy. I mean, a lot of people know Zac Otero's story now, but it was really like, okay, there's a purpose here and it's really got... It's amazing. So anyway.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I love that. That was four years ago, oh my God.

Mike Gerholdt: I know it was hard to believe. Very inspiring, and it also speaks to if you have the mindset and you really set that goal, that following through with it pays off. So that was, it was crazy four years ago. Skipping ahead to 10 years ago, it was a long time ago. I think Gillian, we had 10 years ago on here, because at that time, the other month, you are celebrating your anniversary, but I looked up because I had something come across my Facebook of like, hey, you feel old when these songs are turning 20. And so I thought, well, I'll look up and see what was in the box office and what people were listening to 10 years ago. 10 years ago in the box office, we were all going to see Avatar.

Gillian Bruce: Oh my God. IMAX 3D!

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yep. I remember that. It doesn't feel like 10 years ago, it feels longer.

Gillian Bruce: It sure does.

Mike Gerholdt: And Katy Perry had the top song, California Girls.

Gillian Bruce: That's right.

Mike Gerholdt: So in case you didn't remember, that's 10 years old.

Gillian Bruce: I think that earlier that year, or maybe the year prior, I had actually seen Katy Perry at the 9:30 Club in D.C., because I was still living there, and it was like a small venue, and she had a huge Hello Kitty stage prop. And she spent most of the time talking and she was pretty funny, but I went only because I had heard two of her songs and I'm like, "Sure. It's like a $15.00 concert. I'll go." Then she's headlining the Super Bowl. So you never know.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep, imagine that. Yeah. I remember, funny story, was it 10 years ago? Yeah. I think I was at an HR Tech conference for a company and they played that song prior to the keynote opening, and the colleague I was with was like, "Oh dear Lord, I can't believe they played that song prior to the this," because you're in HR, tech conference.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. That seems a little weird.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. It totally was.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, it could have been her other song, which was, I Kissed a Girl, but you know.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, it's more of like, let's play all the HR violation songs.

Gillian Bruce: Maybe it was played ironically? I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: I to this day don't know, but I was like, "Oh, okay, great." Well, there we go. Fun stuff. So, okay, sure, 10 years ago.

Gillian Bruce: Well-

Mike Gerholdt: Don't look up songs that were that long ago, because you'll be surprised. You're probably still listening to them.

Gillian Bruce: Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with that.

Mike Gerholdt: I haven't watched Avatar since I've seen it though.

Gillian Bruce: I have once because I think it was on TV or something and I was like, "Oh," because you know what? The marine bio nerd inside of me loves-

Mike Gerholdt: Oh yeah.

Gillian Bruce: All of the creatures they made up, because it looks like you're underwater, but you're not. I don't know. Anyway. Aren't they still making another one? [crosstalk 00:36:58].

Mike Gerholdt: Well, they're taking a while.

Gillian Bruce: Isn't James Cameron making like Avatar Two or something?

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. I mean, in the span of... Other films have released sequels, and sequels, and sequels.

Gillian Bruce: I mean, no one's releasing much of anything right now, but yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I enjoyed watching how they filmed Avatar, because I feel like the actors had to be on these stilts, like the stilts they use to hang dry wall or whatever, and then arm extensions.

Gillian Bruce: Like Cirque de Solei people? Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That's always like, man, okay, great. That's got to be hard.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, we made it through July, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: We did, much like we made it through this podcast. Surprising. If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. Everything that we have, that we talked about, we will link in the show notes and is also blog posts and videos that you can watch. And of course, as a reminder, please go to iTunes, give us a review. I just looked to see if we had anything new, got some new stars. Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: Yay stars!

Mike Gerholdt: You have kind words. We appreciate that. And you can say up to date on all things social for Salesforce admins on Twitter. We are @Salesforceadmns, no I, and of course you can find me, I'm @MikeGerholdt and Gillian...

Gillian Bruce: @GillianKBruce.

Mike Gerholdt: Awesome. And with that, stay tuned for the next episode and we'll see you in the cloud.

Gillian Bruce: Bye.



Direct download: The_We_What_Do_We_Call_It_Episode_-_July.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we sit down with Chris Marzilli, Director of Platform Success at Salesforce. We learn tons of tips and tricks Chris has for improving your org’s performance and how the Awesome Admins out there can make a difference.

Join us as we talk about how impactful smart tab usage can be, the tools that are built into Salesforce to help you check the performance of your org, and you should always take a look at standard components first.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Chris Marzilli.

The best of the best and the worst of the worst.

Chris describes himself as “an Admin who Architects” at Salesforce, where he and his team work with some of Salesforce’s largest customers implementing and evaluating hundreds of orgs. “I’ve seen the best of the best, and the worst of the worst,” he says, “so I have no shortage of war stories.” That means he has plenty of insights to help you improve your org.

“I’ve spent the last past of this year focused on just improving and optimizing Lightning performance with some of our customers,” Chris says. He thinks of Lightning performance as a three-sided triangle: browser performance, network performance, and page complexity. The third one is where admins need to focus. As Chris puts it, “how can we make the user more efficient and how can we get the page load faster?”

Rethinking tabs from the ground up.

“In Classic, as an admin, you had very limited choices,” Chris says, but in Lightning there are so many more options than just placing the field on the left or the right of the page. Hiding things behind tabs, for example, can allow them to lazy load and substantially increase performance. Admins now have to play the role of UI designer, and there’s a lot they can do in Lightning that can have a huge impact on their users’ workflow.

One of the biggest things is to start from scratch in Lightning. “Most of the customers I’ve run into that have some of the worst-performing orgs have basically just lifted and shifted from Classic,” Chris says, “and they’ve brought over a lot of their technical debt without rethinking it.” Instead, Chris recommends starting by asking yourself what you really need to give the user in order to do their job. “Don’t give them too much,” he says, “if you have 300 fields, no user, no human, no person can comprehend that when looking at a page.” The same goes for related lists—Chris strives for one or two on a page, with the rest hidden behind tabs.

“User needs are demanding,” Chris says, but it’s important to realize that all clicks are not the same. “The question is not so much what they want to see, it’s what they want to have at their fingertips,” he says, and he has a ton of great tips for how to make better use of your tabs to group things logically while making it all more manageable for all of your different use cases.

Salesforce tools to help you gauge your org’s performance.

The world of components is wide and varied—there are so many that even Chris has trouble keeping up. Before you get into custom components, Chris recommends making sure you’ve taken a thorough look at the standard components, and even considered if what you’re trying to do would be better accomplished with a Flow. “I always try to use my declarative tools first before I go into writing a custom component,” he says. It’ll perform faster and save you a lot of time.

Another great tool is the Lightning Performance App, which started out as an adoption measuring stick but now includes several great metrics for judging how your org is functioning. Some of that data is actually stored in your org as a record, Lightning Usage by Browser Metrics, which gives you the ability to take a closer look by building custom report types and reports on that object.

“The reason I wanted to come on the Salesforce Admin Podcast is to make a callout to all of our Awesome Admins out there,” Chris says, “you can have a huge effect on Lightning performance if you just take a look at the page, inventory it, and then understand what’s the best way to present it to the user.”

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admin Podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt.

Gillian Bruce: And I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt: And joining us today is Christopher Marzilli, who, holy cow, is about to just blow your mind with all of the cool things that admins can do, that he helped coach admins, that he works with our companies while at Salesforce to increase Lightning performance on pages. We talk components. And I'll sneak peek. I think, my new word for this episode is lazy load.

Gillian Bruce: That's pretty good, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: It's lazy load's fun.

Gillian Bruce: It's like lazy river. It's what we all want to be on right now.

Mike Gerholdt: It's lazy load. So listen for lazy load and other fun things as we get Chris on the podcast.
So Chris, welcome to the podcast.

Christopher Mar...: Thanks, Mike. I'm really excited to be here first time. Long time listener of the podcast. I really enjoyed one of the recent podcasts with Vin Dynamic and talking about the Dynamic page builder.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Vin has quite the game collection.

Christopher Mar...: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: And Chris, we'll work on your superhero name through this podcast, too. So my brain is already thinking.

Christopher Mar...: Awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It just comes as the podcast progresses. Chris, you've been at Salesforce for a while. We've had the pleasure of working together on admin track. For those of you that don't know you, what do you do at Salesforce? And what are some of the things that you're really passionate about?

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. So I got my start using Salesforce about 15 years ago. For the last five years, I've been here at Salesforce. But when I started 15 years ago, I was an accidental admin and that's where my roots will always be. I'm sure you've heard the phrase admins who code. Well, I'm actually an admin who architects now here at Salesforce. I run a group of certified application architects that work with our largest customers here at Salesforce. And I've implemented and evaluated hundreds of orgs, and I've seen the best of the best and certainly the worst of the worst. So I have no shortage of worst worries.

Gillian Bruce: I love that, admin to architect at Salesforce. That's quite a 15-year trajectory there, Chris. So congrats.

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. Thank you.

Gillian Bruce: So you said you've seen the best of the best and the worst of the worst, which means you've learned a lot along the way. One of the things I think we wanted to talk to you today was about some of those things that you've learned that admins can use to help them improve kind of the performance of their org, which I think you've got a long list.

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of stuff out there. I actually spent the last part of this year, it being July now, focused on just improving and optimizing Lightning performance with some of our customers. I've kind of come up with some... a methodology of the way I think about Lightning performance. It's actually a three-sided triangle. And those three sides are browser performance, network performance and page complexity. And really the complexity of a page is where we, as admins, need to focus and think about how can we make the user more efficient and how can we get the page to load... The page load faster is a nice kind of KPI to look at, but really you want to make the user more efficient and those two things need to come together to provide the most optimal Lightning experience.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I think, I mean, for as much as we like to put bumpers on stuff, there's no stopping people from adding too much cheese to a taco. Right? And there's also no stop... Well, I'm sure there's a limit and you can tell me how many Lightning components I can have on a page, but at a certain point, your X number of Lightning component, isn't adding value, just like your X number of pound of cheese on a taco isn't adding really any more deliciousness.

Christopher Mar...: Now, I really like cheese on my tacos, but yeah, there's definitely an upper limit there. And while I'll say that we actually... There's what you can do technically, but then what's the best practice? And I like to focus on more on the best practices. And we've recently released something new in app builder. I don't know if you've seen it. As admins, we're an app builder all the time. We'll see guidance now in the lower right hand corner. And when they trip one of our rules, like if they have more than, I think it's 20 or 25 Lightning components on a page, it'll pop up and say, "Hey, this might be too many. Let's think about how to rearrange that." And we're going to be adding more and more features there, but with Lightning App Builder and that guidance, there's so much you can do.
I always say that in classic, as an admin, you had very limited choices. Right? Do I put the field on the left hand side of the page, or do I put it on the right hand side of the page? That was basically it. Now with Lightning, you have all these different templates and you have tabs where you can hide stuff behind. And when you do that, those things can lazy load. And you have different regions of the screen that you need to think about.
So it's not just do I put it on the left or do I put it on the right? The question is, where do I put it? Where is it most valuable to the end user? And if I can put it behind a tab and increase performance, all the better.

Gillian Bruce: So I think that's awesome. I mean, it's really interesting because we get so excited about all the flexibility we get now with, I mean, talking to Vin Dynamic, and the amazing things that his team has created, we have so many options as admins of you can put things here. You can set conditional visibility here. You can now kind of even to like a field level. I mean, there are so many things that as admins, we never had to think about that before. Like you said, it's either left or right. And now admins are kind of UI designers in a way.
So what are some things. Chris, that... You mentioned kind of putting things behind a tab, if you can. What are some kind of like overall strategy as an admin, like general best practice? Give me some top tips there when I'm creating a page.

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. So the key things to look at when creating your page, first of all, start from scratch. Most of the customers that I've run into that had some of the worst performing orgs have basically just lifted and shifted from Lightning... I'm sorry... from Classic to Lightning, right? And they've kind of brought over a lot of their technical debt without really rethinking it.
I always think that if you're going to implement Lightning or you're starting out with Lightning, you should start from a blank slate and say, "What do I need to give the user to do their job?" And don't give them too much. If you have 300 fields, no user, no person, no human can comprehend 300 fields when looking at a page. It's too many.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Christopher Mar...: I say 20 is what you should shoot for, maybe 30, right, on a field. And then hide everything else behind a tab. I understand that those other 150 fields are important, but not every time I go to the page. With dynamic forums, I can't wait. You'll be able to drag and drop fields on, but even now, you can use a related object and just put a couple fields on the page and then put the rest behind the tabs.
And then the other one best practice I have is related lists. 35 related lists, not great on a page, right? One or two typically is what I strive for on the top part of the page where the user loads up every time they see it. And then again, put the rest behind a few tabs and hide it, especially if they don't need it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So let me play devil's advocate, Chris.

Christopher Mar...: Sure.

Mike Gerholdt: Because if I'm an admin, I'm hearing this and I'm like, "Oh, I totally need to do that." And then the second you sit down with a user, they will give you the story of, "Well, when I load this record, sometimes I need to see this. And then other times on Tuesday afternoons, at 3:00, I need to see this. And then other times, I'm feeling like I'm on the phone with them and I need to... So I got to have access to all 35 related lists."

Christopher Mar...: Right. And the user needs are demanding. Right? I always say that you got to get to the core of what they need. And again, they'll need all 35 related list at some point in their career, right, at some point in their week or some point in their month or if they go to it once a year to look at this specific metric. That is important too, right? You need to be able to support that use case.
You can put all of the related lists into a secondary tab, and so that they can get access to it. I feel like we come off, in the classic world, and when we started doing web technology, you used to count the number of clicks, right? And then we gotten a little bit more into page load. And now we, at Salesforce, we talk about experience page time. That's how much time it takes for the page to be usable for a user.
All clicks are not the same. If I'm clicking on a tab, that's going to be pretty responsive. But if I have to click away to a different record, and I have to open up like, say, a new tab, that's going to take more time. So the question is not so much what they want to see, it's what do they want to have at their fingertips? And thinking about the different use cases that they might have to go through and how often they might have to access that data.

Mike Gerholdt: So in thinking of a page, how... because I know Gillian has a million questions, how should I approach tabs? Let's start there first.

Christopher Mar...: My thought around that is that you can basically drag and drop tabs anywhere you're not want now in the app builder. It's really powerful. You don't want to go crazy though, right? You don't want to have everything be tabbed. So I like to have one set of tabs. The default tab is the, again, those key things, maybe those 20 fields, those two related list is in the default tab. And then everything else, I have behind that.
And I've seen actually a lot of different implementations. Some people have thought of some different ways to break out the tabs. I saw one company that had tabs basically by core role. So they might have a number of different sales roles, right, that all access the opportunity. Right? And they all want the same information, but some of them, they want these three related lists and the other ones want a different two related list or fields or whatever. They actually have five tabs on the opportunity page that actually is done by role. And I was like, "Wow, I never thought about that." You could also do it just by, "Hey, here are all your fields. Here are all your related lists. Here's all this stuff that deal with assets. And here's all this stuff that deals with revenue." So if you think about logical ways to group some of the fields and related lists, that's another method, too.
There's definitely no one, "This is the right way to manage your tabs." I think it's about working with those demanding end users and figuring out what's going to be best for the different use cases you need to support.

Gillian Bruce: I like this. This is like tab palooza. There's so many. Wasn't Tab like a soft drink at some point, too? Or is that still a thing?

Mike Gerholdt: It was.

Christopher Mar...: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Still exists. Still exists.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. I am like, I'm envisioning it. I don't think I've ever actually had it. So I can't tell you what it tastes like.

Mike Gerholdt: I feel like it was in the '80s thing.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Because don't they talk about that in a big movie that came out in 1985 about time travel?

Gillian Bruce: Sure. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Put it on my tab.

Gillian Bruce: I was a little young, I think.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I know. I'm old or something, fine. Give me a Pepsi without sugar.

Gillian Bruce: All right. So I love this tab strategy. And now everyone's thinking of drinking a Tab soft drink. But one of the other things, when you say tabs, it makes me think of console. So can you talk to us a little bit about console versus tabs in the kind of standard out of the box experience? I mean, I love console. I think it's amazing. And that is like the ultimate Tabba Palooza. Right?

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. So there's definitely a big difference between the tabs that you have in app builder and the tabs that exist in the console Lightning application. Even though they probably look relatively the same, they function a little bit different. What's important to know about the console tabs is that unlike the app builder tabs, they don't do what we call lazy load with the app builder and you put a tab on, it loads the default tab when the end user hits the page. And then when they click into the next tab, that's when it actually does the loading there. So you get a speed advantage, a performance advantage there.
With service console, each time it's opening up a tab... Or I'm sorry, the Lightning console, each time it's opening up a tab, you are actually loading that record. And furthermore, if you use navigation rules, which I know a lot of our admins do where you can open up multiple tabs, so if I click on a case, I open both the case and the account, you're actually opening both records.
That could be a big performance hit if you have a thousand users all clicking on tens of thousands of cases every day, you're now loading both the case and account every time someone clicks on a case. There's some performance trade offs there. It could be very useful obviously for a service representative to be able to look at both the account and the case and flip back and forth. But do they need it every time? If the answer is yes, then go ahead and use the navigation rules. The answer is no, well you can actually speed up the performance by reducing those navigation rules.

Gillian Bruce: I see. That's, again, a tip I had no idea about. So this is good.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I love your point that you make in your presentation about console users are generally power users. I feel like it even took me a while before I was what I would consider myself a power user to have a console and be able to navigate around. Right?

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. I mean the console users are not people who are working on one thing at a time, right? They are working on multiple cases, multiple opportunities, multiple leads, and they are flipping back and forth and they are definitely the quintessential power users, and they need a little bit more thought put around their performance because every second you can reduce the page load time is more time that they're going to be able to juggle multiple things.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So let's jump into... Because I feel we did justice to some tabs. I bet there was a Diet Tab, too, Tab Free. What about Lightning components? It's interesting, coming from the world of Classic, you kind of had the record detail, and then all of your related lists and you had this one page and as you mentioned, there's really, do you put it in left? Do you put it in the right? And then once it's in the left or the right, "Ooh, do you put a blank space in between it?"

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. Right. Yeah. Oh, fancy.

Mike Gerholdt: Those fields. I remember when the blank space came out. It was like, "Oh my God, this is a game changer." Now we have on top of the page apps, we have components that we can put in pains. And for the most part, we have standard components we can drag and drop in, and we also have custom components. So if we have developers that are building components, how should we go about thinking about components?

Christopher Mar...: Yeah, it's a great question because that's one of the powers that we have in Lightning that it's so much more powerful than classic, it's those standard and custom components. In the standard components, we keep adding more and more every release. It's even hard for me here at Salesforce to keep up with all of these components that we have, the highlights panel. I really like the accordion, just because it's fun to say accordion.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Christopher Mar...: And there are so many great different components. And then there's third party components. There's a huge number of app exchange, third party Lightning components out there that you can go and get free and paid. So there's just no end to it. And then there's of course the custom built components that you work with your developers to build.
Anytime I talk about the custom components, I always say, "Make sure that you're looking at the standard components. Make sure you're thinking about using flow before you even get into the custom components." But there's always going to be those things that you're going to want to build those custom components for and engage those developers to do it, but you want to have those requirements upfront. Like this is what we did. I was always try to use my declarative tools first, right, before I go into the, "I need to start custom writing a component."

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I mean, Chris, to your point, I remember early days of when we were kind of spreading the Lightning news and going and doing like Lightning tours in cities. I remember, there was a moment where actually one of our like broader team members was super stoked about a Lightning component he'd built. And then we were like, "That's actually a standard component."

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah.

Christopher Mar...: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: You did all this work, and actually it already exists.

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. I've definitely run into that certainly with customers and then I show them not only does it exist, but it actually performs faster. Right? One of the things I wanted to get too techie here on the admin call, but when developers are building components, they actually have the option to use something called base components, which are basically the underpinnings of our core components. Right? So that it's very similar to the ones that you see in app builder, but then they can extend them. Developers can extend them.
And the reason why that's so important is that as we make improvements to the core Lightning experience engine, those base components that are standard components improve the performance. So it's kind of like by using Lightning components, you're investing anyway in Salesforce, right? By using those base components, now we can invest in you and actually help you speed up. And we do that release to release, basically.

Gillian Bruce: I think that's really cool too, because I mean, we've briefly touched on kind of the more complexities that come with Lightning components and building them once in a while on this podcast. And I think the idea of base components is something that admins can very easily understand, right, because it's very similar to the admin experience in that, "Hey, here is a..." I mean, it's almost like a template that you can use.

Christopher Mar...: Right.

Gillian Bruce: And reminding developers that they exist, I think, is a really good thing for admins to do.

Christopher Mar...: Absolutely. And Gillian, not only can they... They can actually see them, right? So you can go and I would encourage even admins to go to the Lightning component developer docs. And in the documentation, there's a tab for base components and you can go and look at them and see them, and then you can get the code and you can even send that link to one of your developer and say like, "This is the component that I think we want to..." This basically, it's a UI. Ultimately it's a base UI. You go, "This is what I want. This is the component that you should put it in. And here's the data that we need to pull in or the functionality that we need." So the admins can actually go and see them, see all of our base components.

Gillian Bruce: So awesome. I love that. I love that. So Chris, what are some kind of other things that you've got tip wise for admins who are building pages in Lightning who want to optimize performance? We talked about tabs. We briefly touched on console, talking about components. What are some other top things that come up to mind for you that you've seen?

Christopher Mar...: Well, one of the things that I work the most with is doing investigations with customers. How do we troubleshoot Lightning performance? Because you're obviously not starting from a blank screen. Almost nobody's in that position, unless you've just spun up a new org today. Right? So how do we go about if our users are saying it's slow, what are the next steps you should take to then kind of troubleshoot that and figure that out? And I spend a lot of time working with customers. So I'd like to kind of talk a little bit about some of the ways I go and do that.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. That'd be great.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Let's jump into that.

Christopher Mar...: The first thing I always tell people is go look at your Lightning Usage app, right? That app came about because we wanted to see how people, how users are adopting Lightning. But now, there's two additional sections in that for pages and browser, and you can get performance. You can see how each browser type is performing, whether you're using Chrome or Safari or whatever browser types you might have. And then you can also see it by page. And I think we showed you right now the top worst performing pages. And we grade them based upon what I talked about earlier, that experience page time, or EPT.
So there, right there and then, by an admin or even a developer going to the Lightning Usage app, they can see what pages they might want to refocus on because they're not performing well. What's even better is that some of that data is actually stored in your Salesforce org. A lot of people don't know that, that behind the scenes, that Lightning Usage App is using a record called Lightning Usage By Browser metrics. It's actually an object and you can actually build custom report types and reports on that object to kind of slice and dice the data a little bit more if you want to get detailed.

Gillian Bruce: Ooh, that's so cool. I didn't even know that. That's great.

Mike Gerholdt: All of that is new. And going through your presentation, I actually saw where you could append the URL to have the EPT show up on the page.

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. And this is a great way to kind of test, from any computer, anywhere in the world, what the EPT is on a page. And you can actually append what we call a URL parameter to the end of the URL. It's just EPT visible equals one. And you'll be able to see how long that page load.
We recommend, or we strive for all pages loaded under the three seconds. And I can tell you at an aggregate here at Salesforce, we hit that number. If you have pages that are six, nine, 12 seconds in EPT, you need to start focusing in on what that page is, how it's configured, and then how you can kind of rearrange it to increase the performance.

Gillian Bruce: So, Chris, this is a lot of great data that now admins are understanding how to access and how to analyze kind of their org. Once we kind of gather this data, I'm wondering when you're working with people and their orgs, how do you kind of interpret this and use all this data to start making a plan? Like, how do you prioritize your like, "Okay, so this page is slow. We're going to try doing tabs first or..." How do you kind of take all of this into action?

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. And that's the key part, right? So the information is great and the Lightning Usage App can tell you where you might have some problems. Your users are obviously going to speak up and say, "It's slow here." The question is, what do you do next? What I've done is you kind of start have to take basically an inventory of the page and understand what you have on the page, what's on the details, how many related lists. Do you have visual force on the page? Are you using third party components? Are you using a managed app exchange component that was built for Classic and hasn't been moved to Lightning?
Those are the key things that we look at, especially with Visualforce. I've worked with a lot of companies that spent a lot of time and they have a lot of things in Visualforce. If you have too many Visualforce components on a page, that can severely slow you down. And I basically worked with a lot of customers, and this is a great story. I worked with a large customer. They had six architects. They were looking at one of their custom object pages. It was taking about 12 seconds to load. They really weren't sure what was going on. They started the Lightning Usage App, but they didn't really know how to break it down.
I sit down with them and I look at it and I say, "Well, you've got 30 related lists, 300 fields, and four Visualforce pages. This is not going to perform as well as you think." And there's a lot of call outs. And I said, "If you put some of these, a few things behind tabs and maybe move Visualforce to some of the standard components," because I saw some of the Visualforce and I said, "That looks like a standard component to me," they could increase their performance.
They were a little bit worried, first off, when I told them that you would need to make all these changes in their UI. But I told them, it's all in the app builder. It's all very declarative. I'm sure your admin can give you a quick estimate what the turnaround is. And of course, there was silence in the room. They had never invited the admin to the call. So you can imagine six architects in a room, scratching their head, trying to figure out why the app is not performing the way they want it to. And meanwhile, the administrator, she's sitting out there, could basically fix their problems in probably less than an hour. She actually turned it around in the next day. They sent me something in the sandbox that reduced their EPT from 12 to three and a half seconds. And then they went even further than that before they ended up deploying it in their next release.
So it's really, one of the reasons I wanted to come on the Admin Podcast is to make a call out to all of our awesome admins out there, all of our app builders to say, you can have a real huge effect on Lightning performance if you just kind of take a look at the page, inventory it, and then understand what's the best way to present it to the user.

Gillian Bruce: I love that story. Yay. Awesome admin power.

Mike Gerholdt: Chris, that's a really good point. And thinking through always being in the conversation, right? So for some of the teams that you work with, do you find that often, some of that standard functionality was rebuilt or they're just not including everyone in the conversation when they're looking at their performance?

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. I mean, certainly in this case, they didn't include the admin in the conversation when they were looking at performance because they felt they were so customized that it wasn't important, which is the exact opposite. Because they were so customized, they needed to have the admin in the room. You know, I also feel like the Visualforce has been around for so long. And I do really love Visualforce. I built a lot of stuff in Visualforce, but a lot of the stuff that we built for standard components came from us seeing people building the same Visualforce page over and over and over again. Right?
So there's some level there that we built for you that you need to now use. A lot of customers when they, again, when they migrate to Lightning using a lift and shift mentality, it's just not optimal. They won't get a optimal Lightning experience because they didn't think about using the standard stuff first, using the declarative stuff first. They just brought over all of that customization, all that Visualforce they made.
I still, on occasion, get asked when will S-Controls be supported in Lightning. I'll just say it here, it'll never happen. And it's a good thing. It's a good thing that we don't do that, because it just kind of relieves yourself with technical debt and you now can use standard stuff for a lot of these things.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, and a lot of the features that we have coming out are quicker than what the previous, the one it replaces, right?

Christopher Mar...: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: The analogy I think of is email's way faster than sending a letter in the mail. Right? It's got mail in the title, but it's way faster. One thing that you touch on that I do want to help admins with... And I'll admit that I'm not the most inept at troubleshooting. We talked a lot about page performance and I feel that admins have that ability to really make that effect, and you've seen that. When troubleshooting, you have a whole slide and a whole kind of section that you talk about browser performance.

Christopher Mar...: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Often, when an admin's out walking around, a user will kind of pull him over to be like, "Hey, this is slow. Is there something you can help?" I'd love to know, like, what are some of those things that we can do to kind of jump in and just check and kind of make sure that things are running optimal in that user's computer?

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. Browser performance is key for Lightning. One of the big differences between Classic and Lightning is Classic is rendered all on our side, what we call the server side. It's almost rendered entirely by Salesforce then sent as a old school HTML file all at once in a big, huge, basically text blob. With Lightning, it's a little bit different. We're still doing stuff on the server side, right, because you're still connected to Salesforce. You're still probably running your apex or whatever on the server side. But on the client side is where all the rendering really happens and all the processor happens.
So we need to have... The physical piece of hardware that's in front of you needs to be able to do that rendering. So we have something that we built right into the application called the speed test. It uses a score called octane score, which was invented by Google. And it evaluates your browser's performance specifically within a tab. Does it have a good connection to the Salesforce data center? Is it powerful enough? Does it have enough Ram? Does it have a good upload and download speed? I know with people obviously working a lot from home these days, network connections can really vary. So it's a good thing to look at that.
And when you run that speed test, you really want to get an octane score between 20 and 30,000. And when you have older pieces of hardware, you might need to think about refreshing them or upgrading them. I always say that at a company, those employees that are the most tenured tend to actually have some of the oldest hardware and see the worst performance. Right? And that's just because sometimes, refresh schedules, they get extended or they're simply just not implemented. And today's browsers-based technologies, you don't need to have this mega machine obviously. But having a decent octane score is certainly the first step to ensuring good browser performance.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I can tell you, and I'm sure our admins out there have some stories of users. I had a user on old Internet Explorer. This was right around the time when Salesforce was definitely upgrading some stuff. I said, "You've got to just download Firefox. It's also supported by our IT." Truth be told, some users are shackled by IT only supports certain browsers, and only certain browsers can be downloaded. And thankfully, our IT department support IE and Firefox. And I said, "Just download Firefox and it'll be quicker," and I went back to their desk. And they said, "I downloaded Firefox. It's not any faster." And I look at their page and their page is still open in IE.

Christopher Mar...: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, the point of downloading Firefox is that I use Salesforce in Firefox. But to that point, that was one of my most tenured users. And they did have some of the oldest equipment.

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. What I see actually, what typically happens to customers that have some of the worst performance is that it's a combination, right, of poor browser performance, poor hardware, and just massively over-customized pages. And when those two things come together, that's when you see some of the worst performing Lightning pages.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. Well, great, Chris. I am glad we had you on the podcast. We obviously, a lot to talk about. We can always dive into learning more about how we can set up Lightning pages and troubleshooting browser performance. And we didn't even touch on network performance. But I appreciate you getting on and helping our admins make the users as productive as possible.

Christopher Mar...: Yeah. I just wanted to make one last shout out to Trailhead. There's a great trail called Lightning Experience Performance Optimization. That's going to go into the details of everything I've talked about here. It'll talk to you about EPT and the Lightning Usage App and how to get your octane score and all that sort of stuff. It even talks, we didn't even get into it, but it talks a lot about optimizer. I know you had Niket on a few podcasts ago. And that trail is an awesome trail. Again, the Lightning Experience Performance Optimization trail, go check it out.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And I'll be sure to link to it in the show notes. Thanks so much, Chris.

Christopher Mar...: Thanks so much, Michael.

Gillian Bruce: All right. So for three things that I got from our conversation with Chris, I mean, I got a lot, but my top three are admins, think about using tabs. That is so easy to create tabs on your Lightning pages and use them to make your pages more useful for your users and customize. Chris talked about a whole bunch of different ways you can do that. And maybe you want to drink a Tab while you're playing with tabs.
Next, check performance in your own org. In fact, there's a couple of tools that Chris mentioned that you can, as an admin, use right now to check the performance of your org. There's the Lightning Usage App. And that's where you can view EPT and browser performance. And you can also create a custom report type by using the object Lightning Usage by Page Metrics. So really cool way to get all that data there.
And then you can take actions, like Chris talked about. And then finally, when you're thinking about Lightning components, remember to always start with the standard components. And if you do need to build something custom, remind your developers to start with the base components. It's going to make your components perform better on your page. And there's tons of capabilities there. So don't discount them. Start there. You don't have to build everything from scratch.
If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And a reminder, if you love what you hear, be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. I promise, Mike and I read all of them. We love them. We need more of them. So give us more reviews. And you can always stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We're @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter, #awesomeadmin. And you can find me @gilliankbruce and Mike...

Mike Gerholdt: @MikeGerholdt.

Gillian Bruce: Thank you so much for joining us today and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Lightning_Speed_with_Chris_Marzilli.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re chatting with Purvi Desai, Director Product Marketing for Service Cloud. We learn how admins can get started with this amazing product.

Join us as we talk about how to use personas to help you configure service cloud, the amazing powers of macros, and some product marketing insights about how to build a demo.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Purvi Desai.

What we learned about Service Cloud at TrailheaDX.

We saw Purvi’s segment about Service Cloud at TrailheaDX and knew we had to bring her on the pod to tell us more about it. “This session was really all about how admins can champion productivity for service agents,” she says, “admins wear many hats, they’re product managers where they’re implementing roadmap and rolling out new features, but they’re also very much responsible for the user experience.”

In a world where service organizations are measured by average handle time and customer satisfaction, optimizing the experience for service agents means cases are handled faster and customers leave the interaction happier.

How to start thinking about Service Cloud users.

In her segment, Purvi walked us through everything from automations to Lightning Flows and AI that can save time and make everyone more productive. What’s so crucial with Service Cloud that differentiates it from working with sales is your users are working through the interface you’ve given them at the same moment as they’re dealing with the customer. One thing that comes in handy is leveraging personas: case solvers, expert agents, and team leaders. Understanding who each of these users are and what they need to do will help you optimize their workflow.

Another important concept to get your head around is the type of cases your company solves. A software company is going to have a very different workflow than a retail organization, for example. You need to make decisions about what information will be most helpful to your reps in the moment they’re dealing with the customer. “Any little thing you can automate, any second saved is really important,” Purvi says.

New Service Cloud features coming in Summer 20.

Looking forward to Summer 20, we’re adding several new features that are incredibly exciting. Service Cloud Voice brings a native integration of intelligent telephony to the Salesforce platform. Putting everything all in one place is especially important when several people are working from home and may not have the same amount of screen real estate they’re used to.

For team leaders, you have everything all in one place, including voice. Most importantly, you have richer analytics to help you make decisions in real-time. “This is going to help our agents because it’s going to help them focus on the customer rather than writing notes or searching for an answer,” Purvi says, because now there’s live voice transcription. Everything happens through Salesforce’s interface, making it easy for admins to work with and bring key insights to leadership.

Trailhead:

Social:

Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt: And I'm Mike Gerholdt.

Gillian Bruce: And today we have an amazing guest joining us. It's Purvi Desai, Product Marketing, Service Cloud to talk how admins can get started with Service Cloud. So without further ado, let's get Purvi on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: So Purvi, welcome to the podcast.

Purvi Desai: Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: As a followup from TrailheaDX, which was an amazing event. We saw you kind of wrap up the Service Cloud session. We wanted to have you on the podcast to talk more Service Cloud, because we know there's so many admins out there that loves Service Cloud that are knee-deep in it, helping their organizations do a bunch of stuff. Wanting to get to know a little bit more about the person we saw at TrailheaDX, and some fun Service Cloud features for admins. So we'll get started. I'd love to know, kind of your path before you came to Salesforce?

Purvi Desai: Totally. So I actually have a background in IT. When I was in [inaudible] I was interning as actually a systems administrator, not for Salesforce, but for a different system. So then after that, I did a brief stint at Accenture as a consultant. And then I kind of went back to the company I worked at for a while and worked in IT and what I was doing there with implementing marketing systems. And with that I worked very closely with the marketing team there, helping them with the requirements and helping them deliver. And what I found was that while I loved IT and I loved implementing the systems, I also really love the marketing aspect and working with the marketing team to deliver these messages to get people excited about the product. So that's what really made me decide like, "Hey, I want to make this switch into marketing and I want to do it at Salesforce because Salesforce is a fun marketing company. I know I can learn a ton there."
So I actually joined Salesforce about almost five years ago. And at first I joined as a web experience manager because my background was actually very much in content management systems. And so delivering those systems, and Salesforce was actually implementing the same system at the time. So I was able to join and bring my kind of expertise in that system while also kind of onboarding and creating the web experiences on salesforce.com for our Service Cloud team. So I did that for a couple of years, and then I started getting interested in product marketing and really bringing the voice of our products to our customers. So that's where I joined the Service Cloud product marketing team, where I am today, really delivering more of the technical aspects of marketing with demos that you see at Dreamforce, the ones that you're seeing at the Keynote and the Campground, and it's just been really, really exciting and fun. And so I really love what I do.

Gillian Bruce: It's a really great path. I love how, I think a lot of admins will hear similar themes to their paths in your story and starting in IT. And then kind of getting exposed to some of these other things like marketing that you're like, "Oh, I like that. I want to get into that." And then getting close to the product and kind of getting to nerd out a little bit, which, if you're listening to this podcast we're all a little bit nerdy, right? So thank you for sharing it. That's awesome. That's awesome.

Purvi Desai: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: So, Purvi you did an amazing presentation for TrailheaDX, which was our first ever virtual TrailheaDX. And you did a whole session on Service Cloud for Admins. Can you give us a brief synopsis of some of the stuff you did in that session?

Purvi Desai: Absolutely. So this session was really all about how admins can champion productivity for service agents. And as a service admin, and as an admin in general, they wear many hats. They're product managers where they are implementing Roadmap and rolling out new features. But they're also very much responsible for the user experience and making sure that that user experience for service agents is really productive and it's going to really help them close cases faster, which is really important. Because a lot of service organizations are measured on average handle time and customer satisfaction. And you know, the faster you can get your issue completed, the happier the customer is going to be. So that's really where we wanted to focus. So it was really all about tips on how to create an optimal service experience from where how to lay out case pages to all the different tools that we have available out of the box that are going to really help make that agent's job a lot easier.
So, that was basically it. And then also we talked about some automation tools that are available, whether that's from macros that are kind of automating things, like closing a case or escalating a case to lightning flows, which are going to really automate those business processes all the way to AI. So recommending the best knowledge article to solve the case, or even suggesting case fields. Because a lot of times agents are spending time filling out case fields, doing administrative work, and that's all counting against their handle time, which they want to have as low as possible. So that was really like the gist of it, to how to help agents be more productive.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, you really packed in. I mean, literally three sessions worth of information in like 18 minutes. It was amazing. I think, starting off in the session, you talk about personas and meeting with users, which Gillian will attest to. I've talked about SABWA, Salesforce Administration By Walking Around for a long time. And this year I've got to revise that to SABZA, because it's got to be Salesforce Administration By Zooming Around, right? Because SABZA. But one thing that really grasped me about your presentation and about thinking back to when I did a Service Cloud implementation is the idea of personas and the idea that as an admin, your users are really in the product exactly at the moment that they're trying to work with a customer. And to me it feels different. And it was a mind shift from working with sales. Because sales often they got the game face on, they're going into the meeting and it's either, a big meeting or a big presentation and they've got stuff prepared.
And then they go back to Salesforce and get that information or input that data. With Service Cloud the second that phone rings or the second that incoming chat comes up, now they're in the product, right? And it's hand in hand that, it's like Batman in the Batmobile, right? They've got to have everything together in order to give that customer service the best possible outcome. And so I'd love for you to kind of talk about personas, because I still work through, as an admin we have profiles, we have permission sets. How does personas help me give that next layer of understanding as I'm working with this department?

Purvi Desai: Absolutely. So the percentage that we covered in the session, so there's really four. One of them is admin, so we're not going to really talk about that.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, we can, it's our favorite subject.

Purvi Desai: Yeah, of course it is. But there's three really personas that we can focus on. And when it comes to a service learning organization and the people that are really using the Service Cloud product, the first one is a case solver. And these are the people who are providing direct customer support and solving escalated cases. Their top activities include logging activities, troubleshooting customer issues, and updating existing customers. And 65% of them are spending about five or more hours a day in Salesforce. So they're spending a lot of time in here and they really need help being as efficient as possible. So tools to increase efficiency and enable collaboration are really going to be key to the case solver's success. So the reason why it's important to understand your persona is because once you can understand what it's like for them to ... Or how they're working and what kinds of things they're working on, you can understand what are the tools that they need to help them be more successful.
So, right. So if we take the case solver for example, it is high volume. They're solving case, after case, after case. So they need to be efficient. They need the deep information right front and center so they can dive right in. If it's scattered information or if they have to go through multiple tabs or multiple systems to find the information that they need, that's going to really slow them down. And it's not going to make a great experience for them. So if you're understanding kind of their what they need to do, that can kind of help you figure out, "Okay, this is the kind of case layout I need for them. I need to make sure that their information is front and center because they need to know that in order to dive into the case and respond as fast as possible."
And then a lot of times these case solvers, need to perform an action. So I think something that a lot of service organizations and businesses in general often times is a use case is providing a refund, right? Or doing a billing issue. So is that refund process readily available for them to go to? Like a quick link that they can do that if that's something that they're doing a lot. Those are the kinds of things that, when you understand the persona, it's helpful for you to figure out what is it that I need to provide to them and really create your requirements list. And then the next is our expert agent. And so expert agents they solve escalated cases. They're really kind of helping those case solvers out. So when the case solver is at a point where, "Okay, I need to escalate this to the next level. This is out of my territory. Or I don't have access to the right information because permissions for example," it's going to go to this expert agents.
So they're solving, they're helping these case solvers get to a resolution. And then they're also creating knowledge articles. So they're the ones who are contributing to that hub that the case solvers are using to help them solve articles. And they're training agents. They're also spending, 66% of them are also spending five hours a day in Salesforce. And they're really supporting other agents by creating and editing knowledge articles and training. So for them it's important to make sure that they have the tools that they need for knowledge readily available. And if you also think about a case being escalated to an expert agent, they need to understand what's already happened on that case. Where do I need to dive in? So that's where things, for example like the case feed that we talked about in the session is really important, because it's going to give you that history of what happened.
So again, the expert agent can jump in and help the case solver right away. When things are not apparent like that and it's just scattered and something's just kind of dropped on your desk, you can understand, like if you don't have the background of the context, it's kind of like, "What do you want me to do with this?" You know what I mean? So that's why those things are really important to understand. The other thing I want to talk about beyond the personas though is also the type of cases that the companies are solving. So like let's take for example a retail industry. They oftentimes have cases that are very quick, right? Like, "Oh, I need to check on my order status. I need to understand, I need to return something." So those interactions last maybe 10 minutes at most, and then they're resolved pretty quickly.
So thinking about a short term and a high volume kind of use case versus a long term where if you can think about like a technology company. And those cases might last a few days, because there's back and forth, there's troubleshooting and having that kind of history. So you also want to think about beyond the personas, also thinking about the type of the use case to really figure out what's the best thing to have there.
So for example for the high volume, while it's important to have the history for the customer, it might not be ... That's more important to understand for a long-term case like, "What are the past cases they've had? Is this a recurring issue? What troubleshooting things have they done in the past?" That's really going to be helpful for those long-term cases to understand what the history is. Whereas for the short term, it's more getting to the crux of that problem right then and there and resolving it [inaudible]. And then the last kind of persona that we talked about is the team leader who is really supervising, managing, and training agents. And for them it's less about the case, but it's more about the reporting. So ensuring that there's a nice view of reports and dashboards and utilizing features like Omni Supervisor to really give them a view into the entire service organization's activity so they can jump in as needed.

Gillian Bruce: I think that personas, no matter what type of Salesforce instance you're administering is super important. As Mike said, it's all about understanding that user experience and which is now SABZA, which is my new favorite term. It's like I used to do a machete motion for SABWA and now this is more like a lightsaber emotion, because there's a Z in, it sounds fancy and advanced. But, Purvi, to your point, understanding those personas and the fact that you've been able to kind of define those very distinct personas going into a Service Cloud implementation I think is very, very helpful. And I'm sure that anyone who's listening who is working on a Service Cloud implementation will be able to get a lot from what you just shared with us. Now, another thing that I know admins go crazy for, and you talked about this also in the TDX presentation is macros. Talk about speeding up that experience. Tell us a little bit more about macros.

Purvi Desai: Sure. So macro is for those that are listening in that aren't aware are basically what they do is they take a bunch of clicks and they automate them into one. So what that means is, for example, let's say every time that you're resolving a case you're sending that same kind of ... Like let's say it's an email case and you're always sending that same kind of email like, "Oh, your case has been resolved." So there's a lot of clicks to get to that, right? First you have to click on the email tab, then you have to apply the email template. Then you have to maybe edit a few things and then you have to send it. So with macros you can automate all of that. So they can, literally your agents can click, one, they can open that macros menu and they could click run, and that's going to be all taken care of for them.
So that's where it's really helpful. Like I mentioned before, time is very much of the essence for service agents. They're measured on the handle time, how long it takes for them to close cases. And that's really going to attribute to the overall customer satisfaction score of the company. So it's really important to help them. Anything, any little thing that you can automate is really, a second saved is so important. So that's really what macros are going to do. Like I said, closing a case is a great use case. Another use case is escalating a case. So if you think about that, let's say there's a case that needs to be escalated to an expert agent. You would need to change the case status to escalated. You would need to add a note in there. There's a couple of things that might need to happen.
A process for example to escalate. You can automate all of that, just again with one click to make it even easier. And even assign it. When you escalate it, you can also create rules that it is going to assign it to another queue, like the expert agent queue for example. So it's going to be automatically routed to the right agent to take that over. So, that's really where macros are great. They can also create tasks automatically. And I do want to tell you that macros are just not a Service Cloud thing, they're a Salesforce thing. They work with Sales Cloud. They work with basically every standard object and custom object. So anything you want to automate across Salesforce, you can use macros for.

Gillian Bruce: It's so awesome. I have to admit that I was watching South Park the other day, because as one does in so shelter in place and they, it was the episode about World of Warcraft, which again, we're talking about nerdy subjects here. And Cartman is talking about how he has all these macros for all the different moves that you can do when you're battling other characters.
And I was like, "See, it's not just a nerdy software thing. It's also a thing for gamers and people who like sick cartoons." So anyway, to bring it home for those who don't quite know what a macro is and haven't really dug into them before. It is an amazing thing. Macros, I literally think I just learned about them a couple of years ago and I set some up on my own computer to do certain things and I'm like, "Oh, this is awesome." So yeah, using them across Salesforce, I mean is just super, super, super cool.

Mike Gerholdt: I have this idea now for a game that we can play at Dreamforce in the admin area, or for a community group, it's take three things and have three different hats and pull something out. Because take like a Salesforce feature, a cloud, and pop culture and put a whole bunch of random stuff in each one, and it's like, "Okay, so imagine you pull out South Park Service Cloud in macros, Gillian, go."

Gillian Bruce: I got it.

Mike Gerholdt: Got it.

Gillian Bruce: I got it.

Mike Gerholdt: No problem. That would be the funnest kind of Mad Libs S game ever.

Gillian Bruce: That's really like that. We need to do that.

Mike Gerholdt: I do like, Purvi that you also added kind of those questions that need to be asked. What needs to happen? What's the information needed? Who needs to be involved and how can I make it all happen with a click? Because I know sitting in a meeting room or being on a call with customer service managers are like, "Well, they should do this and this and this and this and this and this." And you're like, "This is like 10 minutes to close a case and you're mad that it's take the agent two minutes to be on the phone." And so that's where the power of that macro comes in. So, it's warm out, it's warm where I'm at, and it's probably warm where a lot of people are right now. But we have Summer '20 coming out, which has a ton of new features. And I would love to know from your perspective what some of those exciting Summer '20 features are in Service Cloud?

Purvi Desai: Absolutely. So the most exciting feature coming out for Summer '20, and this is really big for us. This is something we announced at Dreamforce '19 is Service Cloud Voice. And what Service Cloud Voice is, is a native integration of intelligent telephony on the Salesforce platform. And this is alongside all the digital channels and CRM data. So, for a long time we didn't have native telephony on Salesforce. We're very much just, our customers were using Partners and we were doing it that way, but now we're actually having it natively integrated. So those of you that use Omni-Channel right now for channels like chat and messaging and email and social, all of your voice calls, if you get Service Cloud Voice is going to now route through Omni.
So that means no matter what channel it is, it's going to be routed all in one place for your agents. And being in the shelter in place kind of quarantine time we're in that's so critical too to have everything in one place, because a lot of people are just working off their laptop like I am. So they don't have a lot of screen space, which is really helpful. This is really going to help agents. Not only is it just, "Okay, now we have voice and it's going through Omni," but it's going to help increase agent productivity by giving agents access to native call controls, voice surfaced with an omni-channel, and then on-call productivity tools.
So all this productivity tools that we talked about, we talked about macros, we talked about flow, we talked about some of those capabilities, Einstein, that's now going to all be available on the voice channel. In addition, it's going to really help out those team leads and supervisors, because they're going to have greater visibility into the contact center. Because not only, before with Omni Supervisor, they would have this bird's eye view and they could see all of the cases that their agents were handling across those channels I mentioned before, email, chat, messaging, all of those things. But now they're going to be able to see voice channels and see what they're handling in real time.
And then with enhanced data collection and visibility into what's going on, they'll have even more analytics, richer analytics to help them with their decision making. And this is really going to help our agents, because it's going to help them focus on the customer rather than writing notes or searching for an answer. Because with this new Service Cloud Voice we have real-time transcription. So now, a lot of times when I actually went to a customer and I was shadowing their agents, and when they're on the phone, they were kind of taking notes, making sure they were capturing things while they were talking to them. They were multitasking. Now this is kind of like, they don't need to do that. Because with real-time voice transcription, all of those things are being captured for them. So they can just focus on that customer and focus on what's happening. So it's really going to help them with admin tasks, which is something we want to get off their plates as well.
And let me tell you why this is really cool and beneficial for admins. This is all going to happen. So the purchase, the setup and the support of Telephony is all going to happen through Salesforce's interface. That means that you're really streamlining your setup. You had just have one place now for all of your channels to set up and manage. And you're going to be able to deliver much richer dashboards and much richer reporting for your supervisors and business leaders. Because the phone call is being captured as data in the service console with the call transcription recording.
So I just want to talk about like what does that mean? So we have voice transcripts, we have data about calls. We have data about messaging interactions. We have data about email, all of those interactions. And then we also have all of that CRM data that's in Salesforce. So now you have every single channel, everything you need, plus CRM data that you can really have some really great insights. And that's why this is so important for businesses and so important for admins to really roll out to their business leaders in their companies.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Just as a moment of pause, if you're at this point in the podcast, I am completely cool with you pausing and going back and relistening to that, because I just had to stop taking notes. But what floored me was the real-time voice transcription. I think that's got to be huge for anybody looking to help kind of bring best practices or reportability to their service agents.
One thing I did want to ask you, which as we kind of wrap up, we've talked a lot about Summer '20 features. We talked a lot about personas. We talked a lot about macros and you at the beginning, we asked you about being in marketing and being product management and being definitely on the technical side. You're the perfect intersection of what I feel admins are. I would love to know from your perspective and your learnings here at Salesforce, how you, or any insight you can give admins on when they're putting demos together or kind of your thought process for putting content together. Because I feel like a lot of what you did for TrailheaDX prep, our Salesforce admins will have to turn around and do and do on a daily basis as they showcase new features or build demos. So if you could share any of that, I think it would be tremendously helpful for them.

Purvi Desai: Yeah, absolutely. I think before you start thinking about the demo, the first thing you need to think about is what is the message you want to convey? So the way I kind of start, when I start thinking about the Dreamforce demos, I'm like, "Okay, what are our key messages that we want to get across? And what are those key pain points that our audience is feeling that we want to show how this product is going to help them alleviate?" So that'd be like my recommendation, first align on the pain points you want to address and what are those key messages you want to get across? And then the second thing is, what features am I going to show? What in functionality am I going to show that's going to support my key messages and show how I'm going to ease this pain?
So I would say like that would be step one to figure those things out, and then really get into and start building your story. So when you're building your story, it's like, "Okay, how can I make this as easy to understand as possible?" You don't want to make it too complicated where people are focusing more on the story you're telling and less on the what you're showing them that the product can do. So it's finding that nice balance of like, "What's a story that's easy to understand that is in a way entertaining, relatable, something that they can follow and kind of gets them a bit of an emotional or humorous or some kind of catch there, or hook there, not catch, to get them interested?" But then also keep the focus on that message that you're trying to convey, that pain that you're trying to solve in that product that you're trying to showcase.
So that would be then the next way to create that really that storyboard and make sure that your messages are interwoven and then the features that you decided you wanted to show are supporting all of that. And then create that final product and get into building the demo itself. I think that's sometimes a lot of times that I find people are like, "Okay, let's get into the Oregon, start building things." And it's like, "No, no, no. First thing about your messages, what are your messaging? What is that key thing that you want to get across? How are you going to tell that story?" And then build, you know what I mean?

Gillian Bruce: I think that's super, super helpful, Purvi. I mean, us as a team, we think about doing this all of the time to try and share stories with admins. But I think as Mike pointed out, as an admin it's your job to bring these stories to life and show these features to your teams. So, getting a pro product marketer's expertise and tips on that is very, very helpful. So thank you for sharing.

Mike Gerholdt: That was amazing. I mean, so on point of, I think it rushed so quick to show the demo and the product and what it can do, and you forget that you have to be there and guide your users through a sample experience, but a very relatable one that isn't too distracting. That was incredibly insightful.

Gillian Bruce: Purvi, thank you so much for joining us today. And thank you so much for sharing with us and telling us a little bit about your story and then all of the amazing things that admins can do with Service Cloud now and in the very near future. I have a fun question. So we've all been kind of sheltering in place for a while. What's one of your favorite non-work sheltering in place activities that you've done?

Purvi Desai: My husband and I have been playing cards a lot and we've been playing Monopoly Deal. Have you heard of this game?

Gillian Bruce: No. Tell me more.

Mike Gerholdt: No.

Purvi Desai: Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Explain.

Purvi Desai: So it's a Monopoly as a card game and basically you have to get the first person to get three, combinations of three, let's say they get Park Place and Boardwalk together, and then they get like three of the yellows and those, they win. And so it's a lot of fun. We've actually upped it to five, but you also can kind of steal properties from people. You can charge them money, so you have to collect money too, and you can bankrupt them, which I do often, that's my strategy. I do it with my husband right away and it works every time. So, that's kind of been a fun thing we do. We watch Netflix and play cards every night, so.

Gillian Bruce: That's great. I love that. I think combining this with kind of the Vin Addala podcast or Vin Dynamic, we're now amassing a really good collection of game ideas for sheltering in place, so this is great.

Mike Gerholdt: I know, [inaudible]. Oh, wow. I'm going to have to try that now. Thanks for sharing that. Purvi, it was great to have you on the podcast. If people want to follow you on Twitter, and I'm sure all the people will follow you on Twitter now, what's your Twitter handle?

Purvi Desai: Sure. It's Purvi, my first name P-U-R-V as in Victor, I 214.

Mike Gerholdt: 214, awesome. Well, thanks so much for being on the podcast, Purvi

Purvi Desai: Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I had an amazing time talking to Purvi, learned a ton. For my top three takeaways from our conversation. Number one, use personas. We've talked about this before in a lot of different contexts, but especially if you're looking at a Service Cloud implementation, Purvi did a great job outlining some very specific personas for you to think about as you start to set that up and implement different features. Number two, macros are super cute. So macros are amazing. And yes, I did talk about South Park, but they are incredible, not just for Service Cloud, but across your entire Salesforce instance.
So you can set those up to really reduce the amount of clicks that your users need to do in order to get their job done. And then finally, we got some expert product marketing insights from Purvi about how to prepare a demo. Really think about your main message and then build the story as easy to understand as possible around that. Highly suggest you think about that. As admins we all have to create demos and sell a story and a vision to our users, our stakeholders, our executives. So some great tips from Purvi there.

Mike Gerholdt: And Gillian, did you know where you can go to learn more about all thing Salesforce Admin?

Gillian Bruce: Wait, there's a place I can go to learn more?

Mike Gerholdt: There is, it's admin.salesforce.com. In fact, if you go there, you can find resources about demos and did you know videos that help you understand and see things in action. And of course as a reminder, if you love what you hear, be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. I love reading them. I love sharing them with the team and you can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I, on Twitter. And of course you can find me on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholdt and Gillian you can be find you on Twitter. That was an awesome way to say that. We're just going to keep that in, because that's funny and I like to laugh at myself. But you are @gilliankbruce.

Gillian Bruce: Sure I am.

Mike Gerholdt: If you ever want to find Gillian on Twitter, I don't know. That's just, that's how that would be. You know what you can do? If you've listened this far in the podcast, tweet out a GIF that explains the ending of this podcast, because I am so looking forward to now. There we go.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, is that going to be some good GIFs?

Mike Gerholdt: I think so. I think so. So with that, stay tuned for our next episode and we'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Service_Cloud_with_Purvi_Desai.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm PST

Today, we’re joined by Wade Wegner, SVP Developer Platform at Salesforce and Product Leader for Work.com. We learn about the new collection of tools and resources, built on the Salesforce platform, to help businesses navigate the reopening process safely and responsibly.

Join us as we talk about how Wade and his team were able to build out Work.com in a matter of weeks, the new considerations companies face as they look to reopen, and how Work.com’s suite of tools and resources can help you.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Wade Wegner.

Why Salesforce is the perfect tool to help with reopening.

“About a month and a half ago, I started having conversations with some of our internal leaders around how Salesforce was going to start thinking about reopening our offices,” Wade says, “and given the global pandemic, this is a topic that is on everyone’s mind right now. How do we reopen and do so safely?”

As they were working through all of the challenges that that entails, they realized that the answer was right in front of them the whole time: the Salesforce platform. “We have an amazing platform that can do just about anything you can imagine,” Wade says, “and so we started imagining a lot of the ways that we could use the platform to help reopen Salesforce.” At the same time, the executive leadership started talking to customers and realized that everyone was going through the same process, and could probably use some help. Those conversations turned into Work.com, a comprehensive set of resources and tools to help you reopen your businesses and offices safely.

New Employee Standard objects to help.

The Work.com team was able to go from an idea to a full-fledged solution so rapidly because they built it 100% on the platform. With all the information you need to track, Salesforce makes a lot more sense than cramming everything across a hundred different spreadsheets. For one thing, you’ve got all sorts of compliance and privacy concerns with health information. For another, you need to compare a bunch of data about your employees while also keeping track of key metrics, applications where Salesforce is the perfect tool for the job.

The one thing they’ve added into core is an employee data model with a set of standard objects to help keep track of all of the new information. It’s been backported so it will be available as part of the Summer 20 release. “We’ve met with the CDC and other medical experts to code and create survey templates that define the questions you should ask and the type of information to collect,” Wade says. There are flow templates, a page layout for a command center with key information from both what you collect and public data sets, dashboards for facilities managers, and more, all of it customizable to fit your individual needs and mobile-ready out of the box.

How reopening impacts the ENTIRE organization.

There are many challenges facing companies looking to reopen in a safe responsible way. “The experiences we’re going to have in the office will be different,” Wade says, and training and enablement will be key. Built-in to Work.com are content kits that provide best practices (again, customizable templates) that will help those who can return be ready to do it safely. How do you properly social distance in an elevator? What happens if and when someone gets sick, and how do you notify your employees? “You don’t want to manage this through spreadsheets,” Wade says, “you need a set of best practices and tools that facilitate this.”

“Pretty much every company in the world is thinking about this,” Wade says, so you can be sure pretty much anyone in a management position is eager to talk about this, whether they run facilities, HR, or are scheduling shifts. “I think there’s a real opportunity to talk to them about a solution that brings this together and provides the platform to reopen on top of,” he says, and with a different set of stakeholders than admins are usually used to thinking about.

Listen for the full episode because there’s so much to learn in this ever-changing situation and there’s a lot of information here, including how Wade’s team pulls public health data into Tableau, new considerations facing companies, and why not everyone might want to come back to the office. “We’re all a part of our community, we’re all part of this company,” Wade says, “so many people have contributed and worked so hard at this because we want to see people be able to return safely.”

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 Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt.

Gillian Bruce: And I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt: Joining us today is Wade Wegner, SVP developer platform and product leader for work.com. This is super important for admins, so I'm glad that Wade was able to take time out of his day and come on the podcast. So Wade, welcome to the podcast.
Wade, welcome to the podcast.

Wade Wegner: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

Mike Gerholdt: So let's start. Work.com, what is it?

Wade Wegner: Work.com, well, I think... Let me start by actually stepping back a little bit, and to say that about a month and a half ago, I started having conversations with some of our internal leaders on the HR side and real estate, and around conversations for how Salesforce was going to start thinking about reopening our offices. Given the global pandemic, this is a topic that is on everyone's mind right now, is, how do we start to reopen our businesses? How do we reopen communities? Just, how do we reopen, right, and I think, importantly, do so safely.
So we started thinking about, and I would imagine most people that are listening today can expect and imagine how much the Salesforce platform can actually help facilitate a lot of this, right? We have an amazing platform that can do just about anything you can imagine. And so we started imagining a lot of the ways that we could use the platform to help reopen Salesforce. At the same time, a lot of us, some of our executives, I think Marc Benioff in particular, started talking to our customers, and realized everyone is going through the exact same thing.
So we started to think, how could we take advantage of, really, the expertise that we're very fortunate to have at Salesforce, through our own employees that are domain experts, and real estate, and facilities, and HR, but then also, how many people can call up David Agus and start asking questions about what to do in a global pandemic. I mean, not many can, but we have that affordance here, thanks to our leadership and so forth. So how do we turn all of this into a set of best practices that can help others also think about reopening? So out of all of that was born work.com.
You can type work.com into the browser. It'll give you all the marketing around it right there at your fingertips. But I'll say, work.com is a set of tools. It's a set of learning and enablement that'll help all of you think about reopening your businesses, reopening your offices safely.

Gillian Bruce: I love how quickly that all happened, Wade. I mean, and we've all been in this together. You described, it was just a month ago where you started these conversations. Can you tell us a little bit about how you're able to kind of put together this incredible, kind of, product with such a short amount of time? Like, what was that like? How did you get Teams to swarm on it?

Wade Wegner: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Tell me a little bit about that story.

Wade Wegner: Well, we built it on the platform. I don't know any other way to say it. It is a hundred percent built on the platform. When we deploy work.com command center, for instance, it is actually a managed package. It is a collection of metadata that describes how all of this will operate. And all of the ways with which the componentry and the solutions and the apps in it function are based on the technologies that exist today in the platform. Whether it's different components communicating via events, or taking advantage of a lightning web component to provide a rich, actionable set of things that you need to do as, kind of, a checklist. All of this stuff is built in the platform.
So, yes, I think we started actually doing the development work weeks ago, not months, weeks ago right in the middle, by the way, of a release. So it's not as if we weren't already working on things. I will say, I don't know that I... I mean, I've been at Salesforce now four and a half years, others have certainly been here longer, but I don't know in my career, I've actually seen a company pivot and swarm as fast as Salesforce did here. Honestly, it was because of our CEO, Marc Benioff. He, I think, has been more plugged into what is happening in the world right now, and what other executives are thinking about, and what's happening just globally right now that he really was like, "We need to help people. We need to swarm," and we did.
I mean, we're talking about, this is not just my organization. This has been a virtual collection of engineers, of doc writers, of QA and performance engineers across the company, coming together to get us to this first deliverable, which we're going to be officially launching on June 1st. It's been pretty remarkable.
I think it's been a collection of building on the platform, and we can break that down a little bit, if you'd like, as well as, I think, just the goodwill and the nature of this company to do good and to help people reopen that enabled us to do this.

Mike Gerholdt: I would love for you to touch on that more, because as I hear this, I think, well, just to be the bad guy in the conversation, I could just do that on a spreadsheet, Wade. I don't need your fancy app.

Wade Wegner: Yeah. So one of the things interesting here, Mike, is that this is employee data that we're starting to talk about, right? So think about one of the first things that's going to happen when we reopen, is we're going to have to understand everyone's wellness, and how they are feeling, and what... Have you been sick? And have you been exposed to symptoms? And so forth.
So I think, all of us would recognize the danger of doing this in spreadsheets. First of all, it's not going to be nearly as organized, and so forth. But we're talking about PII. We're talking about personal information. We need to think about this from a compliance perspective. Even the collection of employee information requires consent on behalf of the employee. How do you start to do that? How do you collect consent? And then, if you are a force to showcase that consent in the future and prove it to a regulator or an auditor, how do you do so?
Well, I mean, that's the advantage of using a platform that can do all of that. I know that was a bit of a facetious question there in perspective, Mike, but you're right, though. Almost everyone is thinking about this now. And almost everyone is looking at doing this through a bunch of spreadsheets, collecting... Who's going to be the phase one, phase two set of employees? Collecting, like, are they healthy? What happens if they become sick after they've come back to the office? I think we can do more than do this through spreadsheets. And that's what work.com tries to do.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I'm always a fan of getting rid of spreadsheets.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, absolutely. We all are.

Gillian Bruce: Boo, spreadsheets. So you mentioned that the platform kind of already had this infrastructure in it. Can you tell us a little bit more detailed about some of the specific features that are in, basically, this package that you've helped lead the team to create, that specifically help accomplish these things that people are right now probably doing on spreadsheets?

Wade Wegner: Yeah. Totally. First of all, I realized, I did lie. So the first thing I did as you invited me on this podcast, and then I lied to everyone. So apologies. We did actually check one thing into core, and that was, we're actually releasing an employee data model. So it'll be a set of standard objects that will be inside a core. I think everyone kind of hopefully understands the value of doing that. It gives us that central place to start modeling all of these activities around employee-centric information, right? So you can define relationships, managers, all of that kind of stuff. So we did actually check that in, and actually back ported it so that it will be available in our summer release.
Beyond that though, what's in it? Think about tracking and understanding employee wellness. That's taking advantage of our surveys' products. So we've met with the CDC and a bunch of medical experts, and encoded and created survey templates that actually define the questions you should ask and the type of information to collect. Those are all built as templates that'll be provided to you as survey templates that then you can customize, should you want to. Maybe you want to ask some additional information. Maybe you don't want to ask some information. You can define what you want and then deploy them to your organization.
Same with flows. Once you started to collect this information, there are flow templates that'll be provided, that'll help you to think through the decisions that need to be made. So, Gillian, you may be well enough to return, maybe you don't want to return to the office. And how do you start to collect and think about managing that process? So that is part of it.
Then, just the command center itself is a page layout. It's a page layout that has been then decorated with additional things. So you think about all of the componentry there. We're modeling also public data sets through MuleSoft. When data changes on that page, how does it orchestrate and update other components? How do you think about the actions that occur in one component and another? All of this is just additional metadata built on top of that solution. Really, there is nothing you wouldn't expect from a Salesforce platform application. It's just all there, ready for you to start to customize, extend and kind of make your own.

Gillian Bruce: I love that a lot of those tools sound like things that admins are already very, very familiar with. I mean, you're talking about page layouts, you're talking about flows. I mean, surveys, I know plenty of admins have already kind of dabbled in the survey arena. Powerful, very declarative first, or low code tools that I think a lot of our admins would already be familiar with.

Wade Wegner: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: And you talked about checking in, so there's also a mobile component of those as well, which is just native to the platform. I mean, I remember back in the day when, as an admin, I used to have to think about mobile consciously. And now, it's just, no, it's just part of it and the app just adjusts.

Wade Wegner: Absolutely. Totally right. The surveys, they are mobile friendly. The dashboards for executives or operations and facilities managers, just any kind of manager, those are also mobile-ready. So you will get a mobile rendering that you can just open it up on your device and away you go. So absolutely. It's incredible, the value that the platform just provides. You don't have to think about targeting all of these different unique scenarios.

Gillian Bruce: I think one of the things that is really valuable, the more that I hear you talk about this, is a lot of organizations, they need to do this, but it's like such a gargantuan effort. They're not going to try and develop their own tools to do this. They are going to use whatever they can and go as fast as they can. So the fact that this is something that is already on a platform, which organizations who are using this are familiar with, I think is such a great benefit. I mean, I can imagine a small business, right? Maybe you're not functioning at full speed, full resources, and here you go, you can now kind of use the existing tool that you're using to run your business to really get everybody back to where we need to be.

Wade Wegner: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Very, very cool, I think.

Wade Wegner: One of the things that I don't know that I appreciated until we started really working on this, is how tightly connected all of these things need to be. So imagine, understanding employee wellness is like, step one, right? Let's say we're all ready to go back. The experiences we're going to have in the office will be different. How are we all going to be prepared for those new experiences, the new normal? This is where that training and enablement is key. And so built into work.com, there's these new content kits that we're providing, that provide what we believe to be best practices. The encoding of the things that people should expect, we'll give it to you as a template, as a starting point, and you can then customize it and then deploy.
So that, for those who can return, make sure that they're ready to return, right? Because if they're not ready to return, if they don't understand what the new procedures and policies are going to be, they could put themselves or others at risk, right, like if they don't know how to properly social distance in an elevator. It's really interesting when you think about it. We're going to have to understand elevator capacity so that we can plan the flow rate of individuals from a lobby to a floor. And then when they're doing that, what should you expect through that? Should you be talking to people on the elevator? The answer is no, you probably shouldn't. And so, how do you make sure people understand what to expect before they return? That learning and enablement piece is key.
But then we have to also acknowledge the fact that once we return, there will be people that will get sick. And what do you do when someone that you may have been in touch with, ends up actually becoming sick and needs to stay home? What is the responsibility of the employer to notify you? So that ability to understand who has been in touch with what, and to let the employee really be at the center of it as well, so that like, if we all were on the same floor and I'm sick, I should be able to allow my organization, my employer, to know that I had been in touch with you, and so on, right? So that then, they can notify you.
All of these things are kind of interconnected in terms of how that works, because then, you would expect that the next wave of surveys sent to employees is going to be slightly different depending on whether or not you were engaged with someone that is now sick. You don't want to manage this through spreadsheets. You need a set of best practices and tools that facilitate this.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, and I'm thinking of, as you're walking through that, I'm thinking of... as a smaller business, even a larger business. So I got an employee app, which I probably had already, right, something to manage my employees. Now I need a survey app. Then you were talking about learning, and data management. So on top of me trying to retool my entire business, right, to keep it afloat, I'm thinking like restaurants, all of a sudden now it's drive up curbside or delivery. I'm running all that. To have to go through... I think, the biggest part for me is that learning and enablement part, right, which I saw that in the work.com video. It's just, I think that's such a huge differentiator, because now I put this in place and I have a way to teach people native within it, as opposed to seven or eight different apps that I have to log into and try and piece mail, "Okay, Susan is Susie here, but Susan in this app," and try and keep that all together. It just like, it's the stuff that you just take for granted now.

Wade Wegner: Yeah. No, absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: The part for me, I think there's a lot of it and... When you mentioned the employee data, and you mentioned the surveys, that's all employee-offered, right? It's like the employee opts in, the employee's giving that employer that information, employee chooses to fill out that survey, right?

Wade Wegner: Yup. Yeah, absolutely. If you look at some of the demos that you might find of work.com online and in various videos, and so forth, you'll see that we at least ask for consent and acknowledgement with every survey and every interaction with that employee, so that we can document that you've given the consent for this information to be captured. You can decide not to. And there's an option. In the survey, it's built in. You can say no and you just, you won't be asked to come back to the office initially. Then it's up to you if you want to keep saying no. I mean, we'll let you and the employer figure that out.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. When you said, when offices do open up, I might not want to go back to work. Believe me, I've got a nine-month-old. I am ready to get back to the office.

Wade Wegner: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Actually, here's what's really... Another interesting thing is, as I've talked with customers, there are customers that have other sorts of criteria that they want to use with respect to determining who should return. One customer was talking about how they have found certain teams, or even certain individuals have actually been more productive remotely than they were otherwise, but then some teams aren't as productive.
I think, you both can imagine this, but you can model this kind of data in our platform, right? Create custom fields, custom objects that encapsulate other pieces of information that might be important to you. And, through a customizable survey, you could start to model that in this part of the decision making process, right? You may not even want to send a survey out to individuals that have been identified as highly productive. You might want to wait for a little while. Let them stay productive remotely. For those that, they're well enough to return and perhaps they've not been as productive, maybe bring them back into the office sooner.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's more than... I think the biggest thing that dawned for me on all of this return to an office, because I don't want to say return to work, is it's not just whether you're well or not, but it's also what's that journey getting there. Because you may have somebody at home that is a high risk, right? So the journey to the office might be harder for you, and back home, than just being able to stay at home and work and be productive.

Wade Wegner: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm hearing this and I'm internalizing it, and maybe my boss has missed everything because they're busy. I'm the Salesforce administration, I want to bring this to him. Within my organization, where do I start this conversation?

Wade Wegner: Well, we alluded to it earlier. I think, pretty much every company in the world right now is thinking about this, right? Again, it could be reopening and keeping employees safe. It could be reopening and keeping employees safe in the context of customer interactions. At one level or another, almost everyone is already talking about it. I mean, I would encourage to talk to someone in your organization, in the HR department, if you have people responsible for offices, facilities, restaurants, maybe their managers, general managers and so forth. They're all talking about this. They're all thinking about this. People who are responsible for defining shifts. How are you going to define a shift? I mean, how are you going to do that when you need to be cognizant of who's available, and are they healthy and so forth?
I think, it's probably different everywhere. But I think all of us can probably think and pretty easily identify those individuals that are involved in those sorts of decision making. Again, it could be HR. It could be facilities. It just could be your leadership or general management, as well. I think that's where to start. Again, I would be very surprised if they weren't thinking about this already and probably starting to model out some of this in our friend, the spreadsheet. I think there's a real opportunity to talk to them about a solution that kind of brings this together and provides the platform to reopen on top of.

Gillian Bruce: So you're saying admins can save even more people from spreadsheets?

Wade Wegner: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Because these, I mean, these are not the typical business partners and stakeholders that I think admins typically think about.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: HR facilities, they are definitely someone that is part of building an app. But this is entirely focused on those personas and those kinds of leaders. I think, it's an interesting opportunity for admins to maybe get exposure, kind of create those relationships, strengthen those relationships with different parts of the organization as well.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Wade Wegner: Just thinking about this, too. One of the partners we have, engaged with us now, is building out inventory management and supply chain management. Think about it. Supply chains are disrupted right now and they will be for a while. There's probably someone in your office that thinks about supply chains. Even at Salesforce, I was learning from a supply chain perspective, as well as a contracting perspective. We plan to do three to four times the cleaning that we did in the past, continual cleaning. That's a lot of additional cleaning supplies, right? That's another dimension to this, is based on how many people you bring back at what rate, it's going to impact supply chains, it's going to impact all of these things. So you're right. It's a great observation that it's a different set of personas and individuals that could really benefit from a solution like this.

Gillian Bruce: One of the things I know that is part of, kind of, the command center, we talked about the page layouts, is it's also a hot topic that I know a lot of admins are interested in learning more about, is Tableau.

Wade Wegner: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Can you talk to us a little bit about how Tableau is part of work.com and what that means, what that kind of looks like?

Wade Wegner: I'll actually step back a little bit. One of the things that's really neat, and you can actually Google and search for this right now, is you can look at the COVID-19 Tableau data sets. We have started to aggregate trusted data from many different sources and allowed you to start to really visualize this data. That is kind of independently available today. So you can take a look at that. We are looking to take it to the kind of the next level, in that we want this data source, all of this data, to be available in the context of our decision making.
If you think about Tableau, it's great, the visualizations, but we want to start to model this information as we would think about using it as objects. This won't be here at GA initially. Well, initially GA have embedded Tableau dashboards, and that's great, right? So you can start to drill in and take a look. But shortly after GA, we will have actual representation of this public data as objects in an org as well.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow.

Wade Wegner: Now, you can think about actually just making decisions based on data that is local to employees. So what is happening in the community? What is happening in the state? You might want to respond to those things differently. And so, with that data available as objects... And I don't want to promise if it's an external object or what not yet, because we're figuring a lot of this out still.

Gillian Bruce: Forward looking statement.

Mike Gerholdt: Forward looking statement.

Wade Wegner: Very forward looking. Yes. Yes. But, having that kind of data available is key, right? So you can start making decisions. So that's what's really exciting about all of that. That is actually based on work that's being done by the Tableau team, by the MuleSoft team, by Einstein Analytics. A really neat way to think about the power of data, and how having that data available is going to be a differentiator for people as they think about reopening and returning.

Gillian Bruce: That is awesome, Wade. That makes me... Like, my data nerd is ignited inside of me and I can't wait.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Wade Wegner: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Looking at the Tableau aspect of it, to me is just like, it so brings everything that you do right to the forefront and helps you understand because, I think, it's one thing to understand. Okay, you talked about elevator flow and shift scheduling, but then you have to consider this in the context of the world that you live in.

Wade Wegner: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Like, is your county busier than other, right? Like the county Gillian lives in is very different than the county I live in Iowa, you know?

Wade Wegner: Yeah. Yup. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: It's fascinating.

Wade Wegner: What's going to happen is, we're going to see as communities start to reopen, some are going to open and then they're going to start to close down a little bit, right? And you're going to want to be able to respond to what is happening. That is the intent of this data, and being able to visualize what is happening helps you to make decisions as well. And so, it's going to be critical in terms of making sure that employees are safe.

Mike Gerholdt: Very cool.

Gillian Bruce: That's awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: Very cool, Wade. Well-

Gillian Bruce: I mean, I think I will...

Mike Gerholdt: Go ahead. Gillian and I have only been doing this for like six years together-

Wade Wegner: You're great.

Mike Gerholdt: ... and any time anytime we have somebody on the podcast that we're just stumbling over to ask questions about, it's because we're both just giddy over the product.

Wade Wegner: No, that's great.

Gillian Bruce: Yes. This is true. Well, on that note, I was going to say, Wade, I'm going to thank you on behalf of like all people who are going to be using work.com in the team, because this is so cool. And I think it's going to be so helpful for so many people. I know I'm excited to see how we use it at Salesforce. And I know that there's a lot of people that are listening that are going to do what they can to get their leadership to buy in and use this to help them get back to whatever the new normal is.

Wade Wegner: Yeah. I think, this is the thing that I've taken from it, is so many people have contributed and worked so hard at this. And I think we all have a vested interest in seeing this work, right? We're all a part of our community. We're all a part of this company. We want to see people be able to return safely. And so I have to give a huge shout out to just hundreds of people that are literally, they have set aside their day jobs, they have set aside their priorities to be able to help us deliver this. It's been humbling. It's been inspiring. It's been awesome to see.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. To me, it fits right within the culture of Salesforce, but overall, it's just one of those things where it really makes us all considerate and caring of each other.

Wade Wegner: Yeah. Yup.

Mike Gerholdt: Like thinking through how can we all get back to our offices, being around our coworkers, people that we know and love the best, and being considerate and safe. It's a great thing.

Wade Wegner: Absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And as a reminder, if you love what you hear, be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. I promise, I share them with the whole team. You can also stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no i, on Twitter. And you can find me, I am @MikeGerholdt and Gillian...

Gillian Bruce: @gilliankbruce.

Mike Gerholdt: So with that, stay tuned for our next episode.

Gillian Bruce: And we'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: Getting_to_Know_Work.com_with_Wade_Wegner.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm PST

Flow Builder & Automation with John Kucera

 

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we bring on John Kucera, a Product Manager at Salesforce. We find out all the latest and greatest things that Flows are capable of and why it’s worth it to make the switch from Process Builder.

 

Join us as we talk about the new live ListViews feature, how you can automate hundreds and thousands of record changes (with debugging), and now is the best time ever to get started with Flows.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with John Kucera.

 

Powerful automation in just a few clicks.

 

One of the biggest changes going into Summer 20 is the ability to trigger Flows when you save a Record. Right now in Process Builder, there are a lot of limitations if you want to build a series of triggers or get records queries. “All this power that people love with Flow you now can invoke directly on record saves,” John says, “you have one tool which can do almost all of your declarative automation.”

 

We know that improving the Process Builder ListView has been a popular request, and the improvements in Summer 20 are the result. You can now have live ListViews with Flow for any of these Record Triggers that you create. “You can have custom ListViews to see them the way you want, you can see the most recent one you edited or different views for different users,” John says, and even make adjustments live in the Flow. After Summer 20, you should start with Flow and see if you can build everything you need there, only moving to Process Builder for the known gaps.

 

Why now is a great time to get started with Flows.

 

If you haven’t yet delved into Flows, now’s a great time to get started. John and his team have worked hard over the past few years to hide and automate variables so you can build things more easily. “We really think that now is a fantastic time for anyone who was deterred by Flow to give it a second look, especially for Record Triggers,” he says. This gives you access to all sorts of automation that can help you streamline your business processes and keep track of things like never before, all with clicks and no need for code.

 

There are a lot of abilities Flows give you that were previously only doable with Apex coding. You can batch edit upwards of 250,000 records a day, and schedule that to happen in anticipation of, for example, a contract ending. Most importantly, there’s now an easy debugging process so you don’t accidentally end up with 250,000 errors the next morning. With learning Flows, John’s advice is pretty simple: “Start small, get your confidence, and really invest in learning these fantastic tools.”



Using Screen Flow Analytics to improve your processes and what comes next.

There are so many new features that John and his team are still working on catching up in the Flow release notes, so make sure to listen to the full episode to get all the details. Another massive feature coming to your org is Screen Flow Analytics. “Wouldn’t it be amazing if you knew how long people take to finish your process so you can identify which paths were taken most,” John asks, “so you can identify where things are potentially either confusing and problematic or broken?” You can create dashboards to do just that, and you and your business partners can subscribe to them to get insights automatically pushed to you every month. It’s also a great way to show usage numbers and demonstrate the value of the tools that you create.

 

Looking forward, John and his team are looking to establish more parity between Process Builder and these new features they’ve added to Flows. Look for improvements to debugging, screens, and more. At the end of the day, it’s all about making these tools easier for admins to do more and take advantage of all of the power offered by the Salesforce platform.

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. I'm Gillian Bruce, and today we are joined by the one and only, John [Qusara] , who is one of our amazing product leaders here at Salesforce, and he has some really fun things to talk about as it comes to the summer 20 release. John, welcome to the podcast.

John: Thank you for having me. I'm super excited to be here.

Gillian: Yeah, you're a returning guest I believe. This has been a while though.

John: It has.

Gillian: Well, I'm really happy to have you on and you've got so many fun things to share that I know admins are going to be very excited about. So what is one of your favorite things that's coming out in the summer release for admins?

John: All right. So Oh my goodness, we now can trigger Flows when you save a record. Woo hoo.

Gillian: I think everyone's doing a happy dance as they hear that.

John: So this is huge. I know this is going to create some panic, "Oh, are you going to take my Process Builder away," and things like that. But first I'm going to tell you why this is amazing. So in Process Builder, which is of course your fantastic record triggering automation today, you can't do all these amazing things. What if you want to have one decision that then as a second decision? You kind of have that weird, awkward way to do it, but it's hard. What if you actually want to get related information? Okay, I want to update the opportunity, but I want to see all of the different products around it and I want to query, and then do conditions on that? You can't do these queries, these get records. Flow lets you do that.
Then even better, you can loop over all this crazy stuff. So all this power that people love with Flow, you now can invoke directly on record saves. So there's no longer this awkward set up a process just to trigger, do the criteria, then set up a Flow, then set up some variables and then try to pass in between. No, you have one tool which can do almost all of your declarative automation. So this is huge.

Gillian: That's... Yeah, that is huge. I mean, I'm just thinking this totally changes the world a little bit because it's a whole different way of thinking about how you can actually set up some of this automation. It's a lot simpler and it actually can kind of change your strategy a little bit because you don't have to do all of these extra steps and-

John: Yes, it's so much easier for all of that. You get all the power in one place, and for so many of you out there that have voted on the idea to improve the Process Builder list view, this kind of is the delivery of that. You now have a real, live, amazing list view with Flow so that any of these records trigger Flows that you create, you can have custom list views to sort them the way you want. You can make sure you see what is the most recent one that I edited. You can have different ones for different people, different list views for them. Oh my goodness, let's say you actually want to go and create the process and then you realize you needed to add a picklist value and object manager, then you need to go back and refresh that it can see that picklist value. You're not going to be taken back to the crappy Process Builder list view. You just stay on the Flow because we actually have URLs with Flows.
So all of this... Basically our guidance is going to be, with summer 20, you should start with Flow and see if you can build everything you need there and only go over the Process Builder for the known gaps.

Gillian: That is definitely game changing. I know I built my first legit Flow with the new and improved Flow builder earlier this year coming back from leave. It was one of the first trail head badges that I earned and I was like, "Oh, I can use Flow now. This is so exciting," because before I was like, "Yeah, so that's a little difficult for me to understand."

John: Flow has come a long way. It's got all this scariness like, "Oh my goodness, variables." We basically don't have variables in Process Builder and in Flow, where you have to create a variable and then a variable and a variable. Well, the team's been on a massive, massive campaign to basically hide and automate the variables. So if you looked at Flow a year ago or two years ago, oh my goodness you are in for a world of difference because we took away more than half of the steps to create all of this stuff. So you no longer have to create a variable when you're doing a "get records". When you're doing [ScreenFlows 00:04:49], you don't have to create variables when you add stuff to refer to things. We made it way, way simpler, much closer to how Process Builder works for all these things.
Another amazing enhancement in this release is you no longer need to deal with variables for loops. So loops might be intimidating to folks because it's like, "Okay, I have to create this collection variable and loop over it and reference that." Now we automatically create it. So it's just way less steps to set up. You can build it faster, but it's also just way easier to learn now. So we really think that now is a fantastic time for anybody that was deterred by Flow to give it a second look, especially for record triggers.

Gillian: Yeah, so let's talk about that just a little bit. So maybe for folks who literally like me were kind of a little intimidated by Flow and maybe never went down there, and maybe even some of these terms like loops and stuff is new for them. Can you give me kind of a real simple use case example of why a record trigger would be awesome when might you want to use a loop?

John: Yes. So I was working with a nonprofit and they basically wanted to have end users create a list of... I'm going to call is... Sorry, this is going to sound technical, but bill of materials. So their use case was they run events and they have different advertisers. When somebody gives them a half a million dollars, they basically say, "This is what you get. You get these 10 things. You get primo advertising in our newsletter. You get a big banner at the concert. You also get a mention over here."
So they wanted to make sure that every time you create that 500,000 donor record, that they copy all the stuff that's supposed to happen, and those are basically the tasks that they then track to see am I able to, or did we actually fulfill what we need to do here? So what they needed to do was say any time I create this new sponsor record for half a million bucks, I want to query for what they are owed. There's a custom object where they would define, okay, these are the 10 things you need. Loop over all of those 10 things and then create these 10 child records for that sponsorship.
So these are things you just never could do with Process Builder. You would have to write code for that in the past, but now you can do them with clicks thanks to Flow, and you can do that without having to create a process and then create a separate Flow and juggle all of that. It's just so much faster now than it used to be.

Gillian: Well, yeah and then now if you need to update any piece of that, it's in one place. You don't have to go to all these different places to modify this one part of the automation, right?

John: Exactly.

Gillian: That's really cool. So I know another thing that has come up in the community a few times is, especially for people who are maybe more developer minded who have been doing this for awhile, is the ability to test your work and figure out what's going on. I know there's been some improvements in that area. Can you talk a little bit about that?

John: Yes. So for scheduled Flows, which are amazing if you aren't aware of them, what if you could run batch jobs without running code, but at the same scale that Apex batch jobs let you run code. So 250,000 records a day can be processed. So this is huge. Let's say you have a scenario where every 30 days or... Sorry, on contract end, you want to make sure that your account managers are doing a bunch of stuff. In the old ways you might do a delays like, okay, the contract was created, wait 365 days and kick things off. Horribly confusing because of [inaudible] stuff.
Now, with scheduled Flow, you can basically say, "Okay, every night check if any contracts expired and then do all this stuff, send out emails, do tasks all that." So that is huge. That was a spring enhancement. Now you have debugging for scheduled Flow. So the trickiness was, well, wait, how do you debug when you could process hundreds of thousands of records. The algorithm the team came up with was the last, oldest record that meets the criteria of your query is always the one for debugging. So this makes it consistent, repeatable. You can run this and over again and you don't screw with a bunch of records. So this is huge. So you can now debug your batch jobs, which is fantastic.

Gillian: That's awesome. I know a lot of people will be very happy about that as well.

John: Yes and we have not yet done debugging for before save updates and for these new record triggers, which happen after save, but that is hot in our roadmap and hopefully in the October release, you'll see that too.

Gillian: Forward looking statement.

John: Yes, Forward looking statement, but not just scheduled Flows. Rollback. So wouldn't it be amazing if when you were testing out your Flow, it didn't create all this data and it didn't change all the records. So you could just run that test over and over and over and over again and figure out what's not working. We have that, rollback. We're calling this rollback. So now with auto launch Flows... So not the record trigger one, sorry not yet, but for auto launch Flows, if you kick these off and you're debugging them, you no longer have to create the records and delete them later. You don't have to then undo all the stuff you did. So this drastically shortened the iteration cycle when you're trying to make rapid development, which is especially important in these times where you need to move faster than ever.

Gillian: Yeah, God, that's great. I mean, it sounds like your team has been very, very busy, John, over the last year.

John: We apologize to the community. We have basically built so much that we are way behind on our release notes and almost everything that we have built is not actually live in our release notes yet.

Gillian: Well, that's why you're on the podcast. So everybody can just listen to this and understand what's going on.

John: Salesforce exclusive on the Admin Podcast.

Gillian: Exactly. Hey, hot off the press, direct to you everybody. Here you go, hearing it here, but that's great. So, John, can you tell me a little bit... Clearly you've all been doing a lot of work and I know that you definitely listened to the community. Can you tell me a little bit about how your team kind of decided to focus on these elements and kind of bring these to life at this point and kind of how you make those decisions?

John: Yes, I'll attempt to be short on this. We take obviously tons of input from tons of places, especially the community. Specifically for record triggers, one of the big complaints was, "Why do you have two tools? When do I use each for? I know Process Builder, I kind of love it. I sort of know Flow is like that, but I don't quite get it."
So we've had this tool confusion and you've all told us you're confused. One of the questions was, "Okay, well, what should be the one tool of the future?" Well, probably too much information, but under the covers, Process Builder was the first lightning component builder. It was built on lightening components before they were a thing. This was before lightning was launched.

Gillian: Yeah, I remember that.

John: Flow was the first lightning web component builder. So the team... Hats off them. Way before me, they made these really hard technical choices to be bleeding edge on new technology. So originally, Process Builder was going to be the one tool to rule them all, but then the team and UI platform came out with this amazing lightning web component technology. So we decided we want the Flow builder platform to be the platform of the future. Let's put all the stuff there so that when we're making debugging, it works for everything. It works for screens. It works for scheduled Flows. It works for these record change triggers and then we can basically build it once and apply to everybody like the list view.
We decided... Unfortunately, for many of you with lots of Process Builder processes, sorry, that we were not going to fix that because instead, we're focusing so much on making Flow amazing. So we really want to simplify based on all of your feedback and really focus investment in the best [inaudible] builder technology we have so that you have one place to go to create all this powerful stuff.

Gillian: I mean, it's so cool because I think when people learn that kind of, under the hood or whatever, Flow is really the root of it all. I think that helps people understand, A, how important it is to learn Flow, but B, how powerful it is. Hey, if you could do Process Builder, now you can do Flow because it's the same principles, right? Now that is where you can live essentially. Hey, I've been in many orgs and demo orgs with many, many lists of Process Builder processes and the fact that now I can view all of those in Flow is very, very, very useful.

John: And [inaudible] so that you can be like, "Okay, what are all the ones with these keywords in them? Or just give me the record trade one." It's so much better now.

Gillian: That's awesome.

John: Especially encourage all... Again, all those people that haven't tried Flow in a while, start small. So in spring we released before save updates. These are pretty constrained. Basically, these are lightning fast ways to say, "Okay, I saved a lead and I want to check if the lead status is equal to web, if so, update the checkbox for website on the lead record." So that's what it does. You check the record, you make a change on that record and it executes 10 times faster than Workflow rules and Process Builder. They are a lot easier to get started with. So start with something like before save updates, which by the way, are more than 50% of what all of you do out there is just update things on the same record that was saved.
Then you can expand and say, "Okay, now I'm going to start to get my feet wet with these other record change saves. Then, "Okay. Maybe I'll try a batch job. Maybe now I'll try a ScreenFlow." So start small, get your confidence and really invest in learning these fantastic tools.

Gillian: That's great advice. I know I think you've got some other cool stuff coming. Is there anything else that you want to talk about on the podcast and maybe not is in the release notes?

John: Oh God. There's much. It's funny. I don't actually remember what is actually live in the release notes right now. So sorry. Another massive, massive improvement that is coming out is ScreenFlow analytics. So this is fantastic, especially for service cloud customers, but really for anybody. Wouldn't it be amazing if you knew how much time people spent between screen one and screen two or screen two and screen three? What if you actually knew how long people take to finish your processes so that you can identify which paths were taken most? Where are you having all these blocks? Where are things potentially either confusing and problematic or broken?
Now you have standard reports in Salesforce where you can customize them, filter to one or aggregate across a bunch of ScreenFlows. You can create dashboards. Even better, these are not in set up so you can have your business partners subscribed to these and get these insights pushed to you automatically say every month. So I just set this up for a bunch of [inaudible] to basically track and monitor how's this doing? And this is fantastic for the builders so that you can iterate and it's fantastic for the business people to monitor the real business stats around their processes. So huge visibility that's now live, again, included with subscription for everybody thanks to the enhancements in summer 20.

Gillian: I mean, I can immediately see admins using this and loving it and bringing it to a meeting with executives and being like, "Look, this process was like this. Then I tweaked these things. Look at all the hours I've been saving our team." This is... I mean, that is an incredibly powerful tool, especially for admins I feel.

John: Yeah, because it's one of those things where it's like, okay, if I build it, did they come? I can answer that question!

Gillian: Totally.

John: [crosstalk] using it. Are they getting value out of it? You can then say, "Hey, look, I created this amazing ScreenFlow. By the way, here's the value that I created for the company. People then were able to execute this 10,000 times, or I don't know, 100 times over the week. Multiply that by the hours saved." This is a fantastic way to prove the value of all of this great investment that you have. That's never been available before.

Gillian: Yeah. I mean, I think what's really fun is I think especially over the last few years, there's been so many tools in this theme of helping admins demonstrate the value that they're creating and adding to the organization. I mean, with things like Optimizer and... I mean, especially like... There's more tools now to help admins really demonstrate the difference that they're making and I think, especially now that everyone's moving fast and probably transforming and trying new things more than they ever have before, this is so important for admins.

John: It's so relevant. I was just listening to [Jen Lee's 00:17:44] webinar last week and oh my goodness, the story of that banking was amazing. On March 30th, they got a call from their business partner saying, "We need to be able to support these small business loan applications." Twelve hours later, they had something live on their community to start taking loans and they were able to do more loan applications in five weeks than the previous 14 years combined. You can't do that without automation. They're able to do that fantastically quick, thanks to all these tools that we have.

Gillian: Yeah. There's been a few stories like that that have bubbled up. We had Jeff Berger on the podcast talking about how he built a similar app for his local bank, and I think over a period of a day or something. People, especially admins right now, really have a huge opportunity to make a huge impact and these tools are helping them do so, which is... Thank you, John. Thank you and the team for doing this.

John: No, thank you to all of our customers. You're the ones that gave us all these great ideas of what to do and we just want to try to empower you all so that you can do your best work in these crazy times.

Gillian: Yeah. So John, what are you... We had a little bit of sneak peak into some road map stuff. What are you excited about in the next few releases, again, forward looking statement [inaudible]

John: So much. Part of the reason... It's funny. I tell my team that I tend not to stress too much about any one feature because there's just so much opportunity in this space to make things better and there's so much need and demand. Some of the things that are very top of mind would be things like with these new record change updates for Flow, we need to make sure we have effectively parody with Process Builder. We don't have that out of the gate. There's things like checking is changed. I want to say if the lead status changed, then do something. We don't have that today, I believe both in their criteria and formulas, and that's something we need to do.
We need to add debugging. So there's no debugging for Process Builder, unless you can count the dev console, which frankly is pretty scary. We want to add that proper for all of these records saved things. We want to continue to make things easier and easier and easier. So a lot of that comes down to things like screens.
One of the huge, huge benefits that we hope to ship in the winter release is much richer layouts and control for your screens. Today when you create things and add them to basically these forms inside of a screen, you have one column. We're going to let you have up to four and set the widths to whatever you need, and then you can say, okay, "I want to show or hide this entire section," just by using conditional visibility, which is already live. So this will be a huge improvement to the ability to control the layout for all of these different screens.

Gillian: Well, it's similar... It reminds me of talking to [Vin] about dynamic pages and some of the improvements there. It's kind of a similar ability to use visibility to hide or display parts of what your users are seeing on the screen based on the data on the backend. It's-

John: Absolutely.

Gillian: So cool.

John: What Vin has with dynamic forms is fantastic. So it is a really good way to say I want to show just these fields for one object. Flow's screens can do that, but frankly it takes a little bit more work. Where Flow really shines though, is you can have components that are not tied to an object. What if you just want to have a question like, "Hey, do you want to apply for something or not?" You don't have to say that to the database. You can have just that check box in the screen and you can have that show and hide the other stuff. What if you want to update both the contact and the account at the same time? Flow screens are really, really good for that. So all of these rich capabilities are fantastic and we've got different tools for what use cases you have in mind.

Gillian: That's awesome. Well, tons of amazing more stuff... More amazing things to come with Flow. You keep it flowing, John. I love it.

John: Keep it flowing. Those little puns are everywhere. It's amazing.

Gillian: I can't get away with recording a podcast without at least letting one pun go.

John: Got the [inaudible 00:22:04]. It's fantastic.

Gillian: That is awesome. So, John, I really appreciate you taking the time to join us today and share some of these incredible innovations your team has built and are continuing to build.

John: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. One other... Hopefully we don't end it on this note, but a caution for people using communities and alert, alert, alert. If you have ScreenFlows in public communities, in this release, certain things will change if you do not take action. I don't know that we've terribly well communicated this. So I just want people to have a heads up. If you are updating or deleting data in a public community, that will stop working if you take no action in a Flow. If you have a Flow, which say creates an account, then you use that account ID to then create a contact. That will stop working if you take no action in this next release.
There's several workarounds. One of them is you can change these Flows or make them sub Flows and set them to system mode without sharing, but strongly, strongly recommend everybody using Flow in public communities, which are some of you amazing customers doing things like these small business loans, please, please, please read up on the community website and that URL, which we can hopefully share in the notes is learncommunitycloud.com, where there's big changes. This is not just for Flow, but these are the impact for Flow, which you should be aware of if you have them. And there's ways to handle this and take care of it, but just do not be caught off guard.

Gillian: All right. So if you're using Flows in public communities, make sure to go to, what is it, learncommunitycloud.com?

John: Yes. Learncommunitycloud.com. It is a [inaudible] site. It's not a security threat. It's all good.

Gillian: It's important to mention, yes. [crosstalk]

John: Fishing, spidey sense.

Gillian: So yeah, public community people make sure that you check that out because we don't want to have any unfortunate surprises. So thank you for sharing that with us. John, on a fun note, we talked a lot about product. I am inspired by all the things that you've shared with us, but I would like to know, what is one of the... We've all been doing a lot of cooking these days because we've been home What's one of your favorite things that you or the family has been cooking at home?

John: Oh goodness. So we have been making lots of chicken dishes. So you might say that we had some Instacart snafus where you might say order a bag of 10 small potatoes, and instead of getting the $3.99 bag of that, you get 10 organic potatoes for $50. Perhaps you order two pounds of chicken, really hypothetically, and you end up getting nine pounds of chicken. So we have had, let's call it industrial scale cooking adventures in our household.

Gillian: Lots of chicken and potatoes, huh?

John: So one of those that was a really fun recipe was a version of Parmesan chicken. We did nine pounds of that just a week and a half ago, which was actually surprising how quickly our small family of four can eat nine pounds of chicken. [inaudible] we did another four pounds of, what was this, Portuguese chicken, some people call it I think Spanish chicken. So both were really, really tasty. How about you, Gillian? Do you have any great dishes?

Gillian: Well so thankfully my husband has been doing most of the cooking because he loves it. So he has been working the Weber quite hard and smoking all kinds of various things we've also been getting from Instacart. We had a surprise Instacart edition of a bok choy last week. Never cooked with bok choy, but we decided, "Hey, let's make stir fry because apparently it's what you're supposed to do with bok choy," and it was delicious.

John: That is amazing. Don't you love those spice of life, just those happenings that expand our horizons?

Gillian: Totally, totally. It's been pretty fun. Our kitchen has been getting a lot of work.

John: I bet. Ours as well.

Gillian: It sounds like you're ready to open a chicken catering company after all this.

John: I think so. Maybe that's the next career opportunity when software is no longer a thing.

Gillian: Well, I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon. So John, I want to thank you again so much for taking the time to chat with us and share with us all the amazing Flow innovations and a little peek into what's to come. Any final parting thoughts you want to share with our admins today?

John: Thank you all for all the inspiration, all the guidance and basically all the questions on the community as well. One of the things I didn't mention was we just launched automation components. Basically a bunch of you created these fantastic lightning web components and Apex actions so that the broader community doesn't have to write code to do these things. So all of our admins have these available. So thank you thank you to the community for all of your fervent investments, as well as the five amazing songs I've heard about Flow over the last year.

Gillian: Only five? I'm surprised. I'm sure there's more.

John: They probably are hiding. We loved your songs. I have a montage.

Gillian: All right, we'll keep the songs coming. Keep the innovations coming. John, thank you so much for joining us. As always, if you want to learn more about being an awesome admin, you can go to admin.salesforce.com, where you will find blogs, podcasts, and even some great virtual events, learning journeys. We have our Be An Innovator learning journey that's happening now. That is how you can learn how to build dynamic pages with the one and only Vin, who was on the podcast not too long ago. You can find us at Twitter at SalesforceAdmns, no "I". Myself at GillianKBruce and John, you are on Twitter as well. You want to share your handle?

John: Yes, nothackedJK.

Gillian: Great Twitter handle.

John: [inaudible] story we can tell another time on that one.

Speaker 2: All right. Well thank you again so much for joining us and we'll catch you next time in the cloud.



Direct download: Flow_Builder__Automation_with_John_Kucera.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30pm PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking with Niket Trivedi, the Product Manager for Salesforce Optimizer at Salesforce. We find out what’s new for Salesforce Optimizer in Summer 20, and it turns out there’s a lot going on.

Join us as we talk about what went into converting a PDF report into an app, how you can use Optimizer to get on the same page with leadership, and what the future looks like.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Niket Trivedi.

From a PDF to an app in Summer 20.

Some admins out there might remember their first introduction to Optimizer as report that got put into their docs and emailed to them. We’ve come a long way since then, and the Summer 20 release is set to change the game. “We are relaunching Optimizer as a Lightning app,” Niket says, “I’m looking forward to all the great feedback we’ll get from admins and the value they can get out of these recommendations that were previously in a PDF report and now are in a brand-new dashboard interactive format.”

“We don’t want to read a 100-page document to get to something that we want to act on,” Niket says, “we wanted to give something to admins where they’re spending less time scrolling through the report and more time fixing things in the org.” The Lightning app brings all of Optimizer’s recommendations out of the PDF and into the core where you can work with it, letting you jump to the relevant page straight from the app. “Your transition from the Optimizer app to the rest of your org is very seamless,” Niket says, “you’re not spending time doing an offline analysis and going back and forth.”

How Optimizer helps you set your goals.

Optimizer has almost fifty different recommendations. In other words, there’s almost certainly more than a few things you can work on. “What we’ve done is prioritize that list in the order of where you need the most attention,” Viket says, “the list, when the dashboard loads for the first time, is pre-sorted by how many immediate actions are needed for each of those items.” Their goal is to make it easier for you to attack Optimizer’s recommendations and whip your org into shape.

At the minimum, Viket recommends running Optimizer at least once every release, “but I don’t’ think I’ve seen any admin just doing the minimum,” he says. Instead, he recommends that you run the app every time you release something new. Any new development you do can create new issues, which is exactly what Optimizer is here to help you iron out. It doesn’t cost you anything to run, so you can even consider running it every two weeks or once a month.

Using Optimizer to win over stakeholders.

Sharing is caring, and Optimizer reports are best shared with anyone who needs to make a decision that affects your org. Viket recommends using the app to set your priorities and pointing to the report to explain why. “Sharing the data with those team members may be helpful so that they understand what you are busy with and how you are adding value and making your end-user experience as efficient and productive as possible,” Niket says.

Optimizer is especially useful in the common scenario where you’re coming into an already-existing org. “In a lot of the cases, admins have no one to tell them why certain things are the way they are, and they are so scared to make a change because they don’t know if something is going to break,” Niket says. “This is the tool, it’s like a Swiss Army knife,” he says, “it does hundreds of things for you and helps you uncover and discover those things.”

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt and joining me today is Niket Trivedi, TM for Salesforce Optimizer, to talk about what's new in Salesforce Optimizer, and there's a lot in summer '20. So Niket, welcome to the podcast.

Niket Trivedi: Thanks, Mike, and thanks for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: Niket, I think you've also now been on Release Readiness live and you're on the podcast, so there must be a lot going on with Salesforce Optimizer. But before we get to that, let's talk about your journey to Salesforce. How did you come to Salesforce and what are some of the things that you've worked on since you've been here?

Niket Trivedi: Thanks, Mike, for the introduction and I would like to give a little bit of background. So Salesforce has been in my career path since the last almost close to two years. I have been in product management roles for most of my career. I started my career as an engineer, but quickly pivoted into product management. I've been in mostly consumer type of products like e-commerce and worked for a couple of startups, but I realized that enterprise product is something which I really want to get my hands on. And that's what really attracted me to Salesforce. Salesforce is one of the best companies in the enterprise SIP space. It's growing fast, and it's great culture. And that's what really brought me to Salesforce.
And since I've joined Salesforce, I have actually worked on a lot of areas which are product adoption related things that we help people adopt products the right way, help them optimize it. And one of the big areas is Salesforce Optimizer. So Salesforce optimizer is a product that I've owned for almost two years now, and we have done some amazing stuff that we'll talk about. But yes, that's what I've been doing. There a lot of other adoption areas, which are probably related to Optimizer, but yes, I would like to keep focused on Optimizer for now.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, so would I. We were talking before I press record about how for, I don't know, eight, 10 years now I've wanted everything that's in Optimizer that I'm seeing now in summer '20. But I think probably the first introduction that admins got to Optimizer was as a report that got put into their docs and I think emailed to them. And that's the first version that we saw. Am I correct? You're you're shaking your head yes.

Niket Trivedi: That's absolutely correct. Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: And that was pretty helpful. I mean, I enjoyed printing things off and sharing them with my executives and talking through things, but it wasn't as actionable, I think, as what we're going to see now in summer '20. So let me tee you up for what is the great summer '20 Salesforce Optimizer release?

Niket Trivedi: Yes. So Summer '20 Optimizer release is all about making optimized recommendations even more reachable and actionable, as you said, to our customers, to our admins. And what we are doing is we are launching, in a sense, Optimizer as a Lightning app, which is awesome. I think it's a big, big deal. I feel very happy and proud of what the team has done to bring it to the point where we are right now. But at the same time, I'm really looking forward to all the great feedback that we'll get from admins and the value they can get out of these recommendations that were previously in a PDF report and now you can consume it in a brand new interactive dashboard format, like a Lightning app.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And we saw part of that in the admin keynote at Dreamforce this last year. And I remember thinking to myself, holy cow, when we walked through that demo, it was so incredibly useful. You have list views now of everything and you can sort and resort, and you're not scrolling through a PDF. Bring me on that journey. What did your team think through when they're looking at how do we take this page and essentially make it actionable?

Niket Trivedi: Those are exactly the challenges that you described are very obvious. If you think about any offline report that you're reading, I mean, it may have great information, but in this day and age where we are all so hooked up to screens and we want to be more and more efficient, we want the exact action that we need for the next five minutes, or we don't want to read a hundred page document to get to something that we want to act on. And that was the impetus for Optimizer Lightning app. We wanted to give something to admins where they are spending less time scrolling through the report and more time fixing things in the org.
So as we designed this, we kept that in mind and making sure that all those challenges that admins might face going through the PDF report are solid, and they can do a lot more with all the things that they can do with the Lightning app, being it in core. Your data is in the core and what not. And we can talk more about it, but I think this is just the beginning for what they can do with this.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I think you're teasing it out. So tell me more. I remember what Optimizer was as a PDF, but now as an app, what am I going to see? What are some of the things that I can begin to report on or look at in this app?

Niket Trivedi: Yeah. So in this first version, what we have tried to make sure that we bring the value of all the recommendations that were existing in the PDF report. So we had about 50 plus different recommendations that come out of the PDF report. So we wanted to make sure that we get as close to those recommendations and not lose the value of those. That was the focus in this release and bring it as close to at par with the PDF so that admins can start trying the Lightning app and rely less on the PDF report, but also focus on bringing all the great resources, like you have any help content, for example, if you have any resources, if you have access to any accelerator programs. All of that was made available right in the same page for the recommendation that you're viewing.
So making sure your experience is very efficient and making sure you get everything in a single view. And if you want to fix something, if you want to go to a setup page for a recommendation, you just click a link in the app. You're taken to the org for that particular setup. You come back, and your transition from the Optimizer app to the rest of your org is very seamless, and you're not spending time doing an offline analysis, then coming back to your org and back and forth. So we try to minimize that friction, if you will, and bring the power of the data in admins hand.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. So it's a lot more intuitive is what I hear. When I read the recommendation, I click the link, I'm taken to that part of setup, right?

Niket Trivedi: Correct.

Mike Gerholdt: Where I can actually take action on it and then go right back into Optimizer, as opposed to reading the PDF and then having to figure out where to configure that in the org.

Niket Trivedi: That's very true.

Mike Gerholdt: So what are some things that as an admin the first time I jumped into Optimizer I should maybe prioritize looking at if I didn't run the PDF before?

Niket Trivedi: That's a good question. So as I said, Optimizer has close to 50 different recommendations. And depending on your org, you may or may not have issues in all areas, but you definitely have something that you want to act on. And what we have done is prioritize that list in the order of where you need the most attention. So that list, then the dashboard loads first time after the first scan is over, it is presorted by how immediate actions are needed for each of those items. So that top of the list will show you everything where it requires your immediate attention, and then there are items that are less attention, and then there are items that just require a review, and then there's a whole set of things that maybe working excellently fine in your org and you don't need to change anything.
So we have tried to made it easy so that you're, again, not scrolling through a list on a dashboard and just start handling the items from the list from top to down.

Mike Gerholdt: So this really helps me prioritize where to put my attention in my org, in addition to rolling out new functionality is what I hear.

Niket Trivedi: Yeah. That's correct. I think, again, it depends how often you have run Optimizer in the past. And if you have not, like when you run it for the first time, you might be discovering things that you have not realized probably have been lurking in your org and you have those options now to go and investigate them further, at least we have brought it to your attention. And of course, it's easy for you. The first step is done. Now you can take the next few steps to go and find it and fix it.

Mike Gerholdt: I think that brings up a good question. So how often should I look at Optimizer based on what I'm working on? Do I run this every day? Do I look it at once a month?

Niket Trivedi: It really depends on your needs. At a very minimum, if you have an org that you're not doing a lot on, I would recommend running it at least once every major release. That's the minimum I would say, but I don't think I've seen any admin just doing the minimum. I think every org is pretty busy when people have a busy org with scaling issues and things they are building as applications over time. I think the other set of recommendation is every time you release something new, like a new application or making any major changes, you definitely should run Optimizer and see if there are new issues that will pop up as part of this new application development that you have done. So yes, as often as you need. At a minimum, run it with every major release, with every new application development.
Run it in Sandbox if you feel you are doing some development in Sandbox and like to bring it back to your production org. I would say a good idea would be to run it at least once every two weeks or once a month. It doesn't cost you anything. It's a click of a button. It's very simple. So I would say those are my recommendations for how often.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I like that. You can set yourself a calendar reminder.

Niket Trivedi: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Grab lunch. Run Optimizer. Scroll through your results. It's like getting a monthly report card.

Niket Trivedi: Exactly. Your TPS report.

Mike Gerholdt: Touche. Good job with that one. Speaking of TPS reports, who should we share the Optimizer reports with? As an admin, I've run this. I've looked at it. What should my next steps be?

Niket Trivedi: So again, every org is different. The structure of how people reporting to each other is different, so I'm not going to make a specific recommendation, but I'm going to speak broadly. Whosoever cares to look at the results and are trying to make a decision based on the results. So for example, let's say you have a really active and growing org and you have file storage limits that are getting consumed like anything, and you need to go for bigger limits. Now, bigger limits might require you to go to Salesforce and ask for like an upgrade, or there could be other areas in your org that might require upgrade. So that might require you to have some budget approvals. There are certain things you can probably do on your own.
There are a few other things that admins may have to reach out to their execs and their management chain. So whosoever benefits from getting a decision done to eventually make your org more efficient and keep it scalable and productive for your users. I think that's what matters. But at a minimum, to set your priorities. I think a lot of admins have used Optimizer to set their priorities and discuss with the managers, "Hey, this is what is Optimizer telling me. I would like to prioritize my next few weeks based on this," to sharing it with your immediate manager or anyone else in your cross functional areas and maybe with your business leaders that, "Hey, I'm seeing slower performance on these account pages. So to help you guys, I'm going to prioritize this."
So sharing the data with those team members may be helpful so that they understand what you are busy with and how you are adding value and making your end user experience as efficient and productive as possible.

Mike Gerholdt: I love that. You can proactively have career conversations around how you're improving the performance of everyone at the organization just by running Optimizer. And I'm also thinking if you're a new Salesforce admin coming onboard to an organization maybe that already has an org, this is a great way to kind of get a snapshot on here's what I'm looking at moment in time from day one as I get started and it can help me prioritize as well.

Niket Trivedi: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: I would be curious, you mentioned in the beginning that you've done a lot of product management. You were in engineering. I love to kind of get one layer deeper. I'd love to know what was a fun part of moving optimizer from PDF to this app that kind of was really exciting for you in this.

Niket Trivedi: Yes. There are a lot of fun things and things that we discovered that we ourselves weren't aware of. PDF report itself has been well adopted. It's like peeling an onion. When you have a product that's been around for a few years and you're trying to totally redefine it, I think it just uncovers a lot of things for the team. Even the engineers who probably worked on the very first version of the report are nowhere around here. They probably moved on to other projects. So we uncovered a lot of things that we ourselves as team we were not aware of, "Oh, this is how it works?" So it was learning. It was fun. It was like, wow. It was kudos to the original team that did this work. And in some cases, you're like, okay, why did they do this? And we're trying to do archeology.
We are trying to understand that, okay, we understand the rule. We understand why we need to give this to the admin, but it could be done a different way. There were discoveries. There were like ideas that were thrown around all over the place. But it was very interesting the last few months as we dig it up and try to rebuild it, if you will.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I could envision that, much like redoing a house. Once you pull the dry wall off, you question why somebody would do that. Of course, to them, it was completely logical. Well, this was very cool. I will be sure to include in the show notes a link to the release notes for the part of Optimizer because I was reading through them the other day. I cannot tell you how excited I am for this and the amount of possibility it brings for admins to have those positive career conversations with their executive sponsors, with their stakeholders around this.
And for me, if I was thinking of this from an admin perspective to help me really prioritize the work that I need to get done in addition to the new features and functionality, I mean, this is the check engine light, I'll say, that we've been waiting for a long time.

Niket Trivedi: Yeah, absolutely. And I think you did mention that so-called use case where almost every admin has gone through in their life, which is they take over a new organization and there you go. They are clueless, like what's going on? And they have to get rammed up pretty quickly. And a lot of the cases, they had no one to tell them or help out why certain things are the way they are, and they are so scared to make a change because they don't know if something is going to break. And this is the tool, it's like a Swiss Army Knife. It does hundreds of things for you and helps you uncover or discover those things. It's like an X-ray, if you will go into the inside under the hood and help you find those issues.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That's a great analogy, and it's an X-ray that'll only get better in time. Now that we have this Lightening app in our orgs, I am envisioning there's going to be new releases to it come winter, come spring '22, I think if I'm doing the math right. Summer '22. It's even more things that that can help admin. I'm very excited. So thank you to your team and everyone who worked on this new... I cannot tell you how exciting this is going to be just to have that next level of insight and prioritization. It's something I've looked forward to. So appreciate it.
If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And as a reminder, if you love what you hear, pop on over to iTunes. Give us a review. I love sharing all those positive reviews with our team. You can stay up to date with us on all things social. For Salesforce admins, we are @SalesforceAdmns. No I on Twitter. And of course, you can find me on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholdt. And with that, stay tuned for our next episode, and we'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: Salesforce_Optimizer_with_Niket_Trivedi.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:11am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we bring on Tim Dubois, the Product Manager for In-App Guidance at Salesforce. We learn how admins can take advantage of this cool feature and some best practices for creating these cool prompts.

Join us as we talk about best processes for floating prompts versus docked prompts, how to add the information your users need, and the metrics you need to look at for user engagement.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Tim Dubois.

New In-App Guidance features for Summer 2020.

“In-App Guidance is the ability for an admin to create in-app learning where it makes the most sense for the users,” Tim says, “where they’re going to get the best context and be able to do that little bit of learning right in place.” It’s built into the platform itself with no coding via Lightning and lets you be right there with users to draw their attention to the right thing at the right time.

If you’re making a change with App Builder, In-App Guidance lets you show your users what’s changed and where there are new fields. At the same time, when you’re onboarding new users, you can use this feature to help show them around. In Summer 2020, we’re adding multi-step prompts to create a Walkthrough for more complicated processes to traverse multiple pages or even guide users across multiple apps.

Pacing your prompts.

While In-App Guidance is a powerful tool at your disposal, it’s definitely possible to overuse the feature. “You have to think about it from the user’s perspective,” Tim says, “you definitely want to make sure you tease these out at a rate that’s not going to overwhelm them because the last thing we want is burnout.” If you think about popups on the web, it’s definitely easy to understand what overstimulation looks like.

There are controls in In-App Guidance that makes everything a lot easier, letting you decide how many times you show prompts to your users. There are also a few different types of prompts that can help you display information in the best way for people to take it in, so choose wisely.

Metrics to help you make an impact.

When you’re trying to get buy-in from your stakeholders, you can rely on In-App Guidance’s built-in user engagement metrics to give you an idea of how you’re doing. You can better understand how many people saw your prompt versus how many people clicked on the action, which gives you the ability to tweak things and make sure you’ve got it right.

One customer used permissions for country to have different prompts show up in different languages, and the design allows for a lot of flexibility and creativity in terms of how you employ it. These days, In-App Guidance uses the Translation Workbench to make sure prompts show up in whichever language the user has set up, including the URLs for any videos you’ve included. We’re super excited to hear about you get up to when you get your hands on these exciting new features, so reach out and let us know.

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt. And joining me today is Tim Dubois, the product manager for In-App Guidance. Man, is this thing cool, let me tell you. So we're going to talk about how admins can utilize In-App Guidance, some of the best practices for creating those cool prompts, and a whole bunch more. I promise you is such fun episode. I wish I had In-App Guidance for the episode, but we don't. We have Tim, so let's get Tim on the pod.
Tim is the PM for In-App Guidance. And we're going to talk about how admins can utilize In-App Guidance, some best practices. I don't know where the conversation's going to take us. But Tim, welcome to the podcast.

Tim Dubois: Thank you, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Let's get started with how you got started at Salesforce. So where did you come from? And now you're building this amazing In-App Guidance in Salesforce?

Tim Dubois: Yeah, thanks. I've been at Salesforce for what? About a year and three quarters, I guess, at this point. I've been a product manager in the software industry for a really long time in the area, coming from another big company. And I was looking for a company that was doing exciting things, doing some things that were getting back to the community, and also very importantly, company that was making products that people like to use, people were excited about. And Salesforce certainly fit that bill, and I was very lucky and excited to get an offer here. And I have been happy ever since. I've been working on some really, really cool things since I've been here and it just gets more exciting every day

Mike Gerholdt: I would agree 100%. So I'm a huge fan of In-App Guidance. I got to talk about in the Admin Keynote at Dreamforce last year. But let's kick off conversation there with In-App Guidance. If some admin has never heard of it before, what's your elevator pitch on In-App Guidance?

Tim Dubois: Oh gosh, yes, the elevator pitch. So In-App Guidance it's really... Think about it as the ability for an admin, especially, to create in-app learning where it makes the most sense for the users, where they're going to get the best context and be able to do that little bit of learning very quickly, right in place. And that really is what makes the most impact, and it's easier to digest that bit of guidance very quickly and help those users get on the way.
And what I love about In-App Guidance is that it's built into the platform itself as part of the Lightning Platform. So it's extremely easy to use. There's no coding, is all done with clicks, so anybody can do it. It literally takes a matter of minutes to create a prompt door through the summer, a walkthrough. Anybody can do it and it's fun to use actually.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, absolutely. I like to think of it as if you could just be there with your users and be adding a little sticky note or a little nudge to them being like, "I really need you to look over here, or could you really look at this? I just added this. Please just pay attention here. Real quick, kind of a popup."

Tim Dubois: That's so true. Yeah. It's good to look at it.

Mike Gerholdt: So I'm looking at In-App Guidance and thinking to myself, maybe I've been admin for a while, should I only add In-App Guidance to the new apps or some of the new pages that I'm rolling out?

Tim Dubois: It really it depends. It depends on the use case. So In-App Guidance fits so many different use cases and we keep coming up with more. I keep hearing different ones from customers that I add to the list. But there's that typical scenario of, "I just made a change with that builder on the page. I added a new field, and I want to let people know about it. So, hey, let's add a prompt that highlight that, 'Hey, check out the new field. It needs this, or there's a new business process. It means that.'"
So there's certainly those use cases, or maybe you want to have a walkthrough for a brand new app that you just put out there. So that's a great use case as well.
So it makes sense for those UIs that have been around or apps that have been around for a long time. But also, it makes a lot of sense for onboarding new users. So for those places where you've got a new user that maybe it's your standard applications, but they don't understand, or there's been changes to the business process. So there's just so many different use cases.

Mike Gerholdt: You're teasing it out for me, so I have to ask. Let's talk about walkthroughs because I saw it in the release notes. I think it's amazing, but let's help bring our admins in and show them the amazing cake of walkthroughs that we have.

Tim Dubois: And I guess I let the cat out of the bag. Yes, this summer's release, we are really happy and excited to announce that walkthroughs or the multi-step prompts are coming along in the release. And we're taking the single prompts that we've already had for the last few releases, and we're allowing you to string those together to create a walkthrough. So these are great scenarios for more complicated processes that you want to highlight, or just if you want to onboard users to many places throughout the UI, you can create a walkthrough that traverses anywhere within a page, but also across pages or even across the apps.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And especially thinking now when Salesforce admins are working from their home and they're having to have more video calls, these walkthroughs are essentially how you can be there for all of your users when they need your help, because you're not when they're going to update an account or log a call based on a sales call. You can't be there all the time, but the walkthrough can be there to help guide them, especially if there's a sales process or a major change, right?

Tim Dubois: Oh, absolutely. That's a great way to just handhold those users to get them through the process.

Mike Gerholdt: So is it possible for me as an admin to maybe create too much In-App Guidance?

Tim Dubois: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Can I put too much frosting on the cake? That's the question I have.

Tim Dubois: You absolutely can put too much frosting on the cake. You have to think about it from the user's perspective. And it might get interesting sometimes when you have to think about where all these walkthroughs or prompts are going to end up, what's the set of users. But you definitely want to make sure you tease these out at a rate that's not going to overwhelm the users because the last thing that we want is burnout from the users. Because suddenly, we're all going to do that and get plenty of those popups that happen on the web all the time. And it quickly becomes to the point where you just close it before we even read it and we don't want that to happen. So I think it makes a lot of sense to put a lot of thought into the guidance that you create and make sure you don't overdo it.
And also we even have controls of course, in In-App guidance for how often you should show these prompts to users. So you can decide to show those prompts every single day for 30 times. Probably not a good idea. If you really want to get the point across, highlight, don't do that. But maybe you want to show it once a week for up to three weeks, that kind of thing.
So definitely put some thought into how you do that and definitely don't overdo it. And the same holds true for when you're offering the prompts themselves. We've tried to help you with some guard rails in that there's a couple of different types of prompts and there's the floating prompt, which is the prompt that you can place within the different quadrants of the UI. And they're meant to be very short and succinct. You only have up to 240 characters. And that's our purpose, to try to give you small little tidbits of information that you pop up on the screen.
It's so easy for the user to quickly grasp that information without having to spend time reading a lot. But if you have more information that you want to convey, or maybe even a video, you could use the other prompt, the duct box, and that's where you can put in a lot more information, but they can also minimize that and they can come back to it later.
So I'm trying to give you some different options and we're going to be adding more options in the future, but there's one different ways already to try to help get that information out there without overdoing it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, absolutely. I love that you bring that up because the floating prompt can be somewhere right in there, their line of sight, as opposed to that docked prompt, I've seen it with videos in it, which was actually the question I had for you. We also, now I saw this in the release notes too. We have In-App Guidance builder.

Tim Dubois: Well, yeah. The In-App guidance builder is our new... This summer, we have the new offering UI. We had to redo things to create walkthroughs. And so we're using the new builder framework, which is really exciting. And the way the new builder works is, the builder is sort of around the outside of our UI and the UI is on the canvas on the middle part running. So you simply just navigate around to the UI you want and choose where you want to offer the prompts. So again, we make it very simple, all done with clicks. You don't have to worry about which page you're on, because whenever you say, if that's what the prompt is going to show up. So it's really, really easy to use.

Mike Gerholdt: I love that. I just remember thinking back to the days when I would customize the homepage and use like an HTML widget as "Please, please do this," when you first look.
One of the things, and you touched on it, floating prompts short, quick. I almost think of those as like when you're watching the news or something like a fun fact, did you know about this? And the docked prompts have videos that could also be where an admin puts a demo as well. As users are progressing through and prompts are being displayed, I know that you can view, there's lifetime views and completes that the admin can also view. And I think that's important. I would love to understand, so if I'm going to show this to my boss, or I'm going to say, "Hey, I created this and this prompt or this walkthrough is getting this much use." I'd love to let them know, what should I be looking for in that as an admin?

Tim Dubois: What we're trying to do is give you some user engagement metrics right up front on the side of page where you see the prompts that walkthrough is listed. And again, it gives you an idea at a high level, how am I doing? Does anybody care? Because if both the single prompts or the walkthroughs have an action button or action link that we're measuring to see if the user actually clicked on it. So the very last step of the walkthrough or the prompt itself will have that action button. And the completes gives you an idea of all the users that saw that particular bit of guidance, did they actually click on that action? Or how successful are you of getting them to go check out that link, whether it's a Trailhead or whatever it might be.
And so we give you that right upfront and it gives you an idea, like maybe I need to change how i role this out, because I saw that, X number of users saw this prompt, but very few actually clicked on the action. So I need to do something different. And so it gives you a chance to go back and maybe change some things and roll it out again. And it's also very easy for the role level actions to completely reset those metrics and start over if you want.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I would love to go back in time and see what metrics some of those prompts would be. And I think it would be very insightful to let you know, like if people are taking action on something, if you just need to re author that prompt, if it's maybe a picture or a video that would help really drive that home to them, I'd be curious, our community is very creative. Have they shared with you any of interesting prompts or In-App Guidance that they've created, that really caught your eye?

Tim Dubois: Yes. I've seen a fair number of different ones. I've seen everything from just having a simple prompt that shows one time to give an announcement, "Hey, get ready for tax season," et cetera, et cetera, to rolling out brand new custom apps and having multiple prompts. Really, before this was very first version we had, we did not have translation available yet. And the customer actually used permissions per country to have different prompts show up in different languages and so on. So it was some really unique ways around using our system. But yeah, that's why as I talk to customers, I get new use cases almost every day. It's fun.

Mike Gerholdt: That does make me think of something that hadn't really come across my radar is a multinational org. If you're say, a US based company, but you also have offices in Germany and France. Do you have to author prompts in each language? Or is it set to the org's translation?

Tim Dubois: No, it's actually the latter. So we're fully utilizing the translation workbench now. You create your prompt in English, for example, you go to translation workbench, you can translate to all the different languages, then Salesforce supports, and that's it. You're good to go. So user sets their language to say German, then those prompts should show up in German and it actually includes even the URL to the video. So if you have different videos for different languages, which of course you'd want to, if there's audio, then you can also update that as well, so you can have the different videos of the different languages play.

Mike Gerholdt: Holy cow. Okay. Well, this is exciting stuff. I love it when we have In-App Guidance and when we rolled out toolbar, I just thought that was just like next level stuff. Things that I've always wanted, that I always felt like everybody that knew how to write code was getting and the rest of us weren't. I want this cool stuff too. And now it's available. So thanks for doing that. And I can't wait to see what's new in Winter 21 for In-App Guidance. It's going to be right around the corner.

Tim Dubois: Oh yeah. It's fun for us because we're living in that right now. We're in the middle of building that. So it's some fun stuff coming.

Mike Gerholdt: Cognitive dissonance being warm while you're building stuff for the winter. I always think of it like the marketers that have to get the holiday catalog ready. At some point somebody's probably decorating a tree or a wreath or a holiday scene in June and flip flops, like, "Okay, I need everybody in the scene to act cold."
It was great to chat with Tim. I'm so glad he had time to be on the podcast and talk with us, give us some best practices about floating prompts versus docked prompts, how to add great information in those docked prompts so that your users can consume it. And of course also looking at your views and completions so that you know which prompts are performing. That was phenomenal, and I think you're going to find it super, super useful.
If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And as a reminder, if you love what you hear, or if you have some constructive feedback, let us know. Be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. I promise I read them all. And of course you can stay up to date with us on social for all things admin. We are at Salesforceadmns on Twitter. You can find me on Twitter. I am at Mike Gerholdt, and be sure to stay tuned for our next episode, and we'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: In-App_Guidance_with_Tim_Dubois.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am PST

Before the calendar rolls over to June, we’re back for another special episode to recap great Salesforce content this month. This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, Mike and Gillian are back with the We Still Don’t Know What to Call This Episode. Seriously, help us out.

Join us as we talk about all the great Salesforce content from this month, as well as much of the content published on Admin.Salesforce.com

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Low Code Love

Gillian hosted our LowCodeLove event, which featured many customer stories highlighting how IT leaders, admins, and developers can use low-code tools to quickly respond to business’ changing needs. We also heard from Jeff Berger, who we had on the podcast to talk about how he built an app in FIVE HOURS, got a surprise visit from Parker Harris, and had Maggie Rogers show up to share some music. 

Be an Innovator with Dynamic Pages

If you complete the new Trailmix for Be and Innovator with Dynamic Pages by June 30th, you get a special badge, so now is the time to get cracking.

Quick and Dynamic Actions

There was a lot of great content about Quick Actions and Dynamic Actions, including a blog post about how to use more Quick Actions everywhere by Jeremiah Dohn and new ways to use Dynamic Actions by Eric Shih. Behind all of it is Vin Addala, who we had on the pod and also goes by his alter ego, Vin Dynamic. Take a close look at all of these tools to reduce the visual clutter in your org and help people get things done faster than ever before.

Taking Advantage of the Salesforce Community

We had several great episodes on the pod this month that highlight the importance of the community in your Salesforce journey.

Trailhead Live!

This month, we launched the first episodes of Trailhead Live! Make sure to tune in to catch Megan Peterson and Gillian and catch up on all the great content coming into Trailhead and trivia with Marc Baizman. “I always have a Trailhead live open,” Mike says, “and I’m always popping over because there’s always new stuff there.”

The Way Back Machine

We take a look back at where we were in May 2018, 2017, 2016, and even 2014 and 2010. Check out where we were when folders and subfolders were new, and when we started the Awesome Admin movement.

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Full Show Transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you be an awesome admin. We are here on the, "We Still Don't Know What to Call It" episode. We still don't know what to call it, really. No one's helped us with that.

Mike Gerholdt: It's still the thing. We're not sure to call. Still unsure.

Gillian Bruce: Okay. Well, here we go. This is the third episode of the, We Still Don't Know What to Call It episode. And I'm Gillian Bruce.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm Mike Gerholdt. At least I think so.

Gillian Bruce: It's hard to tell these days.

Mike Gerholdt: We don't know what to call it. I think, maybe, nobody's telling us what to call it because they like that we still don't know what to call it episode.

Gillian Bruce: You might be right. You might be right. It's like the Boaty McGoatface of podcasts.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Boaty McGoatface. Did you say Boaty McGoatface? Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Was it? Isn't that...

Mike Gerholdt: I think it's Boaty McBoatface.

Gillian Bruce: McBoatface. Sorry.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. All the boats.

Gillian Bruce: In Salesforce-

Mike Gerholdt: Got goats.

Gillian Bruce: ... landing-

Mike Gerholdt: Got goats.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I got a goat problem.

Gillian Bruce: I have cloudy goats on the brain. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Don't we all?

Gillian Bruce: Speaking of Salesforce landing and cloudy and goats, we had a lot of content that cloudy would be especially excited about that we produced in May.

Mike Gerholdt: We did a lot in May. We had a lot of fun. Much like we're having a lot of fun on this episode. We had a lot of fun in May.

Gillian Bruce: We sure did. You shared those lists with me of all of the things that you gathered from what our team put out in May. I was like "Wait, that was one month? Oh my goodness."

Mike Gerholdt: I was tired making the list. I had to take a nap. I had to pause, take a nap while making the list, get back up, keep making the list. That's how long the list was.

Gillian Bruce: Well, I'm glad that you pushed through it and made the list.

Mike Gerholdt: It could be hard sometimes making list.

Gillian Bruce: You know.

Mike Gerholdt: I feel like we're all good list makers now though, right?

Gillian Bruce: Well, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe some of us more so than others.

Gillian Bruce: I feel like I start a lot of lists. Now, if I ever do anything with them or actually cross them off, I'll go into my notes app sometimes on my phone and just discover to-do lists from two years ago that I never completed.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I know.

Gillian Bruce: It's great. Getting back to the list-

Mike Gerholdt: More list of ideas. List of ideas. Those are always fun. That sounds like a totally good idea.

Gillian Bruce: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: At a moment of inspiration and-

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: ... it just sat there.

Mike Gerholdt: I created a list, list of lists.

Gillian Bruce: Well, admins like list view. Here we go.

Mike Gerholdt: They do. Right.

Gillian Bruce: Now that I'm viewing this list, the first thing on the list is the ... You talk about fun. Man, we had a lot of fun with this. The Low Code Love event on May 7th. Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, you were the MC. I got to do some customer interviews. It was a lot of fun to watch as well. It was fun to do in the moment and see it all come together, and then day of, it was a lot of fun to watch.

Gillian Bruce: Well, that's good because I didn't really get to watch it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I know.

Gillian Bruce: I watched it after the fact.

Mike Gerholdt: You sort of did. You were very participatory in the watching.

Gillian Bruce: I was. I watched myself on my own monitor-

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: ... like whatever the feed was picking up, but yeah. Mike, you, of course, are an expert customer interviewer.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: You've had what, like 10 years of practice running a podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: It was fun. It was so cool to see everything come together. It's the first time we did anything like this. We learned a lot in the process, but we did. We had a ton of fun. Some amazing customer stories in there. We got Jeff Berger story in there who you interviewed on the podcast.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. It was good to see him visually explain his story.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It was like what, he built an app in what, five hours? Was that-

Mike Gerholdt: Something like that. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Over the weekend. Just ridiculous timeframe.

Gillian Bruce: He's just like "Sure. I'll build this. I got it. No problem."

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, "No problem. It's Friday afternoon. I got nothing else going on."

Gillian Bruce: "I got some awesome admin skills."

Mike Gerholdt: "We're going to roll this out Sunday evening. You bet. No problem." Boom. Done. Water off a Duck's back.

Gillian Bruce: Seriously. A bit like his story. What the mayor of Palm Coast with Steve Harris who helped build the solution there.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We had Amber Boaz on, too, talking about how excited she is about dynamic pages and some of the stuff there. Some really cool customers, right? I got to talk about what you see Berkeley did with one of their labs to help supply COVID testing to firefighters. Actually, I'm wearing my Cal shirt today. I got Go Bears pride.

Mike Gerholdt: Of course. Sure. We had the Low Code Lounge, right? That was fun.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: There's a lot of people joining in the Low Code Lounge, [Squire] Kershner.

Gillian Bruce: Squire Christian was in there. We had Christie who is another fellow podcaster.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: [Hewitt] podcast, Christie Campbell.

Mike Gerholdt: Exactly. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We even had a high school student in there, Shaborn Allah, who is from Pi-TaP, which is an awesome organization. He joined from Boston. We had a surprise in there. Parker Harris dipped in the Low Code Lounge. We had a lot of fun. Parker spent the whole broadcast talking to and connecting to all the people on Low Code Lounge and learning more about their stories, which was really cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Yeah. I was a little jealous when I saw Parker come in. Mostly because he has some of the best intro where he would just float in to the screen. It was great. I thought, when they went away to do something else, I was like "I bet Parker is engaging with every single one of those people." I want that recording to go live.

Gillian Bruce: I'm sure it exists somewhere, but yeah, we had a lot of fun. Parker was totally game to play. Actually, he got jealous because I had a light up Marquee.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: He had his son. One of his sons come in like set up a light show behind him, but it was so bright in his shot. You couldn't even see it, but he was very jealous. Parker loves the fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We got Brett and Sarah doing the main show and Maggie Rogers showing up to sing us some incredible songs.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: We had the AMA with a zillion of our amazing product managers. It was awesome. We had some slight technical issues, but you know what, we had more viewers than we could have even imagined. Understandably, things were going to ... we get tested and crashed a little.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We recovered.

Mike Gerholdt: Exactly. It was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. If you want to watch it, it's available on Trailhead Live. It's also available on Salesforce Live. You can go back and watch the uninterrupted version. If you catch it on Facebook Live or Twitter, the feed on there, you'll see that I actually missed your live queue.

Mike Gerholdt: It's okay.

Gillian Bruce: Sarah and I were talking about her hair. That's great.

Mike Gerholdt: That's okay. You also hosted Bingo. You had like a live whiteboard that would come in. That was some good that-

Gillian Bruce: I still got the whiteboard.

Mike Gerholdt: I'm still laughing.

Gillian Bruce: I still got it. We had a lot of Bingo winners.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: There's a lot of Bingo names on air.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That's okay. That's how it works. It's good. It's good.

Gillian Bruce: Now, I have a whiteboard in my house.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Because ... whiteboards.

Gillian Bruce: Why not.

Mike Gerholdt: In addition to Low Code Love, we also had, Be an Innovator with Dynamic Pages launch on admin.salesforce.com. I think it was really cool. The page actually directs down to trailhead.salesforce.com. You could watch the videos and engage right there. That's some magic that Rebecca Saar did.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, and Vin Addala who's on the podcast, because he is the PM that helped create an ... his team basically built this new, amazing dynamic pages experience. It's totally re-engineered from the ground up, which was why it took a while. We had some Leanne magic in those videos as well.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, who was also in Low Code Love.

Gillian Bruce: It sure was. She sure was. Yes. She sure was. Yeah. If you complete the trail mix for Be an Innovator by June 30th and something cool happens.

Mike Gerholdt: I think you get a badge.

Gillian Bruce: You get a badge. That's what you get.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: I wrote down the date and I forgot to write down the-

Mike Gerholdt: That's okay.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: It's-

Gillian Bruce: It's May 74th, right?

Mike Gerholdt: It's May 74th. That's right. March 82nd. If you missed either of those, the links to watch them, we'll include it in the show notes because sometimes I can't keep up with me.

Gillian Bruce: Well, especially these days.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. We haven't-

Gillian Bruce: We've been making list [exhaustia 00:08:55].

Mike Gerholdt: Exactly. Well, it's important. Naps are important. Blogs-

Gillian Bruce: Yes, as I've learned from my son.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I know. See, kid's got it figured out. Like pre five, wake up, eat, crawl around a little bit, nap. That's-

Gillian Bruce: Eat again. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Eat again. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Nap again. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Nap.

Gillian Bruce: They got the life.

Mike Gerholdt: Priorities. Priorities. They're not making lists. He's just got the list in his head.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's very few things on there.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Other things that, maybe, you didn't miss, again, we don't know what to call this episode. We're just going to go through some content, tell you all the awesome stuff that was out there that you need to follow up on, read about. Let's talk about accelerate adoption using quick actions everywhere. It's community post by Jeremiah Dohn. I like that. We had that come out in May.

Gillian Bruce: Jeremiah is-

Mike Gerholdt: Early part of May.

Gillian Bruce: ... awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: He is. He's presented at DreamForce, I feel a few times.

Gillian Bruce: At least, yeah. Yeah. His post is great. Quick Actions are super useful.

Mike Gerholdt: I use Quick Actions a lot. I use them very quickly.

Gillian Bruce: Do you?

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Gillian Bruce: Do you use them while drinking Nestle Quick?

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe.

Gillian Bruce: I don't know why that popped in my head. Anyway-

Mike Gerholdt: That's Nestle Quick. It's smooth. It's chocolatey. It's milk. It's wonderful.

Gillian Bruce: It's got a bunny on it. I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I think, was it Yoohoo that competes with Nestle Quick?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yoohoo.

Gillian Bruce: What's the difference between those and Ovaltine? I've never understood the difference between. To be clear, I haven't really drank any of them, so I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, doesn't Ovaltine help you with your regularity and your fiber?

Gillian Bruce: I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe it's-

Gillian Bruce: Isn't that Metamucil?

Mike Gerholdt: Well, that could be.

Gillian Bruce: Sorry everyone.

Mike Gerholdt: I feel like there's also a comedian that has a bit about Ovaltine. Like why doesn't it come in an oval box for an Ovaltine.

Gillian Bruce: That would make sense.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's called, Ovaltine. We didn't talk about Quick Actions at all during that. We talked about Ovaltine and Yoohoo and Nestle quick and yet, somebody is still listening, hanging on by a thread that something important is coming up next.

Gillian Bruce: I bet they're finding some chocolate milk somewhere.

Mike Gerholdt: Who doesn't want chocolate milk now? I do.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, not me. Good.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Chocolate, yes. Anyway, we also had another great blog post about dynamic actions in app builder.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Yes.

Gillian Bruce: It very well paired with the dynamic pages feature that is now available for folks to use. Another amazing admin tool.

Mike Gerholdt: Vin Addala used to work on dynamic actions.

Gillian Bruce: That makes sense.

Mike Gerholdt: I remember because he's very dynamic. He's the captain dynamic or Vin Dynamic as I call him.

Gillian Bruce: Vin Dynamic.

Mike Gerholdt: Vin Dynamic. I think taking a step back and looking at this and then reflecting back on the podcast, which totally listened to from Vin on top of the fact that he has a million games in the background. In perspective, seeing what we can do now that was only pie in the sky when I was an admin in like 2008, I remember starting a sentence with, "Wouldn't it be great if this field would appear when I check this box?" Now, it's like "Yeah, no problem. Done."

Gillian Bruce: "We got this."

Mike Gerholdt: "We got that. What else you got?" I'll equate it to, I don't know if you've ever driven one of those cars that has the progressive or something cruise control where you set the cruise control and then it has a radar and it senses if it's behind another vehicle and it slows down. It's amazing.

Gillian Bruce: Whoa, that's fancy.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It's really cool. I feel like that's where we're at, right? We're right on the verge of self-driving cars because they're pretty spatially aware. Now, we're starting to get to the point where pages are like, you ask a question like "I wonder if it could ... Yeah, that's no problem. I can do that." You're like, "Yeah, what other problems you got?"

Gillian Bruce: "Bring it. I got this."

Mike Gerholdt: "Bring it. I got this."

Gillian Bruce: It's so cool because it really helps reduce the number of profiles that you need to do. It's such a better experience.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, you got perm sets now.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Come on. I got two or three profiles I can set up and then I can just perm set away.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Being able to do these, basically set the visibility and the response of individual on the field level of pages and even the action. It helps reduce a lot of the overhead and technical debt for an admin, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Also, the visual clutter.

Gillian Bruce: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: That was one thing that I remember getting pinged a lot as an admin. You'd have to have all these forms and fields that people required because eight steps into a sales process, this field had to be filled out and users were constantly, "Why do I have to look at it for the first seven?" Because "Hey, look at the lunch menu came out." That is, literally, every conversation I had. Now, it's like "Yeah, you don't." Because when we get to the stage or when you complete this field now, boom, I can make that appear and then it's gone. You can still report on it. It's that visual clutter that I don't have to deal with as a user. I'm moving through the information faster and in a very prescriptive way, right? I love it.

Gillian Bruce: If only I could have something like that for my house to reduce the visual clutter, that'd be fantastic.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Anyway, moving on. We had a lot of podcasts come out this month. We talked about the Vin Addala podcast, which is great. People should listen to it and they can watch it on Trailhead Live. It actually aired right after the Low Code Love event ended-

Mike Gerholdt: On Trailhead Live, yes.

Gillian Bruce: ... the Broadcast Eight, yeah, ended. It's there for everybody to look at, but we also had the last episode of the Salesforce for good series that our amazing colleague, Marc Baizman, hosted featuring Ryan Ozimek.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Ryan is a return guest. I remember speaking with Ryan at one of the Washington D.C. world tour stops. We recorded an episode out there. Good to have him back. That was a fun series, Gillian. We launched that series while you are gone. It wrapped up. Instead of pushing it all six episodes at once, we spread it out over time. There's two theories. You can either just drop everything and make people binge listened to it or the oldschool way of radio. It comes out every week or every month.

Gillian Bruce: Sprinkle a little good throughout the year.

Mike Gerholdt: Sprinkle, yeah. Exactly.

Gillian Bruce: It's good.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Six months of good. That was fun. Gillian, you interviewed Eve Stewart on-

Gillian Bruce: She was awesome.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. That was a fun episode as well.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. She's another amazing member of our Salesforce military community. She's just got a really great perspective on how to take hold of tough problems. Literally, we titled the episode, "Get Out of Your Own Way."

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Really, what she talks about is, "Hey, when you got a tough problem, don't make a mountain out of a molehill even though it may seem like it's" ... I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: A mountain.

Gillian Bruce: What's the tallest mountain? Mount Everest.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: You're not going to get anywhere if you keep thinking about it. You just got to sit down in a room, start mapping it out, tackle it out. She talks a lot about that. It was great to be able to connect with her and share that with the community. We've got some really good responses, too, in social, which is great.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I got to speak with Eric Prod who was amazing to interview. It's always great to see when you log into the Trailblazer Community, all of the faces of the people who answer and then to get them on a call and be able to pick their brain. It was fun to talk with Eric and have him walk through his thinking and his process for, "I'm really going to solve this. I'm really going to take this on this way." It goes back to what we mentioned earlier with dynamic forms and dynamic actions, right? Reducing your technical debt. If you can build it now, once correctly and with a solid foundation, you're setting yourself up for success later on. I think, that, to me, was a huge takeaway from Eric's podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's so fun because again, like you said, putting a voice behind those leaders on the answers community. All of us are pretty familiar with Steve Moe, but there are some amazing other people on there who answer almost as many questions.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Gillian Bruce: Eric has helped out hundreds and hundreds of folks. It was really fun to connect with him and put a voice behind those written answers.

Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. In addition to that, holy cow, there was a lot that happened on Trailhead Live.

Gillian Bruce: So much. Trailhead Live is on fire right now.

Mike Gerholdt: It is.

Gillian Bruce: It is so cool.

Mike Gerholdt: It is. First thing that I saw launch was, Trailhead News launched. Gillian, I think, you were on the first episode.

Gillian Bruce: I was. The one and only amazing Meagan Petersen, a.k.a Ranger Megan, who based in Sydney launched this. She is one of the driest, funniest news anchors I think I have ever seen. She makes it so fun. She puts together all the content and episodes herself. When you see something fun, that's Megan right there.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: She had so much fun. There's two episodes out now. The first one was great. I got to be her first test interviewer. If you watch it, you'll notice that we were trying to figure some things out, but it turned out pretty fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. No, I thought it was good. It's fun because interacting now is like well, we can't just sit down and film this of course, right?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. There's like zoom background and activity and then looking-

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: ... away from the camera to make it look like you're looking at the person even though this is-

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: Anyway, it was really fun. Marc Baizman was actually on the second episode talking about some great admin tips.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: It's fun. It's on Trailhead Live. You can find it. I highly recommend if you need a little levity in your day. It's also a great way to catch up on all the things that are ... like the new content coming on Trailhead, events, all kinds of great ... it is the Trailhead News. There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: What you're saying is, listening to Trailhead News is like listening to the, what do we call this episode for the podcast.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Except it might be a little more visually interesting because she does production and the last one had a video of goats gone wild, which was exciting.

Mike Gerholdt: Jeepers. Okay. Wow. It's not a competition, but it is.

Gillian Bruce: Hey, we're a podcast first. There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, we are. We're a podcast?

Gillian Bruce: Sorry folks. We're a podcast first.

Mike Gerholdt: That is the next shirt we got to have come out. We're a podcast first. Fun.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Marc Baizman was on Trailhead Live and he did awesome admin trivia, which I saw the tweets around. I think that's so much fun. We've internally played with that app before on team meetings and it's highly competitive. I could not imagine what it would be like competing against some of our admins in the community. Holy cow.

Gillian Bruce: I think I would lose.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: For sure, I'd lose.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I was impressed by the scores.

Gillian Bruce: Well, and what's fun is this app is actually built on Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Kevin Portman, developer of AngelList created this and Marc has taken it and customized it for admins. It's pretty fun because it's like something else that is used for online quizzes.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: It's on Salesforce, which is really fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Way more fun than that.

Gillian Bruce: Way more.

Mike Gerholdt: Perhaps, maybe you're watching a video version of the podcast on Trailhead Live. We launched that with Vin. Yes. Right.

Gillian Bruce: Hi there.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Here's what you get in the video only version. See, now, you got to watch the video only version just to know what that part was because we can't tell you. We had Vin Addala on. For June, which is coming up, last I checked ...

Gillian Bruce: Although it is May 82nd.

Mike Gerholdt: March 82nd. All of the PM's that are on the podcast for June, we're also going to rebroadcast as video on Trailhead Live. Gillian, you're going to thankfully do the intro of that because we're a podcast first.

Gillian Bruce: We're a podcast first.

Mike Gerholdt: Nobody needs me to do the intro. No. I'm-

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. People are just busy in a lot of this.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Right. It's Gillian and welcome to the Gillian show. That's cool. I literally have a tab open of the hundred tabs. I always have a Trailhead Live tab open. I'm always popping over because there's always new stuff there. They have a little feature area and stuff that I can catch up on. Thankfully, I can watch. I was able to catch the Trailhead News even though I missed it when it went live. I think that's really neat.

Gillian Bruce: We do things like AMAs too. I did a couple of AMAs, this ... I think that was this month too. I totally forgot about that. It's so much content, but we did like-

Mike Gerholdt: So much.

Gillian Bruce: ... just a general admin AMA that I did live on Trailhead. We did AMA with Vin Addala just recently where we answered some questions about dynamic pages. He actually showed us to, specifically, several of his board games, which was fun. We answered questions live that were coming in the feed. Fun fact, I actually went to the command line to make the Skype to OBS integration work, which it didn't work perfectly. We're going to get better for next time, but it's the only way we were able to live feed two videos and slides the same time on OBS. It's very exciting.

Mike Gerholdt: You fancy, command line and all.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Well, you know.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: We're all turning into our own production assistants, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I know. Send you a bill for the producer. Let's see, making this list. Boy, there's a lot on it. The one fun thing that I always like to, as we wrap up this episode is the Wayback machine, which of course you have a better ... looking back at things, content that we had produced in the previous years or blog posts, it seems to be very relevant. Two years ago, we had summer 18 release notes. I put, most notably, folders and sub folders, which I remember this was one blog post that Marc worked on that he was so excited about sub folders in reports.

Gillian Bruce: Well, people have been asking for it for so long. It was so cool to be able to look at that.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure. I need more folders. I need folders with folders.

Gillian Bruce: Well, you got to organize all those amazing reports and dashboards in a way that works.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah, I do remember that very vividly as well.

Mike Gerholdt: Summer 18. Three years ago, we had a blog post magic components with Michael Gonzalez.

Gillian Bruce: Magic.

Mike Gerholdt: Magic.

Gillian Bruce: A.k.a. lightning components.

Mike Gerholdt: Lightning. I feel like that was also when we do the ... was it the lightening now tour? Is that what we call that?

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I had to do-

Gillian Bruce: This is who you're going all around the world, helping people-

Mike Gerholdt: All around.

Gillian Bruce: ... learn about lightning and how to transition to it. It was actually really fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Was it Michael Gonzales that I did the Indianapolis stop with and maybe he almost missed his flight.

Gillian Bruce: You're going to have to do it all by yourself?

Mike Gerholdt: No. Missed his flight home, thankfully.

Gillian Bruce: Missed his flight home. Okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, because of traffic.

Gillian Bruce: There you go.

Mike Gerholdt: I just remember I had to-

Gillian Bruce: We got him on the podcast. That's good.

Mike Gerholdt: We did. Yeah. Didn't miss his flight at all. Four years ago, we were talking about having a messy org, spring cleaning.

Gillian Bruce: No messy orgs? Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: No spring cleaning, but this was a guest post by Kansas City user group leader, Dale Ziegler who-

Gillian Bruce: Dale. He was in the first ever admin keynote.

Mike Gerholdt: He was, and he was also one of the people that put me in contact with Jeffrey Berger, who was the academy bank admin. I was reading through this and you know what, it may be a few years old, it still always applies, right? Like too many profiles. What were we just talking about, to make profiles.

Gillian Bruce: We just talked about that. Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: Stuff goes on forever and ever.

Gillian Bruce: It's like the Marie Kondo of Salesforce orgs.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, I feel like, yes, I'm sure that'll come up in one of our Wayback machines. Gillian, we were talking before we pressed record, I feel like May is like the anniversary month of the admin relations team.

Gillian Bruce: 100%. So many things have happened in May. Six years ago, Mike, you officially joined the team, which-

Mike Gerholdt: I did. That was fun.

Gillian Bruce: You are the first ever admin of AngelList.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Because we basically took all of your button click admin work and we're like "Cool."

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Gillian Bruce: Just bring it over to Salesforce because-

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Done.

Gillian Bruce: ... we want to do that.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It really is the launch of the official awesome admin movement in a lot of ways. I think that's when we first launched the newsletter. I think that's when we came up with the whole like "All right, we're going to do something at DreamForce." We have no idea what it is. It has now evolved into the admin meadow.

Mike Gerholdt: We started-

Gillian Bruce: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. We started world tour stuff.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: I remember we had one of our breakouts at a world tour and world tour after world tour, so it began.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. It's amazing, amazing journey. 10 years ago.

Mike Gerholdt: 10 years ago.

Gillian Bruce: Way, way back.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. A whole decade, a whole decade ago.

Gillian Bruce: Decade of my life, I've been part of Salesforce. Yes, I joined Salesforce 10 years ago in May. Crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow.

Gillian Bruce: Crazy.

Mike Gerholdt: All right. That was it. That's our, what do we call it episode.

Gillian Bruce: There it is.

Mike Gerholdt: We're open to suggestions on what we should call it. Otherwise, we'll just keep calling it ... We're not really sure what we're going to call it episode, but it's a lot of fun.

Gillian Bruce: It is.

Mike Gerholdt: We'll do one in June.

Gillian Bruce: I had fun. I can't wait to do it again.

Mike Gerholdt: If you want to learn about all things, Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. Of course, a reminder, if you love what you hear and I mean, who doesn't, go on over to iTunes-

Gillian Bruce: Clearly, this is the best content ever.

Mike Gerholdt: All the stars.

Gillian Bruce: Best episode ever.

Mike Gerholdt: All the stars. Honestly, if you do go over to iTunes and you give us a review, it helps more Salesforce Admins find that content. That's why we're here. I do promise that I read the reviews. I check them. I send them to the team. I love seeing new stuff. Please post that. You can stay up-to-date with us on all things admin on social. We are @salesforceadmins, no I on Twitter. Of course, you can find me. I am @mikegerholdt and Gillian?

Gillian Bruce: @gilliankbruce.

Mike Gerholdt: Stay tuned for our next episode.

Gillian Bruce: We'll catch you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: We_Still_Dont_Know_What_to_Call_This_Episode_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:04am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to Eric Praud, a Service Cloud Delivery Manager at Ladbrokes Coral Group. We discuss best practices for building formulas and how to ask and answer questions on the Salesforce community.

Join us as we talk about why you need to learn things with the mindset that you may need to teach them later, why it’s so important to avoid technical debt, and how to be better at asking for and giving help on the Answers community.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Eric Praud.

Why it’s OK to get it wrong the first time.

Like a lot of people we talk to on the Salesforce Admin Podcast, Eric is someone who stumbled into the platform. He started out working thirteen years in the restaurant industry, but when he was looking to transition into technology he ended up working in Salesforce support. “You start with support and it feels like a sink or swim situation because you don’t know much, to be fair,” Eric says, “but it was the best schooling I could’ve had for Salesforce.”

These days, Eric keeps up with his support roots by keeping active in the community, where he tries to answer questions every day and is in the top three. He’s particularly focused on formula-based questions: “I just really like the challenge that is in the question, I like the logic of the formula, and I love it when it works out in the end,” he says. The big thing is to not be afraid of failure. If it’s complicated, you’re probably going to get it wrong the first time, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep trying.

Avoiding technical debt.

One problem Eric encountered on the Answers community had to do with how to create a formula to show what fiscal quarter a particular date would fall into. The fiscal quarters for this particular company never seemed to start on the same date, so Eric sat down with a pen and paper to work it out. It took him three days, but he eventually reverse-engineered the method behind the madness.

“You don’t want to carry technical debt,” Eric says, “will you remember, in five years’ time, that you have to go back to that formula? You may not even be there, it may be another admin who will have no clue what’s happening here.” Eric is always looking for an evergreen solution that will always work no matter what the circumstances are. In other words, spending three days to figure out the fiscal year formula now is worth it if it means that nobody will ever have to spend time on it again.

How to be better at asking for and giving help.

When it comes to the Answers community, Eric has some words of wisdom about being a good poster. “Remember that we’re here to help you, but help us help you,” he says, “remember to add a few screenshots, give us the data types of the fields that you mention.” Most importantly, describe the problem you’re facing in layman’s terms. Every business and industry is unique, but a little bit of context can go a long way, and not everybody is going to be familiar with your specific situation.

On the other hand, if Eric is giving answers, he has a few strategies for making sure he’s being helpful. “Sometimes you can tell when people are new at Salesforce,” he says. Sometimes they tell you straight away, but there are also some hints from the way they’re phrasing their questions. In those cases, it’s helpful to overexplain your formula so they have an understanding of not just what to do, but why they’re doing it. 

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt, and joining me today is Eric Prod to talk about building formulas as a best practice, evergreen solutions and wow, we also dig a little bit into how to ask and answer questions on the Salesforce community. It's super cool, I can't wait. Let's get Eric on the podcast.
So Eric, welcome to the podcast.

Eric Prod: Thank you very much for having me here.

Mike Gerholdt: It's great to discuss with our community worldwide, but let's get started with your background and kind of your expertise. Where did you get started with Salesforce and kind of evolve to where you are today?

Eric Prod: So I was actually working in the restaurant business for quite some time, like 17 years or so. And after a while, I got tired of it and decided to go into some kind of a technical job. So I found this job as the Salesforce support, that was about nine years ago. Loved it from day one, so I then became a Salesforce consultant for our company for about five or six years. And now I am the service cloud delivery manager for my company.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Service cloud, that's awesome. I think support is such a great way to dive into learning because you really have to troubleshoot and get in there right away. I tell myself it's like, if we're learning to teach, it's a very different level of learning because you also have to kind of regurgitate that and put that back in the context for somebody, so support's kind of a great way to jump in both feet all the way up to your neck, right?

Eric Prod: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I mean, you start [inaudible] and it feels a bit like a sink or swim situation because you don't know much, to be fair, but as you said, it was the best school I could have had for Salesforce, for sure.

Mike Gerholdt: Now your super active on our answers community. So let's dive in there because it plays well into your support background.

Eric Prod: Yeah. I love going to the community. I try to go there every day, as much as I can, just to help people. I'm in the top three, I think at the moment.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, so you be on the podium with Steve.

Eric Prod: I am. Yeah, I am. I'm hoping to get the gold medal from him, but I don't think it will happen.

Mike Gerholdt: You just got to pick your day and time, right?

Eric Prod: Probably, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: You just plan it out. When Boston's asleep, that's when you hop on.

Eric Prod: Got to think about that now.

Mike Gerholdt: It's strategy. Strategy, Eric. We can get there. You're already on the podium. Well, that's cool. I think that really establishes why we're talking with you. I mean, to be top three in the answers community really says something. I think I've jumped in there quite a few times and tried to answer questions, and I'm like the fourth or fifth answer and I'm like, wow, how did you come to that so quickly? But what do you love to kind of dive into, or what are the problems in the answers community that you love to solve?

Eric Prod: The one I prefer, definitely formula based questions. So anything from formula feeds, validation rules, workflow rules, whatever. I just read the challenge that's in the question, I like the logic of the formula and I love it when it works out in the end.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Because I see a lot of formula questions in our admin community and I'll be honest, formulas for me are still not a strong foundation. I can usually work through them, but I think the people that can build really complex formulas, wow, I admire that. Learning formulas and kind of wrapping your head around formulas, where did you get started kind of learning formulas and being able to help others with formulas?

Eric Prod: Yeah. So first, I think I'm lucky enough here that I've got a very logical mind. Two and two will always make four for me, it will not make 22 or anything else. So that's a good start, but then I tried, I tried, I tried and I failed, I failed, I failed. That's how I learned, to be perfectly honest. Do not be afraid of failing, you will not get it right the first time if it's complicated. So what? Do it again.

Mike Gerholdt: It's like math.

Eric Prod: Pretty much, yes.

Mike Gerholdt: I didn't get math right very much either. That's okay. So let's talk about some of the big problems that you've solved in the answers community and how we can help. When we did our pre-call, the biggest thing I wanted to help admins understand is I wanted to help them think like you, Eric, and I wanted to help rewire them into going through and troubleshooting and thinking very logically. So let's dive into, what was some of the big problems that you've solved in the answers community?

Eric Prod: Right. Well, it has to be that person who was asking for some formula to show what fiscal quarter a date would fall in. And the quarters seemed to be very funny, they never started on the same date. So what he wanted to do was simply to hard call a few dates for the next four or five years, and then go back to that formula in five years time and do it again. And I was like, there has to be a way to make it work every year for the rest of the time, for the next 100 years also, at least. And so I asked him for a spreadsheet with all his fiscal years from 10 years ago up to 10 years from now, I think it was something like that. I had 20 fiscal years in his spreadsheet. So I just looked at the spreadsheet, took my favorite pen and paper, I always start with a pen and paper.
I tried to figure out if there was a pattern there, and eventually figured out that the fiscal year started, so get ready, on the Sunday, the closest to the 1st of April, every year.

Mike Gerholdt: So that's easy.

Eric Prod: That was easy. So it just took a few hours to just find the pattern. But once I found the pattern, then I was like, knowing Salesforce, I don't know the formula off the top of my head, of course, but this has to be possible somehow. And again, pen and paper, opened a calendar, looked at some dates, tried to find how I could make that logic work. And eventually, after three, four days, I came up with a formula that now works for every single year, not just the next five years and if you input any date, it will tell you which fiscal quarters is date is in. So to me, the very important part here was that this had to be evergreen. It had to work, not for the next five years, it had to work forever. Unless they changed the fiscal year in the company, this formula will always work for them.

Mike Gerholdt: So as I'm sitting here listening to your answer, and I'm probably listening to the podcast, I'm out walking my dog and I'm thinking, yeah but Eric, you had all of the dates on the spreadsheet. You could've just put those dates in as a reference field in Salesforce. Why did you spend three days mulling through, figuring out what a formula would be for this solution?

Eric Prod: Well, again, just because you don't want to carry technical debt. Try to use best practices here. If you carry technical debts, will you remember that in five years time, you have to go back to that formula and that you have to, again, change those dates. You may not even be there in five years time. You may not be in that company, it would be another admin who may have no clue what's happening here. So I'm always trying to get what I call an evergreen solution, so something that will always work no matter what. And as for spending three days on it, well, maybe because I'm a bit stupid and I like pain, I don't know.

Mike Gerholdt: No, I don't think you're stupid, not one bit. Maybe the pain part, I mean. No, but the reason I asked that is, I think it's very easy, and I'm probably jealous of it too, you get something and you look at it, well, if we know the date, then let's just put that in as a reference field and we'll just run everything off it. And then in five or 10 years, who knows where it will be, and we'll fix it then. And you forget that five or 10 years, or maybe even a couple of years, if you're doing it monthly, comes up really fast. And the next thing you know, you launch into a new fiscal year and something doesn't work. And I think you're working through that solution and providing that evergreen solution is something super important.
And the technical debt level of it is also important to kind of understand. For the solution that I'm building, I love that you brought that up. How much am I creating or just moving work to a future date, right? Your three days spent meant that that time now doesn't have to be wasted ever again because that solution will continue to work. So I think that's a really cool way of looking at things. What for you, as you were kind of working through formulas and in your support role, and now in your current role, what's kind of the hardest part of learning Salesforce or something that you work through on a regular basis?

Eric Prod: To me, the hardest part of learning Salesforce, and as I said early on, I'm from a restaurant background so I had no clue about sales or service terminology. So really, to me, the hardest part was actually to try to understand the Salesforce terminology. I didn't know what an opportunity was, I didn't know what a lead was. When I was first learning Salesforce and people would say to me, yeah, this is how lead works, and I'm like, "Yeah, but what is a lead?" And for people, it was very hard to actually explain it. And then there's that click in your brain. I mean, at least that's what happened to me. I started to understand the terminology and once I passed that hurdle, I found it a lot easier to understand Salesforce.
And then after, it's like Lego. You build on top of your foundations. So once you understand Salesforce, once you understand the terminology and you can speak the Salesforce lingo, then you can start building on top of it.

Mike Gerholdt: I agree. I agree. In fact, I had a friend over the last few months, was getting into Trailhead and used to work in retail, and was always texting me questions like, "What is this and what does this mean?" And I had forgot I had just been on a different side of a business and in a selling setting for so long, that opportunities and leads made sense to me. And in retail, they don't. I mean, everybody's kind of a lead in an opportunity, I guess, if you look at it that way, you just don't categorize it. So yeah, sometimes the nomenclature trips you up.

Eric Prod: Yes, it does. And it's true that it's very easy to take for granted that all the people understand it, understand what you're talking about. So many times, for example, when I was talking about opportunities to do some customers, I had to talk about sales opportunities, they wouldn't understand the work.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. As you're talking through customers and you're looking at answers on the community, how do we also make admins better question askers, right? Are there things or components that you feel are usually missing in the initial question that people put out there that somebody like yourself is looking for?

Eric Prod: Yes. I mean, not all the time, obviously, but remember that we're here to help you, but help us help you. So maybe add a few screenshots, give us the data types of the [inaudible] that you mentioned. Those two things would help a lot towards a resolution. And most of all, make sure you describe the problem that you're facing in layman terms. We're not in your org. We don't know your company, so just give us as much information as possible.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, that makes sense. I think sometimes, when you're asking for help, you're so in the situation that you forget how much is just nomenclature that you know intuitively, much to our previous discussion, you forget other people aren't familiar with. So that's really good advice, really good advice. So let me flip the question. As admins are in the community trying to help each other, what is some advice or ways that you formulate your answers to be as helpful as possible?

Eric Prod: So it will really depend on the issue at hand. Obviously, if it's just a very simple formula and they've explained everything, then I would just give them the formula, "There, try this." But sometimes you can tell when people are new at Salesforce. Either they tell you straight away, "Look, I've just started. I don't know what's happening here." Or the way they phrase the question, you can see that they wouldn't be as experienced a Salesforce administrator. So then I would try to explain my formula. I would try to break it down as much as possible and say, "Well, look, this part does this and this part does that, and then we have a result. This does that, makes this result."

Mike Gerholdt: Makes sense.

Eric Prod: But it's not always easy.

Mike Gerholdt: No. And also I'm thinking through the answers I've given, sometimes we're wrapped up in our own context of, well, how come you don't know this, when we answer it and we forget that we're potentially explaining something new. So I think that's really relevant right now.

Eric Prod: That's true. That's true. That's a very fair point here, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Eric, it was great chatting with you. I'm glad we had this time to connect. I love recording podcasts with all of our Salesforce community from around the world. So thank you for taking time out of your day.

Eric Prod: Well, I'm thank you very much for having me here, really enjoyed myself.

Mike Gerholdt: So it was great to chat with Eric. I'm glad he could make time out of his day. I learned a lot. It still has me intrigued and I still love to dive into formulas and see how people are solving formulas. In fact, I'd love for you to share on Twitter, a complex formula you've solved or an interesting scenario, like Eric had of something that you've solved. First Sunday, I believe he said, before April. Boy, that's a math problem solved. But here are three things I learned from our discussion with Eric. One, it reminded me that learning to support your users is a little bit different. So with that in mind, as you're learning new things about Salesforce, either a new way of building something new terminology, learn it with the mindset that you're going to have to teach it to your user because you might have to.
And I think that challenges you to learn things a little bit differently, ingest it. I love Eric's background of being in support, that's really inspiring. And the second thing, and this is huge, this is why it's number two, I think it's the main part of this episode is technical debt. So in Eric's solution that we talked about, he could have just create a field to reference, he had all of those dates, but he went that next step and really thought about his technical debt and said, I can solve this as a formula, and now that exists as a solution for the next 10, 20, 100 years for that organization. And so that little bit of time building the right solution right off the bat means he doesn't have to carry that technical debt, very important for admins to understand.
And then the third thing is a good reminder, be as explanatory as possible in your questions and answers. So I know you need help and it's worth taking a step back and saying, do people understand what I'm talking about with this, or is this just a company term that maybe only I know? And the second is, as you're explaining or trying to help another Salesforce admin out in the community, make sure that you take a moment and be like, maybe they haven't heard this term before. And so take a moment just to explain it. It's really about how we support each other and I think that's a wonderful theme for this episode. So of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources.
And as a reminder, if you love what you hear, you can be sure to pop over to iTunes, give us a review. I promise, I read them all. You can stay up-to-date with us for all things social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no i, on Twitter. And you can find me on Twitter as well, I am @MikeGerholdt. Stay tuned for the next episode and we'll see you in the cloud.



Direct download: Best_Practices_for_Building_Formulas_with_Eric_Praud.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:18am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Yves Stewart, a Salesforce Consultant at Slalom. We learn how to get out of your own way and dig into your problem.

Join us as we talk about why you just need to get started, the importance of surrounding yourself with the platform, and the importance of having patience with yourself as you learn.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Yves Stewart. 

How Yves got started as an accidental admin.

“Before embarking on my Salesforce journey, I just never thought about me being this techy person,” Yves says, “I always felt that that wasn’t me, it was for everyone else. But I accidentally became an admin, and it was the best accident of my life.” She was working for a manufacturing company in the energy sector when she met a Salesforce dev and MVP who pushed her to take a serious look at the platform. When they had to leave the company, Yves stepped up to the plate to take over as an admin.

Yves’s first big “aha” moment dealt with approvals—they were in the middle of their annual sales meeting when the approval process went haywire. She took a deep dive into the process and sort things out, solidifying her role with the sales team and giving her the confidence to move forward on the platform. “I no longer had to think of myself as an accidental admin,” Yves says, “I actually was an admin who was knowledgeable.”

Jumping in and learning as you go.

Yves’s company had a major need to keep everyone in sync in the field, which lead to her developing a component that allowed her team to create tickets even if they didn’t have connectivity at their current location. They could put in a request and get all the information they needed as soon as they got a WiFi connection, eliminating what was previously a paper process. “It was very exciting because it allowed us to not work in segments but instead bring all the groups together,” she says, “it allowed everyone to get a complete view of the customer and have people coming from all different angles to make this a win-win situation all the way from the beginning to the end.”

The big problems can often be the most challenging to make headway on, and Yves’s advice is to get out of your own way and just start. “You have to start somewhere in order to make it happen,” she says, “actually lay down a roadmap and give yourself some steps to get there. You don’t have to have it all figured out, you just need to get started.”

The power of the Salesforce community.

Starting out is always tricky and for Yves, as a solo admin, the Salesforce community was a major help in guiding her on her journey. She went to a Houston user group meeting where she learned about the Salesforce Military program. As a military spouse herself, she was able to get connected with a community of people who could relate to what she was going through and help her out.

If you’re just starting out, Yves has some sage advice. “Learn about the product and the platform—it’s a phenomenal tool,” she says, “you don’t have to be an expert in everything, you just have to be able to understand the basics of how it works.” It takes time, but you can keep learning through Trailhead and other programs and continue to grow.

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For full transcript, go to https://admin.salesforce.com/blog/2020/get-out-of-your-…ith-yves-stewart

Direct download: Get_Out_of_Your_Own_Way_with_Yves_Stewart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:49am PST

Today we have the final episode of the Salesforce for Good mini-series on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. These special episodes are hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce, and nonprofit veteran. Today, we talk to Ryan Ozimek, CEO of Soapbox Engage, to discuss how he’s organizing the community to support each other.

Join us as we talk about how a first-hand view of the Balkan conflict lead him to devote his life to helping nonprofits use technology to enable their missions, and how he’s helped the community help each other.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Ryan Ozimek.

A front-row seat to the technology barriers nonprofits face.

“I’m focused on helping nonprofit organizations around the world reach their missions more effectively by using technology,” Ryan says, “and the way that I happen to do that is through our company, Soapbox Engage, which helps organizations do online fundraising, online advocacy, and getting the most out of tools like Salesforce so they can spend less time on technology and more time doing the work of great mission-based organizations.” One of the ways Soapbox Engage does that is with Salesforce integrations.

The origin story starts in the 90s when Ryan was a grad school student in public policy. “I was trying to figure out how I could use both a policy background and a techie, wonky background that helped pay my way through school.” He was working with an NGO in Albania during the conflict in the Balkans, helping organizations use technology to make sure relief aid got to the right people at the right time. That front-row seat to the technology barriers nonprofits faced lead Ryan to realize that there was a need, so he co-founded PICnet. They started simply getting organizations connecting, but many of their clients happened to be early Salesforce users who were looking to use the platform in new ways.

Organizing the community.

“Community, writ large, specifically the nonprofit tech community, has just been an amazing place for me to immerse myself,” Ryan says, “I’m really engaged and my batteries are filled by being in rooms of people that are dedicated to passionate causes and using technology to do big things.” In the Salesforce nonprofit space, he’s found passionate people with some of the best technology talents around.

In his spare time, Ryan organizes NPSP Days. “Imagine an unconference gathering or a convergence of people that are in the nonprofit space who want to be both participants and facilitators of sharing knowledge and best practices from the Salesforce ecosystem,” he says. They’re expanded this into Admin Days, which is the same thing but focused not just on nonprofits. Their goal is to leverage the power of the community to bring people together so they can return with new knowledge to their organizations.

Balancing your mission and technology.

“Getting a chance to work with organizations that are on the Salesforce platform means they’re not just doing one thing,” Ryan says, “there’s too often too many tools that only do one thing and silo your data.” In the end, that can get in the way of really understanding why and how you’re engaging with your communities. Salesforce lets you bring together your advocacy and organization needs all in one platform, making technology an enabler for the work you need to do.

“Focusing on community first, technology second can help guide small business owners, entrepreneurs, one-person consultants to be able to specialize while also knowing they’ve got brothers and sisters working alongside them in ecosystems like Salesforce that can help plug and fill other gaps along the way, too.” Ultimately, you need to find a balance between your focus on your mission and the technology that makes it happen. “One of the first things I say to new friends in the Salesforce world, specifically, is let’s take this one bite at a time,” Ryan says. Take one challenge you’re facing, know that there are a lot of ways to deal with it, but find what works for you, and take it one step at a time.

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Full Show Transcript

Marc Baizman: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast. I'm Marc Baizman, senior admin evangelist, and we're wrapping up our Salesforce for Good series with this last episode from Ryan Ozimek, CEO of PICnet. We recorded this in August of 2019, and Ryan is going to talk to us about his path to the nonprofit sector using technology for social good and the growth of the nonprofit Salesforce community since back in the early days. With that, let's listen to Ryan.

Marc: Ryan, thank you so much for joining us on the Salesforce Admins Podcast today.

Ryan: Awesome to be here, Mark. Thanks so much.

Marc: Yeah, you bet. So, Ryan, I'm going to start with something super simple. What do you do?

Ryan: What is it you'd say you do Ryan? [crosstalk 00:00:14]. Well, thanks for asking. Yeah, that's a good question. That's one of those big questions you ask yourself all the time. I'm very focused on helping nonprofit organizations around the world reach their missions more effectively by using technology and the way that I happen to do that is through our company here at Soapbox Engage. Helping organizations do online fundraising, online advocacy, and just getting the most out of tools like Salesforce so they can spend less time on technology and more time doing the work of great mission-based organizations. So that's what I tend to do on my day job, I guess you can say.

Marc: Got it. Got it. And the software that you mentioned is something that does integrate with Salesforce, is that right?

Ryan: Yeah, that's right. It's been, gosh, I'm going to start dating myself now. I think it's been since 2006, 2007 that we'd been looking at ways to help organizations use Salesforce with an online kind of capacity for it. And Soapbox Engage is one of those tools that we're really proud of to help organizations do that most effectively with fundraising and advocacy with Salesforce.

Marc: Great. So Ryan, tell me a little bit about your journey. So what brought you here? How did you get into the nonprofit world in general?

Ryan: Yeah, if you put yourself in a magic history time machine and go back to say 1998 or 1999, I was a grad school student in public policy at a university and was focused on saying how can I use both a policy background and a techy-walkie background that helped pay my way through school to do good in the world. And if you can imagine in an era before Facebook or Twitter or really the web as we know it-

Marc: I'm very happily imagining that by the way.

Ryan: ... Right, exactly. A very simple time. That's where it really began and it began actually in Bosnia and Albania during the wars in Kosovo and the region there back in the late '90s and doing humanitarian aid work to help organizations use technology to make sure that relief aid got to the right people at the right time. And little did I know that 20 years later, I'd be continuing on that mission. So that's where I started from. Yeah.

Marc: Oh wow. So were you actually there during that time?

Ryan: Yeah, I was helping out with a relief aid group there in Albania and kind of got a front row seat to the unfortunate situation that was happening there and what the United Nations and the World Food Program and other great groups we're trying to do on the ground and realizing that there was technology that could help. And so I came back to the United States after that and said, Gosh, I wonder if there's a way that you can actually build a small but sustainable business that is just focused on helping those people on the front lines do the good work. And that's how I kind of rolled off from there.

Marc: Wow, that's great. So draw the line from kind of coming back and thinking, I can use technology to solve these bigger social problems to your business today. Did you kind of start your company then? Or that was the gestation of an idea and then... What brought you to today?

Ryan: We started off by saying there's an obvious need to bridge the digital divide, which was the big buzzword back then, of just saying how do we get people and organizations online? And that meant getting on the ground and laying ethernet cable between computers to turn on Windows XP machines that connected to the World Wide Web. So it started from that, just literally on the ground, cabling networks for organizations to realizing that over time, we're going to be living in a world that was going to be more broadly connected and seeing how the web was changing and helping organizations do more online moved us from that hardware type of perspective to saying, What's this new thing we can do with software? What's the new thing we can do on the web and through a web browser to help organizations connect and to reach out to their constituents and to their advocates, and to their supporters? And just kind of follow the arc of the technology history trajection from there.

Marc: That's great. So where does Salesforce come in, in this journey?

Ryan: So way back in 2005, we had been working with a couple of organizations doing website development because that's when the web was very popular and everybody was starting to move from geo pages to actual websites that were for their own organization.

Marc: Right. Geo [inaudible] days. I remember that.

Ryan: Right? Exactly. We said, You know what, there's got to be something better than that and these organizations want to be able to take donations. They want to be able to let people register for their events. And a couple of our very early groups in the early, early Salesforce Foundation days happened to also be our clients and said to us, "Wouldn't it be great if people that came to our website can make a donation and that donation can go to Salesforce" or "Wouldn't it be great if all this amazing data that we're storing in Salesforce about our publications or about all the data that we're collecting for inventory or for storage, what happens if we could make that live on the web for people to see?" So it was super early days in the Salesforce world, but it was that type of fun pioneering stuff that we like to do a lot. So it's been a long journey since then.

Marc: Oh, that's 14, 15 years ago. That's amazing.

Ryan: Yeah. Right. Early, early days app exchanging before that.

Marc: Right. Right. Yeah. AppExchange was, Oh my goodness, 2006? So how did you learn about Salesforce and the nonprofit at that time, Starter Pack? It sounds like you worked with some of these really early days clients of, at that time Salesforce Foundation. Were they using the NPSP? Was that a newer thing? Tell me about that.

Ryan: So if you can imagine somewhere in San Francisco, I would imagine a small room of dedicated individuals that were at the Salesforce Foundation saying, "How do we provide value to nonprofits that can use this wonderful tool?" People like Steve Wright and [Megan Nesbitt 00:00:06:59] and a lot of other folks that were early, early days there and saying how can we make this work? And I just happened to be good friends through our nonprofit tech community with people like Steve Wright and he said one day back in early 2007, "Hey Ryan, get on a plane, show up in San Bruno, California." For folks that don't know, that's somewhere south of San Francisco, "Because we are thinking about trying to take this templates that we've made for non-profits and do something more with it."

Ryan: And folks like myself and Alan Gunn or Gunner and others came together to say, Here's a group of 30 folks, maybe you may have been understanding what was happening then Mark too? And bring their people together and say, What can we do? And that was kind of the genesis of my Salesforce nonprofit journey.

Marc: Got it. Got it. And as we've talked about in other episodes of the podcast, the nonprofit Success Pack of course, has grown so much since then.

Marc: What role did the community play in the growth of your organization, and also what insight do you have in the growth of the community as a whole and Salesforce nonprofit land?

Ryan: Community writ large, specifically the nonprofit tech community, has been just an amazing place for me to immerse myself and I think that I've got a big open source community background I'm really engaged in. My batteries are filled by being in rooms of people that are dedicated to passionate causes and using technology to do big things. So for me, without community, we don't have technology. And in the nonprofit Salesforce space, gosh, we've got some of the most passionate people with some of the best technology talent that when brought together, it's explosive. There's just such opportunity there. So from the very early days of meeting back in 2007 in San Bruno with Steve Wright and others to talk about the nonprofit Starter Pack or the nonprofit template to where we are today has been this evolution of the Salesforce nonprofit community of folks that are maybe very early stage Salesforce users to very technical, kind of a longstanding members of the community just doing really, really great work. So it's been fantastic to be a part of them, fantastic to see it grow.

Marc: That's great. And you have your own kind of community building events as well. Can you talk a little bit about those?

Ryan: Yeah. I've got the day job, which we were talking about earlier, but in my spare time job or other things that I like to do, community building, community organizing is just something that speaks to me and it feels natural to me. And so what we've been doing is something called NPSP Days and what an NPSP Day is, is imagine a unconference gathering or a convergence of people that are in the nonprofit space that want to essentially be both participants and facilitators of sharing knowledge and best practices from the Salesforce ecosystem.

Ryan: And we've actually expanded this further into Admin Days. Admin Days are the same thing except not just focused on nonprofits using Salesforce, but our main effort, our main goal is to leverage the power of the community, to bring people together to learn from each other, to build those networks that will be able to sustain them over a longer period of time and then to make sure that they've got the education necessary so that the next day they can go to their organization and use the things they've learned from other members of the community to make their organization more effective in using Salesforce.

Marc: Fantastic. That sounds great and we'll make sure there are links to those in the show notes as well. Are there some particularly cool customer stories that you're really proud of or maybe some cool things that you have built with the technology that you're psyched about?

Ryan: Yeah, it's funny because technology being what it is, is it's constantly changing and constantly evolving over time. Getting a chance to work with organizations that are on the Salesforce platform means you're not just doing one thing. There's too often, too many tools that only do one thing and silo your data. And without getting too technical or too wonky about it, I think that's a huge barrier for organizations trying to get a 360 degree view as to why and how they're engaging with their communities and in the nonprofit space, that's just critical. It's a critical, in the business space, but it's even more critical in the nonprofit space.

Ryan: So what we've been able to see firsthand is watching organizations that are multifaceted that they've got advocacy needs because they're pushing US Congress for certain issue areas. But at the same time they've got membership needs because they've got their community coming together and organizing. I think some of the things that I'm most proud of or have been kind of lucky to be a part of are where you see those hybrids. Where folks are really pushing the edge to be able to do things like educate young people in schools in New Jersey about science and chemistry and physics and be able to do that with data and Salesforce and engagement tools that are easy to use in the front end experience. I think that seeing those sorts of things firsthand, gives you an understanding of the power that a platform like Salesforce can have.

Ryan: And to be honest with you, I am community first, technology second, but the technology in the Salesforce world really is a huge enabler for almost all the organizations we get a chance to work with. So it's great to see that and just great to be on the front lines of knowing what that looks like too.

Marc: That's great and I love that line of, Community first, technology second. I think at its core, I would argue that that is Salesforce's approach to things, which is, we obviously are very excited about the technology and we'll always be innovating. But I think leading with our community and leading with our Trailblazers is, yeah, it's core to who we are.

Marc: Can you talk about maybe some challenges over this journey that you've had. It can be business challenges, it can be technical challenges. Really, it's up to you how you want to interpret that, but just some challenges that you've experienced.

Ryan: It's interesting. I think that there's a couple of different things we've seen over time, especially for fellow business owners and members of the nonprofit Salesforce community or just tech community in general. There's a focus on trying to be a sustainable business, but at the same time recognizing that you're serving some of the most important organizations that the world that might not have the largest budgets to work with, but just have complex challenges that they're facing. I think that that's inherently a challenge of the nonprofit community and for folks that are willing to take on that challenge, I'm always appreciative of the time and the energy from a business perspective. So I think that there's that kind of larger business ecosystem and working in the nonprofit community is one that's a fun challenge and I'm always passionate to find new ways to gain efficiencies.

Ryan: And in thinking about things from the technology side, gosh, this is going to sound like a strong compliment, well, also a challenge for me is that tools like Salesforce are constantly growing and changing and doing new things and there's new ways to invent new solutions. And I think if you're choosing to be in the technology space, that is something you're always trying to keep pace with. And it just happens to be very unique in the Salesforce world. How it gets both broader and deeper in both feature and complexity and balancing that out and knowing where your core competencies are and focusing more, as you were just saying, focusing on community first, technology second. That can often help guide small business owners, entrepreneurs, one-person consultants to be able to specialize while also knowing they've got brothers and sisters working alongside them and ecosystems like Salesforce that can help plug and fill other gaps along the way as well too.

Ryan: So I think that balance of understanding where you can fit specifically in the technology space and trying to be as hyper-focused as possible without worrying about leaving organizations high and dry or with a partial solution is where I see some of the biggest challenges that we're facing here at Soapbox Engage.

Marc: That's great. That's great. And yeah, I would just say this about the Salesforce platform, it's challenging for us who work there to keep up. So I don't envy the challenges that you have as well. So our audience for the podcast is Salesforce Admins all over the world. Do you have any advice for Salesforce Admins? I imagine that you've worked with a number of clients who have used your technology. Any specific tips or pointers that you might have for them?

Ryan: Gosh, yeah. How long does this podcast go for again? Gosh, I've learned a lot. When you've been doing anything for almost 15 years, 14 years or so, there's a lot-

Marc: You got you 10,000 hours, right?

Ryan: ... Right, exactly right. There's all the knowledge and the repetitive practice done there. I think that a lot of what I've been seeing for folks that are new to the Salesforce world, the first thing that they run into is that it can feel really overwhelming. It can just feel like there's so much to drink from that fire hose, and one of the first things I say to new friends in the Salesforce world specifically, is let's take this one bite at a time and let's really focus on a specific challenge that a specific organization, be it a business, be it your own organization that you're working at. Let's pick one of those things and try to tackle that one piece and know that there's likely a lot of other solutions out there that you can be using in Salesforce or tools that exist on the platform to do these sorts of things.

Ryan: But let's try to take this one business unit at a time. One business function at a time, one very simple workflow at a time and that tends to lower anxiety, increase satisfaction and lets you go down a path and if I may plug for a moment when it comes to path, seeing what's happening in the Trailblazer Community around Trailhead. Seeing what buddies of mine like Lauren Grau and others have been doing on the Trailhead team to just be super successful at helping people get those first steps underneath them for using Salesforce, has been just a tremendous value for the community. So I'm always pointing people there first and it's been fantastic to what the Trailhead team has been able to do over time too.

Marc: That's great. That's great. And yes, a great shout out for Lauren Grau on team Trailhead. Final question for you. What kind of stuff do you do when maybe you're not doing your day job? And I don't mean community organizing, what stuff do you do for-

Ryan: For fun?

Marc: The other, other fun things.

Ryan: What's the other fun things you're not getting paid to do? Right. For folks that follow me on the Twitter or on the internet, you'll notice all the wheels up, wheels down. I enjoy traveling almost to equal passion as community organizing itself. So travel is just an important component of my life. So being able to go to other places, meet people that are just from totally different backgrounds and totally different communities. I had that travel itch probably about 17, 20 years ago or so from my open source work. And to get to do that and to get to serve nonprofits and to get to do community building and to get to do this on the Salesforce platform, that intersection is what I live for. So to have a chance to do that when I'm just trying to have some fun and some might say that's not downtime, but for me, that is battery recharging time. God, I love that stuff. More time, getting a chance to be in different places to meet great people, that's it for me. That's fantastic.

Marc Baizman: It was great talking to Ryan and I'm so thankful that he has been part of the nonprofit Salesforce community for so long. I really liked Ryan's advice to not get overwhelmed by focusing on a specific challenge that you want to solve and to work on that first; and of course, to spend time in the Trailblazer Community and the Power of Us Hub, connecting with other admins.

Marc Baizman: Well, I hope you enjoyed the Salesforce for Good series. It's been great doing this. And please let us know if you'd like to see more series like this in the future. If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. And a reminder, if you love what you hear, be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. I promise Mike reads them all. You can also stay up to date with us on social for all things Admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no i on Twitter, and I'm @mbaizman. Join us next week with Mike and Jillian. Stay safe, stay awesome, and stay tuned for the next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Salesforce_for_Good__The_Community_at_Large_With_Ryan_Ozimek.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

We’re back with another special bonus episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, this time with Vin Addala, Product Manager on the Lightning Platform. We’re discussing how dynamic forms and pages are changing the game for what’s possible for admins.

Join us as we talk about the new dynamic features coming in Summer ‘20, how admins and devs make a dynamic duo that can solve any problem, and why drag-and-drop tools punch above their weight.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Vin Addala.

From the IdeaExhange to your org.

Vin started out his Salesforce career as Product Manager, working to launch Dynamic Actions. He went out and heard a lot of feedback about both how great actions are and, at the same time, the limitations people had been running into when they were trying to put them to use. The goal was to make actions more flexible and adaptable to a modern application development environment. Look for Dynamic Actions in the Summer ‘20 release for production orgs to try out for themselves.

Right now, Vin is working on the number-one-rated item on IdeaExchange, Dynamic Forms. “Some people wonder whether PMs read IdeaExchange,” he says, “but I make it a point that all the people that work with me go read what’s up there.” They’re working up Dynamic Forms from scratch on Lightning, and you should look for a version you can play with yourself in production in Summer ‘20.

The power of Dynamic Forms and Actions.

One of the biggest advantages of moving to Dynamic Forms and Actions is that it removes the need for tons of different page layouts for each different user in your org. “App Builder will become a one-stop-shop for building your pages,” Vin says. “I’m inspired by the conversations I have with our customers,” he says, “and when I see that there’s something we can solve to make people’s lives easier and more efficient I want to be there and that’s what really motivates me.”

More broadly, Vin is always thinking about how that developer/admin relationship. “It’s one of the things that makes our platform, and working on our platform so unique,” he says, “both are first-class citizens and they can work together to solve a problem greater than what they could have solved separately.”

How to reevaluate what you think is possible.

“When something becomes a habit you might just get used to the inefficiency so it feels normal to have all these clicks,” Vin says, “but I think it’s time=—when all these features start coming out—to reevaluate those habits and ask if there’s a better way of doing this.” These tools are drag-and-drop, but the power is there to solve big business problems and make it simple, too.

“The fun thing about my job is we have all these complex systems, and how do we simplify it in a way to make it accessible without losing that complexity,” Vin says. At the end of the day, what that means is putting more powerful tools in the hands of admins so they can solve key business problems with simple solutions. Don’t miss the full episode, where we talk about SABWA (Salesforce Administration By Walking Around), Vin’s 250+ board game collection, and more.

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Category:general -- posted at: 12:34pm PST

It’s the last Thursday of April, and you know what that means. This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, Mike and Gillian are back for another installment of our monthly overview of Salesforce content: the We Still Don’t Know What to Call This Episode. Really, though, we need some help coming up with a name, so please reach out on Twitter and help us brainstorm.

Join us as we talk about all the great Salesforce content from this month, as well as Mike’s breakdown of the ins and outs of casseroles.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Reports and Dashboards

“Here’s the thing about reports and dashboards for admins,” Gillian says, “it’s one of the coolest things you can show leadership.” So many conversations we have with admins include some version of how they struggled to get executive buy-in until they showed them a sexy dashboard that responded in real-time.

3 Is the Magic Number

For the Schoolhouse Rock fans out there, “3 Is a Magic Number,” and this month we too were obsessed with the number 3. From Marc’s great blog post, “3 Questions Admins Can Ask to Optimize Salesforce,” to our episode with Hayley Tuller, a former Navy combat pilot who became a Salesforce admin, we had tons of content in April that just happened to come in threes.

Building Cool Things Fast

A lot of unexpected things have happened over the past few months, and Salesforce admins have been there to build things quickly and help their organizations respond. We have some amazing stories of people who have made a difference, and the lessons they learned along the way.

Trailhead Live

As we’re looking for new ways to connect with each other without being able to walk around the office, Trailhead Live has been a great tool to come together and learn. Gillian did two Trailhead Live sessions this month, one focused on Chatter and another AMA (Ask Me Anything) that brought together product experts to answer your burning questions. We’re going to another AMA next month, so come check it out.

The Wayback Machine

We also take a moment to check in on what we were up to two years ago. This month in 2018, we talked to an Australian powerlifter who earned a golden hoodie, Zayne Turner was ahead of the curve with “SalesforceDX for Admins,” and we launched our “Be a Builder” series to help admins build apps quickly.

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Category:general -- posted at: 2:10pm PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Jeff Berger, Salesforce Admin at Academy Bank and co-leader of the Kansas City Salesforce User Group. We learn how he built a Salesforce app in just five hours.

Join us as we talk about how he works to create transparency between his customers and his organization, how he got executive buy-in so quickly, and the importance of communication.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jeff Berger.

Building an application in 5 hours.

So without burying the lede, we felt like we needed to bring Jeff on the podcast after he built an app from start to finish in five hours. “Like many banks over the past couple of weeks, we were scrambling to get something done for the Paycheck Protections Programs that was part of the CARES Act,” Jeff says, which meant he got a call from his boss asking for help on reporting. He needed to turn that process into a new app as quickly as possible to help them figure out how to allocate their resources in an all-hands-on-deck situation.

“The number one thing you can do, when you’re demoing a new process, is don’t focus so much on the process,” Jeff says, “an executive wants to see the output, they want to see the data right away.” Seeing a live readout of the information they cared about the most really sold the value of the app to the stakeholders involved. “Amazing things happen when you have executive buy-in,” he says, and with the support of leadership and the organizational focus that comes with it, he was able to turn the app around incredibly quickly.

A big need for Jeff’s organization was a way for the tellers who speak to customers every day to be able to tell what the status of someone’s application is. The initial ask was for Jeff to periodically publish a spreadsheet on a web portal for people to check, “but I like to replace spreadsheets with Salesforce,” Jeff says. He figured he could create a list view in Salesforce, drop that onto a community page, and share it publicly with the guest user functionality to give people up-to-to-the-minute information about their application.

The power of communication.

“If I have a favorite Salesforce features, it’s reports and dashboards,” Jeff says, “the value in Salesforce is the ability to immediately, as soon as you stand up a new object, start reporting on it.” Getting everyone trained on an app in such a short amount of time wouldn’t be possible without Chatter. Jeff could respond immediately to any tech support needs right on the platform.

“There’s no secret sauce,” Jeff says, “when I get questions in Salesforce, only 25-30% are Salesforce technical questions, the rest of them are really business process questions.” Jeff also emphasized the importance of getting on the same page with other departments about how things work and what the message is. Staying aligned and communicating was critical to turning around an app so quickly. Be sure to listen to the full episode for more, as there are tons of great tips about rapid development and deployment.

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Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

3 Tips to Help Admins Build and Deploy Apps Fast with Justin Kuryliw

 

We have a special bonus episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast for you today, where we talk to Justin Kuryliw, the project manager for the Salesforce Crisis Response App. We learn about the process behind building and deploying this app so fast.

 

Join us as we talk about the importance of recruiting a team and delegating to them, why they spent two days planning out of the week they had to build, and why teams need to overcommunicate.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Justin Kuryliw.

 

Building a product quickly with early feedback.

 

In his day-to-day life, Justin is a Solution Engineer at Salesforce. “Normally, what I do is focus on helping Salesforce customers architect solutions,” he says, “but the project that we started is a crisis response app to help Salesforce customers with COVID-19 in helping to track employee and location impact.” This app, which you can download on the AppExchange, allows companies to keep track of whether or not their team members need to self-quarantine, or even just mark themselves as safe.

 

COVID-19 has drastically changed things quite quickly, so time was of the essence. They started with a paragraph description of what they thought the app should do, while at the same time having conversations with customers who might have a need to find out if they were on the right track. They refined these ideas into potential features based on feedback, which allowed them get buy-in in further conversations and recruit more members for the team.

 

“The best feedback we got was when we actually showed the app to people and gave them a chance to react,” Justin says, but they could only start doing that by building an MVP. They put it in front of people who never used Salesforce—their dads—which let them see where they could add in-app help features to make it easier to use.

 

Recruit a team early, delegate, and communicate.

 

As the team added more members, Justin needed to focus on coordinating his team while still keeping things fast and nimble. He recruited people and transformed the features from his description into products, making each team member a product owner so they could divide and conquer. They coordinated via a working document to make sure they always knew who owned what, as well as what roadblocks they were encountering in their work. This document guided their daily standups and kept them on track through their two-week development cycle.

 

Justin was building this app with a four-member team, and they all were still doing their day jobs, so communication was key to being able to work quickly. “Two weeks is not a lot of time when you consider that that was design, that was building, that was testing, and that was deployment,” he says, “so really we only had four or five days to actually build the app.” 

 

The importance of planning.

 

“When you have four different people building the application, consistency starts to become very challenging,” Justin says, “so every other day we’d demo what was new and what was built for each other.” In the first two or three days of work, they published design principles to align the team: have little to no impact on production objects, make it user friendly, and use less code. Using Lightning Flows, Lightning Pages, and other declarative tools helped them accomplish that vision and deliver an app with only four Lightning components and a relatively small amount of Apex coding.

 

They spent two days of their week of building just on planning. “We got a lot of value out of making sure that we all agreed on the data model, we all agreed on what was in scope and out of scope,” Justin says, “so when we finally put hands to keyboard nobody had any questions about what needed to be built.” 

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Direct download: 3_Tips_to_Help_Admins_Build_and_Deploy_Apps_Fast_with_Justin_Kuryliw.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Ciara Skiles, a Senior Consultant and Business Analyst at Cirrius Solutions Inc. We learn how her experience in retail translated into a career in Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about how a career in retail taught her to break down barriers and communicate successfully, why it’s so important to be genuinely interested in the person and the result, and how your community and friends can support you in your career.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Ciara Skiles.

Jumping from retail to a career in Salesforce.

Just like Mike, Ciara has a background in retail. “When I was in college I did what most college students do, I worked a typical retail job,” she says, and since she had already been promoted into a supervisory role she decided to give it a go after graduation. That lead to a ten-year career specializing in workforce management and operations. “I was a go-to resource in my community to help struggling stores,” Ciara says.

In 2012 Ciara met her husband, an active duty service member in the Navy, which lead to a lot of moving around. They’ve lived in Charleston, SC, Newport, RI, Jacksonville, FL, as well as time abroad in Spain and Japan. In Japan, she attended a Hiring Our Heroes event where she heard about the Salesforce Military program. She quickly got her certifications and took a job as a Senior Consultant and Business Analyst at Cirrius Solutions Inc where she’s been working since late October.

The skills Ciara learned that translate across careers.

“When I found out about Salesforce Military, I was almost turned off by it,” Ciara says, “but when I did more research I found out that Trailhead is actually geared towards people who don’t necessarily have a tech background.” It also turns out that retail is a great training ground that translates into any number of careers. From managing personalities including training people who are working their first job to retirees with advanced degrees who are just trying to get out of the house a couple of days a week, Ciara’s seen it all.

“One commonality that I saw across the board is that you really need to figure out how to break down barriers and build trust quickly,” Ciara says, “and I think the key to success for me was that I always went into it with a genuine interest in the person and their end result.” That involves talking to a lot of customers and figuring out how to get them what they really want. “When you’re dealing with stakeholders who may have a broken process who come to you for help, a lot times they feel really insecure and unsure of how to proceed which puts them totally off-kilter,” she says, “I always try to very clearly communicate that I’m on your side, that I’m here to make your job easier, that your success is my passion.”

The amazing community that supported Ciara’s journey.

Thinking outside of the box is a big part of Ciara’s toolkit. “I’ve always been a natural problem solver, so if I see a friction point I want to do what I can to alleviate it,” she says, “which is what I think made me a really successful retail manager.” It’s the same with consulting—identify the big pain points and solve those first, then clean up the small issues later. There’s no template, however, so you need to coordinate with different departments to make sure everything is in alignment.

Through her entire Salesforce journey, Ciara has been able to rely on the support of a strong community of military spouses. “If you have a problem that you need to fix, call a group of military spouses,” she says, “give them twenty minutes and you will have five viable solutions with plans and Powerpoints and spreadsheets and all of the tools and resources you would ever need to make it happen.” Those skills translate directly into a career in Salesforce, and Ciara is proof that you don’t need a tech degree to make it happen. As she says, “my other life experience has been what has made me so successful in my current role.”

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This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ll hear from Hayley Tuller, a Project Manager at Arkus and a part of our Salesforce Military community. We learn how she’s applied the lessons she learned from twenty years in the Navy to her career in Salesforce.

Join us as we talk about how to eat the elephant one bite at the time, how Hayley approaches radical ownership, and the idea of upward leadership.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Hayley Tuller.

Starting with a service mindset.

“I think I did have a bit more unorthodox background than most folks do, although I think the Salesforce community is one of those places where everybody comes from a surprising place,” Hayley says. Her story begins when she enlisted in the Navy, where she spent twenty years in service as an Arabic linguist and a cryptographer and ended up deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, among other places.

In 2012, Hayley took advantage of the GI Bill to get into nonprofit work. “It felt like a natural transition for me—I had a service mindset and I felt like I had a lot to offer in terms of data analysis and operational management,” she says, “from that I got into databases and nonprofits and it was probably a very short road from there before the Salesforce community found me, and here I am today.”

How to manage lots of priorities.

“The military taught me a lot about how to make decisions for priorities and manage lots of taskers,” Hayley says, “but I think one of the biggest things I got out of it is that a lot of it is your mindset.” The first rung on the ladder can feel like the longest reach, but getting there can make everything after it look a lot better. “We used to joke, when I was on deployment, that the only way to eat an elephant was one bite at a time,” she says.

One major skill Hayley learned in the Navy that has been helpful in her professional life is risk assessment. “It’s really just a way of looking at the tasks that are in front of you and assessing the likelihood of a problem and the impact of that problem, and using those two factors decide what you need to pay attention the most,” she says, “and when you apply that to everything you do you get a lot of clarity really quickly.” One of the biggest tips Hayley has is to get everything in one place so you can see it and make decisions accordingly.

Radical ownership.

“Probably the biggest thing I took away from my Navy career is this sense of what a lot of people call radical ownership,” Hayley says, “when I was in the service we just called it accountability.” It’s this idea that the buck stops with you—if you’re responsible for something it’s not OK to throw your hands up in the air and quit. You can ask for help, but you’ve got to work through any difficulties you encounter along the way, and you just might surprise yourself with what you’re able to accomplish along the way.

The idea of upward leadership.

“Leadership is not something that we just do in a downward focus—we don’t just lead down—you have to lead up as well,” Hayley says, “upward leadership is about being there to support your supervisors, actively asking those questions, stepping forward when you see things that can be solved, and helping them be equipped to make the best decisions that they can possibly make.” That comes down to trust, loyalty, and the ability to be assertive and say what needs to be said if there’s a problem.

At the same time, when it comes to leading people under you, Hayley says “the biggest gift you can give to the folks that you work with and who work for you is belief in themselves.” One of the hardest things you have to do is step back and let a subordinate do something and trust that they’ll succeed, but it’s so rewarding to see them succeed.

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We’re back with another episode of the Salesforce for Good mini-series on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. These special episodes are hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and nonprofit veteran. He talks to Judi Sohn, Director of Customer Centric Engineering at Salesforce.org, to learn how she organizes around the nonprofit Salesforce community.

Join us as we talk about how Judi’s nonprofit work brought her to Salesforce, and the work she’s done to create a framework for the community to contribute to the platform.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Judi Sohn.

How Judi first got involved in nonprofits.

“Customer centric engineering sits in the technology and product part of Salesforce.org,” Judi says, “we are the connection point between other teams and product development.” What that means is that whenever there’s a customer impactful issue like a bug, her team investigates and then puts a team on it.

Jodi has a deep background in nonprofit work, starting in 1998 when her father was diagnosed with cancer. “He and I grew up in technology together,” she says, and naturally they found a listserv to connect with others dealing with colorectal cancer in their lives. He ended up cofounding the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, and because Jodi had all of his passwords she was able to log in and volunteer her graphic design skills to help them with their first website and logo.

On the frontiers of community building.

For the next two years, Jodi ended up working closely with the CCA to help them get off the ground, and in the process picked up a lot of first-hand knowledge about starting a nonprofit. She got to put those skills into practice pretty quickly, setting off on a new adventure to help found Fight Colorectal Cancer, an organization devoted to research and advocacy. She was also blogging about early remote work technology since both organizations she had been a part of were distributed, which was how she heard about Salesforce.

As Fight Colorectal Cancer continued to grow, Judi needed a cloud-based database platform to support her distributed team. She tried a number of options that were all ultimately frustrating, “I wanted to change it and adapt it to my organization,” she says, “it just didn’t have the flexibility and didn’t feel like I could grow into it.” In the search process, however, she saw that Salesforce was offering free licenses to nonprofits. She signed up and started working with a consultant to learn about the platform, blogging about her journey as she went.

“I didn’t know at the time, but I was one of the very few customers making this work and talking about it publicly,” Judi says, and the blog got her in touch with a lot of partners and early adopters also working in Salesforce. She got involved in the conversation around building a bona fide nonprofit app. That landed Judi on the Dreamforce stage in 2008, and she’s been to every one since.

How Judi ended up at the Salesforce Foundation.

Judi continued working in the nonprofit Salesforce community while still running Fight Colorectal Cancer, but as she got more involved she realized just how much of an impact she could have helping others be successful on the platform. She made the decision to start working as a Salesforce Partner to consult with more nonprofits, right around the same time the Power of Us Hub got started. She dove into those conversations, learning more about the platform as she helped others.

In 2015, Judi joined the Salesforce Foundation, helping as the Nonprofit Success Pack evolved from a community-driven open source solution for small nonprofits to something that could scale for large organizations. As the NPSP changed, they wanted to find a role for the community to still innovate on the platform, which lead to the creation of Open Source Commons. While Community Sprints were already a thing, what Judi brought to the table was a format where folks with many different backgrounds and levels of experience could participate. “The community makes it so easy, it is embraced and supported and welcome and open,” she says, “and I want everyone to feel that.”

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Category:general -- posted at: 11:37am PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re happy to have Gillian Bruce back for a special show we’re calling, well, the What Do We Call This Episode. On the last Thursday of every month, Mike and Gillian will run through Salesforce content that caught their attention this month and give you some takeaways. Really, though, we need some help coming up with a name, so please reach out on Twitter and help us brainstorm.

Join us as we talk about all the great Salesforce content from this month, and a flashback to what was going on in March, 2018.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.

Tips and Tricks for Telecommuting Success

From the Evangelist team, LeeAnne Rimel has a timely article about telecommuting. She’s been doing it a long time with our team, so she has some great insights about how to successfully navigate the transition into working from home. From setting up a dedicated workspace to tips for creating a new routine you can stick to, there’s a lot to learn.

How I Solved This: List Views for Object Ownership

Salesforce.com MVP Amber Boaz shares a workaround post about customizing the idea of My List View when you’re looking at custom objects that you’re not necessarily the owner of. If you’re hungry for more workarounds, Mike recommends looking at your global variables within your organization. The tips in this article can help you bring more ease to users when they’re trying to do something they expect to be able to do.

The Chemistry of Salesforce with Jerrel Ramos

We also wanted to flash back to one of our favorite Salesforce Admin Podcast episodes this month, “The Chemistry of Salesforce” with Jerrel Ramos. This was a really interesting one because, first of all, he’s the first chemist we’ve had on the show, and second of all, he’s new to Salesforce but really digging in to make the platform do something new. It covers not just how he’s adapting his org to suit his needs, but also how he’s approaching Trailhead as a newcomer. And don’t forget to check out Jerrel’s podcast about vaporwave music, the Virtual Ocean.

Flashback to March

Around this time in 2018, we were actually doing the podcast twice a week. Just to take you back to those heady days, GDPR was new and organizations around the world were rushing to keep up. Gillian had a great conversation with Ian Glazer and Lindsey Finch to go everything admins needed to know. Now, of course, we’ve got a Trailhead for that. We also talked to Marc Baizman about the DOITTT framework, the process to go through before you go through the Process Builder.

Also in March of 2018, LeeAnne wrote an excellent (and super relevant for right now) post about the “5 Ways to Include Your Remote Meeting Attendees.” It’s chock-full of helpful information about technologies and strategies to help your collaboration on a mixed team, for both people in the office and those beaming in.

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Category:general -- posted at: 7:22am PST

Starting a Salesforce Podcast with Michael Rose

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Michael Rose, Director of Solution Engineering at Salesforce and host of the Aftershow, a podcast about technology. We learn the ins and outs of podcasting with two pros who have been there and seen everything.

Join us as we talk about how to figure out what to talk about on your podcast, what questions you need to ask about your show before you make it, and why iteration is so important.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Michael Rose.

How Michael got started in the podcasting biz.

“I’ve been at Salesforce for seven years, which is kind of astonishing to me,” Michael says, “and my entire career has been in the Solution Engineering organization.” This team does discovery and works with customers to help them find a Salesforce solution that fits their needs. He runs a team of Presales Technical Architects that works to make sure everything under the hood makes sense for a particular customer. “As I say whenever asks me about Solution Engineering at Salesforce, this is the best job anywhere, ever, and you should do it because it is great,” he says.

Before Salesforce, Michael was an editor at the Unofficial Apple Weblog, where he hosted a weekly live podcast. “It was a tightrope walk of extreme proportions,” he says. One unique thing about his show was that they were able to take live calls from listeners as they were recording, which made every episode a new adventure. These days, he continues that work on the Aftershow, a podcast focused on the intersection between technology and modern life.

Tips from the pros.

So what’s Michael’s advice if you’re thinking of hopping on the podcast train? “It’s a lot easier now than it used to be,” he says, “I think the part that has always been the lighting-in-bottle piece of it is figuring it out what it is you want to discuss.” If you’re listening to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, you’re probably interested in, well, Salesforce, and perhaps wondering how you could possibly one-up us. For one, you can’t. For another, Michael’s advice is to figure out your specific angle. “Start with the structure you want to try for, and then iterate,” he says.

When it comes to the technical requirements you need to get started, the bar is pretty low. You need something a little better than your phone to record the audio, and then there are several options out there to do the editing. If you want to do interviews it gets a little more complicated, but it’s still relatively simple. One of Michael’s biggest pieces of advice is that if you like the way a certain podcast sounds, reach out to the creators and find out what gear they use. People love to nerd out, and most are more accommodating than you might think.

Mike and Michael (Mike2) have a lot of specific advice about gear, publishing platforms, and the mistakes they’ve made along the way, so be sure to listen to the full episode.

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Category:general -- posted at: 10:23am PST

The Chemistry of Salesforce with Jerrel Ramos

 

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jerrel Ramos, who is the first chemist we’ve had on the pod. We learn about how he’s building a Salesforce app to help him with his research.

 

Join us as we talk about the apps he’s built for work and for fun, how building an app has helped him learn about Salesforce Object Creator, and why jumping into events in the Salesforce ecosystem is so important.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jerrel Ramos.

 

Our first Salesforce chemist.

 

Jerrel is the first guest we’ve ever interviewed on the pod with a degree in chemistry. “I’m one of those few people who decided to major in an excessively difficult major,” Jerrel says, “chemistry is everything so I do get an understanding of everything from nature to technology—it’s given me a foundation for big-picture thinking.” At the same time, he’s a bit of a renaissance man, with some stage and screen acting credits on his resume as well.

 

So how do chemistry and acting get you into Salesforce? “My sister’s fiancé has been a Salesforce admin since 2011,” Jerrel says, “and I’d heard of it before but I didn’t know what it was.” He ended up taking a quick intro course to make a Trailhead and developer org, and started messing around with it but had problems getting further with it. However, a year later, he started freelancing and needed to track his clients and his work. “When I picked Salesforce up back again,” Jerrel says, “I realized the standard parts of this app cover the different parts of the business cycle.”

 

Why in-person events are so important for learning.

 

Recently, Jerrel has been working on creating a customized app to help him in the lab. “Anytime a sample is logged in that is requested by a client, this app will automatically create tasks, send out emails, and generate a related test object,” he says, “and essentially just automate a lot of what would happen if a lab were to receive a sample from a client.” Combining learning Salesforce with a practical use case has really accelerated Jerrel’s growth on the platform, “I haven’t missed a question about standard and custom objects in my practice tests recently because of this app,” he says.

 

For Jerrel, part of learning the platform has been getting out there and going to his first user group event. He recently went to Sacramento Salesforce Saturday [GOOGLE]. “I was thinking, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t go until I have my certification and then I can be part of the gang,’” he says, “but I went anyway and automatically it felt like I was already part of the family.” Getting to connect with other folks working on the platform in-person has been a big help in taking his Salesforce skills to the next level.

 

The Virtual Ocean podcast.

 

If his job as a chemist, his passion for acting, and his newfound love of Salesforce wasn’t enough, Jerrel has also somehow found the time to host a podcast, the Virtual Ocean, about the music genre Vaporwave. It started with a song created by slowing down a Diana Ross single, and grew into a bigger movement from there. “Artistically, it draws a lot of inspiration from video games, electronics, and 80s music,” Jerrel says, “it takes the bright optimism of the 80s era and flips on its head.”

 

“What this music is is a statement on where society is in the 2010s,” Jerrel says, “what happened to that optimistic future that people in the 80s and 90s wanted?” In the podcast, he breaks down all the subgenres that have emerged in the Vaporwave movement, so take a listen because there’s a lot to get into.

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Direct download: The_Chemistry_of_Salesforce_with_Jerrel_Ramos.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:19am PST

Another day, another episode of the Salesforce for Good mini-series on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. These special episodes are hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and nonprofit veteran. This time, we’re joined by, Matthew Poe, Salesforce Architect and Senior Administrator at Open Philanthropy Project, to talk about how to go from admin to architect and what advice can help you out.

 

Join us as we talk about how user groups can help you at any stage of your Salesforce journey, how consulting helped Matthew take his career to the next level, and how his organization practices effective altruism to do the most good it can.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Matthew Poe.

 

Effective altruism and the Open Philanthropy Project.

 

“Sometimes when I say ‘Architect,’ people don’t know what that means,” Matthew says, “in my case, I spend my days designing solutions and applications for our users at Open Philanthropy, and I’m also responsible for making sure Salesforce is talking to the other endpoints in our systems.” While he’s still working on getting that Technical Architect certification, he’s no slouch, with 20 others including the Domain Certification and System and Application Architect Certification. “If you’re a person who thinks in a structured way about things and likes to set a goal and pursue it and is looking for a structured way to think about different aspects and learn about different pieces of the platform, it’s a good way to do it,” he says.

 

At the Open Philanthropy Project, he’s helping an organization that is quite literally trying to figure out how to do the most good in the world. If you’re a philosophy nerd, they’re rooted in the effective altruism movement, the idea that you can use evidence, rationality, reasoning, and logic to use limited resources to do the most good in the world. The Open Philanthropy Project tries to solve big problems that are both neglected and solvable—other than that, anything’s game. Some examples include impact investing in Impossible Foods to ultimately support farm animal welfare, funding campaigns to support criminal justice reform, funding in basic science to ultimately tackle malaria and the opioid epidemic, and more. Check out the episode because that’s only the beginning.

 

How Matthew got hooked on Salesforce.

 

A little over five years ago, Matthew moved across the country for love. He left an arts administration job he had been at for a long time and set out for a new position at a university in the Big Apple. “They knew I liked to solve problems with technology, so they had asked me to think through some content management challenges they were having,” he says. They were trying to get their law students to work in public interest or public service work, which meant they needed to track their experiences and opportunities as students through the careers they eventually went on to have.

 

Matthew quickly recognized that this tracking problem was perfect for Salesforce, and jumped into developing solutions to replace all of the spreadsheets they were using whole hog. “I saw so much potential in this technology to really change the way nonprofits work for the better that I just wanted to solve these problems all day with Salesforce and that’s what I was lucky enough to do,” he says.

 

Matthew’s journey to Salesforce architect.

 

Eventually, Matthew left that job to become a Salesforce Consultant full time. “Five-year-ago me would’ve liked to have heard that it’s more possible than you think it is,” he says, “if you want to do it’s a realistic goal.” He worked exclusively with nonprofits, and got to learn about all the different ways that people use Salesforce. “Having a team of experts you can talk to when you’re working at a consulting firm is such a shift from the way of thinking when you’re a solo admin trying to solve every problem on your own,” he says. Access to a Slack channel of 50 of the smartest Salesforce people you know who have seen every problem three times was such a big part of Matthew’s growth on the platform.

 

After he was a consultant, Matthew got the opportunity to lead an enterprise implementation of the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) at an environmental nonprofit. “The had been working with an implementation partner already, and I had a lot to catch up with on a short time,” he says, “and I realized I could attack this architect pyramid at the same time as I structured my thinking about how to approach this new project.” When he was working on their security model, he was also studying for the security exam. When he reworked their integrations, he studied for the integrations exam. “It was objectively a crazy amount of time to spend thinking about Salesforce in a very short period, but it was also really really helpful,” he says, “thinking about the real-life scenarios that I could see in my org helped me prepare for the exam, and preparing for the exam helped me think about the scenario in the org.”

 

This episode is jam-packed with insights about how Matthew helps Open Philanthropy Project get the most out of Salesforce, the work that they’re able to get done because of it, and the challenges he’s overcome along the way, so make sure to take a listen!

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Direct download: Salesforce_for_Good__Matthew_Poe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, it’s time for another Lightning Champion Spotlight episode. We talk to Shun Kosaka, Salesforce Application Development Specialist at Accenture. We’re at the final episode of our six-part series, the Lightning Champions Spotlight, hosted by Kelly Walker, Senior Adoption Consultant at Salesforce. We talk to our amazing Lightning Champions to find out about their career journey, how it lead them to the Lightning Experience, advice on handling change management, and why Lightning Experience is so awesome.

Join us as we talk about how to win over stakeholders by focusing on game-changing features, and what it was like to translate all fourteen Superbadges into Japanese.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Shun Kosaka.

Why showing is better than telling with Lightning.

Shun initially studied electrical engineering in university with an emphasis on telecommunications. “I wanted to work with something I can use to realize business more quickly, so I got a job as a software engineer,” he says. He started out working on general system development and supporting project management.

“After I completed some Lightning Projects,” Shun says, “I think one very good point of Lightning is that the component features are intuitive and easy to explain.” So when he’s showing Salesforce to the business side people on his team, he can simply change things on the fly to really demonstrate the power of the platform and how it can make their jobs easier. Features like Mass Quick Action combined with Flow, Process Builder, and the other automation tools can create some really powerful synergies. The game-changing applications can really win over stakeholders and drive adoption.

Communicate for success in change management.

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Shun has really taken a deep dive into his community to drive enthusiasm for both the platform in general and Lightning in particular. He’s done a lot of work to localize Salesforce content for his Japanese audience, translating the Trailhead Superbadges for his community. He recently worked through the Process Automation Superbadge and the users who worked with his translation passed, which gives him a lot of satisfaction.

As far as change management goes, Shun has a lot of experience both changing from Lightning to Classic himself and helping his clients through the process. “When we work with technology, we always need to handle change management,” he says, “before starting your project, define the guidelines of change management, define the communications with executive stakeholders, and assign a team for it.” In other words, make a plan for how you’re going to execute rather than wait for problems or miscommunications to pop up.

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Direct download: Lightning_Champion_Spotlight__Shun_Kosaka.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:14am PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re bringing on Donald Bohrisch, Director of Practices and Alliances at MST Solutions, Group Leader for the Phoenix Admins User Group, and a trainer in the Salesforce Military program. We learn about how he’s combined his passion with his career to build the Audi Army App.

Join us as we talk about the apps he’s built for work and for fun, how building an app has helped him learn about Salesforce Object Creator, and why jumping into events in the Salesforce ecosystem is so important.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Donald Bohrisch.

Giving back through the Trailhead Military program.

When we sat down with Donald, he had actually just recently been promoted from Salesforce Senior Architect to Director of Practices and Alliances. “But outside of my 9 to 5, I also run the Phoenix Salesforce Administrator Group,” he says, “and I help out with the Salesforce Military program that trains up veterans and their spouses in the Salesforce ecosystem.”

This program, which used to called Vetforce, holds a near and dear place in Donald’s heart because it’s how he first got involved with the platform to begin with. Using Trailhead Military, the Salesforce Military program helps people work their way through the ecosystem. You can train for a specific position like Salesforce Consultant or Salesforce Developer, “or you can even start with Admin and then work your way through the career ecosystem,” Donald says.

Building an app to learn the rules of the road.

If you listened to last week’s episode, you might discover a certain similarity between Donald and last week’s guest, Nick Lindberg: the need for speed. Mike and Donald met at Dreamforce 2019, where Mike couldn’t help but notice some racecars on the slides for his presentation. As a fellow gearhead, the next logical step was clearly to bring him on the pod to geek out. Donald just got accepted into NASA—that’s the National Auto Sport Association and not the space agency—and he’ll be working his way up through their tiers in the near future.

“I combined my passions for Salesforce and working and running cars on tracks,” Donald says, “and utilizing the Salesforce platform, I’ve been able to keep track of which races me and my team have been to; where we place in those events; who our sponsors are; and—just like you do with sales—I keep track of our leads that might eventually become sponsors and our interactions with our current sponsors.” After his first Salesforce app he used to track his troops in the Army National Guard, the Audi Army App feeds into his passion which gives him endless patience to tweak it and learn more.

Catch Donald on TV tomorrow (no really).

“As you work your way from an Admin all the way up to being an Architect,” Donald says, it’s not always so much about remembering how to do something, “it’s reutilizing what Salesforce provides out of the box, and learning how to properly use the data models, objects, and fields that come with Salesforce.” In other words, it’s about thoroughly understanding the best practices so you’re not having to recreate a bunch of custom objects to get it to do what you want it to do.

For Donald, the next step is getting the Lightning Object Creator involved. He’s working on a NASCAR Truck Series pit crew, so he’s tweaking the Audi Army App to help his team keep track of everything. If you listen to this episode the day it comes out, tomorrow (February 21st) you might be able to catch Donald in the pit for trucks 33 and 34. 

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Direct download: Racing_into_the_4th_Industrial_Revolution_with_Donald_Bohrisch.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:18am PST

An App to Make Your Heart Race with Nick Lindberg

 

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to Nick Lindberg, Senior Business Analyst at University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and co-founder of the Twin Cities Nonprofit Salesforce User Group. We learn about Nick’s drag racing app and how that’s lead him to master App Builder.

 

Join us as we talk about how an app idea can come from just about anywhere, how he used his hobby to help him develop his Salesforce skills, and how it’s lead him to learn more about IoT integrations and Einstein.

 

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Nick Lindberg.

 

Always an accidental admin.

 

“I’m trying to be a pain point picking machine,” Nick says, “taking all those pain points and using Salesforce to solve them.” But it wasn’t always so easy. Right out of college, the nonprofit he helped found as a student, Students Today Leaders Forever, was trying to take the next steps and by paying a fulltime staff.

 

Tracking everything was quickly becoming a challenge, but they stumbled across Salesforce and the Nonprofit Success Pack at just the right time. However, they needed one of the five full-time staff members to take it over. “Nick knows Excel,” they said, “so he can implement Salesforce, naturally.” Being able to learn the platform and help an organization near and dear to his heart helped him quickly progress from accidental admin to awesome admin, and he realized he could make a career in Salesforce.

 

Start your (app building) engines!

 

Building apps is something that every Salesforce admin should take a crack at, but it can be hard to get engaged if you’re working on something dry. Nick got inspired by Mike’s Top Gear app and decided to create Dragforce. “You can’t drag race in the winter in Minnesota,” Nick says, “or at least not safely,” but he wanted to feed his passion for going fast and furious. A big part of drag racing is keeping a logbook to track your interval times, so he figured he could replace that paper process with a Salesforce app.

 

If you don’t know much about putting the pedal to the metal, prepare for Mike and Nick to nerd out (more than) a little bit. There’s actually a lot of data to keep track of, and interval times are important because the driver with the highest MPH isn’t always the winner. Not to mention the temperature, the barometric pressure, and almost 20 other weather metrics can all affect your car’s performance, so dashboards are a big help for taking everything in. Along the way, Nick’s passion helped sharpened his app development skills and even got into Visualforce (before Lightning came along).

 

Mastering Einstein and IoT integrations.

 

Moving forward, Nick is hoping to enlist the services of a consultant to take his drag racing to the next level. “In the type of drag racing that I do, it’s not just about fast you go but more how consistent you are,” he says, “I need to know, going down to a thousandth of a second, if the car is going to change between each run.” He’s looking to learn Einstein Prediction Builder as a way to get an incredibly accurate picture of how his car is going to perform.

 

To make this happen, Nick recently got an IoT-enabled weather station that he’s trying to integrate into Salesforce. He’s hoping to get to a place where he can pull live weather metrics directly into the app and then run it through Prediction Builder to get performance projections with that thousandth of a second accuracy. Along the way, forcing himself to tinker with all of these things will help him build the skills he needs for work and for racing down on the track.

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Direct download: An_App_to_Make_Your_Heart_Race_with_Nick_Lindberg.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:29am PST

The Salesforce Admins Podcast is back with another episode of our mini-series, Salesforce for Good, hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and nonprofit veteran. For this episode, we’re talking to Kestryl Lowrey, Technical Architect at Cloud for Good, who helps nonprofits create Salesforce solutions that scale.

Join us as we talk about how Kestryl became an Architect, why the best way to learn is to start building, and why Trailhead is only the beginning.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Kestryl Lowrey.

From printer repair to Director of IT.

“I work with our consultants, developers, and architects to help design big solutions, troubleshoot weird edge cases, help our sales team figure out the most innovative solutions we can offer, and run our internal technical academies for our teams as they work on their professional development,” Kestryl says. “I get to do a lot of different things, but it’s all really towards the mission and goal of nonprofits and higher ed increase their impact using the Salesforce platform.”

When Kestryl first started working with nonprofits, he was excited about everything that the organization was doing. “I got to help kids access painting classes, dance, theater,” he says, “but I was also the only person in the office that could fix the printer.” That landed him pretty quickly as the Program Manager and Director of IT. They were working with a homebrew system built-in SQL that nobody had admin access to, so Kestryl had to spend the weekend not only teaching himself the language but also how to hack into his own database and make changes. “I realized I was having more fun with the technology than I was with the program management and program delivery,” he says. That lead him to specifically apply for a job in IT, which landed him as a Salesforce admin on an implementation that could grow with him.

Helping more nonprofits as a Salesforce consultant.

After working as a Salesforce admin for a while and learning all sorts of new skills, Kestryl got to a point where everything was working great for his organization and found his role had shifted. He decided to make a change and go into consulting. “I’d seen the impact that cloud technology and Salesforce, particularly, can have for just one nonprofit. I wanted to have the ability to help more nonprofits increase their impact by using this technology,” he says.

Making the jump to consulting from an admin role was definitely challenging. “You have to have a very curious and problem-solving mindset,” Kestryl says, “you have to come into it with an openness to always want to find the best way to do it.” Starting out, he was doing just about everything you could do on an implementation: project management, gathering user stories, building the org, testing and QA, coding, data migration, and more. “As I got deeper into that, what I really found was that the thing I found most interesting about the project lifecycle was figuring out the overall whole systems view of what is the best way to do this, what is the way that is not just going to work now but is going to scale,” Kestryl says. That insight lead him to his current role as an Architect.

The making of an Architect.

“One thing that a lot of people don’t realize about being an Architect is you have to be an excellent communicator,” Kestryl says, “you have to be able to share that vision and that plan out to the people who are then going to implement it and take action on it so you can keep moving on to the next big problem.” Along the way, he’s solved problems like building a HIPAA-compliant integration for a health nonprofit that works around encryption and creating an integration between a custom frontend and Salesforce NPSP written in Jitterbit to make maintenance easier.

With a career that has had some major shifts along the way, Kestryl has had a lot of help from the community. “The in-person community at things like Dreamforce and the NTEN conference were all really fundamental in both supporting my learning and also giving me a vision of some of the different options of things to do on the platform,” he says. “When I started as an admin, I didn’t even know that becoming a consultant on the Salesforce platform was a job option out there,” he says, to say nothing of an Architect role. “Having the community helped me see those possible paths.”

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Direct download: Salesforce_For_Good__Kestryl_Lowrey.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:18pm PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we have another Lightning Champion Spotlight episode. We talk with Martin Humpolec, a Salesforce Consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers. This episode is part five of a six-part series, the Lightning Champions Spotlight, hosted by Kelly Walker, Senior Adoption Consultant at Salesforce. We talk to our amazing Lightning Champions to find out about their career journey, how it lead them to the Lightning Experience, advice on handling change management, and why Lightning Experience is so awesome.

Join us as we talk about how Martin uses Flow to make a big difference for his users, and how you can get started today.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Martin Humpolec.

Diving into the community.

When Martin was on paternal leave, he ended up with a little time on his hands. He kept on hearing about something called “Salesforce,” and since this was in the days before Trailhead he went over to Salesforce.com to get a free developer instance to play around in and the documentation he needed to get started. “That was seven years ago, and those seven years passed really quickly,” he says. These days, he’s an active member of the community, writing blog posts, speaking at conferences, and getting involved any way he can.

Recently, Martin’s been discovering the magic that is Lightning. “In Classic, we weren’t really able to change the page layout,” Martin says, “but in Lightning with the Lightning App Builder, we are really able to change the screen as much as we want.” With dynamic options, tabs, and prettier reports, you can do so much more for your users without needing developer skills. This can help drive adoption and make a difference in your organization.

How to get started with Flow.

Flow is a powerful tool that can really transform people’s day-to-day experiences. “I use the ability to embed the Flow to the record page itself to show related data,” Martin says, making it easier to pull up key information when you’re working with a particular record or opportunity. For one client, they can display a sorted list of all notes they have about a particular customer on any opportunity that comes up, regardless of how it enters their database. “The client is so happy because it finally makes sense to them and it’s so easy to use and it brings new functionality that they didn’t have before,” Martin says.

If you’re a little intimidated by Flow, Martin’s advice is to dive in. “I hear quite often from people asking how they can start with Flow because it’s so complex,” he says, but the UI has gotten easier to work with and there are even templates you can use to understand everything more easily. Trailhead can also help, with modules specifically designed to help you get off the ground. For additional resources, Martin recommends Jen Lee’s Salesforce Blog and Rakesh Gupta’s Automation Champion blog. One big tip he has is to always draw out what you’re trying to achieve.

Why Lightning is just so darn cool.

Besides Flow, Martin loves a few other Lightning features. There’s Path, which helps you customize what your users see at each stage and helps them decide what to do next. He’s also a passionate fan of the Kanban view, which lets you see opportunities from a different perspective. “When I showed it to one customer he was like, ‘Now I suddenly understand my business because I can visually see how we should move the opportunities from left to right, from negotiation to win,’” Martin says. “That was the highlight of Lightning for him,” he says, “he didn’t need anything else, just the Kanban view.”

Dashboards can also be a big difference-maker if you’re trying to get executive buy-in to make the switch to Lightning. “It’s so sexy,” Martin says, “it might sound cheap but basically that’s the main difference to me.” In Classic, you’re constrained to just three columns with every component taking up the same amount of space. In Lightning, you can adjust the look of your dashboards to really make them pop. “I don’t need anything else,” he says, “it just looks good.”

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Full Show Transcript

Kelly Walker: Welcome to the Salesforce Lightning Champion Spotlight on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. My name is Kelly Walker and I am a senior adoption consultant here at Salesforce. I also have the amazing opportunity of working closely with the awesome trailblazers who are passionate about Lightning and have become Lightning champions to evangelize the power of Lightning. In this mini-series, we will be talking to six awesome Lightning champions to talk about their career journey, how it led them to the Lightning experience, advice on handling change management, and to focus on their stories of why Lightning experience is so awesome.

Direct download: Lightning_Champion_Spotlight__Martin_Humpolec.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:47pm PST

This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Laurie Dusko, the Product Owner of Salescloud at Wiley, for the third and final episode recorded live from the Salesforce Worldtour in New York City. We learn how she balances immediate needs with longterm goals, and how she’s creating a team of super users to help her get her message out there.

Join us as we talk about why timing is so important when it comes to delivering functionality, how transparency about your decision making can help you, and how she’s recruiting super users to socialize her ideas.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Laurie Dusko.

 It’s all in the timing.

“I work to help our users be more effective in everything they need to do that’s Salesforce-related,” Laurie says. She does this in a number of ways, but as of now, she doesn’t yet have her Admin certification. “I understand the practical applications of the things we need to do, I can go do it in a sandbox,” she says, “but I have a dev team that builds these things for me so I spend a lot of time writing user requirements and stories and just really wrapping everything up nice and tidy with a bow to make sure it works for our users.”

One of Laurie’s biggest jobs is working as the go-between from the technology to leadership. “I work really hard to translate what leadership thinks they want into what they actually need,” she says. One thing Laurie harps on that doesn’t get discussed enough is timing. “If something’s important right now but I miss that window, they might not need it for a full year,” she says, “and there are other things that really could help those users get to the end of their fiscal year or meet their quota that can move up in priority.” In short, the secret is to find a balance between where you’re working toward and what you need right now.

How Laurie gets executive buy-in.

Balancing priorities is a constant struggle, and that’s really come to the forefront as Laurie’s team as switched to an Agile development model. “If it’s a busy time of year, you don’t want to roll out too much change too quickly that could impact their ability to do their job,” she says. Instead, they’re borrowing from Salesforce to divide the changes they want to make into major releases where they can plan any training they need to do. They still make smaller changes more frequently, but they’re careful to make sure nothing is too disruptive.

When Laurie talks to executives, she tries to keep the conversation focused on what they want to get out of any Salesforce changes they’re requesting, rather than getting too much into checkboxes versus radio buttons. “Sometimes we’re really quick to solution and say what we need without really understanding what it is we’re trying to solve for,” she says. Laurie has taken the idea of SABWA (Salesforce Administration By Walking Around) to the next level by using it to get executive buy-in. If you can spend time with leadership to really understand their pain points and what they need, you don’t need to be such a mind reader. 

Recruiting a team of super users.

Laurie’s team’s approach of bundling major changes into releases also meant that they created “release notes” to send out along with them. While that worked OK, they’ve made the decision to shift gears and take a more social approach. They’ve identified their super users both to gather feedback and help them as they roll out new features. To put together this group, they actually used an application process combined with working closely with their sales managers who know their users best.

The program also allows them to create the potential for cross-silo communication between super users who wouldn’t necessarily otherwise share ideas with each other. What’s more, it gives Laurie’s team the opportunity to train and possibly hire some of these super users in the future.

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community and careers to help you become a more awesome Salesforce admin. This week we are bringing our live series from World Tour New York to a close. I appreciate Janae being on the podcast last week. It was fun talking to her about papers and processes and things, oh my. And this week, holy cow, fresh from the breakout session we have Laurie Dusko joining us.

Laurie Dusko: Thank you for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, and she has a career in radio, so there's only a little bit of a high bar for sound.

Laurie Dusko: A brief stint.

Mike Gerholdt: A brief stint, yes.

Laurie Dusko: I wouldn't call it a career but brief stint.

Mike Gerholdt: All radio people are that way, aren't they? Oh, they're so humble.

Laurie Dusko: It was a good time, and now I found myself with Salesforce.

Mike Gerholdt: Yay. And in front of a microphone. See it's 360, people. It happens everywhere.

Laurie Dusko: Perfect.

Mike Gerholdt: Laurie, what do you do in the Salesforce ecosystem?

Laurie Dusko: I am the product owner of sales cloud at Wiley and I work to help our users be more effective in everything that they need to do that Salesforce related.

Mike Gerholdt: Cool. All right, so before we got started, this is where I'm going to kick off our conversation, you said, "I just don't feel like I'm an admin."

Laurie Dusko: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: Let's just start there, our therapy session of we don't feel like we're an admin.

Laurie Dusko: We just need a couch and we're good to go.

Mike Gerholdt: Here we go.

Laurie Dusko: I do not have my admin certification.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

Laurie Dusko: Full disclosure, so some of you may want to stop listening.

Mike Gerholdt: No.

Laurie Dusko: But, I'm working on it. I've been a little busy, so it's just something I haven't gotten around to. But I have never been an admin, if there is a traditional sense of the word, and I've really moved into this product-owner role where I understand the practical application of the things we need to do, I can go do it in a sandbox. But I actually have a dev team that goes out and builds these things for me, so I spend a lot of time writing user requirements and stories and just really wrapping everything up nice and tidy with a bow to make sure it works right for our users with some of the, what I'll call entry-level admin work with the reports and the dashboards and maybe some validation rules and field changes. But the more complex stuff is something I hope to get better at, but is not really in my skill set today. But something I work closely with the dev team to build out right now.

Mike Gerholdt: It's interesting because I think often we associate admins as the thinkers and the doers, but you're just the thinker. Which still makes you an admin because you have to know how to do it.

Laurie Dusko: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: And you get to do the doing things in a sandbox, right?

Laurie Dusko: Yes. We call them proofs of concept.

Mike Gerholdt: Proof of concept.

Laurie Dusko: And I work really hard to sell the ideas to our leadership or translate what leadership thinks they want into what they actually need.

Mike Gerholdt: Let's start there. Because I feel a lot of admins... We're World Tour, they've seen a billion breakout sessions, where hopefully the wifi works, and they know how to do the config change. Holy cow, Mike and Rebecca just showed me how to take a spreadsheet and turn it into an app with Salesforce Object Creator, but you're kind of the brains behind that. Where does that start for you?

Laurie Dusko: Right. We are making quarterly roadmaps because the business can change over that period of time. And every quarter, we're looking at what do we need? What will help to make our users more effective and what is the right time to deliver that? Just because something's important right now, if I miss that window, they may not need it for a full year and there are other things that really can help those sales users get to the end of their fiscal year or meet their quota that quarter, whatever it might be, that can kind of move up in priority.

Laurie Dusko: I'm working with both our users to get feedback and then our leadership to help kind of find that balance between what is the future of Salesforce and what do we need today to be really effective, and how can we make sure what we're building today will help us get to that desired end result. Not that there ever is an end with Salesforce, but as we're moving towards-

Mike Gerholdt: That goal.

Laurie Dusko: ... that future state, how can we make sure everybody's kind of getting on the bus.

Mike Gerholdt: Quarterly roadmaps, I like this idea. Where do you decide the amount of change? What are the factors? Because I feel like I hear people say this and then they come up to me at World Tour and like, "But I don't know how my users, how much change they can take." How do you understand how much change your users can take?

Laurie Dusko: We're struggling with this at the moment. We used to have a monthly release. We are agile now. We have three weeks sprints, but sometimes that is too much change too quickly for the users. Or if it's a busy time of year, you don't really want to roll out change that could impact their ability to do their job.

Mike Gerholdt: Close of quarter.

Laurie Dusko: Exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: The holidays, right?

Laurie Dusko: Yes. We are looking at some ideas now to borrow from Salesforce and have some major releases, if you will, where we make some of the bigger changes that might require some training and some more hand-holding for the users. And then smaller things that are really tangible to get them to the end of quarter or through a certain period of year, we're rolling out at the end of those sprints. It's become a balancing act to find that right balance of how much the users can ingest at point in time without having them all come back and kind of saying, "Is it your goal every day to-

Mike Gerholdt: To move this field.

Laurie Dusko: ... torture me so that I can't do my job?

Laurie Dusko: Which of course, no one wakes up every morning and thinks, "How can I make life more difficult for Jimmy or Nicole," or whoever the user is. We always have their best interests at heart even though they may not always believe that.

Mike Gerholdt: Right, right. Or follow that evil Admin Twitter handle maybe. Yes, that's my goal, Jimmy, was to get up on Tuesdays and move the fields so that you didn't know what to populate.

Laurie Dusko: Exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: One, one thing you said in your intro was, "or what the executive things they want." Help me unpack that because I feel like I talk to admins a lot and they're like, "Well, but these are the requirements." And the euphemism, you've heard it on the podcast, "10 check boxes on an opportunity." How do you parse that out? What does it look like when Laurie has to go back to the executive and be like, "I know you said X. Here's Y."

Laurie Dusko: I come from a background in sales, which is really helpful because it allows me to kind of uncover and ask some of these questions. I think that that's really helped me here. But I also kind of ask, "What are you trying to do?" Right? Maybe don't tell me you need the check boxes, but what would you like to get out of this? How are you using this to shape coaching your users or track metrics or whatever it might be. And then, we'll work backwards from there. Because sometimes we're really quick to solution and say what we need without really understanding what it is we're trying to solve for.

Laurie Dusko: Although I try to take things at face value, there are some questions that you just need to ask to make sure you're getting it just right, and I also try to involve them. Now I know they're really busy, so at times I'll ask them to appoint a stakeholder, but we have adopted the sprint review piece of Agile to make sure that they're buying into the changes we're making and that they are along the lines of what they're thinking. Because a lot of executives, I'm sure most of you have run into, think that you are psychic. They will say, "I would like this. Please go build it." And you need to understand kind of the how's and why's in order to make that in the way that'll be most impactful for them and the users that are going to have to use that new feature or field or whatever it might be.

Mike Gerholdt: What is one skill, and I know you said sales, but what is one skill or one thing that you fall back on when you know you have to go into an executive meeting and kind of sell your idea and you know some of the things you aren't delivering or you chose not to deliver for a certain reason. Because I'm thinking that could be a sticking point for admins, right? Like I know how to do all the config things, but man, I don't, I don't know how to go in and tell that VP of sales, you're not getting something. What is the skill you lie.

Laurie Dusko: This is a tough one because we have quite a backlog right now and everyone is not getting everything that they want. And balancing who gets what when, sure has made me some people's best friends and some people's worst enemies. But what I try to do is be really transparent. I can't give you these three things you asked for because we are delivering these other things. Here's where you're falling on the roadmap right now. Here are the benefits and why these decisions were made.

Laurie Dusko: And I'm really fortunate in that my manager is supporting me and working with me on those decisions as well. I have her to thank for kind of backing me up if things ever go south. But I'm finding that the more transparent we've been about what we're doing, where we're going and why these decisions are being made is really helping. Because all of the leaders understand the goals that the different sales teams and users are trying to get to, and it's really just about the right thing at the right time. And I'm hoping that they're not too hurt when I tell them that we can't deliver what they want. And in time, we'll be able to either leverage something we built for someone else or be able to get to the items that they need.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. No, so I completely agree relying on your manager. Because I look back to when I had a career as an admin before these podcasts and stuff, having that manager be like, "No, no, no. Go in there and say this. I got your back." Holy cow.

Laurie Dusko: It's everything.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, it's just like the wind beneath my wings, you know?

Laurie Dusko: Yes. And getting that leadership buy-in, not just from my manager but our sales leaders as well-

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, it's huge.

Laurie Dusko: ... has been huge for us in rolling out changes because it's not something that I did, it's something their management and I worked on together to help them and they're really reinforcing it with our teams. And that has been really just life-changing for me because they're able to go in and reinforce everything that's been done.

Mike Gerholdt: We're going to wax poetically about how great management buy-in is here, and everybody's writing down, get management buy-in. How do we get management buy-in?

Laurie Dusko: Ooh, tough one.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, we're going in deep for the hard questions. It's 2020.

Laurie Dusko: I've used the Salesforce administration by walking around. I've just reversed it into leadership. I have tried to work with them as I just want to understand your needs and the pain points that you have, and I am here to be a partner for you. And I think that's really helped me where there's obviously some conversations that I'm not involved in. But when the right things are brought to me, I can handle them delicately and prepare those different changes as needed and we can move forward with them in the right... I lost my train of thought.

Mike Gerholdt: That's okay. Leadership management by walking around. We need a vowel.

Laurie Dusko: It's like SABWA.

Mike Gerholdt: It's like SABWA, but-

Laurie Dusko: But with leaders.

Mike Gerholdt: ... leadership. I don't know. We need some sort of vowel in there. LABWA?

Laurie Dusko: It could be the participation part of our podcast where people can tweet in.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, Arrested Development fans immediately, I'm going to... That's what it feels like LABWA. LABWA, that's what we're going to call it, LABWA.

Mike Gerholdt: Now that everybody stopped listening. We started about your career getting leadership and buy-in. I want to hit on a third thing that you brought up, which is socializing ideas. Because I feel like a lot of what we do is gathering those requirements, ironing out processes that are, who knows where they came up with them, and then building out the features and functionality. And then the third part is socializing those ideas. I mean, a hundred years ago, I put out you should do chatter posts and you should do monthly newspaper things, newsletters and stuff. What do you do to socialize your ideas?

Laurie Dusko: We were doing release notes.

Mike Gerholdt: Ooh, wow, you were writing release notes. That's brave.

Laurie Dusko: Well there were PowerPoint presentations with pictures, right? We cut out a lot of the words. And my running joke in any presentation I gave was, "Please, please read my post." We used a #releasenotes so everyone could find them.

Mike Gerholdt: Nice.

Laurie Dusko: That worked okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

Laurie Dusko: We are shifting gears. We have identified super users and we are actually going to start using those super users to both socialize ideas and gather feedback, but also help us as we roll out new initiatives so that they can really give users the perspective as their peer on how to do the different things that we are doing, the changes we're making to the system. And this is a newer thing, we'll be starting out in the beginning of 2020. We'll have to report back on that one in a few months.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. We'll come back in a year. How did you identify the super users?

Laurie Dusko: We had them apply and we are working with sales management to determine who should be a part of it. I am fortunate enough that I have some peers who are business leads and work specifically with different groups within the company. And they'll know how a user is from kind of that day-to-day interaction with Salesforce, and then the sales managers understand if that person can really share that extra time commitment to be a part of what we're doing. It's a group effort to determine who will be, and we'll have them do a one year term and see how it goes. And the really nice thing is we'll use that to cross-collaborate our super users across different sales units so they can share ideas amongst each other where they may not have necessarily communicated about that before.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow. Okay. I would borrow all of that. Save that part of the podcast, go back, take notes. And I've written about super users. I had super users at my org and they kind of self-identified, right? I wanted to do this. Finding them sometimes can be hard and then choosing them in the methodology and then get them excited to tell their peers about the stuff they're doing or use cases.

Laurie Dusko: And on the other side of the fence, we could be training potential additions to our team for the future. I started out as a super user, or as the person that ran Salesforce at my company at that time said I was a bit of annoying user because I kept breaking things. But it's worked out well for me, so I am grateful if that program could give somebody else the opportunities that I've had.

Mike Gerholdt: Super users, annoying users, there's a chatter group for everybody. It's 2020, let's talk about, we can call it resolutions or goals. What is your kind of new year's goal for yourself?

Laurie Dusko: Ooh, I'm going to put it out there.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Laurie Dusko: Got a pass admin cert. And if I'm feeling real fancy we could do Advanced Admin, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Once you're there... I mean, you already started.

Laurie Dusko: See how it goes.

Mike Gerholdt: You're off the launch pad, right?

Laurie Dusko: I've been putting it off for a long time and I know I'm ready. I just need to schedule it.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure, and let's kind of turn it a little bit. For admins who are listening to the podcast, they're just getting started, what would be a good, kind of first year goal as they're working through their career?

Laurie Dusko: Join a user group.

Mike Gerholdt: Any suggestions?

Laurie Dusko: I think shoutout to the North Jersey user group. I recently have joined the group and it took me far too long to become a part of one and I'm grateful for that community that I have to reach out to. That I can put names and faces to as opposed to just posting something on the success community, which is also amazing and fabulous. This podcast is great. I also love Trailhead. And if you are fortunate enough to have a success manager, they are an amazing resource to help put you in touch with peers where a user group might not be available to you or it just doesn't work with your schedule; so that you can start to come to talk to people that have similar issues as you and/or have resolved those issues and find ways to really work towards a better experience for your users.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. No, I couldn't agree more. There's quite a few user groups in the Midwest where I've been. There's one that always sticks out in my head of doing roundtables where people were talking about questions that they had. And I can't remember the names of the companies, but there was an admin for a garbage company and an admin for like a gutter company, and they solved each other's problems. And I was like, where in the world would a gutter company and a sanitation talk to each other?

Laurie Dusko: It's a beautiful thing about the Salesforce community. It just brings everyone together.

Mike Gerholdt: It was good. Thank you so much, Laurie, for being on the podcast. This is fabulous.

Laurie Dusko: It's my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: We're going to have to come back in a year and see how those goals are going.

Laurie Dusko: Yeah. I might have to bring one of the super users with me.

Mike Gerholdt: There we go.

Mike Gerholdt: It was great to chat with Laurie after a wonderful World Tour New York, and thank you, Laurie, for participating in our breakout session as well. I also want to give a big shoutout to David Giller who connected me to all of the guests that you heard this month in January that I got to interview while I was in New York. Be sure to give David a follow on Twitter. He is @DavidGiller.

Mike Gerholdt: All right, so three things I learned from our discussion with Laurie today. One, Laurie makes quarterly roadmaps and thinks about the right time to deliver functionality. Amazing. Second, one skill she gave us to deliver your idea is to be transparent about what's going on and especially be transparent about the decisions that were made. And of course, socializing ideas, this third item that I learned from her. Create a group of super users to help socialize your ideas and gather feedback. I've always been a fan of having super users. They can really help other users, and it can help you as a Salesforce admin really get features and functionality and get buy-in and get feedback back to you.

Mike Gerholdt: Now, Laurie had a new year's resolution for herself to get the admin certification, so I would love to hear if that's your new year's resolution as well. And her resolution for Salesforce admins is to join a user group. I love that idea as well. And of course, I'd like to know what your new year's resolution is, so be sure to tweet it out and use the #AwesomeAdmin. And be sure to tune in next week for another wonderful Lightning Champions Spotlight.

Mike Gerholdt: If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns. No, i on Twitter. You can find me on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholt. And be sure to follow our guest this week, Laurie Dusko, who is @SFDC_lauri on Twitter. And with that, stay tuned for the next week's episode and we'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Socializing_Your_Ideas_with_Laurie_Dusko_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PST

On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Jene Fuller, Salesforce Consultant for UPS. This is the next in a series of episodes recorded live from the Salesforce Worldtour in New York City. We learn how her developer and business analyst background have combined to make her into the awesome admin she is today.

Join us as we talk about how having a business analyst mindset, and the soft skills to figure what the real problem is, helps you build the right solution to help fix it.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jene Fuller.

How to have a BA mindset.

Jene brings her developer and business analyst (BA) background to everything that she does. “I’m all into requirements,” she says, “trying to figure out what is the big picture and how do we get there without all the over-architected processes and terms that nobody understands.” She brings her BA mindset to everything that she does, always starting out with the key questions: who are my users? What do they do? How do they do it? What are their obstacles?

Being able to take a step back is a crucial skill to have in order to be successful at understanding the task at hand. As Salesforce admin, being able to put on the BA hat to understand the whys behind what you’re trying to do makes a big difference, not just for your career but the people you’re helping as well. “I try to get who the people are and what are their exact needs,” Jene says, “and then build the solution around it.”

From faxes to Salesforce.

When Jene first encountered Salesforce, she was basically thrown in head-first. She was brought into the department through a connection, so she was the lowest person on the totem pole, so to speak. “I said to myself, ‘Let me do the thing that nobody wants to do—let me do all the user stuff.’” But as she started working on it, she realized that her BA experience gave her a unique perspective on things.

What Jene also realized as she was taking stock of the situation was that there were other departments in the company still doing key business processes on paper and through fax—in 2014. Things like getting signatures for SOW approvals required getting the right piece of paper to right person, which caused a lot of holdups. Jene started going to key stakeholders offering to digitize the process. “If you’re interested, I can teach you how to do it,” she would say, “if you’re not interested, I can do it for you.” She ended up integrated that electronic signature tool into Salesforce—eliminating the need for the fax machine and starting her Salesforce career.

When it comes to getting rid of those pesky spreadsheets and making things better for everyone, Jene has some important advice. “We need champions, people that see the vision and can market it on our behalf,” she says. That means getting someone to understand just how much time you can save them so they can really go to the mat for you.

The magic that is the Lightning Record Page.

Jene is a huge fan of the Lightning Record Page. It lets you tell whether your user is looking at the page on desktop or mobile, and lets you customize it accordingly. Someone checking something quickly on their phone is going to have far different needs than a person sitting down in front of their multi-monitor setup to get to work, and Form Factor helps you help them.

Getting a handle on what someone’s mindset can only come from spending time with your users and seeing how they go about their day. Jene calls this a “ride along,” but longtime listeners of the show already know what we call it. SABWA: Salesforce Administration By Walking Around. Spend the fifteen minutes a day checking in on your users—you’ll never know what’ll come up.

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become a more awesome admin. We're on week two of being live here at the New York City World Tour. It's been an amazing stop. A little chilly, but that's okay. Last week, we talked with Marciana, and she talked a lot about process. This week I am here talking with Janae Fuller. Janae, welcome to the podcast.

Janae Fuller: Hi, Mike. Thank you for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: You have a lovely red blazer on that nobody will get to see. Ironically, it's not your favorite color.

Janae Fuller: No, it's not my favorite color but it's a cousin of my favorite color.

Mike Gerholdt: It's in the family.

Janae Fuller: It's in the family.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So Janae, you're a Salesforce admin.

Janae Fuller: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Tell the world a little bit about who Janae Fuller is.

Janae Fuller: Well, thank you Mike. So, I am an admin. I have a developer background experience, so I always approach things very in a detailed way. I also have BA skills.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I like BAs.

Janae Fuller: So, I ask those questions and I'm all into requirement and trying to figure out, what is the big picture and how do we get there without all the over-architected processes and stuff?

Mike Gerholdt: The terms that nobody understands.

Janae Fuller: Exactly. Why can't it be English?

Mike Gerholdt: So, were you a BA before you were a Salesforce admin?

Janae Fuller: Oh, well thank you for asking. So actually, as a developer I've always had that BA mindset. Not just, "Hand me your requirements," but ask, "Why does this make sense," and, "How does this affect the person entering the data?" So, I kind of was but I didn't know it, so I kind of had those BA skills throughout my entire career.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Tell me about this BA mindset. For the uninitiated, give me a BA mindset. We can take cooking dinner.

Janae Fuller: Okay, all right great.

Mike Gerholdt: How does a BA approach cooking dinner?

Janae Fuller: All right. So, where are my ingredients?

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, boy.

Janae Fuller: Who is my audience? Am I cooking for my vegetarians, am I cooking for my pescatarians? Who's at my table?

Mike Gerholdt: Got you.

Janae Fuller: Are there any allergies? Do they like spice, and if there are any of those sensitivities, I start to look at sides so that there's something for everyone. So, that's how you factor that in, it's a pepper. So then with that in mind, with your audience, the stakeholders, because you want that meal to be memorable. You've taken all those aspects and then as you're cooking, you're keeping those things in mind. Then you get this wonderful meal, and just make a little something for everyone.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow, okay. Well, that's it for today. Cooking with Janae Fuller.

Janae Fuller: Yes, I do cooking too.

Mike Gerholdt: Thanks for listening. You should do a cooking show.

Janae Fuller: Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: No, but that was a good explanation because I feel often I talk with Salesforce admins, and they're kind of, "Oh, well this is a thing I have to do." To hear the BA standpoint of it is, "Well, let's take a step back and let's think about this for a second. Who are we approaching, and what are we trying to accomplish?" As opposed to, and this is my favorite euphemism, "Let's just add 10 check boxes to the opportunity page," right?

Janae Fuller: Well you know what Mike? I used to be that person. How many check boxes? They have to be check boxes, they can't be option boxes, they can't be radio buttons, but then I realized I did not have a business mindset. I was totally disconnected from my users because I didn't know what they wanted. I didn't know who they were. What were their obstacles? That's how you wind up becoming a dinosaur.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, boy.

Janae Fuller: Because if you can only do one thing and you can't think differently, you wind up getting dated and eventually phased out of things. So, I did have that ideology at one point, but then I learned from it. So any task it's like, hold on. Let's take a step back. The best people will appreciate that, and the worst people won't because they're like, "It's already overdue." I'm like, "Well, then you're coming to me too late. I can't really help you best because you're coming to me at the tail end of something. Unless I know how the parts plug into the whole, I'm really not the best person to help you because this is just how I think."

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Janae Fuller: That's just being upfront.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Curious, I immediately think of T. rex when you say dinosaur. I'd be curious what other people think of. I don't know why that comes to mind. Little arms, right? You're immediately dated. "Ah, I've got these little arms. I can't send a fax."

Janae Fuller: "I've got these big teeth and I'm fast."

Mike Gerholdt: Right, exactly. I know. So, it's interesting. Before we started pressing record, we were chatting. I think this is the third time this week that fax machines have come up in conversation. All of us asking, "So, do they still exist?" I think that's what you said, but let's talk about going from a fax machine at an organization you used to work at, to Salesforce.

Janae Fuller: Okay, great. So.

Mike Gerholdt: So, it was a dark and stormy night.

Janae Fuller: Yes. Clouds.

Mike Gerholdt: I had to cook a meal.

Janae Fuller: I had all kinds of people at the table.

Mike Gerholdt: Exactly.

Janae Fuller: And none of them spoke English.

Mike Gerholdt: Right. Oh my gosh.

Janae Fuller: No, I'm joking, but about the fax and the world when there was such a thing.

Mike Gerholdt: Which I think some people still use, no offense to the people that still use fax machines.

Janae Fuller: Well, sure. Nothing wrong with it.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Janae Fuller: They just haven't used their cell phone much. It's all right. It's okay. We've got room for everyone.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Janae Fuller: So, that was when I first broke into Salesforce. I started my Salesforce journey back in 2014, and remember, I was telling you I had the dev background.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.

Janae Fuller: I worked with a lot of other platforms. So, I had this awesome manager and he moved into a team that had Salesforce, and he remembered me. He was like, "Janae, I want you to join my team." So I was like, "Okay. I've heard of Salesforce. I have no idea what it is." So he's like, "Okay. Here you go, here's the keys." I'm like, "Oh no. What do I do?" So, I was on a team. They had other people, and so everyone had their allocated spaces of, "I do this, I do that." Then I'm like, "Well, wow. I'm the new guy. The low man on the totem pole, or woman. The low person on the totem pole. How do I fit in here?" So I'm like, "Okay. Let me do the thing that nobody wants to do. Let me do all the user stuff," but as I was learning I'm like, "Wait. I'm really understanding this user stuff," because you really do need an account. There's certain attributes you need to have that kind of help you to navigate. Right?

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Janae Fuller: Like log in. So, I got really good at that, but I didn't want to be a one trick pony, so then I started doing other things with the user experience. Again, trying to find a way to live without bumping into anybody else, but trying to get a space that no one else was using. So, there was an app that was integrated in our Salesforce instance. It already had a life, it already had its personality, but I realized that there were other departments within our company that were doing paper based things.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh my.

Janae Fuller: So, yes.

Mike Gerholdt: In 2014?

Janae Fuller: 2014, yeah. Yeah, so they were still-

Mike Gerholdt: That's why we don't have jet cars, people.

Janae Fuller: Eventually maybe.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Janae Fuller: Or maybe they'll just be hovercrafts.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure, I'll take that. It's a first step.

Janae Fuller: Exactly. Baby steps. So, departments. Think about SOWs. You get requirements, you know, okay, we want to hire contractor X and it's going to cost this many millions, and we need approvals because it's in the high budget need. The decision makers are usually on planes somewhere.

Mike Gerholdt: Always.

Janae Fuller: I'm in New York. How do I get this person who's just flew to Tokyo to sign this thing? All right, well I guess we're going to have to sit on this contract for three weeks, and now we have to backdate everything because we had no signatures. So then I'm like, "Wait, hold on. I know we have an app that kind of does this. Maybe I can get in touch with people who have these needs and talk to them about it." So, that's what I did. I was like, "Hi, listen. You guys are doing SOWs and I know that obtaining signatures are a hard thing to do because people are everywhere. Can we just maybe take a few minutes and talk about what it is that you want signed, and issues like date, name, signature, amount, things like that?" I'm like, "Okay. Well, with this tool, we could just tag these things so that we can take these fields and make them readable and electronic. It's a really simple thing to do. If you're interested, I could teach you how to do it. If you're not interested, I can do it for you."

Janae Fuller: So, the relationship began. I worked with one person, and then it started working, and they were showing people like, "Look. Hey, look. We can get these and we can send this through email now. We don't have to go and touch people, and wait for them to sign it, and get the black ink pen versus the red ink. Then fax." Yeah, I said it again. "Fax it to so and so, let them approve it. Oh wait, we have a new edit. Now we have to go through this process again." We don't have to do that anymore. We can use electronic signature, and then eventually I started working with that tool with our Salesforce integration and extending that. So, that was the way I got into my groove within the Salesforce team, because again, we already had people doing other things. I used just simple soft skills. Tell me what it is that you do? Why does it hurt, and how can I help? Then just used the tech to fill those gaps.

Mike Gerholdt: So I feel like, and you said something in there I want to come back to, but you touched on yes, fax and here's the thing we have to do, and some people still use it, but I think we're at World Tour, there's a lot of presentations that show you, "Here's how you do the config changes." The config changes are easy. What I hear in your story is yes, config changes are easy, and let me talk about all of the other things that come with that.

Janae Fuller: Right, right.

Mike Gerholdt: Right? So in your roles that you've had as an admin at various companies, what's your mindset approach to that? Because, I believe you had a story of paper everywhere, right?

Janae Fuller: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: I would love to know, because I feel like part B or part C of that is you come to a World Tour, you see how easy it is to do this, you watch an admin webinar, you see how easy it is to do that. What I hear from you is you're really good at knocking on doors and saying, "I've found these five faxes, and you all are crazy. We can do this in Salesforce." What does that look like for you?

Janae Fuller: Okay, very good question, Mike. So first, well, what I have used, I don't want to say you have to, but what's worked best for me is being concerned with that person that has to do this dirty thing all the time, because they have a personality. They want to do what they can in eight hours, but this stuff is really mundane and it could be done so much better with three minutes as opposed to a whole working day. So, I try to get to know who the people are, and what are their exact needs? Then build a solution around it, but that takes conversation, asking questions. "Who is this person? All right, I see you have this request, but is there anybody who does this? Can I sit with them to see how they use it?" Because most of the time when requirements come, people have an idea, but is that all? Is there more?

Janae Fuller: Because the last thing you want to do is take the time to build something and miss an entire aspect that may lead to a rewrite, because that's painful, and it's a waste. So, I try to work from the ground and then the other way. From the ground up, so to speak. I try to connect with people because at the end of the day, you can build this wonderful thing but if no one is going to use it, it was for nothing. So then you find out who the people are and keep them in mind with you, and use them with the acceptance testings, now all of a sudden you have adoption. So, that's how it goes. I'm at this place now, as we all are. I'm at a company and we're doing processes that are extremely painful, and they're very mundane, and I almost hate to say it but we're using, wait for it, spreadsheets.

Mike Gerholdt: Ah, well you know, people love them.

Janae Fuller: They love them because they're so easy to use.

Mike Gerholdt: Because it's an immediate output. That's what I think of. When people build a spreadsheet, they almost build the report that they want to be honest with you. That's-

Janae Fuller: They're building databases, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, well. They're clunky, but they are, yeah.

Janae Fuller: Then there's sheets that should be attached to other sheets, and so now all of a sudden we can't live without this, but we never should have had it. My thing is, is that these have been in use. People like it. They know where to go. Other people know where to go. There's no really sharing access, you could just check out the file, make your updates, check it back in and now everybody sees it. It's instant.

Mike Gerholdt: I did my job, check.

Janae Fuller: Exactly, check. Onto the rest of my life.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep, yep.

Janae Fuller: Right? The thing is, is that that data is critical data, and it only lives within the spreadsheet. How can other people see it? How do they know it exists? Then what if someone forgets to do something and now weeks later or down the road, you found out but everyone is caught off guard? So really, that's a great candidate for a Salesforce app, but people don't know Salesforce. Some do, some don't. So my job now, they don't really know it yet, what I'm doing is laying the groundwork for this to be a Salesforce application. It's a key candidate.

Mike Gerholdt: Got you.

Janae Fuller: The reason why is because it'll be accessible, we can report on the data, we can share it, we can have email alerts, and all kinds of metrics that don't exist within spreadsheets.

Mike Gerholdt: So, you can stitch together what that looks like from the customer's perspective.

Janae Fuller: Correct.

Mike Gerholdt: Because really what you're doing is, and I love this idea, is looking at the paper. Looking at the spreadsheets. Going around and saying, "So maybe from the customer perspective, they think we have everything but there's no one way for me to look and see what happens here."

Janae Fuller: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Right?

Janae Fuller: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: To the spreadsheet thing, what if somebody forgets to check it out that day?

Janae Fuller: That's right, or they don't check it in.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Janae Fuller: So now they've got all these great changes, but no one could see it but them, but we have to keep going. So then we override, and now we have a version issue. That doesn't happen in Salesforce. You know?

Mike Gerholdt: Right. I know some people struggle with the word expert. I think the perspective you brought up earlier of, "I sit down with a person because there's somebody that has to deal with this process that's the expert," that can help you become the expert in that. What's your take, or what's your approach look like after you do that on the ground information gathering, and you're stitching it together to roll it up to executives? Because I really want to elevate admins to say, "Look. I put all this together, and here's my vision." What's advice Janae has for presenting that admin vision to executives? What are some good things you've done.

Janae Fuller: That's a wonderful question, Mike. So, oftentimes admins don't really have that kind of access. So, we need partners, champions, people that see the vision and they can market it on our behalf.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, I like that.

Janae Fuller: Yes. Like friends, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Janae Fuller: Manager, next level manager, but when you have the buy in, and this is why you take people with you. So, as I'm looking at all these processes that exist in spreadsheets and trying to figure out, do I have a complete picture or is some of it still missing? Because you never want to say, "Okay, well we're ready to take this now on the road," but then it's like, "Well, you forgot this other piece." It'll never work. Back to the drawing board. So, before getting to that, "We're going to market this," thing, this vision, we want to make sure that we have all the pieces.

Janae Fuller: It gets a little tricky because you don't want it to be so big that it has to have everything, but it needs to have the right pieces before we can start to roll it up and to market it. Definitely keeping management involved, or at least one manager that sees the pain of having to fill out these spreadsheets, knowing that it's a better way to do it, and it'll save time. "Wait, hold on. I have my one resource that spends six out of eight hours doing this thing? Now it'll take a half an hour? Tell me more." So, one of the things is what's the return on investment? What's the so what factor? Why do I care about this? Because, that's how management looks at it. How much does it cost, how much time is it going to save, and how are people going to use this? That's something to keep in mind when making these assessments and wanting to market it to others.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, because it's one thing to have somebody tell you, "Well, it only takes me a minute or two to check out that, make that update." Right, but if you do that five times a day and you do that five days a week, so I'm doing quick math, 25 minutes.

Janae Fuller: Exactly, per person.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Then you start compounding that. Now all of a sudden you're like, "We're actually paying for an entire other human at this point that I could save you." It just is a record update that Process Builder sends an alert.

Janae Fuller: That's right.

Mike Gerholdt: Right?

Janae Fuller: Right.

Mike Gerholdt: I like that. Okay, it's very good. I love the idea of really marketing your idea around too, because when you're pushing big change, you've got to have the air force behind you.

Janae Fuller: Yes, for sure.

Mike Gerholdt: Pushing that around. We were talking about things you enjoy, features you're exited about. You said Lightning record pages.

Janae Fuller: Yes, yes, yes. The capabilities of the Lightning record page. So, I was blazing some trails.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah.

Janae Fuller: Yes, and I came across the Lightning record page. The reason why I really got into it is because of the form factor. Because of this feature, you can tell how your user is accessing your page. Whether they're on their desk or if they're on a mobile, and you can make differences so that the desktop could have a separate experience from the mobile. So now think about this. Most of us use three inch, five inch phones, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Phones, mm-hmm (affirmative).

Janae Fuller: We're not using that size computer. We have 24 inches and up.

Mike Gerholdt: Massive.

Janae Fuller: Massive.

Mike Gerholdt: The monitors anymore, it's the size of this wall now. Really?

Janae Fuller: It's so true.

Mike Gerholdt: You're reading Facebook on a monitor that's bigger than your television that you had as a kid. I digress.

Janae Fuller: Yes, and of course we have the side by sides, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah.

Janae Fuller: So, it's even more [crosstalk 00:19:53].

Mike Gerholdt: Who has one monitor? Come on now, seriously.

Janae Fuller: No, no. That's so 2015.

Mike Gerholdt: Right?

Janae Fuller: So, we have these mega monitors. We could churn out a bunch of things, right?

Mike Gerholdt: Sure, yeah.

Janae Fuller: You don't have that experience on the mobile. So, the fact that we can use the form factor and now customize even more what we want to put. [inaudible 00:20:18] all the immediate data, just a few fields, then if we need more then maybe we can have a separate tab that has the rest of it. Or, maybe they could just do more when they get back into home office.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure, yeah.

Janae Fuller: The fact is, is because we have form factor now on the Lightning record pages, we can do that.

Mike Gerholdt: I like that. I like where you're thinking because you're not only thinking back to the first question of, "Give me the BA mindset," you're thinking, "So, if somebody is walking out of a meeting or in a rideshare and they need to do something quick, they're probably going to do it on their phone. We don't have to surface the 300 fields on the phone. What are the two or five that you're going to get while you're sitting down with the user?" Which, I'm a big fan of. You might have heard of it, it's called SABWA. Salesforce administration by walking around.

Janae Fuller: Oh, okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Sitting down with the user and just seeing what kind of world they live in. You know?

Janae Fuller: Yes. I call those ride alongs.

Mike Gerholdt: Ride along, yes. Do a ride along. It's very different going into a call center and seeing your page layout on the screen when they use a chrome theme that's My Little Pony, and their desk is super busy and crazy, as opposed to when you're in your very zen space and you're creating that page layout. You had this perfect music and the door was shut, and it was kind of quiet. You're like, "Wow. I need to rethink this page layout based on the environment or the ride along that they're in."

Janae Fuller: Exactly, yes. I like that too, the fact that you mentioned even a ride along, or how did you-

Mike Gerholdt: SABWA. Salesforce administration by walking around.

Janae Fuller: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Janae Fuller: That's cool.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, 15 minutes a day. I love doing it.

Janae Fuller: Wow.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, it's super fun.

Janae Fuller: See, the point is, is taking the user with you. Keeping them in mind so that we give them just what they need the way they're using it. Because we have the Salesforce features, it's customizable.

Mike Gerholdt: So, we'll wrap things up. It's 2020, so happy New Year. Saw the ball drop and all that stuff, got to bring it up because you're in New York. Two questions. One, do you have a Salesforce New Years resolution for yourself?

Janae Fuller: Well, I don't like to say resolutions because that's the whole start stop thing.

Mike Gerholdt: I know, it's a big thing.

Janae Fuller: Yeah, but I do have goals.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay.

Janae Fuller: So, I'm working on two more certifications in my line of sight, immediate ones. I'm almost at my ranger status, almost. So, I want to just hurry up and get there.

Mike Gerholdt: 100 badges.

Janae Fuller: Yes, and keep going. Thank you for the translation because it's like, "What is that?"

Mike Gerholdt: I know, ranger. 100 badges, yeah.

Janae Fuller: Just to say that I've done it and then to keep going, because there's just so much coming to Trailhead. Even with Dreamforce they mentioned Trailhead GO is coming.

Mike Gerholdt: Trailhead GO is out right now? We can do it.

Janae Fuller: You're right, it's out. Well, you know what? I'm on Android so to me, it's still coming out.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, yeah. I'm sorry. It's all right.

Janae Fuller: Yeah well, you know.

Mike Gerholdt: We'll talk to Reid Carlberg about that. So, that's great resolutions, goals.

Janae Fuller: Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: Let me pivot, and second question. For the admin community, what is your 2020 admin goal for the community?

Janae Fuller: Well, definitely keeping in touch with the community. Attending events with the New York City user group. They had a great pre-tour event last night.

Mike Gerholdt: It was. Every time I've come to World Tour, they always have a great user group.

Janae Fuller: They're always hands down.

Mike Gerholdt: Always great. Packed, packed. Seriously.

Janae Fuller: Last night I think might have been the biggest. We had more than 100.

Mike Gerholdt: There was a lot of people.

Janae Fuller: There was a lot there last night.

Mike Gerholdt: A lot of people there.

Janae Fuller: A lot of new faces, and I'm happy to say I was able to moderate the event for them.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. You did a very good job, very good job.

Janae Fuller: Thank you, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Janae Fuller: We're glad that you could join us.

Mike Gerholdt: It was great, yes.

Janae Fuller: Thank you, and we had four amazing panelists. I think it's live streamed. Parts of that is on Twitter.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, good. Good.

Janae Fuller: I want to do more with Women in Tech, catching their groups, and WEI has come on the horizon for Women Empowerment Institute. So, they're actually affiliated with PepUp Tech.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, cool.

Janae Fuller: Gina Avila.

Mike Gerholdt: All right.

Janae Fuller: So, definitely want to do more there, and just keep supporting the community.

Mike Gerholdt: Fabulous. Well Janae, thanks for being on the podcast. It was great talking to you.

Janae Fuller: Thank you Mike, so much.

Mike Gerholdt: I can't wait to catch up this time next year, see how those goals went.

Janae Fuller: Thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: Maybe you'll be double ranger by then.

Janae Fuller: I know, I hope so. Thanks so much Mike, it was a pleasure.

Mike Gerholdt: You bet, thank you.

Mike Gerholdt: It's always great to connect with the New York community on the podcast, and I'm glad we got to sit down with Janae Fuller and talk about how the business analyst mindset and having soft skills to figure out what the problem is so that you can help yourself accomplish what your users are looking for. Of course, having that technology mindset to build that solution. As we've said many times on the podcast, and Janae brought it up, that when you hear the talk of spreadsheets come up, it's really just an app begging to be made. So if your organization lives and breathes off spreadsheets, you have an open door to build a lot of really cool Salesforce apps. Of course, Janae is all about Lightning. So, she brought up the new form factor which allows you to view how your users would be accessing that page whether it's mobile or desktop, and so you can create a custom record page for your users for either. I love that.

Mike Gerholdt: If this is your first time hearing about Lightning record pages, head on over to Admin.Salesforce.com to stay up to date with current products and tools, and lots of other resources. Now, Janae told us about her New Years resolution, and I would like to know what your New Years resolution is. So, make sure you Tweet it out and use the hashtag AwesomeAdmin. Of course, soft skills was a big part of our discussion today, so be sure to join us next week when I chat with Laurie Dusko about Salesforce admins and how she grew her career. Now if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to Admin.Salesforce.com to find tons of resources. You can also stay up to date with us on social. We are @SalesforceAdmns, no I. You can find me on Twitter as well. I am @MikeGerholdt, and of course, I want to thank Janae again for being our guest on the podcast. You can find her on Twitter @SalesforceJanae. With that, I'm Mike Gerholdt. Thank you for listening to the Salesforce Admins Podcast. We'll see you next time in the cloud.

Direct download: Into_a_Consultants_Mindset_with_Jene_Fuller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:46pm PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve brought Marciana Davis back to the podcast. One thing that’s happened since the last time we spoke is that she’s started working at a new position, as Salesforce Administrator at Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. For the next 3 weeks, we have episodes recorded live from the Salesforce Worldtour in New York City. Marciana was last on the show about a year ago, so it’s fun to hear how 2019 went for her and what she’s looking forward to in 2020.

Join us as we talk about how volunteering can help you stay current, why the new year is a great opportunity to set some goals, and what her resolution is for Salesforce admins.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Marciana Davis.

From breaking things to fixing things.

The last time we had Marciana on the show, the episode was titled, “I Do QA (I Break Things).” So what’s changed since last we spoke? “I fix things now,” she says, “being the Salesforce awesome admin I’ve always dreamed of.” She works to resolve all manner of issues that may come up in her org, and she’s been loving every minute of it. She’s gotten her seventh Superbadge this year, as well as a certification as a Marketing Cloud Email Specialist. 

Marciana is, as one friend puts it, “the Evangelist of Newcomers” at PepUp Tech. “I help students with badges, Superbadges, and it keeps my awesome admin skills sharp,” she says. You always have to learn more when you’re a teacher, so she gets back just as much as she gives in the process.

New year, new you.

Looking back on 2019, Marciana’s advice for her past self would come down to three words: trust the process. “You’re not going to know everything, and that’s OK,” she says, “it’s a learning process, you’re going to bump your head a little bit.” The key is stick through it and trust that you’ll learn and grow and, eventually, be in the right place at the right time. The best thing to do is to keep learning, so that way when you get an opportunity you’ll be able to step up.

To look ahead to 2020, Marciana is planning to do a lot more speaking events. She’s set her sights on South Florida Dreaming, so hopefully, you catch her there where she’ll share her approach to getting the most out of the learning resources available to admins. She also has a 2020 resolution to travel more, so you’ll be able to find her at Midwest Dreamin’, WITness Success, TrailheaDX, DC Worldtour, and Dreamforce. So, basically everything. “I love Salesforce so much that I can’t help it, Marciana says.

If you’re having trouble thinking of your own New Year’s resolution, Marciana can help you out. “Find a senior admin and have them mentor you,” she says, “with more experience, you’ll learn a heck of a lot more than just getting certified.” Training is one thing, but getting more acquainted with the business processes she’s responsible for has been so valuable in learning how to apply her knowledge.

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become a more awesome Salesforce Admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt and for the next few weeks we are going to be recording live at the Salesforce World Tour here in New York city. So outside of our normal comfort zone and catching up in some instances like today with Marciana Davis who used to be at another company in the beginning of this year, not to give you a spoiler, but has moved onto a new professional career and so it's a fun time. We're doing a followup with her on this episode, but there are more episodes coming up from amazing Salesforce Admins, that we are recording here in the New York city. So without further ado, please welcome Marciana Davis back to the podcast.

Marciana Davis: Thank you for having me. This is so much fun.

Mike Gerholdt: So Marciana in full disclosure was on the podcast in January of last year, which was recorded the same time this year. So I think it's fun. You're probably one of our first follow up guests from a year ago and we were chatting before. The title of your episode is I Do QA-I Break Things, Marciana or what do you do now?

Marciana Davis: I fix things now.

Mike Gerholdt: I love it. A year later we're gone from breaking to fixing things. So what do you, what do you do to fix things?

Marciana Davis: I try to trouble shoot errors and I'm working with my supervisor at my new company and just being a Salesforce awesome admin like I've always wanted and dreamed of.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes, marciana has the title of Salesforce Administrator, which I'm a huge fan of, because it's right in the title, the things I do. So Marciana, last we talked to you, your job was to Q and A and break things. Now you fix things. Let's talk about something you fixed in this last year and really catch us up. So we heard you in January. It's been a year, which in the Salesforce ecosystem is like five years.

Marciana Davis: An amazing life changing year.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. Tell me what's changed in your life in that year.

Marciana Davis: So I've still volunteered with PepUp Tech. I'm helping students as a good friend of mine put it. I am the evangelist of newcomers, apparently.

Mike Gerholdt: Nice.

Marciana Davis: I help students with badges, super badges and it's been so incredible just to work with them and it keeps my awesome admin skills sharp. So I'm very excited about that.

Mike Gerholdt: And as a teacher you always have to learn more. I know for me it's a real gut check.

Marciana Davis: You have to stay current.

Mike Gerholdt: if you have to keep something. Yeah, absolutely. Cause the questions are hard, kids ask hard questions now.

Marciana Davis: Yes. Especially with the good old data importing. I know, I get so excited to see a spreadsheet now. Like it's a spreadsheet.

Mike Gerholdt: And turn that into an app.

Marciana Davis: Exactly.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Salesforce object creator. Somebody might've demo that at the admin keynote at dream force this year. I don't know who.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay. So you've gone on from fixing for from breaking things to fixing things, helping with PepUp Tech, which is awesome. New super badges, I'm guessing or any new certifications for you this year?

Marciana Davis: I've gotten my seventh super badge.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow, Seventh holy cow. Is that like all of them?

Marciana Davis: No, not yet.

Mike Gerholdt: No. Okay. All right.

Marciana Davis: Half way through.

Mike Gerholdt: maybe this time next year.

Marciana Davis: And I also got certified in marketing cloud email specialists, during Thanksgiving weekend. So I was very thankful for that one.

Mike Gerholdt: That's cool. Very cool. Okay. And then we talked about, so one of the neat things that you've done at the company you're at with now, which you know in a year in the ecosystem is, it's as a rising star, people are going to scoop you up. You, it sounds like you helped corral leads from going to never, never land into Salesforce. Right?

Marciana Davis: I like that. Never, neverland. Yeah. I came in with the Peter pan effect ,integrated WordPress within Salesforce. I successfully connected the two and now leads are in Salesforce being our single source of truth.

Mike Gerholdt: Nice, that's always fun. I like deploying a good, thing that saves people. It's like, where do you go? You go to the website and fill out the thing, boom. It's in Salesforce, especially the first time you'd demo that, and it works.

Marciana Davis: Yes. It's for a new product that my company just launched last week.

Mike Gerholdt: Great, great, great. Okay, so a year ago, let's rewind the tape. You were sitting here and I'm thinking of admins that are listening to this or maybe admins that are out right now at breakout sessions. We have a packed admin theater sitting here. What is something you wish you would've known past Marciana to tell future Marciana or vice versa? I think I switched that. So you talking to your past self from a year ago, what advice would you give yourself?

Marciana Davis: I would tell myself to trust the process.

Mike Gerholdt: Trust the process.

Marciana Davis: You're not going to know everything and that's okay.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep.

Marciana Davis: It's a learning process. You're gonna bump your head a little bit, it's gonna be tough and there's gonna be days where you just don't want to do it. You're just like, you just want to push it away and hopefully it goes away. But you know you have a responsibility and a duty as an awesome admin to fulfill your role. So I tell myself every day that it's going to get better. And I tell my friends all the time, trust the process. Things happen for a reason. And you know when it's your time, it's your time.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Marciana Davis: And I'm here with you. So it's my time to be on the track.

Mike Gerholdt: There you go, and inspire others.

Marciana Davis: Yes, and I love talking to people and telling them my story and just telling them, listen, I literally came from absolutely nothing into something and I'm now making an impact, not only in my company, but also in the community. Like when I came to my company, no one knew anything about a user group meetings or certifications. Now they're so excited, they wanted to go to a user group meeting and they wanna go to all these events with Salesforce like, TD yaks and Dreamforce and Midwest dreaming. And just to see that impact has been so heartfelt for me and I appreciate everyone that's been a part of this journey for the last year.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I couldn't agree more. And also tinkering. It's something that my team talks about a lot too is sometimes if you're not feeling like learning, just tinker with something, right? Cause it can be very rewarding just to see how something works in a completely safe developer environment where you're not eating, you don't tinker in production, but just try something out to learn something. You've got a marketing cloud specialist, you don't get that without tinkering, so that's great. I think that's great advice. Trust the process. So yes, future Marciano would have told past Marciana trust the process. Now let's look ahead. What is, what is a new year's resolution that you have for yourself? Because we're airing this in 2020 so we've made it all the way to a year that repeats itself hasn't, happened since 1919.

Marciana Davis: No, I am super excited for 2020 because I am planning on doing a lot more to us speaking events. I put a proposal for South Florida Dreaming, so I'm hoping to speak there about the admin resources that I've used and how I use them. It's gonna be a little bit different from what people have heard, so I'm not going to spoil anything, but it seems like it's going to be really great. And I'm also going to talk about my proposal to get marketing cloud for executives. I tried to do that at my current company, so hopefully that works out for others as well. I'm definitely going to take 2020 I'm going to not get as many certs as I did in 20 in 2019 and I'm definitely going to travel more. So just go into different sales force events. Hopefully I'll be at Midwest dreaming. Witness success. Tell her the XN dream force again.

Mike Gerholdt: Just a few.

Marciana Davis: Yeah, just a few. Just kind of the summertime. Get out there and travel. Definitely want to check out. World tour NBC. I love DC. It's so nice.

Mike Gerholdt: Usually it's right around when the cherry blossoms are out, so you get to see all of that.

Marciana Davis: I definitely want to try and go there.

Mike Gerholdt: Do the Monuments tour. Go around and see all. Lots of things to see in DC, fantastic. Well I'm excited for Midwest dreaming as well. It's going to be in Minneapolis I saw. So I guess I got no more deep dish pizza. Get a Juicy Lucy. You don't know what that is. Google it carefully Juicy Lucy hamburger. I'll spoil that, but it's amazing. I've had one, it's always good to come back. Okay. So I would say also, so you're going to travel more. Is there any, anywhere that it's not hold as hosting a Salesforce event that you want to travel to?

Mike Gerholdt: I guess you mentioned everywhere that's hosting the Salesforce event. Is there somebody you'd like,

Marciana Davis: I mean cause I love Salesforce so much I can't help it.

Mike Gerholdt: are you planning to travel and you might be going to Southeast Florida too, right?

Marciana Davis: Fort Lauderdale.

Mike Gerholdt: I've been down to Fort Lauderdale to, yeah, it's nice that side of the, it's warmer than it is here in New York. Just be careful that it's going to be great. Is there a new year's resolution that you would set forward for other admins?

Marciana Davis: I would tell other admins to find someone that is, you know, find a senior admin and have them mentor you. It's all about the experience and I feel with more experience you'll learn a lot, a heck of a lot more than just getting certified.

Mike Gerholdt: Right.

Marciana Davis: And I realized that once I joined my current company that I'm with now, you know I have the basics down, but I just need to think along the way of business process, like getting used to how a business runs.

Mike Gerholdt: Sure.

Marciana Davis: In modern time.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes.

Marciana Davis: So that's one thing I would tell. Awesome admins out there.

Mike Gerholdt: Process is a big part of your life. Trust the process, learn the process, submit for speaking two different processes. I like it. It's good. Marciana, thank you for taking time out of your day. I wanna make sure that you can enjoy everything. Lovely at World tour. I'm glad we had a chance to catch up a year later.

Marciana Davis: Yes thank you for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: I think this is actually the first time we've done that on the podcast,

Marciana Davis: I'm making history already.

Mike Gerholdt: It could be we should do this again next year.

Marciana Davis: Oh yes definitely, I'm for it.

Mike Gerholdt: See where things are. We will pull up the resolution, see if you've met all the resolutions. Careful it's on tape now and then it'll be on the internet, which means it lasts forever.

Marciana Davis: And then people will hold me accountable.

Mike Gerholdt: and they'll hold you accountable to it. Marciana if they wanted to follow you on Twitter, your Twitter handle is-

Marciana Davis: At traveling underscore dev.

Mike Gerholdt: I saw that yes.

Marciana Davis: Instagram is just traveling dev.

Mike Gerholdt: Is there a reason to follow you on Instagram? Is it fun?

Marciana Davis: I post a lot of pictures of Salesforce events. I recently went to these Salesforce holiday party.

Mike Gerholdt: Ooh, In New York here?

Marciana Davis: Salesforce tower, yes. It was so much fun.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, and if we follow you on Instagram, we'll get to see all the places you're going to travel.

Marciana Davis: Exactly, exactly. Because Twitter has a four picture limit and I'm a photographer, I'm a mini photographer so I need at least 20 pictures of each place.

Mike Gerholdt: Right, right. I Love it. Perfect. Well thanks so much for g on the podcast.

Marciana Davis: Thank you so much for having me.

Mike Gerholdt: and we'll catch up with you next year. Absolutely.

Marciana Davis: I cannot wait for next year.

Mike Gerholdt: It's going to be great.

Marciana Davis: It is.

Mike Gerholdt: See you then. Bye.

Mike Gerholdt: It was great catching up with Marciana one year later after she was on the podcast. Here are three things I learned from our discussion with Marciana. One, she stays current by volunteering and teaching with PepUp Tech. I think that's really a great way as a forcing function for you to stay current and learn more while helping others. She challenges herself by learning and she earned seven super badges along with a marketing email specialist. I think that's a great thing to head into the new year. Think about what you're going to earn for super badges and what certifications you're going to get. And then the third thing I learned from Marciana is to trust the process. Hey, some days it will be difficult, but things happen for a reason and her new year's resolution for herself is to do more speaking events. I like that. And for Salesforce admins, her resolution is to find someone to mentor you because as Marciana says, it's all about the experience.

Mike Gerholdt: Now I'd like to know what your new year's resolution is, so tweet it out and use the hashtag awesome admin. Now process was a big part of our discussion today, so be sure to join us next week when I chat with Janae fuller about Salesforce admins and business process. If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @Salesforce admins. No, I on Twitter. And of course you can find me on Twitter as well. I am at Mike Gerholdt. Be sure to stay tuned for the next episode and we'll see you in the cloud.

Direct download: Trusting_the_Process_with_Marciana_Davis.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PST

The Salesforce Admins Podcast is back with another episode of our mini-series, Salesforce for Good, hosted by Marc Baizman, Senior Admin Evangelist at Salesforce and nonprofit veteran. For this episode, we’re talking to Jason Wurtz, Pro Bono Content Specialist at Salesforce.org, who helps nonprofit and education customers get assistance from a Salesforce employee. 

Join us as we talk about how you can best approach volunteering, and what Jason and his team has come up with to help you dive into the nonprofit world.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Jason Wurtz.

 The Pro Bono program at Salesforce.

“Nonprofit and education customers can get stuck in their journey with Salesforce. They may have implemented Salesforce, it’s going great, but they may need a little more hands-on assistance from somebody that has real expertise with the platform,” Jason says. Getting involved is as easy as filling out an application at salesforce.org/probono, which helps the Pro Bono team connect applicants with the right Salesforce employee to help them.

Jason’s role is to help develop content that helps volunteers translate their skills more effectively to the nonprofit world. If you’re a Salesforce employee looking to make a difference, simply log onto Volunteerforce to browse opportunities 

How volunteering changed Jason’s life.

Like a lot of people we have on the pod, Jason’s path to his current role was nothing if not meandering. He started off in finance working for big banks, then in marketing for a large consumer packaged goods company. “While I was working in marketing, I was also volunteering with an organization that matches tutors with homeless children,” he says, “and as I was volunteering, I could see first-hand all the challenges—some of them very much systemic—that were facing homeless families, and that transformed my outlook on the world.”

Jason switched careers to a grassroots nonprofit, Families Forward Learning Center, and eventually got his masters in social work. Of course, when he came back to the nonprofit world, he immediately went into fundraising and marketing. At one of these jobs, he became an “also admin,” figuring out the job along the way with no formal training. Eventually, this trajectory landed him in his current role at Salesforce.

How you can get involved.

If you’re looking for help from the Pro Bono program, Jason has some advice to give about how to best fill out your application. For one thing, “be very clear on what you want to accomplish,” Jason says, “the clearer and more discrete a project you can request assistance on, the better the outcome.” Projects like building reports and dashboards, automating discrete business process, implementing a standard configuration, or a Lightning migration are very easy for volunteers to pick up and run with.

On the other side of things, it’s important to think about what is truly going to motivate you. We all have so many demands on our time, so you need to find something you’re passionate about that will help you follow through. “Pro bono projects tend to take time and they tend to unfold over several months,” Jason says, “so you need to find a project and an organization you’re excited about so when push comes to shove you can find the time.”

Nonprofits and education customers often are strapped for resources, and if a volunteer comes in and screws something up, they don’t necessarily have the ability to easily fix what went wrong. “If you’re thinking about volunteering, that is something that you really need to hold front and center,” Jason says. So if you’re looking to use volunteering as an opportunity to build your experience and skills, you need to be cautious about how you go about it. Jason and his team have developed Trailheads to help prep you for volunteering, so you can get your head around nonprofit specific things like the Nonprofit Success Pack and really hit the ground running and even find new organizations to help.

 

Resources: 

Trailhead:

Pro Bono Intermediaries: 

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Full Show Transcript

Marc Baizman: Welcome to the Salesforce For Good mini series on the Salesforce Admins podcast. My name is Marc Baizman and I'm a senior admin evangelist here at Salesforce. Before I was an evangelist, I worked at Salesforce.org and in the nonprofit world, and I made many incredible connections with people doing amazing things with Salesforce technology and nonprofits and I really want to share some of them with you. In this podcast mini series, we'll be talking to a variety of folks in the Salesforce nonprofit ecosystem, including admins, architects, consultants, and Salesforce.org employees. By the end of the series, you'll learn what makes the nonprofit sector special, how Salesforce technology supports the missions of some amazing organizations that are making a huge impact, and you'll learn about the fantastic community of people that are making it happen. Hi, Jason.

Jason Wurtz: Hello, Marc.

Marc Baizman: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast.

Jason Wurtz: Glad to be here. Thank you for having me.

Marc Baizman: You bet. Jason, can you tell us about what you do at Salesforce.org?

Jason Wurtz: Sure. I work on the pro bono team. To give you a little bit of background on the pro bono team, at Salesforce.org we have a program, it's about six years old, in which nonprofit and education customers can request pro bono assistance from a Salesforce employee. You can find that on Salesforce.org's website, Salesforce.org/probono. Customers, nonprofit and education customers, that get stuck kind of in their journey with Salesforce, so they may have implemented Salesforce, it's going great, but they need a little bit more hands on assistance from somebody that has real expertise with a platform, it's kind of the perfect solution for those kinds of issues that nonprofits and education customers quite often face.

Jason Wurtz: They can submit a request online. That goes to my team. We vet the application, clarify the scope, and then post that for Salesforce employees to apply to support that project. My role on the team is really to develop content to enable Salesforce employees to translate the skills they use in a commercial setting with nonprofit and education customers. That's my primary role. I also do a lot of internal marketing, so raising awareness of the program, getting our employees excited to volunteer for the program, and also sharing success stories.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. That is a lot of stuff. When I am thinking ... I'm a Salesforce employee and I'm interested in volunteering in my local community. What do I do internally?

Jason Wurtz: Internally, it's pretty easy. We have an internal app called Volunteerforce where all volunteer opportunities live. When a nonprofit or an education customer applies through our website, like I said, that application goes through our team, it gets vetted and then we publish it to that internal app.

Marc Baizman: We're managing that in Salesforce, right?

Jason Wurtz: We are managing that in Salesforce, yes.

Marc Baizman: Cool.

Jason Wurtz: That appears as a volunteer opportunity and then any employee with the right skillset can sign up to help.

Marc Baizman: Cool. I want to dig into the skillset question in a little bit, but first I'd love to know how did you come to Salesforce, and what is a little bit about your background? Because I feel like you have some nonprofit in your background and I'd love to hear more about that.

Jason Wurtz: I do. I have a meandering background. I actually started off in finance.

Marc Baizman: Sure.

Jason Wurtz: I worked in the commercial sector, worked for a couple of big banks, then made the switch to a large consumer packaged goods company and worked there in marketing for a little bit. While I was kind of working in marketing, I was also volunteering with an organization that matches tutors with homeless children.

Jason Wurtz: As I was volunteering, I could see firsthand all the challenges, and some of them very much systemic, that were facing homeless families. That transformed my outlook on the world and inspired me to switch careers. Leaving a more traditional marketing role at a large company, I made the switch, worked for a grassroots nonprofit running volunteer programs.

Marc Baizman: That sounds great. Do you want to share the name of the organization?

Jason Wurtz: Yeah. It's called Families Forward Learning Center.

Marc Baizman: Families Forward Learning Center.

Jason Wurtz: Yes.

Marc Baizman: Cool.

Jason Wurtz: Yes, based in Pasadena, California, not a Salesforce customer, but ...

Marc Baizman: That's okay. That's okay.

Jason Wurtz: I worked there for a few years, then went to graduate school at UC Berkeley, got a master of social work degree, and promptly went into fundraising and marketing, because that's what you do when you get a master of social work degree.

Marc Baizman: That's right. That's right.

Jason Wurtz: I've worked for a couple of nonprofits in the Bay Area before making the switch to Salesforce.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. How did you find out about Salesforce, other than obviously the building of the giant tower? I'm curious as to how you sort of found your way from fundraising into Salesforce directly.

Jason Wurtz: Sure. My first nonprofit job after graduate school was at Mission Asset Fund. They're a Salesforce customer.

Marc Baizman: They are.

Jason Wurtz: That's when I was introduced to Salesforce, Salesforce Classic. This was a few years ago.

Marc Baizman: Sure.

Jason Wurtz: Didn't have many opportunities to get in the system, but I became familiar with it, was a user, and then fast forward to my most recent job at the National Center for Youth Law, they had a very old fundraising database that needed to be replaced.

Marc Baizman: Sure.

Jason Wurtz: Given my background, given that I'd used Salesforce, we did do an RFP and finally settled on Salesforce and implemented with Exponent Partners.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic.

Jason Wurtz: Yeah, I became an also admin, so actually had no training really as an admin. I kind of figured it out along the way.

Marc Baizman: Very common scenario is someone is tasked with administering Salesforce and doesn't necessarily have a background in it and has probably three other full time jobs and now you're given Salesforce also to manage.

Jason Wurtz: Exactly. Yeah. My job was fundraising, so I was managing kind of individual donors. That was kind of my ... I was also doing marketing and doing some communications, and then suddenly I was implementing Salesforce for the entire organization, not just the fundraising department.

Marc Baizman: Fantastic. Cool. Would you say that your implementation was successful? Have you gone back and seen it?

Jason Wurtz: Well, I do know that they bought a lot of new licenses and their utilization rate is pretty high.

Marc Baizman: Great.

Jason Wurtz: I think it is successful, yes.

Marc Baizman: Cool. That's great. Congratulations.

Jason Wurtz: Thank you.

Marc Baizman: That's a big deal. It's a nice legacy to leave. You went from that organization, you obviously learned a lot about Salesforce, and your story is, I think, very similar to many of admins that are out there. How did you find your way to the mothership from there?

Jason Wurtz: Sure. Yeah. Actually it was through my network. My current boss, Cheryl Timoney, also used to work at Mission Asset Fund. I did not work with her. She had moved on before I joined Mission Asset Fund, but she was a close acquaintance with my former boss at Mission Asset Fund.

Marc Baizman: [inaudible 00:07:39].

Jason Wurtz: When Cheryl posted this job opportunity, she kind of communicated that with her network, including my former boss at Mission Asset Fund who said, "Hey Jason, this would be perfect for you. I think you should apply," and I did.

Marc Baizman: That's awesome. Oh, congratulations.

Jason Wurtz: Yes.

Marc Baizman: Well, we are so lucky to have you. I'm so glad that you have the background of being an admin at a nonprofit organization because you can really put yourself in the shoes of folks at nonprofits who don't have training, maybe don't have resources, have three other jobs that they're trying to accomplish, and are really reaching out for help when they apply for pro bono assistance from Salesforce. I'd love to hear your thoughts maybe on the nonprofit side of the house and on the skill-building side of the house, so on the kind of employees who are determined to give their skills back. For organizations that are requesting pro bono assistance, is there specific advice that you might give them?

Jason Wurtz: Yes. I'd say the kind of first piece of advice I would give is to be very clear on what you want to accomplish. At least through the Salesforce.org pro bono program, the clearer and more discrete a project you can request assistance on, the better the outcome, is what we've seen.

Marc Baizman: Right.

Jason Wurtz: I can give you some examples of good projects.

Marc Baizman: That'd be great.

Jason Wurtz: If you're struggling to build reports and dashboards, that's a perfect project because many Salesforce employees have those kind of skills and they're in their toolbox. Things like reports and dashboards, if you are thinking about automating some discrete business processes in Salesforce, don't know how to do that, that makes for a great process. Even some kind of standard configuration, if you are trying to capture new data points or a new data set and you need some help configuring standard objects, that's another really great project because it's very discrete and it's something that's very easy for a volunteer to pick up and run with.

Marc Baizman: How about a Lightning migration?

Jason Wurtz: Ooh, that's actually a very popular project as of late. We have a bunch of Salesforce employees who are Lightning ambassadors, Lightning champions. We have a special arrangement with them to take on these Lightning transition projects.

Marc Baizman: Cool.

Jason Wurtz: Yes, that's another very discrete, something that has a very specific goal, that can be done in 15 to 20 hours.

Marc Baizman: That's great. That's great. For admins, not necessarily Salesforce employees, but for admins who are listening, if they want to give back, what's the first thing that they should do?

Jason Wurtz: Well, I think the first thing that admins should do, or anybody really, is to figure out what you're passionate about. What is going to motivate you? Because if you think about it, we all have very busy lives, whether it's a demanding job or juggling, kind of raising a family, other interests that you have, you have to figure out, what am I passionate about, what am I going to commit to and what am I going to follow through on, right? I think that's very important.

Jason Wurtz: In particular, if you're interested in doing pro bono, because it's not necessarily a signup for a two hour volunteership to help like at a homeless shelter or something, pro bono projects tend to take time and they tend to unfold over several months. You need to find a project and an organization that you're excited about so that when push comes to shove and you have all these other demands on your time, you can figure out how to make it a priority and actually follow through on the project and get it done.

Marc Baizman: That's great. Being passionate about the organization or the cause is key.

Jason Wurtz: Yes.

Marc Baizman: I would like to talk a little bit about kind of advice around folks who are maybe just getting started in the ecosystem, and maybe they're given advice to volunteer and they don't necessarily have a super strong Salesforce background. I'd love your thoughts on that.

Jason Wurtz: Sure, yeah, definitely. Definitely have a few thoughts on that. I would ... For folks that are kind of new to the ecosystem, I think one thing you need to understand is how nonprofit and educational organizations that are using Salesforce are fundamentally different from a lot of commercial companies.

Marc Baizman: For sure.

Jason Wurtz: Really what that comes down to is a couple of things. Number one, resources, especially nonprofits, are very resource-strapped. What that means is technology is always under-funded. They often don't have staff that have a lot of technology expertise, and therefore they have to use resources like Trailhead to scale up really quickly. It can be very challenging when you lack resources to hire a consultant, or you have an administrator who doesn't have a technology background, who's new to the role. If a volunteer comes in and quite frankly screws something up or messes up their org, they don't have the resources to undo that.

Marc Baizman: Right. Right.

Jason Wurtz: That is something, if you're thinking about volunteering, that you really need to hold front and center. I definitely appreciate and understand people that are new to the ecosystem who want to build their experience and skills. You just have to be very careful because when you volunteer for a nonprofit and this nonprofit is doing a lot of good for their community and they're really relying on Salesforce to support their mission, if you come in as somebody who doesn't have a lot of experience and you mess something up that you can't fix, the chances are that nonprofit won't be able to fix it themselves and that could have a ripple effect across their mission.

Marc Baizman: Right. Right. That's great advice, and definitely good things to keep in mind for folks who are volunteering. In terms of people who are interested in volunteering, are there specific Trailhead trails or modules that we might recommend folks to take?

Jason Wurtz: Yes. We just launched a brand new trail called Volunteer Your Salesforce Expertise, so very kind of straightforward they make it there.

Marc Baizman: Terrific.

Jason Wurtz: That's where I would start because what that trail does is a couple of things. It, number one, introduces you to the nonprofit and education sector. Some of what I've talked about, nonprofits having limited resources, et cetera, that is explained in that trail. It gives you an introduction to those sectors, which is really important. It gives you some context. It also introduces you to Salesforce.org, which is the social impact team within Salesforce that develops products and services specifically for the nonprofit and education sectors. This is really critical because we have ... Salesforce.org offers a whole set of products and services that are specifically designed for nonprofit and education customers. These products often work quite differently than what most folks are used to in a commercial setting.

Marc Baizman: Right.

Jason Wurtz: The trail kind of gives you an overview of these products and services and also lays out your learning path so that you can learn these products before you actually volunteer. This is really important. You need to understand, volunteers need to understand something like the Nonprofit Success Pack, which is the standard solution used across nonprofits, which is an app that sits on top of the Salesforce platform. You really need to understand that product before you volunteer your time with a nonprofit. The Volunteer Your Salesforce Expertise trail will walk you through your learning path for those products.

Marc Baizman: Got it. I believe there's also a new Trailhead project that helps you, that walks you through the process of installing the Nonprofit Success Pack into a Trailhead Playground org.

Jason Wurtz: Absolutely.

Marc Baizman: Another place to kind of test your knowledge and learn some more stuff. That's great. Can you talk a little bit about maybe some success stories of some volunteering that you've heard about or folks have come back, either the volunteer or the nonprofit or ideally both have come back and said this was a really fulfilling experience?

Jason Wurtz: Yeah, definitely. I have one that comes to mind. I mentioned earlier one of our most popular projects for volunteers, to support our reports and dashboards. I think for many folks that have Salesforce expertise it's like, well, reports and dashboards is like very basic stuff, but for many nonprofits it can be a bit of a struggle, especially if somebody, the admin is wearing many hats and has a lot of different jobs. It can be hard for them to kind of figure out exactly what kind of reporting they need.

Jason Wurtz: We have one customer, a nonprofit customer, High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, they submitted a project and they needed just some basic assistance. What they were trying to do is they have all of these different, what they call resources that they keep track of. They have volunteers who are providing these kind of therapeutic riding experiences for the nonprofit's customers, who the nonprofit's customers or clients are folks that have a variety of different kind of like physical and kind of mental health challenges that they need some kind of support and healing from. High Hopes Therapeutic Riding provides this kind of equine therapy, which is essentially matching a client with a volunteer and a horse. It's a really interesting and really effective therapy for a number of different reasons. In Salesforce, this organization was tracking not only the client, but the volunteer and the horse and all the equipment that the volunteer has to set up for the horse. They were tracking ...

Marc Baizman: Was there a horse custom object?

Jason Wurtz: I believe so, yes.

Marc Baizman: That's fantastic.

Jason Wurtz: Yes. Yes. They had this data, they were all in different objects. What they were having challenges with was bringing all that information into a consolidated daily schedule that they could pass along to the volunteer so the volunteer would know, "Okay, here's the horse I'm using, here's the equipment they need and here's the client that I'll be working with and here's the time I'll be doing it."

Marc Baizman: Wow.

Jason Wurtz: They were really struggling with that. I think it went a little bit beyond that though. This was a fundamental need they had of the system that they could not get from it. They implemented Salesforce a couple of years ago, and this was something that was frustrating for not only the admin but for the rest of the staff. I think they were starting to question, "Did we make the right decision going with Salesforce?"

Marc Baizman: Right. Right.

Jason Wurtz: The admin applied for the Salesforce.org pro bono program. They were matched with a volunteer who loves reports and dashboards, that's one of her favorite projects to work on, and magic happened. They worked on, I think the project was around 15 hours. The volunteer was able to not only put together the report the admin needed, but show her how to build the report herself so that she could continue building reports, building dashboards on her own, which for the organization has unlocked a lot of value, right? Before, they were thinking, "Okay, we have Salesforce, we have all this data in Salesforce, but how the heck do we make it useful and actionable for us?" Now the admin, because of the pro bono project, she was able to enable herself to do some of this reporting for the organization.

Marc Baizman: Oh, that's fantastic. Very cool. I love a good horse custom object. I love equine stuff. That's amazing. A couple of other questions. I am wondering, for the admins that are out there, if they want to give back, maybe they're passionate about a particular social issue or they're connected to an organization, or maybe they're not and they want to do some discovery, where should I send them if they're not Salesforce employees? Are there specific places that I could send these folks who are inspired to give back? Hopefully they've done the trail that you recommend and gone the learning path, they've learned the NPSP or the education data architecture, they have that set of skills. Now where do they go?

Jason Wurtz: Good question. There are organizations that we refer to as pro bono intermediaries. These are mostly nonprofit organizations that connect professionals that have skills they want to give with nonprofits that have a need for skills. They [crosstalk 00:20:49]-

Marc Baizman: Got it. Not Salesforce-specific, could be anything, right?

Jason Wurtz: It could be anything.

Marc Baizman: Marketing, legal, web design, right.

Jason Wurtz: Yes, website design, legal, communications, finance, HR and Salesforce as well.

Marc Baizman: Sure.

Jason Wurtz: In the trail, if you take the trail, the second module on the trail called Pro Bono Project Management, there is a unit that talks about where to go to find these pro bono intermediaries. There are organizations all around the world that kind of facilitate pro bono projects. Some of the popular ones in the US are Taproot Foundation and Catchafire. They actually match a lot of Salesforce professionals with nonprofits that need help with our technology.

Marc Baizman: Oh, that's great. That's great. Admins out there, we'll share these links in the show notes for sure. Cool. I would love to close with maybe an organization that you're passionate about, if you don't mind sharing, if there's an organization that you're either doing a pro bono project with or that you just really like and ... Just share that.

Jason Wurtz: That is a great question.

Marc Baizman: I'm putting you on the spot here.

Jason Wurtz: Putting me on the spot, so I have to choose my favorite.

Marc Baizman: That's right. Choose your favorite child please.

Jason Wurtz: Well, I have to say right now, one of the nonprofits I'm most inspired by is Year Up. Year Up is an amazing organization that trains young people that may not have finished high school or kind of finished high school but aren't sure what to do with their careers, and they might have challenges that have kind of stalled their career. What it does is it provides programs for young people to skill up, to essentially learn how to work in a kind of corporate setting, right? We're talking folks that might work in a retail setting or might be doing odd jobs, that are kind of trying to figure out what they want to do with their career. It provides them an avenue to get a job at a company like Salesforce.

Jason Wurtz: Typically a job like Salesforce, you would think, wow, you must have ... You need all these ... this education and have a master's degree and have all of this experience. That is a huge barrier to a lot of young people who just don't have that yet. What Year Up does is it creates that path for folks. They go through, I think, a year-long training program, they learn specific skills, and then they have an internship with a company like Salesforce.

Jason Wurtz: I've seen firsthand, I've had Year Up interns on my team, and have seen them really transform. They take on challenges, they learn and grow, and oftentimes they get hired by Salesforce. Our Year Up intern that was on my team last year recently got hired by a team that I've worked really closely with and she's doing really well.

Marc Baizman: That is fantastic. Well, now I can put in a plug for our podcast producer, [CC Belarde 00:23:55], who is in fact a graduate of the Year Up program and she's fantastic. I know all about this organization and we are so fortunate to have CC as part of our team, so that's great. Thanks for sharing that, Jason. Well, thank you so much for being on the Salesforce Admins podcast today. It has been just a pleasure to talk with you again.

Jason Wurtz: Yeah, thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Marc Baizman: Wow. Jason was a blast to talk to. He was full of useful volunteering information and amazing Salesforce pro bono stories. I love a good horse custom object. Jason hit the nail on the head when we talked about new people in the ecosystem volunteering. Nonprofit and educational organizations are fundamentally different than the organizations you might be used to, and they're not equipped with the same resources, so it's important to make sure that when you're volunteering, you are knowledgeable about the products that you're using and committed to the project you're signing for. This episode is full of nonprofit organizations that you can volunteer your expertise with, like the Taproot Foundation and High Hopes. We've linked to those in the resources below. If you're interested in learning more about pro bono volunteering, you can connect with Jason on LinkedIn. He is Jason Alan Wurtz with a Z, and you can also check out the Salesforce.org website at Salesforce.org/probono. I'm Marc Baizman, and don't forget to tune in next month for another episode of Salesforce For Good.

Direct download: Salesforce_For_Good__Jason_Wurtz.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we continue our Lightning Champion Spotlight series with Benjamin Bratcher, a Salesforce Administrator at Masergy. This episode is part four of a six-part series, the Lightning Champions Spotlight, hosted by Kelly Walker, Senior Adoption Consultant at Salesforce. We talk to our amazing Lightning Champions to find out about their career journey, how it lead them to the Lightning Experience, advice on handling change management, and why Lightning Experience is so awesome.

Join us as we talk about how he communicates with his users to get support for Lightning, the keys he found to make the transition, and how he gives back to his community as a Lightning Champion.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Benjamin Bratcher.

From stage to screen.

Benjamin has a bit of an unusual background for getting into Salesforce, even for this podcast where we talk to accidental admins all the time. He actually majored in Theatre in undergrad, but after graduating he found himself working in his alma mater’s admissions office in order to support himself. “About a month after I started working there they implemented Salesforce, and I took to it really quickly. I’ve always been an early adopter of technology, so it really interested me and I started to become a power user,” Benjamin says.

Eventually, Benjamin found himself promoted to a Salesforce administrator role. “At the time I had no idea that Salesforce had this huge ecosystem and was a great career opportunity,” he says, “I saw the potential and quickly jumped in.” Even with all the developments in his career, he’s still able to do some acting and fight choreography at night to get the best of both worlds. “Initially, I was worried that having a BFA in Theater would be looked down upon,” Benjamin says, “but what I’ve found is that having that experience in theater has given me a lot of skills that I’m able to use as an admin.”

Transitioning to Lightning when there’s baggage associated with it.

“When I transitioned my org to Lightning in my previous job it had already been implemented in the background,” Benjamin says, “I had been, as a business user, one of the initial test users who was asked to switch to Lightning and see what doesn’t work.” There weren’t any special customizations done for their business use cases, so it was a rather frustrating experience, and those feelings remained when Benjamin was looking really put his full energy into successfully making the switch.

“Lightning was already there but no one wanted to use it,” Benjamin says, but the director of one department, in particular, was very adamant about switching his users over to Lightning full-time. That gave him the executive support he needed to start making customizations that could have a real impact on users’ day-to-day, while also doing beta testing with a small group before doing a larger rollout.

Benjamin’s keys to adoption.

For Benjamin, adoption is all about identifying the easy wins that let you show users what Lightning is all about. One of his favorites is the Lightning App Builder. “The ability to customize the UI is just really exciting to me,” he says. Layouts are such a powerful way to make things more user-friendly and intuitive, particularly on busy pages where they need to find that one specific piece of information in order to move on with their work.

In the Lightning Champions program, Benjamin’s been able to give back to his local Dallas community. “I’ve been able to volunteer at different local events,” he says, “I got to be a helper in one of the hands-on Lightning sessions at Dallas World Tour.” He also frequently hears from the community for advice and suggestions as others make the transition to Lightning. Listen to more details about the Salesforce scavenger hunt he put together to make Salesforce training fun, and his German language skills.

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Kelly Walker: Welcome to the Salesforce Lightning Champion Spotlight on the Salesforce Admins Podcast. My name is Kelly Walker and I am a senior adoption consultant here at Salesforce. I also have the amazing opportunity of working closely with the awesome trailblazers who are passionate about Lightning and have become Lightning champions to evangelize the power of Lightning. In this mini series, we will be talking to six awesome Lightning champions to talk about their career journey, how it led them to the Lightning experience, advice on handling change management, and to focus on their stories of why Lightning experience is so awesome.

Kelly Walker: Now, Salesforce is turning on Lightning experience on a rolling basis in Winter '20. Users still have access to Salesforce Classic after Lightning experience is turned on, but Lightning Experience is where you want to be for driving business growth and improved productivity. To get ready, verify your org's existing features and customizations in the new interface and prepare your users with change management best practices. This update applies to users who had the Lightning Experience user permission, including all users with standard profiles and users with custom profiles or permission sets that have the Lightning Experience user permission enabled. For more information, check out the critical update and watch this short video titled, Understand How The Lightning Experience Critical Update Affects My Users, both of which are linked in the show notes.

Kelly Walker: All right, well today we're talking to Benjamin Bratcher, another Lightning champion in the Dallas area. Benjamin, thank you so much for joining us.

Benjamin B.: Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Kelly Walker: Well, I'm excited for everyone to learn a little bit more about you. I know your journey to Salesforce is a maybe not the norm, so let's start there and help us understand really your background and how you came to be where you are with Salesforce.

Benjamin B.: Sure, yeah, I'd love to. I guess my journey started in 2015. I had just graduated with my bachelor's degree. I got to be a BFA in theater. Once I graduated I kind of had an initial shock of not knowing what I was going to do to, you know, make money, make a living. Because as most people know, as an actor, it's hard to do that as a full-time job, unfortunately. So I applied several places. Long story short, I ended up working for my alma mater as a graduate admissions advisor. Well, about a month after I started working there, they implemented Salesforce and I took to it really quickly. I've always been an early adopter of technology, so it really interested me and I quickly became a power user, started coming up with best practices on how to use Salesforce in the enrollment department and then also started leading Salesforce training.

Benjamin B.: That eventually, after about two years, morphed into the director and VP of enrollment asking if I would want to step into an official Salesforce administrator role. At the time I had no idea that Salesforce have this huge ecosystem and was a great career opportunity. I went home that evening, researched it, was pretty blown away with what was out there, what opportunities there are within Salesforce and so that was kind of a no brainer decision for me. I already enjoyed it, I saw the potential and decided to kind of go into that space.

Benjamin B.: So then I was a solo admin for a year and a half, accidental admin, although I think I kind of transitioned into being a purposeful admin because I decided that I wanted to pursue that as my career. But the first few months were very difficult and trying to figure out what's going on, just learning the system. I had a lot of help from the consultant that worked with us and then of course Trailhead. Then once I started getting some certifications, that kind of changed and I started to become the subject matter experts. But that's how I got started on the platform. So kind of ... I think a lot of people have similar stories in terms of being accidental admins or kind of falling into it and that definitely was the case with me.

Kelly Walker: Awesome. Are you still acting?

Benjamin B.: Yes, yeah. That's always been my first passion and I love being in the theater and acting. I also actually recently just opened a show where I was the fight choreographer, which was really exciting. It was really exciting getting to work on the creative side of show again. But yes, I do continue to act in the Dallas Fort Worth area, mostly as an actor and also mostly on stage, although I have done some voiceover work and also some student films, but mostly on stage. Thankfully, in Dallas, a lot of the theaters are set up so that they allow you to rehearse and perform in the evenings or on the weekends so you can balance that pretty well with a full-time job. So that's allowed me to continue my work as an actor and then also as the Salesforce admin as well.

Kelly Walker: Would you say that there's characteristics or different lessons that you've learned that you can bring into your role as an admin that you take away from your education in the theater as well as your continued role within the theater?

Benjamin B.: Yeah, that's a great question. You know, I think that's something that I've really learned a lot over the last four years of being out of my undergrad and kind of going into more of a corporate job. You know, initially I was really worried that having a BFA in theater would be kind of looked down upon. Well, what I've found is that having that training as an actor and then also the professional experience has really given me a lot of skills that I've been able to utilize as an admin.

Benjamin B.: For example, I would say communication skills are very important in a role as a Salesforce administrator and of course as an actor, that's pretty much the number one skill that you have to have is being able to recite the lines and communicate well and connect with your other onstage, you know, among other things. So communication definitely has been a skill that's that I've been able to transfer.

Benjamin B.: Along with that, creativity, I think, is also very useful as an admin. You get to be creative in designing your Lightning app pages for example, or different processes or kind of how you want to utilize Salesforce for your user group. I've been able to draw from the creativity that I've kind of fostered throughout my work in the theater and as an actor. I would say those are probably off the top of my head, the top two skills I would say that have been transferable, but I think generally, as a side note related to that, I think it's incredible that so many people who are involved in Salesforce come from non-technical backgrounds. That has always stuck with me and I've always been impressed by what people can achieve without having gone to school studying IT or information systems. Of course if you've studied that, that's incredible and you have a lot of background to draw from, but the fact that you can make a solid career and really advance without having that background is a really encouraging for me to see and also I think speaks a lot to kind of Salesforce's community and the opportunities that the platform provides.

Kelly Walker: Yes, I cannot repeat or agree with you more on that because so many individuals who have come from such different backgrounds and have really made their home with Salesforce. So we're so glad to have you. I want to dig into that communication piece because as you know, we work together very closely in the Lightning Champions program and moving to Lightning requires a lot of communication and training and overcoming feedback or just overall concerns. I'd love to understand how you embraced the transition, how you knew it was the right time, how you worked with your users and where you are today with regards to Lightning usage.

Benjamin B.: Yeah, definitely. When I transitioned my org to Lightning, that was actually at my previous job. In that environment, like I had mentioned earlier, I kind of took over as the admin and was kind of thrust into that position. Well, the person who had been in that position before me had already activated Lightning. It was already kind of just lingering in the background and I was actually as a business user, one of the initial individuals to go be a test user. I was asked to just kind of switch to Lightning and see what didn't work and then report back, which as you can imagine, was kind of a difficult experience and very frustrating because there hadn't been any customizations done at the time to allow for Lightning to be used for our business use cases. Unfortunately, in my situation there had already been kind of that initial wave of Lightning and so there was this negative connotation associated with it. So when I came in and Lightning was already kind of there but no one really wanted to use it, I definitely had an uphill battle to climb in order to convince people that Lightning is the way to go and that the UI allows for so many different use cases and business processes that Classic kind of doesn't just natively because you aren't able to customize the UI as much declaratively.

Benjamin B.: The way I approached it actually ended up being that one of the directors of the student services department was very adamant about his users switching to Lightning full-time. I took that as kind of my executive support that I needed, which I think is incredibly important if you're making a transition, and started customizing Lightning to fit to the business processes of the student services department. That allowed me to already have a smaller user group that was my beta user group that I could kind of go to and test things out with, get feedback from pretty easily. That also made it very, very smooth or a lot smoother than if I had tried to do it for everyone all at once. Once that became successful and kind of the initial customizations had been done so that they could flawlessly go through their day to day work ... of course enhancements always are continuing ... but once that was completed, I could focus my intention more on other user groups and kind of transitioned those.

Benjamin B.: That was kind of my process. I think I have more of a unique experience. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who are in a similar situation or have been, but it's, I would certainly say that it's not an ideal kind of set-up in terms of how the migration would have gone in a perfect world but I definitely tried to make the most of it and tried to capitalize on that director's interested in investment in Lightning and then kind of move forward with that.

Benjamin B.: On that note, I think one of the biggest struggles is user adoption. I had that at my last job where I implemented Lightning and at my current job as an admin, which at this position, they use Lightning almost exclusively, although they do let people go to Classic. So there are certain users who have used Classic for so long and just don't see the benefits in switching. I think even once you do migrate, if you don't deactivate the ability to switch back to Classic, you'll continue to face those obstacles and try to overcome them. So I think for that, it's continuing to advocate for it and show them different small wins that they can utilize, so different Lightning-specific features that I know that have been covered at Dreamforce in different world tours, you know, the top 10 Lightning features is always one of the topics. Those are incredibly valuable to share with your users because there's short productivity gains but in the long run that really enhances your productivity. A lot of times in my experience, sales reps don't invest the time to really study Lightning and kind of go through all the material. So if you can focus more on one-on-one training or maybe even have a platform like WalkMe or something like that, that allows you to have training live within Salesforce, I think that is really valuable to also increase user adoption.

Kelly Walker: Awesome. Speaking of user adoption and kind of find that when ... is there a feature that you would really highlight maybe as your favorite or one that is just a quick win across the board?

Benjamin B.: I would say my favorite Lightning feature would have to be the Lightning app builder, I mentioned it previously, and the reason for that is the ability to customize the UI is just really exciting to me. I love getting creative in redesigning the Lightning pages.

Benjamin B.: A few months ago, one of my bigger projects was redesigning our accounts pages, so that's both the Classic page layouts, the compact layouts, the Lightning pages, among other things. I actually came up with a really cool layout that allowed me to kind of split up the detail page — which I would assume for most organizations ends up being pretty long because you just have a lot of fields — and breaking that out into different tabs and different sections. That allowed me to have an account page layout that was just one page on a monitor so you didn't really have to scroll and you could go into different tabs to kind of find more information. That, I think, made it so much more user friendly and intuitive so I would say that's my favorite Lightning feature for sure.

Kelly Walker: Well awesome. It definitely is a killer feature and empowers admins and developers, as you mentioned, to really give that a unique page or that specialized page based on users' needs, wants, whatever it may be.

Kelly Walker: Now you've been a Lightning champion for a while and so I'd love to understand what drew you to the program and really how you're giving back to the community as it relates to Lightning experience in your Dallas area.

Benjamin B.: Yeah, great question. What drew me to it initially, I found out about the program around the time I was working on the migration to Lightning. I thought that would be a really great way to kind of give back to the community in terms of what I've learned on the job already. Then also I figured it would be a really good way to kind of network and develop professionally and make some great connections.

Benjamin B.: I've loved being a part of it because of the connections you make. There's a trailblazer group, for example, of Lightning champions. We kind of get updates every now and then from the product team in Lightning and also can kind of bounce ideas off each other or get some help. But then of course, giving back is a huge part of that. In Dallas, I've been able to volunteer at different local events. Latest for example was the Dallas world tour; I was a helper and one of the hands on lightening sessions.

Benjamin B.: Then of course more inofficially, I would say just being an advocate for Lightning, talking to people, maybe supporting them as they go through the migration. I've had several people reach out to me and just ask for advice and suggestions as they embark on that journey. So yeah, that's kind of how I've been involved. I'd really ... my plan is to start writing some more blog posts. I'm mentioning this now in the podcast to keep me honest, but I would love to write some more content on Lightning among other Salesforce-related topics.

Kelly Walker: Well, very cool. Hopefully one of your blog posts relates to the Salesforce scavenger hunt. Can you dive into that idea a little bit? I just love it and want others to know more about it.

Benjamin B.: Yeah, that's great. In my last position, being a solo admin, I had a lot of freedom on how to kind of design the training and user adoption and all of that within our company for Salesforce. What I ended up doing as kind of one of the stages was creating a Salesforce scavenger hunt. At the time, I made it fairly basic. I just used a Google form and kind of broke it down in different steps and had them either answer questions like multiple choice or free text, write in the answer, or maybe even upload a screenshot. But I would ask them to complete a certain task within Salesforce. Maybe that was creating a lead or favoriting your dashboard that you're supposed to access all the time, or updating this test record that I had created to a certain status, or ... different things like that.

Benjamin B.: That would kind of start to get them a little more familiar with the system, give them a little more ownership on how to navigate it. Of course, this comes after my training videos and then the bigger training session as well. So that way, my idea for it was at least to make it a fun activity. Have them go through, get hands on, maybe ... well, honestly kind of like Trailhead, I guess maybe I modeled it after that if I think about it, but that was kind of my idea with the Salesforce scavenger hunt. Another reason is because Trailhead is very kind of generic and people customize their orgs however they want. This was very specific to our org and the way we used it so I thought that would be a good way to familiarize themselves with our Salesforce org. So yeah, that's what that was.

Kelly Walker: I love it. Definitely bringing in that creative aspect of your background and just you as a person. Well Benjamin, it has been an absolute blast talking to you and I would love to end with some advice that you would give to those in the community. I know that you speak other languages other than English, so I would open it up for you to say something in German and then really highlight or speak to the German trailblazers that we have out there in terms of some advice that you would give.

Benjamin B.: All right, putting me on the spot, that's great. [foreign language 00:21:32] Salesforce community [foreign language 00:21:51] Lightning migration [foreign language 00:22:18] Salesforce [foreign language 00:22:26]

Kelly Walker: All right, I understood Lightning transition.

Benjamin B.: Yeah. The funny thing is since most of my Salesforce experience has been in English, the technical terms are things that I find very difficult saying in German. Yeah, I definitely used a lot of English terms in there, but hopefully I got the gist across.

Kelly Walker: Awesome. Do you mind translating that into English?

Benjamin B.: Yes. I was letting them know that, just encouraging them to continue on their Salesforce journey and in their career and empowering them to make the move to migrate to Lightning and also just letting them know that there are so many people within the Salesforce community that are willing and able to share their knowledge with them and help them as they migrate. So please reach out to individuals in the community and please write me, reach out to me if you have any questions about a Lightning migration. But yeah, just encouraging them on their move to Lightning and also in their Salesforce career in general. Yeah, I wished them good luck on their journey.

Kelly Walker: All right, well we want to wish you the best of luck on your journey. It's been a pleasure working with you through the Lightning Champions Program and I can't wait to see what amazing things you do in the upcoming years, both in your Salesforce career and on stage. So thank you again, Benjamin, and best of luck.

Benjamin B.: Thank you so very much for having me, Kelly. It was truly an honor and yeah, I appreciate it.

Kelly Walker: It was so great to be able to spotlight Benjamin on the podcast this week. I love that we can use this platform to show all the different ways our awesome admins use their creativity in Lightening to get to the best productivity and end results for their use cases.

Kelly Walker: A huge part of being an admin is having the creative skills to effectively communicate with your users and your stakeholders really how Lightning is the right decision for your org and of course then build out new and exciting things for your users, like designing new app pages with Lightning app builder, creating different processes, with process builder or flow, or even how to utilize Salesforce for your user groups.

Kelly Walker: For admins who conduct training sessions, there are plenty of opportunities to make the experience fun. Our Lightning champions are the biggest advocates for Lightning. Each and every single one of them is here to help give back to their communities so do not be afraid to reach out for help. We have shared our social handles down in the show notes, and if you're not part of the Trailblazer community yet, join. There are so many others out there ready to help you succeed.

Kelly Walker: Thank you for listening and tune in to find out who we will feature in our next Lightning Champion Spotlight.

Direct download: Lightning_Champions_Spotlight__Benjamin_Bratcher.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:30am PST

Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Julie Workman, Technical Credential Developer at Salesforce, who shares the joys of building, growing, and maintaining Superbadges and the potential they have for the community.

Join us as we talk about Superbadges’ important role a credentialing tool to prove to not just future employers but yourself that you have the hands-on experience you need to succeed.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Julie Workman.

 A Salesforce nerd at heart.

Everything is super on today’s podcast, and that includes Julie, literally. “As a longtime Salesforce nerd, to work on the Trailhead team is really exciting. I’m responsible for the care and feeding of Superbadges and developing new ones for the admin space,” she says.

In a story that may sound familiar if you’ve spent any time listening to the Salesforce Admin Podcast, Julie started out in Salesforce as an accidental admin. She was on the leadership team of a nonprofit serving families in a severely distressed community, and she needed to see all of their data in one place. Julie was trying to answer the question, “How can we get all of these different spreadsheets to tell us a more cohesive picture about how we’re serving our community and what our outcomes look like?” She couldn’t do that with the tools we had, and that’s when someone recommended she take a look at Salesforce.

Julie started on the platform before Trailhead, so she really appreciates how different things are now and what it does for the community. Things snowballed from that first role and eleven certifications later (plus another that’s been retired), she found herself on Team Trailhead.

Why Superbadges are an assessment tool and what that means.

“Superbadges are not a learning tool,” Julie says, “they’re for assessing.” They’re part of the Salesforce credentialing program, which means they’re on the testing side of Trailhead. This is vital because it gets to the heart of how the Trailhead team assesses and measures how good of a job they’re doing at teaching the material. In short, there’s a method to the madness.

The result of this methodology is that Superbadges are a key part of how you know you’re ready for the next step. “95% percent of the people who complete a Superbadge say they agree that that Superbadge has prepared them for a Salesforce certification credential,” Julie says, and most importantly, “99% agree that completing the Superbadge proved to themselves  that they have mastered the concepts through that hands-on experience.”

Where to get started with Superbadges.

If you’re trying to figure out where to get started with Superbadges, Julie recommends starting with the Admin Super Set. “It’s a grouping of meaningful and relevant Superbadges to help you prepare you to demonstrate your hands-on ability as a Salesforce admin,” she says. If you’re relatively early in your career, you can start with the helpful prework listed under the Super Set to get what you need to take the next steps. If you’re further along, pick out the first Superbadge you want to begin with and dive into the prerequisites in order to unlock it.

“Superbadges are an aspirational goal—they’re not done in one sitting,” Julie says, “they’re really something to put on your professional and development plan, as an admin or aspiring admin, to work towards.” The difference between a Superbadge and a certification is that Superbadges are really hands-on. “They are skill-based, domain-level credentials and they’re very real world,” Julie says. Team Trailhead is constantly talking to hiring managers and the Trailblazer community to get a feel for what stands out, and the bottom line is both certifications and Superbadges are keys to growth. Both go hand in hand to help you stand out in a crowd and show that you have the wide range of skills businesses are looking for.

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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. I'm Mike Gerholdt, and today we have a super podcast for you. That's right. It's all about SuperBadges and boy, I have to tell you, I learned a ton on this episode. This week we are talking with Julie Workman who is a Technical Credential Developer on Team Trailhead. She works on building, growing and maintaining SuperBadges. Julie has an awesome background and is super passionate about SuperBadges and the potential it has for our community. So let's get Julia on the podcast. Everything is super on today's podcast and help me welcome Julie to the podcast. Julie, we're going to talk about SuperBadges, but first I want to get started. What do you do at Salesforce?

Julie Workman: Hi, thanks. This is great to be here. I am a Technical Credential Developer on the Trailhead team, which is definitely best job ever, fantastic team. As a long time as a Salesforce nerd [inaudible 00:01:26] someone who's really excited about Salesforce to work on the Trailhead team is really exciting. So, that is what I do. I am responsible for the care and feeding of SuperBadges and developing new ones for the admin space.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean like you walked me right into that joke. So I have to ask, do you not care and feed them after midnight like [crosstalk 00:01:47]?

Julie Workman: Yeah, that's a really good question. Typically, unless we've got a really difficult situation though, no care and feeding after midnight.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay, good. So before you joined Salesforce, you talked about being a Salesforce nerd. What did you do before you took care of our SuperBadges?

Julie Workman: Well, I became an accidental admin in 2013, I was in leadership of a nonprofit serving families in a severely distressed community, and I needed to see all my data in one place. So I began using Salesforce so that I could see our data from multiple advocacy programs in one place. So are the kids who are in our summer camp, are their families... do their parents know about the GED program and do the teenagers know about our mobile health clinic, and how can we get all of these different spreadsheets to tell us a more cohesive picture about how we're serving our community and what our outcomes look like. And I couldn't do it with the tools I have. So someone said, "Oh, why don't you try Salesforce?" WHich made no sense to me at the time until I realized not only are we selling, in a sense where we're selling these programs, even if they're free and we're need those important metrics, but really the program impact and the outcomes were impossible to track with anything else.

Julie Workman: So it was really, really exciting. And I dove in head first and all of this was pre-trail hood. So I definitely appreciate the value Trailhead brings. And from there I just dove head first into all things Salesforce, all things Trailhead and I have really embraced the platform, the community and everything about it. So since then I have been a member of a partner, an SEI partner team as well as leading a technology team for another enterprise nonprofit. And now here we are today, 11 certifications later, 12 if you count one of the retired original developer certs, and several SuperBadges and part of the Trailhead team. Super excited to be here.

Mike Gerholdt: Wow, that's really neat. So boy, you touched on a lot and I think you should count retired certifications because I do. I had that one as well. And I had a moment in a breakout presentation at Dreamforce where I mentioned pre-trail head and the pop up box of 400 by 400 pixels. And the looks I got from audience was like, if I had that moment where I felt like I was telling people what it was like to go to school and walk uphill both ways in the snow.

Julie Workman: It's so true. It's so true. And hopefully we still have some good habits like reading all the release notes, but that was really a very different world.

Mike Gerholdt: IT was. I read release notes once on a drive to Chicago. I was not driving.

Julie Workman: I was going to say, yeah.

Mike Gerholdt: It was also in the release notes were a little shorter. So you mentioned kind of having learning moments and jumping headfirst and SuperBadges are really all about learning. So what was your big first learning moment at Salesforce?

Julie Workman: Well, before we dive in, I got to say actually SuperBadges are not, they're not learning, they're not a learning tool.

Mike Gerholdt: Well please educate me.

Julie Workman: They're assessing. So that is something we hear actually quite a bit is this idea about how we're going to use SuperBadges to learn, but actually we're using SuperBadges to assess. SuperBadges are credentials. They're part of the Salesforce credentialing program and the vast majority of Trailhead is the go to place for gamified, engaging, very fun, free, go at your own pace learning. And so we know that the majority of Trailhead then is for teaching. SuperBadges are for testing. So it's a really different concept when we switch gears from all of that rich learning content, into assessment content. And that's actually why SuperBadges are even housed in a slightly different space on Trailhead. They're under the credentialing tab. So if you are looking for SuperBadges, they live with credentials, so right next door to certifications and so that's one of the really... that is a learning moment for sure to communicate that.

Julie Workman: But the learning moment for me, when I joined the Trailhead team, it was a wonderful learning moment. I mentioned that my background was in family advocacy and actually my degrees are in psychology and applied psychology. And part of that is tests and measures and assessments and how do we assess, how do we test, how do we teach, how do we know whether learning is taking place? That's part of my background and my academic background. So when I began to understand more about how the Trailhead team and the credentialing team builds supervisors and certifications, I was absolutely blown away that we're following this really rigorous and complex credentialing methodology. And so it lends a really, really important structure to what our assessments, what our credentials are.

Julie Workman: So it's a really a very high bar that Trailhead sets, no surprise there. There is a really high bar that we're using this credentialing methodology. We're not just sitting around kind of making stuff up and writing exam questions and sketching out a SuperBadge on the back of a paper napkin. But that it's really methodological. It's really a very high bar.

Mike Gerholdt: I mean, I just assumed we were sitting around trying to write the hardest questions possible. When I first took my certification, I was like, "You're trying to write the hardest question possible." Somebody had like an Amazon gift card on their desk for this question. That was what was going through my head.

Julie Workman: I think I might've thought the same thing when I went for my first consultant certification. I think I probably had the same idea in mind. But rightly so, they're rigorous and they're challenging, but they follow a credentialing methodology. So, that's a real learning moment. Well, it's a learning moment for me that we have a job task assessment and that we have subject matter experts or [inaudible 00:08:44] engaged throughout the entire process that we're using these tools like Bloom's taxonomy and we're paying attention to what level of cognitive complexity and we have all of this structure and it's not just willy nilly. It's really really quite thoughtful.

Mike Gerholdt: It's willy nilly with some thought behind it. I love that and I love understanding that the SuperBadges are... have that credentialing mindset behind them. So I'm sitting back and I'm listening to this podcast and I'm learning a lot so far except I want to learn Salesforce and you're telling me SuperBadges are kind of that testing part. Why should I take time to do a SuperBadge then?

Julie Workman: That's a really good question because they're not easy and they're not quick to finish, they're not done, I don't think ever in one sitting. They really do take some dedication and really carving them out as a goal, just like your other professional development goals. So it's definitely something to work towards. And so the reasons, the why we can really look actually at our community and we in a sense ask our community, "Is this meaningful, are SuperBadges meaningful?" And part of the way that we do that is through a popup or a modal that you will see when you finish a SuperBadge and it says, "Tell us your thoughts." And I was really blown away and really excited to see what our community is telling us about our SuperBadges. And that is 95% of the people who complete a SuperBadge say they agree or strongly agree that that SuperBadge has prepared them for a Salesforce certification credential.

Julie Wor