It’s 15 degrees in Boston right now and I’m sick of winter already. At least Spring 15 is coming around the corner – and hopefully the real spring behind it. This is the final part of a three part write-up and is focused on the Collaboration features for Spring 15. The parts of the full write-up are broken out as follows:
- Part 1 – Sales, Salesforce1 and the general platform
- Part 2 – Service Cloud
- Part 3 – Collaboration – Chatter, Communities and Work.com
Let’s get right to it. As always, these are in no particular order:
- Add Records to a Chatter Group – This is a handy new feature and one of those features I think I’ll be coming up with different use cases for the more I play with it. With this, you can now add records to a Chatter Group. It works both ways in that from the Group you’ll see a list of all records associated to it, but also from the record you can add a “Group” related list that will show you all of the Groups the record belongs to. Definitely handy for groups about competitors or customers where you can now link the Group strategizing about them directly to the record. You’re able to do this via an API as well, which is interesting (not sure why yet, but I know this will be handy). One small bummer is that by adding the record to the Group the group members aren’t necessarily following the record – essentially it’s still not part of the feed. I’m thinking that would be an extremely useful option so maybe in a future release. Some quick limits to this are that Community groups do not support this, and customers within your internal communities can not see this. Also, outside of the main standard objects – Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities, Cases and Campaigns, the other standard objects do not support this. Custom Objects are all set.
- Action Links – This was a pilot in Winter 15, and we covered it quite a bit then. I won’t rehash it all here, but it is now GA in Spring 15. Personally, I think this is a huge feature, especially when used in conjunction with Communities. Very excited to see how this starts getting used and how we find use cases with our clients for this.
- Files Enhancements – Files have a bunch of quick updates:
- Record Types & Page Layouts – File records can now have their own record types and you can adjust the page layouts for the first time. Useful if you’re leveraging Content and Files heavily.
- Improvements to Sync – The old 2,000 file / 500 folder limits are gone, and now bumped up to a massive 10,000 files you can sync. If you’re blowing through that limit, I really feel sorry for you as an admin! In addition, users can now also sync files that are owned by other users. You can do this from a Chatter Feed, Files List or the File page itself. Finally, Files Sync now supports Windows 8 and 8.1 (which I will use over my dead body) and Mac OS X Yosemite
- Add more than 1 File on Chatter Posts – Another hooray! Chatter posts can now have multiple attachments on them. Always was annoying when you had a bunch to share.
- New Admin Section – Content and Files admin previously had been in multiple places in the admin menu. Now they get a nice consolidated home under “Salesforce Files”.
- Refresh Preview – I didn’t see this in the release notes, but saw it in the pre-release org. Sometimes those preview images of files get stuck, or the quality is bad. Now you can regenerate / refresh them from the admin menu.
- OneDrive Support – Leveraging Files Connect, you can now sync files with files that are within OneDrive for Business. More results of the Salesforce / Microsoft BFF exchange.
- Expanded Community Design – A bunch of new features have been added to the Community Designer.
- ReCAPTCHA – Having issues with spammers hitting your web2case pages in your community? You can now prevent this by adding a Google reCAPTCHA widget to your web2case page which will force a potential submitter to enter in a text string to submit a case – which should block any kind of automated scripting hitting your site. It appears this only works with the templates but it’s possible this is a widget you can use on non-template communities. I’ll need to check.
- Enhanced Community Design – The wizard to build a Community has received some nice improvements. Leveraging the Site.com studio you can now edit any page within the Community, and easily update all of the different elements of that page. It’s a very slick UI that will make managing most communities much easier. In addition, you can now preview your changes with a nice pop-out preview page. Once your happy with your changes you can publish them to the live community. From the same designer you can now navigate very easily to any page within the community with a simple page drop-down. Finally, you now have much deeper control of the branding and colors you can present with an enhanced branding editor. All of the color palettes have been updated. This is terrific. The last 2 or 3 releases for Communities have really shown great progress in the actual design aspects of the community. From what we saw at Dreamforce even more is coming!
- Napoli Template Enhancements – The “Napoli” template – which is the self-service one – now allows users to see and modify their user settings as well as see some expanded information on their profile such as total points, community usage stats like total posts, likes received and followers, and a nice toggle to view Cases and Community Activity from the Profile. In addition, users can now attach files directly to the Questions widget. Very nice feature (hoping this is also a component we can use for non-templates). Finally, there are a few Topic enhancements that allow you to show the top trending topics and once on a Topics page, you can easily see what related Topics there are as well as a simple button to follow that topic.
- Community Management Updates – Community Management gets a few enhancements as well:
- Centralized Administration – A few things have been shifted around or added to centralized the administration of running a community. This includes moving Flagged Files Moderation to the Community Manager and consolidating the administration settings.
- Topics – Managing Topics such as merging duplicates or creating new ones can now be done for the Communities. In addition, there is a beta to allow you to offer translated topic names. Not sure if that is part of the translation workbench, but I’m assuming it’s tied to the user’s language preferences.
- Self Registration Changes – For self registration options, it’s now a lot easier to specify the Profile and even the Account a self-registering user should be assigned to. This can be done directly from the Community Manager now. In addition, you can also create Person Accounts for self-registering users. You can still customize the self-registration process if you need more complex logic around it.
- Chatter Dashboards – Spring 15 brings a new and improved Dashboard to track Chatter and Collaboration in general. This dashboard will allow you to track overall Chatter stats like posts, comments, etc, as well as stats about the features of Chatter such as Content uploads and downloads, metrics on Q&A, metrics about Topics, Groups stats and even user profile activity. All in all looks like a lot more data than we could ever get previously and will be a good addition to your adoption stack. Looks like this is actually going to be on the Appexchange though so keep an eye out for it and install it.
- Work.com Thanks and Skills are Free – The full functionality of work.com Thanks and Skills are now available for free with Spring 15. Only piece of functionality not included here is the Rewards portion of Thanks.
- Emoticons in Chatter – Ack.
- Apex triggers for Private Chatter – Previously as an admin you couldn’t get at Private Messages within Chatter. In particular, this was an issue for companies that have compliance and logging requirements for electronic communication. (Chatter falls into that from a compliance standpoint) Now you can hit Private Messages with Apex Triggers. I fully expect the Appexchange partners who help with blacklisting, compliance and logging to jump on this and support Private Messages shortly after this is available.
That’s it for Spring 15! Another big release with a lot of the cool features from Dreamforce now rolling out. Very excited to get my hands on a lot of these in a couple of weeks!