Just in time for Christmas, the Spring 13 release notes are out. After 3 or 4 pretty jam packed releases, it looks like salesforce is taking a little bit of a breather for this one. While not a ton in here, there’s still some good stuff. In addition, a lot of the new mobile/touch apps have been rolling out over the past few months vs. waiting for the release itself, so they should be included. Here are some of the highlights from this release.
- Chatter Enhancements – A heavy focus on Chatter in this release:
- Tasks appear in Chatter Feed – Tasks will now appear in the Chatter feed. This is an optional feature, but I’ll admit, I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this. I’ve always felt that Chatter would eventually replace Tasks entirely and this is sort of heading in that direction. That said, I do think some filtering is going to be needed down the road, as the Chatter feed could quickly get cluttered here especially if you have salesforce connected to Marketing Automation that generates tasks. Overall though, a step in the right direction. As an add-on to this is a beta feature that will allow you to create tasks right from the Chatter feed. This is a terrific idea.
- Searching Chatter Groups – Chatter Groups is one of the more heavily used aspects of Chatter, so this is a welcome enhancement. In particular with very active Chatter Groups (which is the goal right?), it was becoming harder to find posts within the groups. Now, that are all search enabled
- Public Group Posting – A subtle change, but a good one. Now, any user can post into a public Chatter Group, even if they aren’t a member. Why add a roadblock to someone looking to contribute?
- Improved Email Replies – Now you can reply via email to Likes and Comments the same way you can reply to a Chatter post
- Smaller Minimize Chatter Messenger – Thank you!
- Chatter API Enhancements – The Chatter API received several enhancements, expanding out the functionality even more
- Mobile Improvements – A few new mobile improvements, some of which are already live.
- Touch – Touch is now generally available, although it’s been out for a while in beta. It’s still only available on the ipad (disappointing, but understandable considering Android tablets have not really taken off just yet in the Enterprise). If you haven’t tried the Touch app, you really need to. It’s very intuitive and extremely powerful, especially for Sales and Management Users. You can get to most standard objects, and any custom object – the only thing you need to do is make sure it is visible in the Sales App within salesforce as that is what Touch keys off of. Download it from the App Store, but don’t get confused with ForcePad which is an open source version (also a strong app by the way)
- Touch Dashboards – Now dashboards within Touch are enabled for all touch functions. You can tap into a dashboard to view more details on what you tapped, or swipe it to see all details.
- Logger – This was actually released in November, but it was after Winter so is part of the Spring release. This is a terrific app available on the iphone or Android that allows users to truly unleash their Contact Management. This is a great example of what can be done with Touch. It’s an extremely simple interface where you can search for a Contact, and right from there in a click you can create a task, email, call or even map their location. A single screen to launch pretty much any action you would want to from a smart phone.
- Forecast Improvements – Some quick improvements to Forecasting, which over the past few releases has received a steady stream of enhancements. With Spring 13, you can now forecast quarterly, forecast using partner owned opportunities from the partner portal (much needed), and some reporting improvements to forecasting as well.
- Salesforce for Outlook – The Side Panel for Outlook that we discussed in the Winter 13 release, is now generally available. No new features have been added, so we won’t review it again, but this is a real step up from the old Salesforce for Outlook and is worth checking out if you haven’t.
- Workflow for Opportunity Teams – Opportunity Teams can now have workflow against it, which is extremely helpful to automate overlay groups that need access to opportunities.
- Formula field for Person Accounts – Not a heavily used feature, but for those on Person Accounts, this is pretty helpful. You can now access the “Contact” fields from a Person Account using formula fields. This was always a bit of an annoyance when you ran into it, so good to see this corrected.
- Email Object can now be reported on – A nice little addition for Service Cloud. Previously there was no report type for the Email Message object. Now, you can run reports against it. (Hopefully this means custom fields are next?)
They aren’t in the release notes, but in the release preview there are two new features mentioned for the KB – Mobile rendering of KB Articles and improved KB Analytics. Improved KB Analytics would be fantastic, but I’m not sure why this wouldn’t be in the release notes. We’ll update once we get our hands on the sneak preview.