In Part I we covered the new features in Summer 14 for Sales, Salesforce1 and the platform. For Part 2, we are going to be covering Chatter, Communities and Work.com enhancements. (Just as a reminder, Part 3, will cover Service Cloud.)
As always, no particular order to these:
- Salesforce File Sync – Unfortunately, the pre-release doesn’t let you get your hands on this (at least I haven’t figured out how yet), but this is a pretty major update for salesforce and with Summer 14 it’s out of pilot and GA. Easiest way to describe this is it’s Dropbox for salesforce. You can now sync files in salesforce locally to your desktop similar to how other file sharing product do and then share them with other people within your organization. All of this appears to be seamlessly done from within the existing Salesforce files structure. I don’t know for sure, but I’ve heard rumors that this will eventually also let you sync records, as well as files – essentially becoming the new salesforce offline edition. Makes a ton of sense – and the thought of “Dropbox for SFDC records” is insanely cool and powerful. (please don’t make it that I just dreamed this up). A few notes on this with Summer:
- If you sync a file with this and it’s updated, your local version will also automatically be updated. This is huge – especially for Sales users trying to keep track of the most recent white papers and marketing collateral.
- This is a desktop install. Users will need to download this. What’s nice is, unlike desktop installs in the past, this is ready for Macs right out of the gate. It supports Windows 7 and Apple OS X 10.7.
- There’s a 10GB limit to the amount of files you can sync. That should be plenty, but nowadays, you never know.
- Chatter Questions – You could always “ask” questions in Chatter, but now you can have questions specifically identified as such with a new beta feature called Chatter Questions. This is a lot like Chatter Answers, but is directly within the Chatter feed using a new Publisher Action. It’s a bit slimmed down from Chatter Answers, but from what I’ve seen, I actually prefer this – especially for internal users. Very seamlessly, you can ask a question in the feed. As you ask that question, similar questions can be presented to you, as well as KB articles that might answer your question. I think this will prove much more natural for users to use instead of having to flip into a Chatter Answers tab to ask a question. In addition, as users answer, the “best answer” can be flagged – again, similar to Chatter answers. This is a beta in Summer 14 and as part of that, looks like it’s not integrated into Salesforce1 or Chatter Desktop yet, but this feels like a no-brainer to turn on and try out, especially within Chatter Groups.
- Topics – If you’ve read our past release posts, you’ll know I’m a big fan of Chatter Topics. I love the roadmap salesforce has here and there truly is no other CRM trying to connect data in the way salesforce is. Summer 14 continues the evolution of this with more additions to the changes that started back in Winter 14.
- Topic Pages – In Spring 14 you were able to add Topics to records, but when you looked at the topic page, they weren’t visible there. That changes in Summer 14, where all records now appear on the Topic page making these pages even more valuable. Essentially the Topic page now becomes a hub of relevant information for each topic highlighting Chatter Posts, Records (including KB articles!), Files and even Experts to that topic on a single page. In addition, with Summer 14, we can now search the feed within the topic page making it easier to narrow down information. Next we just need to be able to report on this – across all objects – and we’ll be rolling. After Summer, if you’re not starting to train your users on looking at the Topics page when they have questions, you’re missing a powerful way to enable your users to help themselves.
- Topics on User Profiles – Now, Topics that users are knowledgeable on will appear on a user’s profile summary page. Pretty handy feature. Looks like this is driven by Topics a user is Endorsed for. A good start – hopefully at some point, this becomes more dynamic based on Chatter posts, answers and records owned by a person for a particular topic.
- Community Analytics – Communities gets a needed bump in analytics capabilities with the Engagement Console and some new Dashboards. The Engagement Console looks to be an area where Community Managers can view dashboards and reputation levels of users across individual communities. From within this center you can flip to dashboards to view the health of the community, to a reputation area to view the top performers and users within a community and then the points area to view the points management for the community. Basically, a much easier interface to manage a community from – especially if you’re giving this responsibility to non-administrators. The new dashboards that are available in Summer 14 (and within the Engagement Console) include the ability to view member logins of time, new member sign-ups, Chatter posts and comments metrics (across the community as well as drill-downs into specific groups), daily unique contributor counts (very nice), and then some monitoring to track your licensing such as login frequency and overall members. Just a head’s up, there is a note saying this will be available “shortly after Summer 14”, so looks like this won’t be there on day 1.
- Reputation – As salesforce pushes more and more out of the standard self-service and partner communities, and more into the collaborative communities, the reputation / gamification features will need to improve in order to drive user engagement and foster those power users a community needs to thrive. With Summer 14, salesforce is rolling out a big step here with the Reputation feature. Communities can now have a points system based on community activity. You can control how much each activity type is worth, but users will now have a points total as these activities occur. As of now, the activities that can be scored are: Posts written, Comments written, Comments received on a post written, Performing a Like, Receiving a Like, @Mentioning someone, Receiving an @Mention, Sharing a Post, and having someone else Share your Post. A user’s total points will appear on their user profile, and you can now configure Tiers of points to establish rankings like “super contributor” that users can strive to achieve. This is a big feature for salesforce and I suspect will continue to be expanded for the next few releases as well.
- Work.com Skills – Skills require you to own Work.com and they are similar to Chatter Topics, but more advanced. Essentially, users can add Skills to their profile (just like you would on linkedin) and other users can endorse you for those skills. I don’t know if these then correspond to a Topic – but, it would be nice for people with Skills that lined up with a Topic to also appear on those pages as subject matter experts. These skills will appear on the users profile page, just like endorsed Topics would. One nice benefit of skills vs. topics is, admins can add custom fields to a Skill record and layout – basically allowing you to expand out the page and it’s fully setup with workflow, validation rules and trigger functionality. I guess with triggers, you could sync Topics with Skills if you needed. Something I’ll play around with for sure.
- Work.com Rewards – We’ve actually been in the Pilot of this for about 6 months now and I really like it. Again, you must be a Work.com customer to use this, but you can make special badges that are linked to a reward if someone receives them. We have ours linked to send an amazon.com gift certificate. Basically, bumps up the credibility of a few rewards and you have the ability to restrict how many times it’s given and if needed, restrict who can give them out.
- Other Work.com Enhancements – It looks like with Summer 14, Work.com is officially “on the platform” and a lot of the salesforce platform functionality is now available to work.com. This is a big need for work.com customers, and I’m looking forward to being able to customize it further. Now, triggers and workflow are available across most of the work.com objects including Goals, Rewards, Notes, Feedback and Skills. In addition, Skills, Goals and Coaching are now available on Salesforce1. I’m assuming all of this is available within the Salesforce UI instead of the work.com UI, but I could be wrong – and if so, will be a little disappointed.
- Chatter available by Profile – Chatter is now a Profile based setting, allowing you to turn off Chatter for individual profiles. This could be handy for communities that don’t want chatter on the records – previously you had to do this by overriding a div tag on the header. We’re big fans of Chatter, so internally, I’d hope this wouldn’t be used too much, but it’s nice to have the flexibility.
That’s it for Part II of Summer 14. Part III about Service Cloud is up next.