Like Christmas decorations before Halloween, Winter comes early to Salesforce customers. Winter ’10 release is coming in early October.
The release notes are out (PDF).
Note: I get deep in Salesforce weeds again.
If I knew that I could make the switch from the old Salesforce nonprofit Starter Pack to Convio Common Ground in less than 6 weeks, I would have made this move months ago.
Yes, it was time consuming, but not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I ended up using just under 7 billable hours of consulting support time. Now it’s just about tweaking little things that may not work right, and figuring out where we’ll need some Apex or VisualForce to smooth rough edges. Other than that, we’re fully up and running.
Here’s another techie-geeky and “won’t be interesting to you if you don’t know Salesforce” post… promise I’ll keep them more general in the future.
When you’ve been using Salesforce for a while, you accumulate logins. You may have a login for your main instance, a login for your sandbox (a dupe of your instance without data that you can use to try new things) and maybe even logins for developer edition instances.
Here’s a tip for creating one-click Salesforce logins that I picked up a few years ago.
This is not secure. Only do this on a computer that you know will never be touched by human hands that aren’t your own. If you do this on a computer that someone else has access to, and they get into your Salesforce and do terrible things, please don’t come back here and blame me. You have been warned.
That’s said, let’s get to the tip.
We’ve been using Salesforce as our primary everything database since mid 2006. Our database is set up based on the old nonprofit best practice of putting individual constituents/donors in a bucket “Individual” account. Contacts are linked to donations solely through contact roles.
With new goodies from Salesforce like Apex, summary fields and cross-object formulas, it’s becoming clear to me that we should consider moving away from the legacy Individual bucket account. With contacts only linked to opportunities (donations) through contact roles, rather than the Salesforce-standard Accounts, we’re missing out on many of Salesforce’s best features that won’t work with contact roles.
Allow me to think out loud:
I had never been to a large, high-priced business conference like Dreamforce before, much less spoken at one.
Oh, the details! From the sturdy high-quality conference bag, to the folks standing outside the Moscone Center dressed in white carrying cloud balloons, to the video walls and careful lighting…and the Foo Fighters! No expense was spared, and lots of open bars. Frankly, it was almost ostentatious in this economy.
Or maybe I’m just used to the low-key efficiency of the oncology conferences C3 tends to go to.
I already posted about Winter ’09 based on the early preview notes. Now that the release is live, there’s one little tidbit buried in the release notes that’s worth pointing out.
Email to Salesforce using a custom email address (send or bcc to the address) is relatively new, and until now it was a bit crippled.
If the email address of the person whose record you wanted to attach the email matched, everything was hunky dorrie. But what happens if the person’s record had a different email address, or no email address recorded at all? Or, if you wanted to attach the email to a case or closed opportunity as well as the contact record? You had to do it manually after the activity record was already in Salesforce, usually by resolving an “unresolved” task and relating the record within the task.
Now in Winter ’09, you can simply send your email as usual, then go back to the message, forward it to the Salesforce email address and add
(ref: recordID1, recordID2, etc.) to the top of the body of the email. The release notes don’t specify a limit of how many records a single email can be attached to.
And you can set it so you get an email confirmation that the email was attached to the record, rather than having to go to the record directly to confirm.
I’ve done presentations on different tech topics at various meetings, but I’ve never presented on a panel at a conference before.
That’s about to change.
It’s just like me to start small. My first session as a speaker will be at Dreamforce in San Francisco next month.
My session is “So Many Apps, So Little Time” on Wednesday, November 5 at 10:15 am. On the panel with me is Salesforce.com’s Bryan Breckenridge and Vinood Ponnusamy of Unitus. We’re going to be talking about how nonprofits can get the most out of the Salesforce shopping mall otherwise known as the appExchange. I’m going to highlight our use of the CRMFusion apps (including the new DupeBlocker, which is fantastic), the Convio connector and CongaMerge.
Two weeks later (11/17-11/19), I’ll be doing a session at the Convio Summit in Austin, Texas. The session is “How to Find Your Social Media Fit.”
I’m most excited about this panel because of the company I’ll be with at the front of the room. It will be Michael Johnston of HJC and Holly Ross of NTEN. Yes, the Holly Ross. I am such a fan of hers. No pressure for me, right? Topic-wise, I’ll be talking about our Cover Your Butt campaign as a case study of how to take a really tough, dry topic that no one considers “polite” dinner conversation and get people talking about it and taking action…with no budget.
Unfortunately, this means I have no chance of attending next year’s NTC in San Francisco. My conference travel budget for FY08/09 will be blown by Thanksgiving.
If you’re planning to be at either conference, let me know.
This is what I love about Salesforce CRM.
No matter how much I think I know, I always have “lightbulb” moments where I learn something new about the platform that opens up wide new doors in how we use the tool at C3.
As a nonprofit, the key to making the most out of Salesforce (IMO) is to think beyond the textbook definition of a standard object. If you only think of “Opportunities” as a place to store information about people who give you money, and you only think of “Campaigns” as large mailings you send out to bring in money, you’re missing out on a lot. It’s not just about the financial bottom line.
I also think you need to try and do as much as you can with the standard objects before moving to 3rd party tools, add-ins and programming.
If you’re not into Salesforce geekery, best to stop reading now…
It’s that time year again. Salesforce CRM is ready for the next quarterly update. I received an email a few days ago that NA1 (our instance) will be upgraded on October 3.
Got a chance to read through the release notes, and here’s what news & interesting to us:
Case Teams – By default, cases have a single owner. This looks like we’ll have the ability to assign a team to a case as well as an individual owner. Right now, we have one staff member who processes cases through our call center. I can see this being very useful as the program grows. But this line from the release notes makes this feature not so useful yet: “Currently, you cannot report on case teams.”
Storage increases – Currently, the Enterprise edition gives us 1 GB of “General Storage” and 250 MB of “Document Storage.” C3 is using 12% of each. Now Salesforce is defining storage as “data” or “file” which seems more intuitive. Organizations are now given a minimal allotment of 1 GB for each type, with additional storage of 20 MB of data and 100 MB of files per user.
Email to Salesforce improvements – If you bcc the unique Email to Salesforce address, the email is added to the activity history of the contact. Now in Winter ’09, the email is also added to the activity history of any (?) opportunity that the user is assigned as a contact role. This is fabulous. We try to remember to associate the email with the opportunity manually, but I have to admit I forget to do so more often than not. Let’s hope Spring ’09 adds this functionality to cases as well.
Schedule and Email Reports – Love it. We’re making a lot of use of the ability to schedule and email dashboards. I admit to putting things in dashboards simply for this functionality. I can think of at least 10 different reports where it will be useful to have an email sent to certain users on a regular basis.