Thoughtful and Shrewd: How Salesforce Supports Its Varied Userbase

Salesforce is arguably the most customer-centric company. Regardless of how one would measure that across contexts, it’s clearly overwhelmingly central to the brand. And philosophical quibbling at the margins aside, it’s far from an empty brand promise.

As they run their own business on their own platform, you get to participate in their success. When you configure Community Cloud, it’s such an awesome product because they support their own customers on it – and that is a large community.

Key to that is not treating users as one undifferentiated mass. They segment things, and you can see the differences in the users each segment is tailored to from the language and often times also the visual gestalt. This happy state of affairs leads to positive feedback loops that drive the impressive quarterly and annual results they consistently report.

This is a Sway I prepared for a training session for a client organization that was new to Salesforce. It’s an overview of Salesforce’s various public-facing and customer-only endeavors.

Click on the Image to Launch the Sway

Power Automate for Analytics and Reporting on Microsoft Planner

Screenshot of Testing planner at SAP Demonstration Digital Assets
Test Plan at SAP Americas Digital Demonstration Assets

MS Planner is a Kanban project management tool that integrates closed with Microsoft Teams and uses Azure Active Directory and Office 365 Groups for membership, identity and permission granting. I admire Nadella’s Microsoft immensely. Some of their offerings like Sway are quirky and lovable. Planner, their Kanban-interface project management tool is visually appealing and slick. But as this project proved definitively, it’s API leaves something to be desired.

SAP used Planner to track the 28 global business units served by Demonstration Digital Assets, a team of almost 500 staff and contractor professionals who develop sales and marketing video collateral to be used in SAP marketing efforts. There were about 1,000 videos in production or recently launched, and the manager of Digital Production wanted a way to track videos down a sequenced development path whose stages were identical across business units.

The 28 Plans

The legacy approach relied about end of week manual updates to a very large excel spreadsheet that integrated portfolio progress across the Planner Kanban, logged snags and changes in notes, and displayed over 60 attributes per video – to say nothing of joining viewing analytics statistics from the video serving platform, Kaltura. The legacy approach was to manually track the end-of-week state of the portfolio in excel, and use PowerPivot for analysis.

They wanted to Power BI for reporting and we had to migrate the data structure and monitor the portfolio of videos in Planner using SharePoint lists that held data updates from Planner via Power Automate. The only problem was the Planner API did not monitor for state changes from bucket to bucket (as the steps in the path were known). It only monitored the creation of a task, the assignment of a task to users, and the completion of a task.

Worse, because many tasks had more than one assignee, and assignee responsibility in a project management tool is, unsurprisingly rather important, there was no way to output a video-only representation of things: each row tracked was a video-assignee conjoint pair, on average 1.7 per video. So considerable overhead was spent in determining which rows had the privilege of being the primary mapped one to the video.

It’s one of those situations where as your formulating your requiremetns and your strategy, you’re wondering to yourself: the API can’t be that bad. And then you discover others have been grousing about your pain points since 2018, which in cloud time in unconscionably long.

C’mon, MSFT. You’re better than this.

Learn more in this sway.

View The Sway

Zapier & Power Automate: My Declarative Integration Portfolio

I’ve had a lot of Zapier and Power Integrate projects of late, and I’ve been enjoying digging deeper into Azure Logic Apps (which share no small portion of their DNA with Power Automate).

So I decided to group like with like and add a new high-level navigation node to this side: Declarative Integration Portfolio.

I’ve got about 5 more sways in the final stages of being readied for publication. So there will be a lot of activity here anon.

Salesforce Process Builder & Flow Convergence

Spring 2020 Flow Record Create Triggers

Salesforce Flow and Process Automation constitute a suite of tools that make an admin’s life (and those of the users s/he serves) easier and easier. This is because the tools steadily become and more and more powerful. And more approachable to non coders. Win. Win. Win.

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Something I detail with examples in this Sway…

Click on the Image to Launch the Sway

Salesforce Automation: Process Builder & Flow Builder for setting primary contact and primary contact affiliation automatically

There’s a funny asymmetry at play in Salesforce NPSP. If you use the UI to enter a lone, “naked” contact, the fancy business logic envelopes that lonely figure in a Household account, as the primary contact on the household.

Nifty. Gee-whiz bang.

So why is it that when you create an organization and a first staff member on that organization, it doesn’t do something similar? Manually setting the primary contact gets irritating if you’re doing too much of it..

But with the aid of Process Builder launching a flow, this too can be configured in all its automated elegance — with the added benefit of affiliated the contact with their account’s API validated mailing address.

Pretty nifty.

Read the sway below for more information.

Salesforce VOIP Telephony, CTI & Analytics

I’m trialing some telephony options for a client on G-Suite. CloudCaller.io and DialPad, in addition to the possibility of a Twilio custom job. I’ll be reporting back more on these soon.

But I have to say, DialPad has impressive capabilities. The transcription is pretty accurate – and more impressively, it identifies interesting questions between the caller/agent and the call recipient.

Dialpad Analytics

This was with a girlfriend of mine from college, so it was unusually long, and not commercially focused. But it’s a little creepy to think about how much of our conversation The Machines are listening to. They’re certainly getting familiar with how we speak in practice if not our inner souls.

More on #DialPad, CloudCaller and integrating both of these with Salesforce coming soon.