Can AI be useful for business during the Covid-19 pandemic? With an increased urgency to go digital fast, now is the time to skill up on practical applications of artificial intelligence to stabilize, reopen, and grow your business.
Did you catch the “Learn AI with Salesforce” virtual series? If not, watch as Lizet Vanessa Avila, CleanSlate’s Salesforce Sales Specialist, walks through the steps on how to build a chatbot. In addition, see how Hornblower Cruises and Events implemented this AI tool to help employees quickly answer questions about the company’s response during COVID-19.
“It is up to you how data will be collected and how it will be used. Decisions you make every day have that power.” – Peter Coffee, Salesforce VP of Strategic Research.
Midwest Dreamin’ always draws a great mix of users and partners from the Salesforce community. As developers, admins, marketers and other roles, Coffee reminded attendees that we have a lot of influence in the future of the constantly evolving technology industry. This concept was a guiding theme throughout the conference. Salesforce leaders from across the country shared their tips and tricks to navigating the complexities of an organization using Salesforce and its applications, which will help to drive a company and the industry forward.
As a Salesforce Consulting Partner, CleanSlate works with our clients to assess the overall health of their Salesforce org and provide meaningful feedback on how to best leverage the platform to meet their business needs. This includes Lightning Readiness, automating complex use cases with Flow, Community Branding and Advanced Customizations as well as Roadmaps and strategy including DevOps best practices. CleanSlate employees at the conference got to attend several sessions led by experts in their field that were user focused and informative on how to use emerging Salesforce tools to solve real business issues.
From Code to No Code: Rewriting Your Apex Code Into Flow
Rakesh Gupta explained the intricacies of replacing code with an all-clicks solution that admins can own. He demonstrated that “Lightning Flow and Lightning Process Builder can handle most automation use cases that once required Apex.”
How to Design Your First AI Experiment with Einstein Prediction Builder
Steve Siler taught how the process of the scientific method can be applied to your first AI Experiment. The session demonstrated how to deliver great insights to executives and end users through creatively forming an AI hypothesis, identifying supporting data, and testing for the right controls.
Midwest Dreamin’ keynote speakers were not only inspiring, but were readily accessible for follow up conversations during the event. Kris Lande, Zayne Turner, Kristen Engelhardt, Peter Coffee and Sean Alpert from the Salesforce leadership team spoke powerful messages to the energized crowd. Kris Lande, Salesforce VP of Trailhead Marketing, emphasized that we are all marketers. We serve as advocates for our business, for our product or service and for ourselves. It is imperative that we work intentionally and passionately, because “when you are marketing something you are passionate about, it doesn’t feel like marketing.”Kristen Engelhardt,
Salesforce VP of Customer and Market Insights, provided an empowering closing address to Midwest Dreamin’. Kristen emphasized, through her personal stories, how powerful intimate regional events like Midwest Dreamin’ are to the Salesforce community. Like the Platform, the Salesforce ecosystem creates multiple paths for us all to learn from each other, make mistakes, push our limits, and ultimately land our dream job.
Thank you to Salesforce executives, event sponsors and session leaders for a memorable Midwest Dreamin’ 2019. Sean Alpert, Salesforce VP of Product Marketing, reminded us to “fall in love with the problem, not the solution.” We hold a lot of power, and have access to a lot of valuable resources that can be leveraged to be successful and to make strides in our industry.
I had the great opportunity on October 25th to join other Salesforce Community Members on a Speaker Panel at IUPUI. The purpose of this event was to expose students in Technology Learning Programs what a career working the Salesforce Ecosystem is all about. This was all put in place by our very own Quinn McPhail (CleanSlate Salesforce Intern and IUPUI Salesforce User Group Leader). I was joined by these other members of the Salesforce Community local to Indiana:
Eric Dreshfield (Salesforce MVP / Advocacy Manager @ Apttus / S. Indiana Salesforce User Group Leader / Midwest Dreamin’ Founder
Mike Martin (Salesforce MVP / Director, Indianapolis Delivery Center @ Appirio / Indianapolis Salesforce User Group Leader)
Melissa Davis (CMO @ nimblejack)
Susan Punnoose (Senior Software Engineer @ Salesforce)
Scott Sondermann (Solutions Engineer Scout @ Salesforce)
During this speaker panel we were asked series of questions including what lead us to a career working in the Salesforce Ecosystem, how we developed the necessary skills, and advice we could provide to future Trailblazers. As a former teacher it was very exciting to get in front of a group of students and potentially have an impact on their future career path. My biggest personal take away from this was how involved and connected the Salesforce Community is. You heard a consistent message; the Salesforce Ecosystem is one of a kind and truly a family. There are a ton of resources out there to skill up and get support from other members that have gone through similar or the same struggles you have; all you have to do is ask! If you are not currently on the Salesforce Trailblazer Community, it is time to join! Overall, the biggest piece of advice I could share to these students and really anyone that is working or planning on working in the Salesforce Ecosystem is take advantage of the resources that are put out in the Trailblazer Community and on Trailhead. These resources will guarantee your success in your career with your effort. Salesforce is ever changing and keeping up to date with the new product offerings and features will set you apart from others in the community as you are looking for a job. Secondly, it was important to me to share that soft skills are just important as technical knowledge. No matter your role in Salesforce, whether it is a consultant, developer, or admin, you need to be able to communicate with business users on your solution ideas. You can have the greatest technical solution, but if you cannot communicate that solution to the business and explain how the solution will work in their terms, they will not buy into your solution and adopt. It was best said by one of the IUPUI instructors. “You must be able to convert the nerd to business, and the business to nerd.” If you are new to the ecosystem or a veteran, take advantage of the resources that are out there. Get on Trailhead. Post questions and answers on the Trailblazer Community. Join your local Salesforce User Groups! I look forward to seeing you at a future Salesforce Event!
It’s always “refreshing” to find something so innocuous in Salesforce that kind of throws you for a loop. Especially when this “innocuous” item is a little counter-intuitive to the Salesforce mantra of “clicks not code”. Plus, it appears to have impacted people for quite a while. Warning: This post may be (i.e., is) a little pic heavy.
Anyways, I’ve been working with a client on their Salesforce roll-out for a few months. It’s not a big roll-out but one that’s big enough to necessitate some custom integration. Within their org they have a picklist field on Leads, Account, and Opportunities to easily identify and report by corporate division for ownership purposes. The Label Value of the picklist values is a text string with a company number identifier and name concatenated together, e.g. ‘## TEXT OF NAME’. The integration team only wants to use the company number value (‘##’) for incoming and outgoing communication with external systems.
So, to accommodate this we updated the API Values for the picklist values to just be the numerical values at the start of the Label Value (e.g., Label Value ’01 US Division’ and API Value ’01’).
However, this is where a loop is thrown…
This company identifier picklist is an Account field but when we attempt to reference that value on, say, an Opportunity via a formula field (e.g., TEXT(Account.Company_Number__c). Unfortunately, the value returned is NOT the Label Value but is the API Value. That is, I expected to get back ’01 US Division’ but only received ’01’.
I can kind-of, sort-of understand why this would be the case. The API Value is used in Apex and all the front-end configuration is essentially creating Apex without really coding. BUT, from a practical standpoint it doesn’t make sense since I’m referencing a field from the front-end in a formula field and expecting that same front-end display value back but, instead, am given the back-end API Value. Boo, Salesforce. Boo!
There are a few options:
1) Custom Apex – No thanks, Salesforce. “Clicks, not code”, right?!?
2) Update Formula Field with IF Statement and Hard-Code of UI Values – I opted to go this route. I very much dislike it since we’re hard-coding a map of values from the returned picklist API Values to recreated Label Values. In some cases this could be problematic as picklist values have the potential to change causing issues with the formula field. Thankfully, this customer’s values have been very stable and unlikely to change. Still less than ideal in this case and, potentially, a pain in the butt for other clients.
Here’s the updated formula for the field with hard-coded values (YUCK!):
And, here’s the final result on the Opportunity:
In the Success Community We Trust…
The one thing I do love about the Salesforce community is that nearly all issues you run across have been found and reported to Salesforce previously (sometimes years ago). And, this issue is no different. This specific Idea is “under review”. So, there’s still hope!
If you’d like to see how CleanSlate can help you take full advantage of your Salesforce org please shoot us an email!
One of our practice goals for 2018 for the Salesforce team was to donate/volunteer our time to the communities in which we live. We are attempting to follow Salesforce’s 1-1-1 initiative as much as possible. The size of our company and team doesn’t give us much ability to hit the 1% of our time goal but we are attempting to get as close as possible with quarterly volunteering opportunities. Our team partnered with Second Helpings (a local non-profit).
What is Second Helpings?
Second Helpings mission is “Transforming lives through the power of food”. They have two sides to their organization – 1) Chef training for the unemployed and underemployed and 2) Meal preparation for many other local non-profits. Second Helpings take in food from various local donation sources including grocery stores and restaurants. The chefs-in-training then prepare menus based on the availability and in some cases unavailability of certain items. Also, the chefs receive education in other life skills such as mortgages, checking accounts, and credit. So, they leave with a well-rounded set of both work and life skills. As an example of the “unavailability” our volunteer liaison told us about the time that they made pasta sauce with Bloody Mary mix when no tomato sauce was available. So, to say that they are a resource bunch is an understatement.
Additionally, the depth and breadth of their ability to track throughput of donations in and meals out is a testament to ingenuity and logistical prowess. The amount of food that is considered “waste” (which is composted) was less than 10% of their intake. That’s an awesome percentage given the amount of food that they receive and then distribute as meals or re-donate to local food banks.
So, what did the CleanSlate team do?
Well, initially, they let us sample their food! The chefs-in-training take great pride in their work and you can definitely see and taste it. Typically, the chefs prepare food in buffet style. However, when we visited they had prepared a huge menu of options including appetizers, salads, and sandwiches. Our team ordered a few appetizers (fried green beans, onion rings, and cheese sticks) as well as a few entrées including barbecue chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, and salads. The food was very good! They included dessert options but our team was ready to get to work.
The regular volunteer staff gave us an introductory tour and instructions on when to wash hands and to re-glove our hands. We then set off on peeling and cutting onions as well as peeling and cutting brussel sprouts. This may not sound glamorous as a volunteering activity but it was actually pretty fun when you have 6 other friends with you. The onions did make most of us cry a time or two…but I digress. The chefs made us cookies as a “thank you” (I’d like one of those right now, actually). And, at the end of our shift we swept, mopped, cleaned our knives, and prepared the kitchen for the next day.
All-in-all, the team had a good day and we hope that we were able to provide some value to their chefs’ cooking. I think we’re going to like working with Second Helpings and are hoping that we can also donate some time to help them with their Salesforce org.
If you would like to see our other company-wide volunteer activities you can check-out this link.
Are you tired of “hard-coding” owner id’s whether for a queue or a user inside of Process Builder and doing constant screen switching to find the correct id’s and making mistakes putting the id’s into your process? Look no further… New with Winter ’18 you can now lookup directly to users/queues!
When setting the Owner ID, just simply select the specific Type (Queue or User) and use the value to search for an existing value (User or Queue).
This new enhancement will be a HUGE help with making mistakes in setting incorrect id’s! There are a few things to watch out for this new feature.
You cannot simply update any rows created before Winter ’18 in existing processes. To modify this, delete your current “Owner ID” field, add a new one and complete the steps above. This will allow you to see the new feature.
When deploying these to a new environment, you will need to go into your process, edit the action lookup and re-save. If you don’t do this, you will get an “Invalid reference id” error when your process executes in the new environment. I have submitted a case to Salesforce to determine what is causing this issue and will provide an update when I get a response.