Walking the Walk: the Mass Update Wizard


I’m Darren Kowitt, a data geek with an MBA in marketing from Columbia Business School.  in 2009 I came to realize that the local chapter of Columbia’s alumni club was eligible for free licenses of Salesforce.com enterprise edition from Salesforce.com Foundation.  And thus my manager’s love-affair with cloud computing was born.

if wisdom comes from recognizing one’s limits, i’m the first to admit that I’m no developer or engineer.  i self-taught myself MS Access with VBA way back in ’98, and over the years, I’ve been quite pleased with what once can do in Access as a modeling environment – especially with multiply nested queries and dynamic scoring.

for years i’ve had all these extra Salesforce.com licenses — i almost couldn’t give them away. but this fall, our board is expanding a bit, and next week the new board is going to be let in (notice how I used the passive voice, hinting not so subtly as my anxiety as I think about strangers romping through my data!)  and i looked around and realized that even I who take some care not to generate codes unnecessarily, had let the number of record types (for accounts) and page layouts proliferate.

so: I turned to my trusty, if unwieldy friend, the Mass Update Wizard

Ungainly by Useful
Ungainly but Useful

And by holding Account.RecordType constant, and doing a quick visual scan of whether it makes sense to quickly ad an attribute to a few records here — and then do the update based upon that attribute being NULL in the target records to be updated, or by noticing which two or three letters or letter combination will give me the most bang for the buck:  well, I whittled it down rather nicely

my club has about 1000 alumni in the database.   the account records use the following naming convention

I’m Darren Kowitt, MBA Class of ’97

so my AccountName becomes:  MBA’97: Kowitt, Darren

and the affiliated Contact is Mr. Darren S. Kowitt

So far, so good. that covers the AccountRecordType=Alumnus case.  but we have all kinds of people and organizations that we interact with.  not surprisingly for an alumni club, my constituents want to know about who’s working where.  So naturally, we have Accounts of the RecordsType=Employer variety — not that we ever expect to earn any revenue from those organizations whatsoever.  (but then again: that’w where having an employer-specific page layout makes sense — keep any related items related to sales & revenue visually suppressed on the page!)

wow. it’s getting late. but i’ll write more as soon as i can.