Summer 15 Preview: Mummy, please can I have an Ice cream?

You know it’s the start of summer when you hear that all too familiar sound of your local ice cream van ringing out, or in the case of Salesforce another set of release notes have been previewed providing the first glimpse into what we can expect from the next release.

Here we’ll give an overview of the features that have jumped out at us, along with our thoughts on why they matter and what they could mean for you.

Starting with general updates: Data Loader is finally showing some love towards the growing army of Mac users out there struggling to get data into their orgs (myself included) with the launch of a new Data Loader for Mac tool. Sticking with data; the import wizard continues its transition into something which is even easier to user with updates around the interface.

Finally losing some bad smells: Salesforce are at last halting support for IE7/8 and will no longer be investigating issues related to these two, not that any of us are still using these, are we?! If so, shame on you! 🙂

If data and legacy tech is starting to turn you off, lets flip over to something much more exciting – mobile updates. Going back a few releases, Salesforce introduced lead conversion within the Salesforce1 mobile app, but it came with a few noticeable limitations. This feature now looks fully completed meaning that leads can be freely converted on the go, creating both an Account and a Contact with opportunity as needed.

Remember the big plus icon in the Salesforce1 mobile app, then celebrating when this was replaced with the action bar? Well now we can shuffle those actions around to suit our needs. Cheers Salesforce!

The Salesforce Community is growing as well as the Community product. Just look at the Success Community to get the bigger picture on what a vibrant and engaged community can offer. With each release there is always a ton of new features and enhancements to improve this area which almost erases the old portal stuff entirely. Portals are only good for going back in time; Communities are the way forwards!

The community cloud update brings together the last few remaining fragments of the management process into a single interface making it more intuitive and easier for admins managing their communities! Designing and coding your own community is a lot of fun, but can be difficult without a starting template. Salesforce have continued merging the old functionality including the templating capabilities into communities by building out the core functionality provided by the OOTB templates. Noticeable updates are for Napili and a new case feed layout for self-service which is always a good starting place for organisations building out their first Community.

The general overhaul of the core Sales features marches on with updates to territory management, sorry I mean “Enterprise Territory management”. The ability to assign territories to opportunities now moves into GA, plus the ability to store an ID from an external system makes this enterprise-ready more than ever.

Cumulative forecast gets a dose of roll ups removing the need to manually add values together just to get the true picture of what the sales rep will bring in.

Sales doesn’t stop there as the new-found Salesforce and Microsoft relationship bears fruit with the Exchange Sync going into beta. I’m not about to cancel my Google Apps any day soon, but love the fact I don’t need to install any software to sync up Contacts and Events. One to watch!

As we are talking about apps, could the new Notes (beta) be what we need to kick Evernote to the curb for business note taking? Shaun from the CloudLife Podcast has been raving about it for months, now we can finally check it out.

Okay enough of the Sales stuff, let’s roll onto the Service Cloud updates…

Have you ever forgot to add that last important bit into your case feed post, but found you cannot change it? Now it’s possible to correct typos and add the information which you missed. Case feeds are the central place service agents live on a daily basis for communication both internally and externally, and now externally-visible feed items are highlighted clearly. The Macros (not the Microsoft ones) functionality which surfaced last release goes bulk with the ability to execute on multiple records at the same time and extended to allow Macros to be built which fire off knowledge searches. Productivity overdrive!

Fancy an extreme makeover? That’s exactly what the LiveAgent UX is getting, soft edges and pastel colors are in, but were they ever out?!

Assets used to be my pet hate object which I would steer people away from. It’s now getting love and its transition to first class object is almost complete, as Assets can now be easily shared with community users. Happy face!

Not only are case feed posts are editable, all Chatter posts are editable. Owners can edit their own chatter updates. We are truly getting ready for summer as more features get awesome makeovers with the email user digest being redesigned. Easier to read on mobile, most critical information is served up first, reducing overlap with group digest.

Better Sandbox Performance, Testing, Migration… what can this all mean? Improve sandbox copy performance specifically full data sandboxes. Could this mean we are not far away from having full data sandbox refreshes with more regularity than every 30 days? It’s great to see that we can now see the status of our sandbox refreshes, bringing a welcome level of clarity to the refresh process. There are also noticeable changes to the testing aspect for deployments in terms of how tests are run in sandbox and pushed live.

Moving onto some of our favorite subjects here at Salesforce Weekly, Process Builder and Flow!

Chris has already highlighted some early gems for Process Builder in the shape of conditional logic for updating records and the use of formulas (yay!). This unlocks the door for comparing values including the incredible useful PRIORVALUE and ISNEW functions. And, guess what, “Multi-selects” are back in (tough luck Steve and Jeff!); Process Builder’s handling of them is just sublime!

If you are into more complex declarative automation with Flow, the wait is over: you can now delete flows immediately and not have to wait for 12 hours! Troubleshooting is a lot less painful (so they say) with the ability to see the failure path the flow took (it’s in beta, so not necessarily guaranteed to work, sorry Salesforce, would be dull if I didn’t say stuff like this!). The missing global variables are now available, making it possible to access current user’s role, profile etc.

There is plenty more in store this summer we are sure, but these are the sprinkles which caught our eye in the pre-release notes. What caught your eye?

Now where is my ice cream?

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