Summer ’14 Tips and Tricks

Over the last few weeks and months, you’ll have seen any number of blogs previewing upcoming features in Salesforce’s Summer ‘14 release. But often it’s only when a new release is live and in-use that some of its most interesting features and use cases begin to stand out.

So now that all Salesforce orgs have been moved to Summer ‘14, we wanted to pick out a few changes that we feel will make the most noticeable differences to the majority of users, and give some tips as to how your org can make use of them.

Summer 14


Let’s start with the most noticeable of the lot…

Notification Banner

If you or your users haven’t noticed this change, the chances are that you haven’t logged in since the upgrade to Summer ‘14. When you do – BOOM – everything seems a little lower down the screen than you remembered, as a new notification banner appears on top of some key pages (Accounts, Contacts, Dashboards, Setup).

Notification Banner

Right now the banner is publicising the Salesforce1 mobile app, and though that may change in time it appears to be confirmed that feature advertising is the primary purpose of the new banner.

Advertising space in a paid product? And in such prime real estate? This has of course got tongues wagging in the Salesforce community. The good news is that there is an easy way to disable this feature for all your users – navigate to Setup > Customize > User Interface and deselect ‘Enable Salesforce Notification Banner’. One caveat on that though: my guess would be that Salesforce may respond to the community’s comments by allowing customisation of the banner, or at least pushing some more useful content into it, so if this becomes a whole lot more useful in future releases, make sure you remember the above path so that you can re-enable it.

Home Page Task List

Staying on the home page, we find the next most noticeable change brought in for Summer ‘14 – the task list on the home tab now includes two additional fields: Status and Account.

These fields were of course always available elsewhere in the app, but now users can see at a glance not just which tasks are scheduled for when and what record they immediately relate to, but what the statuses of those tasks are and which account they ultimately concern. Just one more reason your users should be able to keep on top of their activities!

Home Tasks

Mass Delete for Reports

The Mass Delete functionality which has long existed on most objects has now been extended to reports.

Have an old custom object that you no longer use? Delete all reports in its folder. Went through a spell of creating test reports before settling on final versions? Delete all reports with ‘Test’ in their name.

And – the absolute jewel in the crown – you can also delete by Last Run Date! Perfect for cleaning out all those once-invaluale reports that no-one uses anymore.

Tidier and cleaner report folders not only free up storage space but they also make the user experience so much better. We love this feature!

Mass Delete Reports


Activity Date Available in Formulas

We’ve saved the best til last! Believe me, this is a big one.

You can now include the date or date/time of an activity in custom formula fields or validation rules. This is a really common query over on the Success Community, both in terms of questions about the functionality and ideas for its implementation, and it’s been around for a long time. The primary idea that this feature (partially) delivers against has nearly 10,000 points and was posted over seven years ago.

It could be that you’re one of the many people who have thirsted after this feature. But if not, here are some examples of how you could make use of it…

You could enforce that newly created tasks cannot be given a date in the past unless they are marked as completed. To do this, create a validation rule with a formula of:

NOT(ISPICKVAL(Status, ‘Completed’)),
ActivityDate < TODAY()

You may instead want to show in a formula field the number of days by which an open task is overdue. To do this, create a formula field with a return data type of number and a formula of:

NOT(ISPICKVAL(Status, ‘Completed’))),
TODAY() – ActivityDate,

You could even use this feature to get really clever – how about working out if your reps sell more following a morning appointment with a customer than following an afternoon appointment?

For this use case, first create a formula field on the activity object with a return type of text and a formula of:

VALUE(MID(TEXT(ActivityDateTime + 0.0417), 12, 2)) < 12,

(Note that +0.0417 is the difference in days between my time zone and GMT/UTC. So for me I needed to add one hour; you may need to subtract five hours, which would be ActivityDateTime – 0.2085.)

Once this field is created, you can use it in an Activities with Opportunities report. Filter for Closed Won opportunities, group your report by your new formula field, bring in the Amount field and summarise it.

Bingo – you now know whether you close more business from morning appointments or afternoon ones! A slightly frivolous example perhaps, but to me it just shows the power of this new feature.

These were some of our favourite and most noticeable new features from the Summer ‘14 release, and we hope the above has given you some examples of how they can be used. But we’d love to know your thoughts – which other features and use-cases stand out for you?


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