Thu, 8 April 2021
For this week’s episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by Mark Ross, Senior Tech Writer at Salesforce. We ask Mark how he approaches documentation and how you can make a difference for your users.
Join us as we talk about what goes on behind the release notes, what’s important when you write your own documentation and the importance of learning your variables when it comes to Flow.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Mark Ross.
The Salesforce CCX Team
You might recognize Mark’s voice from the WizardCast. At Salesforce, however, he works on the CCX team (Community, Content, and Experience). They help with Trailhead, documentation, and more, and Mark specifically focuses on automation services: Flow, Process Builder, Workflow and Approvals and even IoT.
“I’m someone who is a very technical-minded person, but I never learned to code—not really,” Mark says, “Flow can do all these things that, ordinarily, I would need code to do and it opened up a whole new world for me.” In other words, Mark is a certified Flownatic and he wants to share that enthusiasm with everyone and teach them how to harness the power of automation.
Mark’s keys for writing good documentation
So how do you write documentation for new features? It starts with sitting down with the engineers to actually go over everything and look at any text that might be a part of the UI. Next, Mark and his team turn to the release notes. “Believe it or not, release notes are the most-viewed documentation of Salesforce,” he says. They want to not just communicate what’s happened, but why it’s useful.
When Mark is prepping Flow Release Notes, he starts by going through the headers to see what will affect his current customers or users. Sometimes, that also means noticing new features because it gives you the ability to let people know what’s on the way.
“If you release something for your users and you don’t write down how to do it, you’re automatically doing them a disservice,” Mark says, “even if you train them face-to-face, that’s not the same as them having something they can come back to later.” Especially if you can keep things simple and use screenshots to help point people in the right direction.
There’s a lot more in this episode, including what Mark and his team think about when they write error messages, and an adorable special guest.
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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. This week, we're talking with Mark Ross, who's a technical writer, about flow documentation and how we learned about flow and it's features. Now, you might have heard Mark on another podcast, he's also the cohost of The Wizard Cast, which is a big fan favorite of everybody that records this podcast, so shout out there. And, he's also given a ton of Dreamforce presentations around flow. So this is very exciting, I'm so glad we got Mark on the podcast. So here we go, let's bring Mark on the pod.
Mark Ross: Thanks, Mike. It's good to talk to you again, it's been a little while.
Mike Gerholdt: It has. And, for those community members that perhaps are like, "This voice sounds familiar," you're also on another podcast. We'll start there as your introduction.
Mark Ross: Well, that is true. There's a little podcast that's out there called The Wizard Cast, and despite it's name, we actually talk about Salesforce. We don't have too many episodes going out lately because pandemic stress and all that. But yeah, we're out there on all the major platforms for podcasts.
Mike Gerholdt: Now, when I think flow and Salesforce flow, and dare I say flownatics, I think of Mark Ross because I know you've been on stage at Dreamforce talking flow. Gillian and myself have done a lot of content around flow. Let's start off with what you do at Salesforce and how that relates to flow.
Mark Ross: Sure. Well, I am on the community and content experience team, CCX. We specifically are responsible for creating the content that is customer visible. In this case, specifically that's going to be documentation. But we also help with Trailhead, our particular team, and a few other things that are out there, that are community facing. Not everything that's customer community facing, but we still have quite a bit of it.
Gillian Bruce: Just a few things to cover in your scope.
Mark Ross: Just a few things.
Gillian Bruce: Not too bad, right?
Mark Ross: Right.
Gillian Bruce: So Mark, I would also love to maybe just give a tiny bit of background into how you came into this role, because you've been at Salesforce a couple years now, maybe?
Mark Ross: Yeah, I started in January '19.
Gillian Bruce: Okay. And before that, we talk about flownatics, most of the context in which I think Mike and I are very familiar with you and your work is actually pre-Salesforce days, when you were not part of the company but you were an end-user, and an MVP and a leader in the community. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you became a flownatic?
Mark Ross: Back in 2010, I attended my very first Dreamforce. And, we as a company, the company I was working for at the time, we hadn't even really started using it yet. But my company sent us all to Dreamforce to say, "Hey, you're going to start using this Salesforce thing, you might as well go learn about it."
Mike Gerholdt: So flow caught fire for you. Why do you think it really clicks for some people like yourself and not everyone?
Mark Ross: I think, for me specifically and I'll branch this out into how I think other people probably feel about it just from my guess. For me, I am somebody who is a very technical-minded person, but I never really learned to code, not really. Learning Apple Basic in grade school isn't the same thing as sitting down with Apex and whipping out a whole bunch of functions and triggers. It's not the same thing. So I had the programmer's mindset, but I didn't have the experience. Every time I tried to sit down to learn it, it became a prohibitive thing. I even went to Apex training, and it just, for some reason, wasn't clicking.
Gillian Bruce: I mean, I think you encapsulate it. Clearly, you hear the flownatic passion in your voice. I think what you outlined is a lot of the reasons why we definitely are focusing on automation and all things flow this month for admins.
Mike Gerholdt: Land of the Lost.
Gillian Bruce: It's all these happy places, the happiest places on Earth. Or, on the platform. Can you talk to us a little bit about how documentation plays into the arena of flow? And what the role is, how you approach it? What is your methodology there?
Mark Ross: Sure. We have a cycle, just like their developers do. They have a cycle where, any given release, they have to do things in a certain order, and we do as well. When we're presented with the actual things that are being worked on by the engineers, we actually help to do the UI text. We don't just do documentation, we're actually sitting down and saying, "All right, this button should be called this because, unfortunately, the name the developers came with is a little bit misleading." Everything from errors messages, to modals, to the actual clickable interface, if it's got text in it, we're looking at it. That's part of our cycle.
Mike Gerholdt: You hope, until the next release.
Mark Ross: Right, exactly. There's always more, right?
Mike Gerholdt: I'm trying to bounce between being a beginning admin learning flow, and somebody that's been on the platform for a while. You've been around for a while, you remember before Trailhead and only having documentation as a way to learn a product.
Mark Ross: When you're talking about flow?
Mike Gerholdt: Yes.
Mark Ross: Well, my general behavior for flow release notes is the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to do a pass, just start reading the headers. I'm looking for things that are going to ... If I'm an admin, in my days as an admin, I'm looking for things that impact my current customers first. Whether I'm a partner, implementer, I'm looking for my customers. If I'm an admin for a company, I'm looking for my company, the things that are in my org or orgs right now. Because there are going to be changes, there are going to be critical updates and those things can have an impact on the things already out there. But, sometimes there's a new feature that came out.
Gillian Bruce: So Mark, I would love to maybe ask you, switching your mindset a little ... Clearly, you are a documentation superstar. If I'm an admin at an org, and I am building flow processes and all kinds of stuff, how should I think about documentation and incorporating some of maybe the best practices you've learned into my own processes?
Mark Ross: Documentation is really interesting, at least for me. I'm a nerd, obviously. It's interesting because you can do so much with it, with just a little bit of time. I think that's the hurdle that a lot of people feel, is finding the time to sit down and write something. But, if you release something for your users and you don't write down how to do it, you're automatically putting them at a bit of a disservice. Even if you train them in it face-to-face, that's not the same as them having something they can come back to later. So just sitting down and writing the steps out, just do it, just make the time, find the time. Convince whoever's in charge of your hours that it's worth the time because it really is, it will save you so much trouble and will save your users so much frustration. So that's the first step, just do it.
Gillian Bruce: I couldn't tell if that was child or an animal.
Mike Gerholdt: I couldn't either, but that's awesome.
Mark Ross: Ah, there. You've had some love, so are you happy now? Okay. Where was I?
Mike Gerholdt: What's the cat's name?
Mark Ross: Twiglet.
Gillian Bruce: Twiglet, that's great.
Mark Ross: She's a fat black-and-white cat, aren't you? Yes. She's a talker.
Mike Gerholdt: Was there something you've learned, now that you've been writing documentation for a while, that you think could be really helpful for admins to know?
Mark Ross: I'm not sure, I'm not sure how to answer that. Frankly, as long as you're ... A lot of what I've learned since coming onto documentation is how to do proper technical documentation. So things like style guides, where there's established written Wikis, or Confluences, or books like the Chicago Manual of Style, which professional writers have to use. That's the difference between what I as an admin had to do, writing just documentation for my features, and then becoming a professional writer and having to write up to a certain standard, there is a bit of a gap there. I don't think that gap is necessary to be bridged as an admin, I think it creates too much pressure and too much expectation.
Mike Gerholdt: No, a lot of it is you learn what you don't know. Some of it, I think to the point that you brought up, sometimes at least when I'm writing content, or working on something for a project, you'll find you're so close to it that you don't remember to tell people what you innately know. I feel that with documentation. You're so close to the app that you're writing maybe these high level milestones, and in your brain you're filling in the gaps because you know it already. And then, to the point that you brought up, you have someone else read it, well they don't have those. Those gaps aren't filled in, in their mind. That's a really good point to bring up. The ability for someone else to read it, comprehend it and be up to speed is something you should always shoot for.
Mark Ross: That's the other reason we say to avoid writing too technically, or writing with jargon, because that will automatically put you in the place where the user doesn't know what you know.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes. Let's tackle what is near and dear to just about every question I feel like I read on the community, which is error screen or error messages, and my flow doesn't work. Because in your mind, I feel like we're set up for success. Everything comes with a kit now, and a user guide, and you dump it out of the box, and you flip through it, and you snap everything together and boom, you got it. But with flow, you get to experiment, and you're working with data, and rules, and limits. Sometimes, stuff just doesn't work. How do you approach an error message? And what are you looking for in documentation that helps give you that moment of I know what to do next?
Mark Ross: Boy, error messages. They're actually one of the hardest things, in my experience, to work on because you really got to make sure from a Salesforce perspective that it's right.
Mike Gerholdt: Right.
Mark Ross: You've got to make sure you've got all the context, and that's absolutely critical. If you're going into an error message, you want to be sure you understand under what circumstances could this appear. Is it only in the UI? Is it going to also potentially show up in the API? Or, is it API only? If I'm doing some sort of push via API of a flow, is that the only way I'm going to see this error? That's really critical.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I can only imagine. The complexity, you have to think about how do we word this encompass quite a few things, too.
Mark Ross: Exactly, exactly. While not getting too out of hand, or being too narrow, so that it doesn't cover all those bases.
Mike Gerholdt: Ah!
Mark Ross: That's a really important thing. Because if you're just saying, "Ah, this broke," that's not helpful. But if you're saying, "Hey, this didn't work. Try doing this. Or, remove this faulty thing. Or, add this first." If you're able to provide some amount of instruction, you're automatically putting your users in a much better place than they were before.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. Thinking through, because you're not there when the error message fires. You could be heading home from work, or walking the dog, or doing something and somebody in a call center hits an error message. It's not like they have you immediately on speed dial, and they need to know exactly what to do next, so I think working through that. I also think a lot of the questions that I see in the community, too, are they're getting error message while troubleshooting a flow, and trying to work through some of that documentation as well.
Mark Ross: Do you mean foundational in terms of it's one of the first things you need to grasp before you can grasp the whole enchilada? Or, do you mean a greater concept?
Mike Gerholdt: I'll give you an analogy related to cars. I feel, in my opinion, in order to learn how to really be able to drive a variety of vehicles and be a good driver, you need to know how to drive a manual stick shift. If you know how to drive a pre-1980 stick shift vehicle, you can drive anything.
Mark Ross: Oh boy. Wow. Okay. Because I can't do stick shift, at all.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, that to me is one of those foundational ... Because a lot of things have steering wheels, but outside of power steering and them sticking a million radio buttons on the steering wheel, that hasn't changed, but the way vehicles move forward has changed. Now granted, I'm all in on EVs, and the power cycle, and everything how cars are evolving, but manuals are going to be around for while and it opened you up to a whole world of vehicles that are very exciting to drive. I feel it's foundational because you also understand the mechanics of how the car moves. I've had to explain how you have to let off the clutch and give it gas, and it gives you an idea of what's going on in the vehicle. You don't have to do that with an automatic as much.
Mark Ross: Gotcha, all right. Man, okay. Well in that context, picking only one is difficult.
Mike Gerholdt: Well you're the guest, you can pick two. I just ask one.
Mark Ross: Well if we're talking a single thing, it's hard to pick just one. I would say variables is definitely one of the big ones. If you can understand variables, then you can handle almost anything in flow. Not just the concept of variable, even though I know that is one of the first hurdles that people have. This idea of okay, here's a place I can store something. Okay, that's great. Now that you understand what a variable is, now you have to understand how you can use it, and all the different types of variables there are.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Mark Ross: It also is the thing that, once you get it and once you know how to use it, you can do practically anything.
Mike Gerholdt: I think that's good advice. I still am learning variables.
Mark Ross: I can't really hear you. Should I hop off the VPN? We might have to use chat, because I've completely lost audio I think.
Mike Gerholdt: So true to COVID times, we had the internet drop out from underneath us so we got the last bit of Mark's answer and we missed the wrap up. So I will say thank you, Mark, for being on the pod, that was fantastic. And, here's the three things that we learned from our conversation with Mark.
Wed, 31 March 2021
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we kick off Automation April by talking to Sam Reynard, Senior Manager of Product Management on the Flow team at Salesforce. We go over improvements coming to Flow and why it should be your one-stop shop for automations.
Join us as we talk about why you should pay attention to Flow, the improvements coming in new releases, and why it’s so important to start from a place of empathy for your users.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Sam Reynard.
Where Flow Builder is going.
Sam is a member of the Flow product management team—focused mainly on Screen Flows—so she’s the perfect person to have on the pod to kick off Automation month. We’ll be highlighting tools that are available to you and helping you make decisions about what automations to build in order to take advantage of this exciting new area of innovation. There’s a lot coming down the pipeline with Flow and we wanted to talk to Sam to find out what’s especially exciting and helpful.
The main goal is to make Flow Builder as easy to use as building a Workflow Rule or working in Process Builder. One thing that’s being released is support for rich layouts in Flow Screens, giving you the ability to create a section of your screen you can divvy up into multiple columns without touching any code using the section component. We’re also adding the ability to send rich text emails from Flows opening some great new possibilities.
More improvements to Flow coming down the pipeline.
“Today, if you as an admin are trying to create automation, there are so many options,” Sam says, “you can create a Workflow Rule, you can create an approval process, you can create a Flow or something in Process builder.” On the automation team, we’ve been questioning why there isn’t just one tool to give you everything you need without having to decide which tool is best for the job.
Another thing Sam and her team are working on is choices. If you need a simple choice that says yes or no, you shouldn’t need to click six or seven times to create it. There are a lot more little changes coming to make choices simpler and faster and make everyone’s lives easier, so be sure to listen to the full pod for more details, including what it’s like to have Mike in a focus group.
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Thu, 25 March 2021
March Monthly Retro with Gillian and Mike
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the monthly retro. In this episode, we go over all the great blog posts, videos, and all the other Salesforce content from March.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.
Blog highlights from March.
Mike points to Brian Owens’ post about what to do after you get your certification. How do you prep for a Salesforce admin job interview? What should your LinkedIn profile look like? For Gillian, LeeAnne’s post about integration is something you simply shouldn’t miss.
Podcast highlights from March.
If you can’t tell, March has been integrations month, and Gillian wants to highlight a conversion she had with Zayne Turner and LeeAnne Rimel about how admins should think about integrations. Mike highlights another episode we did we LeeAnne about how to think through everything that’s changed as we move to a more virtual world.
Video highlights from March.
“I love when admins think through, visually, how you can call something out in the user interface,” Mike says. For him, a great video for this month was Marc’s walkthrough of how to incorporate emoji flags into your Salesforce org to make it more accessible and easier to understand at a glance. For Gillian, LeeAnne and Ashley Simmons going over MuleSoft Composer is something you simply can’t miss, and don’t miss the No Silly Questions episode about disabling person accounts.
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Full Show Transcript
Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or the March monthly retro for 2021. I'm your host, Jillian Bruce and in this episode we will review the top product, community and careers content for March. And to help me do that, I'm joined by the one and only Mike Gerholdt.
Mike Gerholdt: Hey, Gillian, we have literally a pot of gold at the end of this podcast because we are going to play a fun quiz show. Fun, that's the pot of gold.
Gillian Bruce: Well, I'm excited. I mean, I love fun.
Mike Gerholdt: And I would do that in an Irish accent, except it wouldn't sound that way, it just comes off as a rejected pirate try out for some, Johnny Depp movie.
Gillian Bruce: Now, I definitely am going to make you give me your Irish accent at some point.
Mike Gerholdt: No. Because it sounds like a pirate, just it's... I got a peg leg. Nothing.
Gillian Bruce: All right, Mike. Well, let's start with our content. Let's start with some blogs, what's a blog you'd love to highlight for the month of March?
Mike Gerholdt: Well, I am a big fan of Salesforce certification for admins, I've always been super empowered by my certification. I remember in October of 2008, when I first got mine. And so I loved reading the, you've earned your Salesforce administrator certification now what? And this sneaks in the window of being a March blog post, because it was published on March one by, Brian Owens. And I think it's just a good reminder of all the things you should do before you get a Salesforce admin job interview. Updating your LinkedIn profile, how to prepare for your interview and what to do before you accept the offer. And all of that is just money in the bank to me and makes me think back to those super fun days when I first got my certification.
Gillian Bruce: I think it's a really great post too because, we often get questions from the community of, cool I got certified, now how do I get a job? And I think that Brian's post hope it answers a lot of those questions and give some good structure and guidance around that process, so good highlight. Well, the post I would like to highlight for March, is all about integration. So March was a month of integrations, in case you couldn't tell, there was a lot of integration theme content across all of our channels. And this was a post by, Leanne who led the charge and it talks about, "Hey admins, how should you think about integrations? Why are they important to you? How might you approach them?" It's a great overview about all of the different types of integrations that we as admins should think about in the Salesforce universe and it's a good introduction to all of the different integration content we've got for the month, which I will be speaking more about in the next few sections.
Mike Gerholdt: This could quickly turn into the best of Leanne's content podcasts because, moving on I loved reading all of the integration stuff that we did this month. And I love thinking through, to me it's adding holiday lights when you can string them together, that's integrations when like, "How do I add more and make more things light up and make it all run off one timer?
Gillian Bruce: And make coordinate it with music.
Mike Gerholdt: Seriously, the people that do that are next level. You watch those YouTube videos, man, I'd love to be able to have that patience. I don't, I get through one string and I'm like, "Yeah, everything looks good, let's be done."
Gillian Bruce: If I have to do anything other than a couple pieces of electrical tape, no, no, that's it. The complexity that we're doing here, that's it.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, pretty much, pretty much. But we had some podcasts in March for an awkward segue that no one was expecting. Jillian, what was your favorite podcast in March?
Gillian Bruce: No, I thought that was a fine segue there, Mike.
Mike Gerholdt: My God but okay, go a head.
Gillian Bruce: Well, surprise, surprise, the podcast I would like to highlight from March is also about integrations. And this was a really fun conversation I got to have with, [Zane] Turner who leads our architect relations team and of course, Leanne [Rimal] who is part of almost all of our content this month. Again, talking about how admins should think about integrations and some of architect minded strategies that would help any admin no matter how complex or not complex your Salesforce implementation is. So it was really fun, it's also just super cool to be able to chat with two super technologically, skilled females on a tech podcast. I nerd out about that and it was really fun and they're two of my favorite people anyway, to work with. So it was a good conversation I highly recommend you check it out, we get into some really good meaty topics and help stretch your idea of what an integration is. So check it out.
Mike Gerholdt: I love those and I also preface by thinking, when you see Leann, do those really slick demos or when we have walk throughs of stuff. On the back end of that, we've thought through like, are we showing good architecture? Because, that's the unseen how quick when we demo something that we show and that's why I love listening to this one, is thinking through how architects think. Because all of that is the stuff we don't show.
Gillian Bruce: It's all the behind the scenes pre-planning so that when you see this finished product that makes sense, looks beautiful it's all put together, it flows well but those are all decisions that we made way before even getting to that first demo. So it's a very good set of strategies and skills for all admins to think about.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, in true, can't shake a stick and not hit some Leanne content this month. I chose the podcast that we did with, Leanne on learning in a virtual world for two reasons. One, it was great to have all of us back on one podcast again, just chatting. It takes me back to a few years of, I remember sitting at Salesforce offices on the second floor of that... Well, it was the second floor of the third floor of Rincon, which sounds super confusing to everybody listening. But it was this hot little loft and off in the corner and be like, "Okay, Leanne, let's sit down and record a podcast really quick." And it had 10 minutes in and it's like a sauna, cause it's so hot in there.
Gillian Bruce: Hey, we were talking about hot topics.
Mike Gerholdt: Nothing to do with this podcast, so this is just reminiscing. But it was good to think through, we've been working differently for a year now and to have a fresh perspective from, Leanne on working through this pandemic and then coming back and having observed and really taking that mental bandwidth with you. And thinking through, how are your colleagues going through this? What are you doing? How are you taking care of yourself? There's just a ton in this and it was just a good refresher pod that wasn't some of our usual content.
Gillian Bruce: Agreed. Not directly talking about how you structure Salesforce, but definitely talking about how you can better structure maybe some of your work habits. And yeah, I mean, working together and collaborating in this virtual world has actually been quite a fun transformation in a lot of ways, so it was interesting to talk about that. So we also had some videos in March, Mike.
Mike Gerholdt: I mean, we're a video machine. I feel every time I go to YouTube, I see you and I see, Leanne
Gillian Bruce: We're like the admin cable channel or something, it's just always something new coming out.
Mike Gerholdt: I feel it's more akin to early years of discovery, because it's these two expert corner and no silly questions.
Gillian Bruce: And we've got how I solve this too, which I believe is one of the ones you wanted to talk about, right?
Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely, I thought this one was great. So I love when admins think through visually how you can call something out in the user interface. And so, Mark did a great, how I solve this with emoji flags video and to me, you'd love to sit and think your users pine and read through every detail of all of the record and comb through all the activity history. And really sometimes they just run a list view and want to see the status and they spend a glancing look at it to figure out who they should call next. And I thought this video was really good at that and ultimately, it comes down to how do you help your users consume information visually faster and have a little bit of fun with emoji flags.
Gillian Bruce: I mean, who doesn't like emoji? I have yet to find. I mean, well, honestly, Damon, my partner does not like emoji at all. He refuses to retweet anything that has emoji in it or text any emojis, this is the one riff we have in our relationship. But other than him, I haven't found anyone that doesn't like emoji.
Mike Gerholdt: I'm often feel like sometimes I'm constrained, there's not enough emoji.
Gillian Bruce: Well, that's what we have now, Bitmoji and Animoji. I think we need to continue to build out our emoji languages since this is a secret goal of mine.
Mike Gerholdt: There's been times when I'm like-
Gillian Bruce: We have Trailmoji.
Mike Gerholdt: I know, yes. But I still need more flags. That flag portion that could be expanded, there could be more flags.
Gillian Bruce: Agreed.
Mike Gerholdt: What about a state flag, why don't we have those? Not that I own flag, is all that awesome let's be honest.
Gillian Bruce: There's actually a really total side note for those of you looking to nerd out on flag design, there's a great podcast that I recommend from 99% Invisible about actually flag design and they do a very interesting story about, I think it's Aruba and how their flag has drastically changed.
Mike Gerholdt: Really?
Gillian Bruce: And there's a whole international debate, it's fascinating. Anyway, I'll find out the exact episode, we'll put it in the show notes but-
Mike Gerholdt: Is it called fun with flags?
Gillian Bruce: And no, that would be great. But I don't think that's the title of it, that's what I would've called it. But I'm not cool enough to host 99% Invisible.
Mike Gerholdt: No, no, but vexillology is that how you say it? V-E-X-I-L-L-O-L-O-G-Y. Vexillology, it's the study of history and symbolism of flags.
Gillian Bruce: And there you go. See, learn something new, I would say.
Mike Gerholdt: Fun with flags.
Gillian Bruce: Fun with flags. Okay, but we also had other videos, so we're going to have fun with those videos too. I had two that I really wanted to highlight this month and they're two very different ones, so don't worry. One was the launching of this amazing new expert corner series that, Leanne is hosting. Again, Leanne is amazing, she created a ton of content this month and this again is focused on integrations. This is with our MuleSoft Composer, Product Manager, Ashley Simmons. This is amazing, this is the behind the scenes, one-on-one chat, you get with a PM at a Dreamforce or a TrailheaDX but you can just click play on the internet and you can watch it. It's really, really great in-depth, super nerdy discussion about MuleSoft Composer and the nitty gritty of how you use it, what admin should do with it.
Mike Gerholdt: No, that's awesome. First of all, thank you, Jonathan, for your service. I saw on Twitter his jubilation, I will call it over getting his question answered. That is a good and easy way to bubble your question at the top, let me tell you, because that was a fun, fun video to watch.
Gillian Bruce: And it's always great, excuse for me to, prod the product managers and being like, "Why does this work this way?" So if you've got a product question-
Mike Gerholdt: Why does person accounts have to be a permanent thing?
Gillian Bruce: Why is this so complicated? And then we get them on video and force them to answer. So please keep sending me your questions.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes, please do. So we promise you a pot of gold at the end of the podcast and we are there. I thought it would be fun in the vein of, we've had some sort of theme every month. So for March, we're going to do Mike's March madness quiz show. So, Gillian I have thought of three questions, they're all multiple choice for you, around things that happened in March that are in my mind, just kind of complete madness. And that's why-
Gillian Bruce: I like it.
Mike Gerholdt: That's I've called it. And if you get all three rights, I haven't determined what the prize is. I could do a-
Gillian Bruce: I thought I'll get a pot of gold, isn't that how that works?
Mike Gerholdt: You're sure, yeah. Pot and gold to be determined.
Gillian Bruce: Fair, fair. I mean, everybody I love it.
Mike Gerholdt: So this is fun, fun. A fun, fun, Mark's March madness quiz show. So, Jillian, March is a great month for basketball but not so much for employee productivity. According to USA today, unproductive workers cost their employers blank amount in 2019, and this was paid to employees, spending company time on bedding pool priorities. So blank amount in 2019, was that a, $90 million, b, $1 billion or c, $4 billion.
Gillian Bruce: Men, I mean, I know that March madness is the number one sports betting, fun bracket time of all. Before billion sounds a lot. So I'm going to pick the middle option, I'm going to say 1 billion, b.
Mike Gerholdt: You'll be incorrect. Is actually c, $4 billion. March madness costs employers in 2019, so obviously with pandemic in 2020, I couldn't find an article about that, but I was blown away too. So 4 billion.
Gillian Bruce: Okay, well there you go.
Mike Gerholdt: Madness. Our second madness question. The quote, luck of the Irish is celebrated on March 17th, which was not too long ago, if you listen to this podcast also known as St. Patrick's Day. But what other holidays are also celebrated in March? Is it a, National Fanny Pack Day?
Gillian Bruce: God, I hope that's true.
Mike Gerholdt: B, What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day?
Gillian Bruce: My God.
Mike Gerholdt: Or c, National Earmuff Day?
Gillian Bruce: These are fantastic, I didn't know any of these existed.
Mike Gerholdt: I put a lot of work into this quiz, I'm very proud of myself.
Gillian Bruce: I'm also not very distracted thinking about what would happen if my dog, Rex had opposable thumbs. I literally like the F... When I first got him as a puppy, I remember my dog walker sending me a photo of a destroyed kitchen with flour and chocolate and everything all over the place and her text message was, "Rex, tried to bake you a cake without thumbs." So I'm partial on the fanny packs, I think I'm going to go with a, I'm really hoping that's true. Because then I have an excuse to wear a fanny pack.
Mike Gerholdt: Actually. Ding, ding, ding, all of them are true. So March 3rd is, What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day, March-
Gillian Bruce: Who came up with that?
Mike Gerholdt: It's madness, I don't know. March 9th is International Fanny Pack Day.
Gillian Bruce: I missed it.
Mike Gerholdt: So that's come and gone and National Earmuff day, we just missed it, Nash is March 13th. The choices were actually so funny, I couldn't think of funnier ones and I was like, "I'm just going to make it all of them." This is all of them. Upcoming, March 21st is Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, so if you have an absolutely incredible kid-
Gillian Bruce: I mean, my kids are okay.
Mike Gerholdt: March 23rd is World Meteorological Day and March 31st is World Backup day.
Gillian Bruce: Backup?
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Gillian Bruce: Backing up your data?
Mike Gerholdt: I Don't know, I just thought. This is also why I didn't choose those.
Gillian Bruce: You'll be excited about the Meteorological Day, because you love the weather channel?
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, sure.
Gillian Bruce: No, it's fantastic wake. I'm going to have to remember Fanny Pack Day, next year.
Mike Gerholdt: Fanny Pack Day is March 9th. Third question, so you're 50, 50 here for the win. According to research from the UK Office of National Statistics, kids born in March are statistically more likely to grow up to become what? A, a marine biologist, b, an airline pilot or c, a philanthropist?
Gillian Bruce: Well, Dana my partner was born in March and he's none of those. He's also not very common, I wouldn't use him as an example for anyone else.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow. That fun fact, learn during March madness quiz.
Gillian Bruce: What's appropriate, because he does do sports for a living so I should talk about him on podcast. And when I say, do sports, he just talks about that, he's not actually doing a sporting activities. So let's see, God, marine biologist, pilot and philanthropist. Pilot?
Mike Gerholdt: You are correct. Kids born in March according to UK Office of National Statistics are more likely to grow up to become a pilot. I threw marine biologists in there because I was a sign field fan and philanthropist because I felt like it would throw people off.
Gillian Bruce: A pilot, wow. Okay, well, I had-
Mike Gerholdt: So start racking up your frequent flyer miles if your kid was born in March.
Gillian Bruce: There you go. Okay. Well, that was fun, Mike.
Mike Gerholdt: You went two for three, on Mike's March madness quiz show.
Gillian Bruce: I mean, the second one was a give me, so that was good.
Mike Gerholdt: I know but who's going to turn down International Fanny Pack Day?
Gillian Bruce: Definitely not me. Thank you, Mike. That was very fun. I appreciate that.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes. What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day.
Gillian Bruce: That's going to give me nightmares, is what that's going to do.
Mike Gerholdt: Then bake your bread, you never know. Unlike the UK's Office of National Statistics, if you want to learn more about all things we just talked about in today's episode, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and 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 am @MikeGerholdt and Gillian, is @GillianKBruce. Don't forget to tweet her non-silly or silly question. There is no such thing as a silly question. And with that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for our next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.
Tue, 23 March 2021
For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we team up with Josh Birk, host of the Salesforce Developer Podcast. We come together about the difference between admins and devs and how you can get more dev skills in your toolbox.
Join us as we talk about why it’s easier than ever to learn to code, and how you can put those skills into action.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Josh Birk.
Thinking like a dev.
While Flow and code can feel like two different things, the thought process behind it is the same. “The admin roles are very process-driven,” Josh says, “whereas in the developer role, you’re really trying to figure out what is the appropriate functionality and what is the appropriate tool to bring that functionality forward.”
The important thing to realize is that these skills are totally obtainable if they’re of interest, and Josh has tons of examples of people who have started without a computer science background and gone on to great things. But even more importantly, understanding how everything works is important so you can communicate effectively with your developers and create something that works together.
What happens when an admin learns to code?
One other thing that gets people tripped up is the idea of task versus identity. Just because you’re doing an admin or developer task doesn’t mean that it’s your identity—things aren’t always so black and white. Sometimes you need to developer tasks, even if you’re an admin at heart. As Josh puts it, “having the developer role and role understand their strengths and their weaknesses helps each other do their job better.”
There’s also the fact that you need someone to help you troubleshoot when something goes wrong. Failure is an important part of learning, and having someone over your shoulder can be a big help. If you make the transition to being a dev or acquiring dev skills, there are a lot of options out there for where to go next.
There’s a lot more in the pod about how to get code skills and what to do with them once you acquire them, so be sure to listen in!
Mike: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we are diving into a really great discussion with fellow podcaster and host of the Salesforce Developer Podcast, Josh Birk. You may also know him for Trailhead.
Josh Birk: Thanks for having me, Mike.
Mike: So, since we last chatted, somebody started their own podcast.
Josh Birk: Oh really? Who was that?
Mike: Yeah. I don't know.
Gillian Bruce: I know. I know.
Gillian Bruce: Josh, it's you.
Josh Birk: Oh, since we last recorded. Oh my God. That was so long ago.
Mike: Yes, it was.
Josh Birk: Well, that was a whole pandemic and a half ago, at least.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, the way time moves these days, it's like 10 years ago.
Mike: So, you have the Developer Podcast now.
Josh Birk: I have the developer podcast now. We are rounding up towards episode 75. Like y'all, we have gone out weekly since two Dreamforces ago, basically. And, and yeah, no, it's, it's been great. We've got episodes that are, these days lasting somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes, about 30 minutes usually.
Mike: Yeah, no, it's a great podcast. I'm always glad there's more podcasters for our audience to listen to. Well, we're bringing you on. We did a whole bunch of, of course everybody's doing video content these days, and we got some questions in the community and one of them really stood out that I responded to. It was during our release readiness and I know the developer release rain has got this question too, but there's a lot of people out there and they identify as admins, they identify as developers, they identify as architects and so many different identities. And one of them was, "Hey, I'm doing this, but I need some developer content."
Josh Birk: Yeah. Yeah. And it really isn't just a link, I think, would be my answer there. And I'm trying to remember what I actually pointed her to, if it was Trailhead or any of the podcast episodes, do you recall?
Mike: Well, I think it was a combination of both, but your response, because I got you on a hangout because our calendar was free. Your response got me thinking, which was, does she want to learn the skills or she want to learn how to think like a developer?
Josh Birk: Mmm, yes, yes. Yeah. And it's come up on in a lot of different conversations that, for instance, if we start comparing Flow to coding, for instance, and people like to call Flow "low code." But even developers brace at that a little bit, because they're like, "No, Flow is actually more like visual code," and the thought process between putting behind a Flow together versus putting an apex class together is actually really, really similar.
Gillian Bruce: So I think that's interesting, because I think we focus so much on the skills and like you said, Trailhead is very skills focused, but that thinking, that strategy, can you dig into maybe what some of those differences are?
Josh Birk: So, I think the admin roles, they're very process driven. It's very much a getting the right things into the right boxes at the right time for the right people kind of thing. Whereas in the developer role, you're really trying to figure out what's what's the appropriate functionality and what's the appropriate tool to bring that functionality forward.
Gillian Bruce: I think that's interesting Josh, because I know my personality, I would never have the patience to sit there and write a bunch of code and test it and troubleshoot it for hours and hours on end. I just know that that is not something that even appetizes me in the slightest. But there are people that just love that, and it's like tackling a really complex problem and getting in there. And so, I definitely would have a very hard time being a developer, I know that. I could probably learn the stuff, learn the skills, but actually having that kind of mindset and that kind of approach to my work would absolutely not do it for me.
Josh Birk: I want to add though, quickly, I sound like I'm almost diminishing taking time and learning some of the skills and getting a grasp of triggers and things like that. And I think even if you acknowledge that, that adding developer into your role is it's not something for you, getting your eyeballs on it is still very useful. I've had people in workshops admit to me, "I'm not a developer, I'm not a programmer, I'm never going to code the stuff, but I need to know what you're saying so that I can actually talk to my developers."
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think 100%, that's the difference between understanding versus building it yourself. And I think I've also, very similarly, I think it's so interesting to understand how the LWC works or understanding how to troubleshoot and use [SOCO] and some of those more complex things, but I would not sit there and come up with that stuff on my own. But I think that that is an important distinction there.
Josh Birk: Yeah. I have an anecdote for my workshop days, where somebody came to me and said that to me. They said, "I'm not a developer, but I need to learn some of this because I think my developers are lying to me."
Gillian Bruce: That's hilarious.
Mike: Josh, I think one of the things that seems to come to mind for me is, task versus identity. And just because, to the point of some of the questions we get, an individual doing a developer or an admin task doesn't necessarily mean that that's their identity.
Josh Birk: Yeah. And I feel like we have a lot of like marketing and organizational cruft, which leans to having those very distinct concepts. But then when you wander around the community, that distinction is never as black and white as sometimes we put it in our organization or our training material.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, the admin-eloper a really interesting thing that popped up from the community, which I mean, this is always where these... Everything we get is because of what people are actually doing. And I think it is interesting because understanding the language, understanding the skillset and even understanding the different... A developer approach as an admin, can really add a great deal to your abilities, to either help manage your own Salesforce instance, or even work across different teams and up-level your game there, which I think is a really interesting way to think about it. So, even if you're not going to go down the developer path, understanding enough to be dangerous, kind of thing.
Josh Birk: Yeah, absolutely. And I think we've always said, from either side of the spectrums, having the developer role, an admin role, know their strengths and their weaknesses helps each other do their job. And so I always, and this is the classic example, but I remember being in a business requirements gathering meeting, and they were going through this automation process that was going to have to happen. And I get out of the meeting and I turn to my business partner and I'm like, "That's not that bad. I can put it into a trigger. It'll probably take me a couple of days, but I want to have a couple more days just to be able to test it." And he just looked at me blankly, and this will tell you how old this anecdote is, but he's like, "Or I could just put it in a workflow for you and we're done."
Mike: And it would have been native, no code.
Josh Birk: And it would've been native, no code, which, we get that with Flow these days as well. So, you still get that advantage of not having code, but you have a lot of the flexibility too.
Mike: Is some of that just a symptom of systems not having their own configurable backend, front end, prior to Salesforce?
Josh Birk: Yeah, no, absolutely. That's 100% spot on, because I come from a web development background. And so, my world is client server, client asking polite questions, the server thinking about it ponderously and then giving some kind of response. And if there was any automation at that point, that's an integration layer on the server, that's going and kicking something off or handing things over and things like that.
Gillian Bruce: So Josh, let's go back to our original question about an admin actually wanting to learn how to be a developer. You talked about like the difference in the thinking, the strategy. What are some first steps that someone in that category might do, from your perspective?
Gillian Bruce: I mean, nobody goes to the gym if they don't have an accountability buddy, I totally get that.
Mike: And sometimes they don't go to the gym even if they do.
Josh Birk: Right.
Gillian Bruce: Especially when your accountability buddy isn't very accountable. But one of the things, so, I like taking myself back to when I first started at Salesforce and we were all in four floors in the landmark building. And I worked on the floor with all of our product team. A bunch of developers. And they actually did so much of that, I guess they call it partner programming or whatever, where they both sit at the same desk and are looking at the screens together and actually working together. And I think that's immediately what came to my mind when you were describing that process of having somebody to bounce ideas off of and work with, it's really important when you're getting the developer chops.
Josh Birk: Yeah. I think there's two things that are always true if you're really getting into that role of a developer, identifying as developer. One is that you get into that peer programming, and there's a joke amongst developers that, I'm glad I got you to look over my shoulder because that's the only thing I needed to know to see the bug in my code. Weirdly, just having another human being in your cubicle was the one thing that got you to get to the next point. So, there's always, I think, a social aspect to it, or it's easier if there's a social aspect to it.
Gillian Bruce: Wow, writing code from magazines. That's a stamp in time right there.
Josh Birk: Yeah, I'm not young.
Mike: Those things are punch cards [crosstalk].
Josh Birk: It's just after that, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mike: I was saving my box tops and putting them in an envelope, self-addressed and waiting the six to eight weeks.
Josh Birk: Yeah, no, that was the generation right before me. That was, one of my old bosses used to say that I couldn't complain to him until I had to carry my punch cards uphill both ways. Because, that's what he says he had to do.
Gillian Bruce: That's hilarious. Well, I mean, the idea that failure is part of learning and it's very important part of learning, I think is something that is, as you say, it's embedded in the developer experience and developer journey. But from an admin perspective, I could understand how that might be a little like, "Wait, what? I'm going to fail? And that's part of the thing? Because my job is to make everything work and to make my users super happy. And that's why I have Sandbox, that's why I test stuff."
Josh Birk: And I do like that there's a shared experience, and this is probably true across anybody working with the solutions that are for a lot of customers or clients. You are doing your job right when the trains are coming in on time. And it's like, then nobody's complaining. It's like that, if everything's running smoothly, then that's when things were actually going green. I think that's definitely true for both admins and developers.
Gillian Bruce: So Josh, let's talk a little bit about what the options are when an admin does transition into the developer realm. Can you talk to me a little bit about what those career path options look like? What kind of roles would a newly minted developer in the Salesforce ecosystem look for, and what are the different options in that space?
Gillian Bruce: That's great. That's great. It's helpful too, to understand what your developer job would actually look like day-to-day. So, when you described, like you're accepting the business requirements and building thing, that is a shift from a day-to-day admin role. So, that's good. I always like understanding, so if I take this job, what am I actually going to be doing every day? It's a good thing to think about.
Josh Birk: Yeah. And there's another thing that's come up recently a lot, which is you have Flow. How do you unit test Flow? How do you keep Flow in check when you're moving it from Sandbox to production? And the correct answer, there's actually Apex unit testing. Having Apex pull the levers that the Flow is going to do and make sure that it does the right thing at the end. And so, there's a good example of, if you've got that domain knowledge between those two things, whether you started from an admin perspective or a developer perspective, your production is probably going to be a lot more stable that way.
Mike: I thought you just told it, it was a good boy and gave it treats when it went to production correctly.
Josh Birk: That's my usual strategy, but Flow and I have a very strange relationship.
Mike: Good boy, Flow.
Gillian Bruce: Josh, you spent many years cultivating that relationship. So, you've earned that.
Josh Birk: I have. There's been a lot of interesting conversations along the way. This is true.
Gillian Bruce: Well, Josh, thank you so much for taking time.
Josh Birk: Yeah, no, it's a delight and I look forward to talking to you two. And I also, just so you get this in audio, I want to thank both of you. Mike, you were instrumental in me thinking that maybe we should actually do a Salesforce Developer Podcast.
Gillian Bruce: Hey, we love having new awesome Salesforce podcasts, and you have just taken it and rocked it. So, thanks for the kudos, but it's all you Josh. So, nice job.
Josh Birk: All right. Well, thanks for having me. And I look forward to talking to you two, in the future.
Gillian Bruce: Well, huge thanks to Josh for taking the time to chat with us today. It's always great to have another fellow podcaster join us on the pod. It's like metapod action. If you want to learn more about all things, Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. You can check out Josh's Developer Podcast at developer.salesforce.com.
Josh Birk: Because Paige was like, "I really want to go get a turtle." And we had forgotten about the salmonella scare which made turtles not pets anymore.
Gillian Bruce: Oh yeah.
Josh Birk: Yeah, so.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, they are huge harbors of nasty salmonella, but the best part about Zippy real quick, is that, tortoises live for 80 plus years. So, my next door neighbor, Bernadette, she's older. She's got to be in her seventies and she's already having to create her retirement plan for Zippy after she passes because no one's going to be around to take care of Zippy. So, she's like, "I've talked to the zoo. The zoo is willing to take him."
Josh Birk: Oh, aw. Aw, Zippy.
Gillian Bruce: So, caution when you, when you invest in animals that live a long time.
Josh Birk: Yes, yes. You might have to consider that they're living well, true.
Mike: I think I read somewhere that there was... One of the oldest tortoises was like 180 some years old.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, some of those Galapagos tortoises.
Mike: I'm fairly certain he doesn't care. Do you think he remembers his first owner?
Josh Birk: I think your one 180 is probably very similar to year 80, which is probably very similar to year 40 for him.
Thu, 18 March 2021
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Kris Harrison, Director of Product Management at Salesforce for data, integration, and metadata focusing on Enterprise API and External Services. We’ll dive into all those technical topics and more as we dive into APIs and how they affect everything that goes on in your org.
Join us as we talk about why you should be thinking about APIs and how to learn more.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Kris Harrison.
Why APIs are important for admins to understand.
Kris is a Product Manager at Salesforce focused on the Enterprise API Product Suite. “The encompasses the REST, SOAP, and Bulk APIs that provide programmatic access to the core Salesforce data that we know and love and run so many important functions across many different businesses,” he says. That includes the API framework and specific API operations and resources, like the query operation.
While interacting with APIs sometimes feels like it’s out of the scope of your average admin, so much of what goes on happens either implicitly or explicitly through an API request. Even if you’re not writing code, tons of things you’re doing on your org interact with APIs, and it’s important to understand how they work and how they affect your day-to-day. “If you’re interacting with an org, there’s an API that’s part of making that magic happen,” Kris says.
New API changes in Spring ‘21.
For Spring ‘21, Kris’s team has added the FIELDS() function to the SOQL query. This lets you pull back a pre-defined grouping of fields within the results set you can reference. You can return standard fields, custom fields, or even all fields in the resulting data to save on keystrokes and research to make that exploration on data within an org much easier. That means you can stay within the SOQL query and interpret that results without having to toggle back and forth—one of the most requested ideas on the IdeaExchange.
They’ve also created a plan to retire versions 7-20 of the SOAP, REST, and Bulk API. “Every new release we stamp out a new version of the API,” Kris says, “in Spring ‘21, we issued version 51.” So there’s now a plan to retire the oldest versions of the API (version 7 is from Summer ‘06, for example). There’s information in the Release Update tool in Setup on how to think about how to prepare for this change and what steps can be taken to ensure the org and it’s integrations won’t be impacted by the retirement plan. This helps you take advantage of the newest innovations that ship with every major release.
Adding to capabilities to your org.
For admins, we’re always looking for areas of opportunity—ways we can make the environment better and more efficient. While we’re often focused on new declarative features, looking at API improvements can give users and developers access to new innovation.
“As the CLI capabilities are able to evolve and become more feature-rich, they’re plugging into new capabilities that are expressed through the API,” Kris says, “so there’s a win-win there. As you upgrade and make steps to take advantage of the capability that ships with every major release, that’s an opportunity to refresh the state of any older, pre-exisiting integrations with the org, take stock of them, and see if they would benefit from some of those newer capabilities that have been brought to market and question if they’re still needed and providing a viable service for the org.”
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, LeeAnne is sitting in for Gillian, and the two of us are talking with Kris Harrison, who is the product management director for products at Salesforce within data integration, metadata, and focusing on enterprise API and external services.
Kris Harrison: Thank you so much and I'm grateful to be here.
Mike Gerholdt: Ah, it's exciting to always talk with new product majors and have guest interviewers on the pod. Why don't we get started and tell us a little bit about what you do at Salesforce.
Kris Harrison: Sure. I'm a product manager within our platform services area, and my focus is on our enterprise API product suite that encompasses the REST, the SOAP, the bulk APIs that provide programmatic access to the core Salesforce data that we know and love and run so many important functions across so many different businesses.
LeeAnne: So, Kris, I know that you've been working more and more with admins and you mentioned you've been working with a lot of our customers, and I know that many of our admins, myself when I was an admin, we didn't really always view our role as intersecting with APIs, or that didn't always feel like it was within our scope, but I know it is very much within the scope of the admin.
Kris Harrison: So much of what takes place in interacting with the data on an org happens either implicitly or explicitly through an API request. So it's important to keep tabs on that notion of how interactivity with the org and the form of exchange of data or enablement of functionality takes place.
LeeAnne: So APIs are very much are in the domain of admins, even if they're not necessarily writing scripts or writing code that is calling those APIs. All of the things that admins are doing within Salesforce is interacting in some way with the APIs.
Kris Harrison: I think it's safe to say that if interacting with an org, there's an API that's part of that, making that magic happen.
LeeAnne: Awesome. And I think that that's one of the things we think about a lot for our admin community out there. They do a lot of building and they are often using the declarative tools to build out customizations and to build these experiences. But really the scope of what they're making decisions on or helping make prioritizations on, it extends beyond, well beyond what is being built declaratively.
Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. So the fields function is the latest enhancement to the SOQL query language that I made mention of. So as owners of query operations on Core, you perform those query operations by writing a SOQL query. And so one of the things that we've done to make interacting with data through SOQL more approachable for admins who are writing those queries through the CLI or any number of places where SOQL comes into play.
LeeAnne: So this means like in a practical application, if I was writing a SOQL query and previously maybe as an admin, I would have been going into the object record and set-up and looking at the fields and pulling the API names. But now that can just happen where I'm writing the queries. Is that what you're saying?
Kris Harrison: That's right. You can stay within the context of writing the SOQL query and interpreting the results without having to toggle back and forth or do a lot of that research.
LeeAnne: And this is something that was very much a major request from the community. I think this was one of the top idea exchange ideas.
Kris Harrison: Within our area of ownership, yes.
LeeAnne: It's awesome, and it just reinforces the importance of everyone who's listening, if you haven't participated in prioritization, like this is, it's so important. We love hearing your ideas. We want you to vote on ideas because often they get delivered and they get that visibility with our product teams.
Kris Harrison: Of course. So in December of 2019, we announced a program to retire versions seven through 20 of the SOAP, REST and bulk API. Every major release, we stamp out a new version of the API. In spring 2021, we issued version 51 of the API.
LeeAnne: So this is something that is very important for our admins, especially admins with older, more established environments to be really cognizant of. Because this is something that could impact their integrations, and it's something that's within their scope to be keeping track of and to ideally include updating the API versions in their prioritization and their project planning. Correct?
Kris Harrison: That's right. At every major release, there's additional API based capability to take advantage of, and that newer capability will only ever be able to be accessed by upgrading integrations to consume that latest version. For example, the fields function that we just talked about in SOQL, you cannot access that function if your query operation is going against an older version of the API.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, to me this sounds like the perfect opportunity to have a discussion with your IT. Like what are we integrated? What had been integrated in Salesforce? I mean, if you're running an API from 2006, do we even need that Legacy system anymore? Are we pulling 14 year old data?
LeeAnne: Well, anything to what Kris was just explaining is even if you have some architecture from, or an integration that was built in like 2011, so you've got five years before, or you've got a period of time before that API version's retired.
Mike Gerholdt: So, what you're saying is I should have switched off FireWire a long time ago to USB-C and stay ahead of the different Apple plugs, because that's what it sounds like.
LeeAnne: Yes, always upgrade the hardware as well. I think this is for admins presents a good opportunity, because I think our admins are often out there thinking about the three, six, nine month plans for their environments and doing both tech debt management prioritization of maybe different business schools. But also a lot of our admins are out there, very often trying to find these areas of opportunity. To make the environment better, to make it more efficient, to solve different problems.
Kris Harrison: Definitely. I mean one really handy tool I made mention of data loader before, but the Salesforce CLI, another great tool to take advantage of and to help managing and extend what's going on with an org.
Mike Gerholdt: Kris, for some of our newer admins who maybe are still listening, because it's interesting and they want to ask their IT. They know they've got an integration. How do they go about verifying what version of the API that integration's on?
Kris Harrison: Yeah. So there are a number of touchpoints and solutions are available through event monitoring, primarily, that report on the calls coming into an org and part of that information includes the version of the endpoint that is being called.
Mike Gerholdt: Cool, and we'll be sure to link that in the show notes.
Kris Harrison: Yes.
LeeAnne: So one thing I'd like to just do a quick plug for. I know we talk about Trailhead of course a lot for admins, but if you're hearing some of this and if elements of it do feel a little intimidating, like the CLI, if you haven't used the CLI before.
Kris Harrison: So definitely review the release notes of every major release that comes out and study the API section to see if there's any capability that is of interest. I wouldn't shy away from considering the API section of the release notes as for developers only.
LeeAnne: So we've got lots of awesome API content for our awesome admins, it sounds like.
Kris Harrison: Absolutely.
Mike Gerholdt: Fabulous. Well, I want to thank you Kris for being on the podcast and enlightening us on APIs. I feel like it's the current in our walls that runs along and never makes sense to me when I plug something in. It pops a fuse, but I do it anyway.
Kris Harrison: There are so many great API metaphors out there. One of the...
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, tell me your favorite. Tell me your favorite, please.
Kris Harrison: I can't take credit for it, and I don't know who is the originator of it, but the metaphor of APIs in the context of going to a restaurant, giving an order to a waiter and having the waiter go to the kitchen to fulfill that request and bring the food or drink back to you.
Mike Gerholdt: I like it.
LeeAnne: I really like that metaphor. I'm not on many podcasts, but when I am, we always seem to end up talking about...
Mike Gerholdt: That's because you're on podcasts with me, LeeAnne. That's all.
LeeAnne: Maybe it's just because we record at lunchtime. I don't know.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, that was great. Thanks Kris.
Kris Harrison: My pleasure.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, it was a great discussion about APIs with LeeAnne and Kris. There's so much that an admin knows and does and interacts with the API. And I love the analogy that Kris gave us of a restaurant server, taking your order and going back to the chef. That's a neat way to think about it.
Thu, 11 March 2021
For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by LeeAnne Rimel, Architect Admin Relations, fellow Evangelist, and host of the Youtube video series “Did You Know” and “Expert Corner” to share some tips for how to learn in a virtual world.
Join us as we talk about distributed work, how to address concerns with working from home, and how to get a better work-life balance.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with LeeAnne Rimel.
Join us in the Expert Corner.
March is Admin Integration Month, and it also marks the launch of Expert Corner, a new video series that gives our community the chance to meet the product managers that build the tools our admins are using. “One of the things that came up as I was thinking about how we bring technical content and technical conversations to admins was those conversations that we often witness or have with product managers when we’re at in-person events,” LeeAnne says.
The video series is a way of bringing that experience to everyone. In short, Expert Corner is a front-row seat to a Dreamforce session for anyone with an internet connection.
Tips for working from home
Working from home for seven years, LeeAnne has developed some habits to help her keep focused. Her first tip is that if you’re in a meeting, always imagine you’re right there in the conference room. Close any extra tabs, turn off notifications, and do everything you’d do if you were in a conference room with your boss’s boss’s boss. The same goes for taking time for yourself: “treat yourself and your own time and mental bandwidth with the same respect you would for your colleagues,” LeeAnne says.
If you’re having trouble getting your manager onboard with a remote working situation, one thing that LeeAnne’s found is helpful is to get specific about their concerns. You can then address those concerns with specific solutions, and sometimes it’s about thinking creatively. Maybe you can address their concern that they won’t know the status of your work with a quick 5-minute status update at the beginning of the day, for example.
Admins lead the way
“Having an entire workforce change the way they’re working with technology—for any reason—presents an opportunity for admins to be leaders on how their company is using technology,” LeeAnne says, “when there is change, often there is a need and a thirst for some direction and some leadership and some pathfinding.” That can be setting the tone for communicating project statuses, or just how things are communicated within your organization.
One thing LeeAnne does to be on top of the ball is consume information from a lot of sources and synthesize it quickly. She takes a lot of notes but aims to cut down 90% of it and find the important takeaways. Finally, LeeAnne recommends taking the time to figure out how to communicate that information in a way that your users will consume it.
LeeAnne has tons of great tips for working from home and work-life balance, so make sure you listen to the full episode.
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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. This week, we are talking with architect admin relations, fellow evangelist, host of many YouTube video series like Did You Know and Expert Corner. I think there's probably five other things I should say about LeeAnne, but LeeAnne Rimel is on the podcast to share with us her expertise in learning in a virtual world, and Gillian, this is just such a fun discussion.
Gillian Bruce: Anytime we get to chat with LeeAnne it's super fun.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So if you ever want to know what our team meetings are like, this podcast is pretty much it. So with that, let's get LeeAnne on the podcast. So LeeAnne, welcome to the podcast.
LeeAnne Rimel: Thank you so much for having me. I'm glad to be back.
Mike Gerholdt: You have a lot going on.
LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah, it's been a busy month. It's been a busy few weeks around here. Got some really exciting stuff coming for our admin audience that's been rolled out during March because it's admin integration month. So having a really good time at putting together and collaborating on a lot of content to help our admins be awesome integrators.
Gillian Bruce: Oh, you're not just integrating admins?
LeeAnne Rimel: All of our awesome admins are also awesome integrators.
Gillian Bruce: I love it. Well, LeeAnne. So in addition to integration, which we have a few amazing episodes in the month of March focused on integration, talking to some great people in the Salesforce ecosystem about that, there's also a new video series that you launched that I'd love to dig into a little bit and it's called Expert Corner. So can you talk to us a little bit more about what that is and what it's about?
LeeAnne Rimel: Absolutely. So video is a really important medium for us and it's a medium that I really enjoy working with. I've worked with video for a number of years now. I love that as a communication medium when we're talking to our community. So I love exploring different ways to use video, and one of the things that actually came up as I was preparing and thinking about how we bring technical content to admins and technical conversations to admins was those conversations that we often witness or have with product managers when we're at in-person events.
Mike Gerholdt: I feel like it's a front row seat at a Dreamforce session.
LeeAnne Rimel: I love it. That's a much faster way. I should just describe it that way. That's a much faster way.
Gillian Bruce: And what's great about it is that it's not a Dreamforce session, because only so many people can come to a Dreamforce or come to a World Tour. And what this does is it enables anyone who has an internet connection to get that experience, which I think is pretty awesome.
LeeAnne Rimel: And that's really the goal. We appreciate and love our admin community globally, so I think even if we were having in-person events like this week, I think we would still be doing this type of series because I think that this gives our global audience a chance to feel really connected to the product management life cycle because that so deeply impacts all of our implementations that we're working on, the decisions that we're making as admins. So like Mike said, front row seat. I want all of our admins globally to have a front row seat to get to know their product managers, get to know the products that they're building.
Mike Gerholdt: One thing I like about it is in addition to just having that front row seat, it's very consumable. And I know one thing that you focus on and really help the whole team do is understand how we're learning in a virtual world, because when we're at Dreamforce, you can sit there and not necessarily turn your phone off, but leave it in your bag or your pocket and not get pinged with email or Slack notifications. But now that we're all sitting at home trying to figure that out, working and our email is always on, video is always on, I'd love to know your thoughts on how you balance your calendar and demands so that admins can find time to watch videos like what you're producing.
LeeAnne Rimel: And I think that's a really important conversation that a lot of us are facing right now. And I think even before we were all, or many of us were working from home, I think there was a lot of conversations around being inundated with incoming messages and the attention span that... Shortening our attention span, because we'd always get pings. I have a few things that I do that I actually started doing when I began working from home seven years ago, that really helped me focus on and what I was doing at the moment. One of those is even if you're home and you've got three monitors, if you're on a meeting, imagine as if you were in a conference room for that meeting. I try to close all of my other windows I might have open, I turn off notifications on my phone and on my computer, I try to really do the things... Imagine if you were going to be in a conference room with your boss's boss's boss, and you don't want all your stuff pinging, you wouldn't be answering chats at the end of the table, most likely.
Gillian Bruce: LeeAnne, I'm just going to add to that. One thing I always find myself doing, or at least I definitely did during this first part of my working from home very regularly experienced was I would have a video or something playing constantly, because I'm like, "Oh, I can just absorb this while I'm doing this." It was too much. It was like answering the Slack. I was answering this email. I was trying to pay attention to the video, and I wasn't doing anything very well. Nobody wants a multipurpose printer because it... Yes, it can scan, it can fax, it can print, but does it do any of those very well? Usually not.
LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah, give yourself the space... I mean, I wish I could just absorb by osmosis and just... I wish I could just play technical videos while I was sleeping and I would just wake up knowing new programming languages, but that's not how it works. You have to be really focused. And I think to me that's a huge thing. And I think the more that you can put that on your calendar, it works... I'm a huge fan of turning off notifications whenever you can and just communicate about that. I know I communicate to my team back in the day of building demos and stuff. I'd say, "Hey, I'm going to be heads down building a demo for the next 90 minutes. I'll be back." And I think everyone has different work cultures and work team set ups and all of that, but as much as you can set that time aside because 30 minutes well-spent is so much more impactful than 120 minutes of half way reading a Trailhead module or a blog. Like you said, Gillian, we're not multi-purpose printers. Which is not a sentence I thought I would say.
Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, by the way, I have a multi-purpose printer. I thought what you were going to say is, "But does it do all three at the same time? No."
Gillian Bruce: I mean, they have gotten better in the last few years, but in general they're not super efficient at any one of those things. They're trying to do at all.
Mike Gerholdt: Yep. LeeAnne, as I was listening to talk about all of that stuff, one of the things that I think I've had conversations on Twitter about, and I also feel you're really good at managing up and helping other admins talk to their managers or their stakeholders, what happens if you're in an environment where your boss says, "I need to see you online," or, "I need to see this," or, "I need you to be available." How do you have those conversations or what would your advice be?
LeeAnne Rimel: I think a lot of times when people in our professional or personal lives are asking us for something, I think it can behoove us as individuals to spend some time thinking about what is really the ask behind the ask. And sometimes you can just actually come out and ask them what it is. So for example, if I had a manager who really wanted to see me online, and actually I did have that at one point. In my career, when I was starting to work from home sometimes as a sales engineer, there was some trepidation about like, "Well, we need to be able to see you." And I was like, "I really want to be able to work from home one day a week. How can I work together with this manager to mitigate what their fear is here?"
Gillian Bruce: That could be really tough because a lot of it is ingrained culture for some organizations, you know? I think even at Salesforce, as in the last year, I mean our whole workforce has pretty much been remote. I know that there's even specific groups that have struggled more with it than others just because there's some... There's a vibe that comes with specific types of organizations. And I know your idea of what is the real fear of not having a butt in seat methodology.
LeeAnne Rimel: What are they worried about?
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I've seen several conversations where you get in that discussion and all of a sudden it's like, "Oh, well, I worry about knowing where something's at." And like you said, "Oh, we can actually resolve that by giving updates at this time every day or whatever." It's interesting, because it's... I mean, I'm not going to say that some of it is maybe generational, but there is an evolution of work that is happening right now that I think is really fascinating, and a lot of these digital tools enable us to do that in new ways and help transform and evolve the culture there. One question I think would be interesting to work on is specific to admins. I know there are many admins who've already been able to rock their role not being physically in the office. What are some things maybe in the last year or so that you've seen with Salesforce specifically, or that you've seen evolve or surface in the Salesforce community that enable admins to even take this to a further level and continue to actually be a driver of digital transformation at their organizations?
LeeAnne Rimel: I think that's a great question because I think having an entire workforce or a large bulk of your workforce change the way they're working with technology, for really any reason, presents, I think, an opportunity for admins to be leaders on how their company is using technology. I think that admins are good at change management and we're good at training and we're going to communication. And I think that when there is change, often there is really a need and a thirst for some direction and some leadership and some pathfinding like with product pathfinding and tools and creating what are those processes that help us be successful now. So I think that admins can be very well positioned to really help their companies be really successful during this transition.
Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, I love that term, rock their role. I see a hashtag coming on, and I am going to turn that into another question because I feel, LeeAnne, one of the things that evangelists do and you've helped teach the team to do is really consume a lot of information from many different sources and synthesize it and also make it very relatable. So taking information from videos, or like you said, your chats with PMs and documentation, and then making it very relevant for our admin audience, which coincidentally, I think admins do as well. They take information from us, from your videos, from release notes and synthesize that for their organizations. If you had... And we did a podcast earlier this year with Lizz Hellinga on three things admin should pay attention to. I'd love to know three tips on how admins can help synthesize that information like you do.
LeeAnne Rimel: I take a lot of notes. I know that's probably a very boring tip, but I constantly take notes. Like Gillian and Mike know, I've got endless quips of just notes from calls, notes from presentation. I take a ton of notes and my notes are... So that's my tip one, just really documenting and taking as many notes as I can. Everything that stuck out to me. And then I try to get rid of 90% of the notes. So I really try to trim down. I'll take tons and tons of notes and then I read through my notes again and I think about what is really the important takeaways here. If I'm trying to, like you said, synthesize a large piece of information. And I think centering not yourself is really important in this exercise, really trying to center and think about and have an empathy mindset and think about placing yourself in someone else's position. Who's rocking their role, as Gillian said, and think about, "Okay, if I was managing a complex implementation right now and I had meetings on my calendar for six months planning, what is information that I might need to know?"
Gillian Bruce: I think that's a really good point. I mean, everyone's got different learning styles anyway. I mean, we have people like myself who need to learn by actually going through it and doing it. There's other people who consume much better by hearing something like a podcast. Shout out to you people. And then there's people who love to consume videos or read about it. And I think that's a very, very good point of trying to meet people where they're at, and as admins and especially with these digital tools, we have the ability to do that, which is pretty awesome. I will continue the rock their role. It's making me think of sushi too, for some reason.
LeeAnne Rimel: Okay, now I want sushi too. I feel like there's restaurants that had like a rock and roll...
Gillian Bruce: Exactly. Yeah, the rock and roll is a good go-to.
Mike Gerholdt: I'm just excited that Gillian was first one to bring up food and not me this time right now.
LeeAnne Rimel: Now I'm hungry. Thank you, Gillian.
Gillian Bruce: Sorry.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I want sushis too. Specifically California rolls.
Gillian Bruce: Oh yeah, totally. Totally. All right, I know what I'm ordering tonight. So one of the other things, LeeAnne, I think that's really important and we touched on it a little bit earlier, but maybe you do have three screens and you have the ability to do all of the things all the time and you don't have maybe a barrier of hopping on the train to get to work or hopping in the car. How do you set boundaries and trying to make sure that you're not like burnt out all the time, because I know that's something that I have struggled with on and off in the last year of, "Well, I can just pop open the laptop and do this now, or I'm just at home so I can pop upstairs, have a meal and come right back downstairs and get back in it." As someone who has worked remotely for a very long time, what are some strategies you have around not putting yourself constantly into overdrive or overwhelm?
LeeAnne Rimel: That's a really good question, I think, and this is very much a know thyself thing too, because it's a little bit different for everybody. But I think that the step one I think is to... And I would challenge everyone who's listening to this, sit down, write this out, what are the things that help you decompress or help you forget about work? So for me, that's walking my dog and cooking. Those are two things that I can't be on my phone during. I'm out in the world walking my dog or my hands are dirty because I'm cooking. So those are two things that I get pretty focused on what I'm doing in the moment and I can't work. I physically cannot be working while I'm doing it. So when you identify what are some things that maybe help you get in a flow state that's not a work flow state, and how can you schedule those in your day?
Mike Gerholdt: I was just going to say, I hear your bookend calling.
LeeAnne Rimel: She knows I'm talking about her, but I think that also giving yourself grace where you can. I think a lot of us really want, like I said, the 80% rule. Do the best that you can, but also give yourself grace. If you have the ability to, and you have to ask for an extension on a project or something, think about when are those times that it is okay and that I can try to load balance a little bit. Sometimes I have to do that. I say, "I committed to these five things and I have to drop one of them. I'm going to talk to my manager and see which of those I can de-prioritize for another month just to try to stay at a steady pace," because I can guarantee also, your manager doesn't want you to burn out either. Everyone who's listening here, no one wants to burn their employees out or they shouldn't want to burn their employees out. So I think whenever possible, communicating about it and asking for guidance on prioritizing and stuff too is helpful.
Mike Gerholdt: Well I think that is a fantastic way to bookend the podcast.
LeeAnne Rimel: I see what you did there.
Mike Gerholdt: Every now and then. No, this was really good. LeeAnne, I'm super excited for these Expert Corner videos selfishly. I think they can be bigger than this podcast. So I hope everybody that listens watches it and shares them a few hundred times to everybody that they know.
LeeAnne Rimel: That's a pretty lofty goal, but I'm pretty excited about it. I've been at Salesforce for almost 12 years and I still super nerd out every time I get to talk to our product teams. I love working with our product teams and hearing about roadmap and stuff. So I'm really excited for our admins to get to participate in these Expert Corners and hear from our awesome product experts.
Gillian Bruce: You're going to create a whole slew of... What is it, the Shannon Hale society. They're going to have followers for all of the PMs now.
LeeAnne Rimel: I know. I don't know if the newer PMs really realize what they're getting into. I'm like, "Hey, this is the most awesome community ever, but also you got to get on Twitter. You're about to get a lot of tweets."
Mike Gerholdt: I'm sure there's an app to immediately spin up fan clubs. If not, somebody needs to build that.
LeeAnne Rimel: Perfect. I feel like it's called the Salesforce community, or Salesforce Trailblazer community is our awesome PM fan clubs that we see.
Gillian Bruce: 100%. LeeAnne, thank you so much for taking the time to join us on the pod today and share your wisdom and expertise with us. Very much appreciated.
LeeAnne Rimel: Thank you so much for having me. It's been a joy. I love getting to show up and chat with you all on the pod.
Gillian Bruce: So huge thanks to LeeAnne for taking the time to chat with us. It's just so fun to get the three of us on the line together. Some major takeaways from our chat today. Number one, check out the brand new Expert Corner that has now launched on the admin YouTube channel. It's awesome. These are amazing opportunities to get direct access to our product managers who are building the features that you are using every single day. And if you're missing that Q&A interaction, casual chat that you might get at an event in the before times, this is the chance to get that connection now, and they're awesome, so make sure you check those out.
Direct download: How_to_Learn_in_a_Virtual_World_with_LeeAnne_Rimel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT
Thu, 4 March 2021
On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to a Salesforce dream team of Zayne Turner, Senior Director of Architect Relations, and LeeAnne Rimel, Architect, Admin Relations. We’ll cover integrations and the tools coming down the road to make them even easier.
Join us as we talk about why you’re already doing integrations as an admin, what questions to ask about integrations, and the Trailhead content you should look at to get started.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Zayne Tuner and LeeAnne Rimel.
Admins are integrators.
“Admins are integrators—admins often are responsible for integrations at their organizations, they are often the ones making important decisions about what to do with existing integrations,” LeeAnne says, “so how do we give you the tools to think about integrations in the larger business scope for your company?” If you connect your data in Salesforce to something else, somewhere else, then you’re already dealing with integrations.
Salesforce has been working hard to get better guidance out there to help admins who have to make these kinds of decisions. “One of the biggest things is to really understand what it is you’re integrating,” Zayne says, and while that might be data, “there’s this whole, powerful realm of processes and process integration—when something has to start inside Salesforce and continue outside.” Understanding the two sides of integrations, process and data, is key to making sure you can make a solid plan for whatever it is you need to do.
Salesforce tools to help you get started with integrations.
The important thing to remember is that the habits you’re already honing to be the product owner of your environment are going to relevant for integration management. Questions like what kind of security you should have, or what kind of data access should have apply equally to your org and to integrations.
“Loosely coupled” is a term that’s thrown around a lot when discussing integrations. It’s the idea that data and process moves easily between systems, but they’re not chained or locked together in a way that can’t change. The Mulesoft Anypoint platform, for example, gives you a middle layer that adds some flexibility. At the same time, we live in a world with budget constraints, so if you’re using out-of-the-box tools, you need to go through a process to identify what really needs to be integrated and what might be better served with a simpler solution.
There are also some new Integration Pattern Architect Trailhead trails that can help you get a handle on everything, so take the time to brush up on your knowledge. Listen to the full episode for more about integrations from this expert guest lineup, and don’t be afraid to jump into Mulesoft Composer and get started.
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Thu, 25 February 2021
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!
Thu, 18 February 2021
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fri, 12 February 2021
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!
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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.
Thu, 11 February 2021
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.
Thu, 4 February 2021
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.
Salesforce Admins: @SalesforceAdmns
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.
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.
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."
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.
Direct download: 3_Things_Admins_Should_Pay_Attention_to_in_the_New_Year_with_Lizz_Hellinga.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am PDT
Thu, 28 January 2021
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?.
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?"
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.
Wed, 20 January 2021
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 PDT
Thu, 14 January 2021
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.
Direct download: New_Spring_21_Feature__In-App_Learning_with_Grace_Li.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT
Tue, 12 January 2021
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.”
Full Show Transcript
Direct download: AppExchange_Success_Stories_with_Woodson_Martin.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT
Wed, 6 January 2021
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 PDT