Salesforce Admin: Innovating the E.A.S.Y. Way

What do you do?
I’m a Salesforce Administrator.
<Blank Stare>

Raise your hand if you’ve gotten this response too. Even in the tech industry or business world, often times, people assume that means something different than it does.

Maybe they think you are an assistant to the Sales Manager, or some other role in ‘Sales’ related to ‘Administration’ – which (TBH) most people think of as paper pushing.

So, what is a Salesforce admin? A Salesforce Administrator is a business leader, deeply knowledgeable about how their company operates, intertwined in making all departments successful through process automations, and thus, integral to running a smooth & lean business.

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/05/what-is-a-salesforce-admin.html

Definitely not just a paper pusher, and not just specific to ‘Sales’. And look at those descriptors:

  • business leader
  • deeply knowledgeable
  • intertwined
  • integral

When I was asked to take over setting up a Salesforce CRM 12 years ago, I didn’t know what it meant to be a Salesforce Administrator. I knew it looked like a pretty cool tool (I love new tech) and I knew it represented something I could really sink my teeth into and learn (learning new things is my favorite) and ultimately I had hoped it would help me become more useful and maybe even indispensable in my company.

So fast forward to now and I look at that description of a Salesforce Administrator and I can honestly say I definitely feel as if this is an accurate description.

But it’s not the title that makes me a ‘business leader’, or ‘deeply knowledgeable’, or ‘intertwined’ and ‘integral’ to the business. Those things came from me. From my drive to become those things. From my love of innovation.

This past Dreamforce I was asked to be a part of the Admin Keynote. If you are a long time reader of my blog you may remember this post in 2015 which showed my excitement when celebrating Admins became official at the largest tech conference in the world.

I sat in the crowd in 2014 for the first EVER Admin Keynote and would never have imagined that day that five years later I would actually be featured and get to talk to THE Parker Harris to a room of over 6000 people and simulcast live across the globe.

Parker’s question to me: What’s your advice to everyone on how to deliver innovation?

My answer: I’ve got an E.A.S.Y. formula for you to remember! (because awesome admins love to write formulas, right SteveMo?)

So this is Innovating the E.A.S.Y. way:

Embrace Change

Always Be Learning

Show Your Work

You Got This

Over the next four blog posts, I’ll take a deeper dive into each of these and show you how you can ramp up your innovation game and become the awesome Salesforce Admin described above using this formula!

What are some other adjectives you would use to describe the role of Salesforce Administrator? How do you describe it when asked ‘What do you do?’

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Invisible Innovation

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it even make a sound?

If you are a reader of my blog you could probably be described as an innovator. As someone who introduces new methods, processes, and ideas. As someone who looks for ways to streamline, create efficiencies and generally make the world (and Salesforce org) around you a better place.

And 90% of you do it because that’s just what you do. It’s who you are. You are a noticer – you notice when something isn’t as smooth or seamless as it could be and you do what you can to fix it. Or when a group of users has a repetitive process and by implementing a few cool automation tools (I love you Lightning Flow) you can cut the time it takes them from 15 minutes down to about 4 minutes.

So you build something super-cool and let it out into the world. You write-up an email about why and how it works, you even record a quick video about it, then send it to those who will benefit the most.

Then you wait for feedback.

And someone might reply with ‘Cool bro, thanks’, but most are piled under with other emails and urgent matters and don’t get around to responding. You wonder if they even read the email.

You wonder if they have even tried out this new super cool automation.

And sure, some of your wonder is personal. You worked hard on this, and it’s nice to see that something is being used. But some is also about understanding whether you are like that tree falling in the forest. Can you make a sound if no one is listening? Are the users in your organization resistant to change, are they welcoming to new ways of doing things?

That’s sometimes a hard one to contemplate. And hard to measure. We’ve recently put together some great Lightning Screen Flows to save time for a group of users who have a heavy workload. But while we rolled it out, we had a hard time determining whether anyone was using it, much less get feedback on why they are/aren’t using it or what might make it better.

So we decided to create a very simple Automations Analytics process so we can see when one of our screen flows is being used. This way we can see who is (and who isn’t) using an automation and we can work to investigate why or why not and make changes or improvements as needed.

Here’s what we did:

  • Create a Custom Object called Automation Analytics
    • Add 2 fields: Automation Name (text field), Run Date/Time (date/time field)
    • Enable Reports
    • Give Create permissions for all profiles
  • Add a Record Create element to create a new Automation Analytics record at the end of each screen flow
    • Put the name of the Flow in the Automation Name field, stamp the flow run date/time in the Run Date/Time field
    • No need for any other mapping – the person who runs the screen flow will be the Owner of the new automation analytics record

Botta-bing botta-boom! Now you can report easily on when your screen flows are being used and by whom. You are, in essence, listening for trees falling in the forest!

Now, I’ll be honest, in our case the results haven’t been blazing. It confirmed my suspicions that the flows aren’t being used as we had hoped. But at least I know now. We can find out why and tweak the flows to be more useful. Or we can realize that this particular team is resistant to change and either try figure out their ‘WIIFM’ or make the decision to stop spending time trying to help those that don’t want the help and focus on other groups and/or processes.

Either way I can now point to real results when someone asks me to validate some of the things we are doing.

Take a look at some of your automations and see where you might want to build in some analytics. This could even be done with Process Builder as well. But only do it if you intend to act on the results. Analytics for the sake of analytics with no real plan to review and revise is just extra data no one needs!

Read my previous post on Innovation here!

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IE Logout for Lightning!

If you’ve read my blog posts on Lightning, you may recall this post about how we initially addressed users who try logging in with Internet Explorer 11. It wasn’t the most elegant solution.

Enter the awesome, fantabulous, Lightning Champion, Melanie Zilles Head! If you haven’t met Melanie yet, you should make it a priority to do so (her contact info is at the bottom of this post)! I’ve known Melanie for almost 4 years now and am lucky to call her friend. She is the Ft. Worth User Group leader and a powerhouse in the Lightning adoption community! After talking with her about out challenges with IE, and during her Lightning implementation she came up with the perfect way to prevent users from logging in using IE while providing them with customizable guidance on what browsers they should be using!

Without further ado, check out this awesome solution:

You rolled out Lightning, you are checking your adoption metrics in the Lightning Usage App, and you are realizing how many users are currently using IE11 (or versions older than that). Understandably, you are not a huge fan. There are 2 significant issues:

  1. IE11 is not here to stay. Even if you opt-ed in for the extended support, Internet Explorer support for Lightning is going scheduled to go away (see Help Documentation). But that doesn’t mean that you are “OK” for now – because IE11 is still known to have significant performance issues (Knowledge Article). You worked hard on your Lightning rollout – don’t let IE ruin it for your users
  2. IE11 is known to not meet certain performance and security standards (Knowledge Article). That’s a risk you shouldn’t take.

Nana previously shared great ideas on how to “encourage” users to stay away from IE11 (and therefore the Classic UI), but taking away some of the functions they so desperately need. Unfortunately, there a certainly loopholes (ie links/ Ids that can be posted into the URL) that would still allow users to access what they need.

So, if you find yourself needing a more ‘radical’ approach, read on! You will learn how to use a login flow to prevent users from logging in when they use IE.

What are login flows?

Login flows are basically Visual Flows that allow you to either show custom messages to your user, and for our use case, make an assignment that sets the LoginFlow_ForceLogout(type boolean) output attribute to ‘true’, which will prevent the user from logging in.

If you had a chance to take a sneak peak into a Spring ‘19 pre-release org, you may have seen the brand new and shiny Lightning Flow Builder… If not, here’s your first look into the new design and configuration. #SafeHarbor #ForwardLookingStatement

Task to accomplish:

Do not allow user to log in if IE11 (or any IE version) is used to login.

Solution: Use a Login Flow that does the following:

  1. Lookup the Login History to determine the browser and login type used in the most recent (aka current login attempt)
  1. Use a formula Resource to use the User Id of the user that is trying to login
  • Based on the Login Type value, we are checking for non-Browser (non-Standard UI) activity.

**********************************************************

The list of login type values you may want to include here may vary based on your overall setup,

integrations, etc. It’s recommended you check your login history records

(https://workbench.developerforce.com is a great way to do so) for values that you may be expecting based on your users’ login history and make adjustments to this portion of the flow accordingly.

**********************************************************

  • We exit the flow if it is not a true Browser Login attempt (nothing happens, and the user can authenticate successfully).
  • If the user in fact uses a browser, we will check the it’s an IE browser.
  • If the browser is Not IE, we again exit the flow (do nothing) and the user will get logged in successfully.
  • If the browser is IE (IE11, or an older version), we are first showing a quick warning by adding a screen element.
  • Next, the LoginFlow_ForceLogout output attribute is set to “true” using an assignment.
  • So, in the end, the flow will look like this:
  • Lastly you need to create the login flow to actually launch the flow above during a user’s login attempt. For more details, check out the Custom Login Flows help documentation.
    • Be sure to not render this login flow in Lightning Experience. If you do, you may get an error message.

A few more comments:

  1. As a best practice, you may want to consider NOT assigning a login flow to your system admin profile – don’t lock yourself out! (Create a test user instead and always test this in a sandbox first!)
  2. You can expand on this flow to show custom messages or images, etc. If you to, consider using custom settings or custom metadata types to make your flow more dynamic (without actually having to edit the flow itself)
  3. ForceLogout redirect behavior: Know issue in redirect inconsistency: Sometimes user may get redirected to www.salesforce.com instead of the login screen
  4. In the past I have experienced that a Lightning for Outlook authentication shows up as a ‘true’ IE authentication (hopefully that won’t be an issue going forward). However, if you run into this issue, you may want to add a “IE bypass” option that can be temporarily enabled for a user to allow the authentication and then be disabled again to ensure the user continues to be prevented from using IE.
  5. If you can’t wait until the new Flow Builder is available with the Spring 19 release, you can configure the same thing in the current Cloud Flow Designer – you just want get the pretty LIGHTNING view or simplified UI. #LightningNow #LightningChampion #LightningStrikesFlows

Time to celebrate your users being in Lightning at all times!

Feel free to reach out at any time if you have any questions!

Melanie can be found on twitter: @melsfdc
Linked in: Melanie Head
or via the Trailblazer community: Melanie Head

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Might Not Seem Like It Some Days, But You Got This.

Despite what your Facebook and Instagram feed displays, there is not one person around you who isn’t going through some shit.

Some people just choose to cover it up, gloss it over, or ignore it. They carefully cultivate a different visual for the world to see.

And that’s ok. It’s what works for them. Maybe it’s what works for you.

And when I talk about ‘going through some shit’, I am not just talking about big stuff. There is a wide variety of crap, big or small, that you could be facing:

  • Stress about Money
  • Unhappy at Work
  • Anxiety about school or classes or certifications
  • A broken down appliance or car
  • Not enough time in the day to get it all done
  • Feeling pulled in too many directions
  • Health issues for you or a family member
  • Grief
  • Relationship issues (this includes bad relationships, lack of relationships, complicated relationships, that uncertain period when you start a relationship, or that emotionally wrenching time when one is ending)
  • And a gazillion other things you could insert here

Some of us are going through one or two of these, some of us relate to every bullet. Around the holidays especially, it tends to pile up and feel weightier with what seems like everyone sharing how perfect their lives are on social media.

But I want you to know that whatever you are going through, you will get through. It might not be in the way you expect or hope, it might be in a different way altogether. But you are resilient and strong. And, while it might not always feel like it, there are people rooting for you.

On one of my darkest days three years ago, I opened an envelope and inside was this banner. It brought me to my knees. I had lost my home, my vehicles and possessions, hadn’t been to work in weeks dealing with tragedy, and had that very morning called in Hospice for my dying mother.

Yet someone believed in me.

Someone saw this and thought of me.

In no way did I believe that ‘I Got This’ at the time, but knowing that someone else thought I did, that they thought I could get through was motivation. And continues to be my motivation every day.

So this has become my mantra and I hope it becomes yours:

You've got this.

You've got it when you hear it can't be done.
You've got it when it feels like it's just too hard.
You've got it when unexpected shit happens and
you're not sure what the next step should be.

And, just so you know...
You've got me there to help in any way I can.

We've got this.
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Set Your Self Aside & Vote

I care about people. Not just people like me. Not just myself or my immediate family/community. I believe that we should help those less fortunate than us. I believe that our country was founded on the premise of welcoming and helping those who were striving for a better future and that we should continue that practice. I believe that everyone should have the same access to mental and healthcare so they can make decisions with their providers about their health.

I care about the environment. I want to leave the future generations with clean water and land to hike on. I believe that everyone (including and especially big business) has a duty to the land and environment and should be required to incorporate environmental protections into their practices. Our time here may be short but the effects our time has on the environment is lasting and everyone should remember that.

I believe if people stopped caring about the almighty dollar, that we could solve things like homelessness, poverty, the education gap, mental health issues, general health issues, and more. If we had a government led by people that cared more (or even a little) about the individual. If we had a government led by people who listened to their constituents, instead of spending all their time in meetings with billionaires and corporations. If we had a government led by people who worked together to develop solutions instead of hiding behind party lines because they are afraid of losing money from big donors or afraid of being voted out. If we had a government led by people who emulate the type of people our kids can look up to and strive to be one day because they are genuinely good people.

I believe that it is all of our responsibility to look beyond our own noses, beyond our own front doors, beyond our own borders, put ourselves in other’s shoes, however ill-fitting, and ask ourselves how it feels, how that person would benefit from our help. When we give, we get back a hundredfold. It doesn’t take much to give. What it takes is setting our ‘selves’ aside.

I am trying to raise kids who think beyond themselves. I am fortunate to know SO MANY people who do this every minute of every day. And I believe that with every hand that reaches out to lift another up, it will continue to multiply.

I hope you have all, regardless of whether you agree with me, taken the time to vote. It is our voice and so very important.

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