An early look at Salesforce Winter '08

I love that Salesforce gives administrators a chance to “play” in the new version for a while before upgrades are officially rolled out. Winter ’08 is coming in early November, so I signed up for the prerelease trial this morning to check out some of the new features.

As expected, the trial is a vanilla install. None of the nonprofit-specific enhancements are included. But still, it’s a way to see what’s coming on November 2nd.

Fantastic: Inline editing. Once a record is created, there is no reason to hit the “edit” button to change any data. Double click on any field that you have a right to change, enter the new data and hit “OK”:

salesforce-editing-1.jpg

I hope this new feature is as lightening fast on a full implementation as it is in an empty trial.

Fantastic, but a couple of weeks too late: Mobile Administration moves to Setup.

At C3, three of us have Blackberries. We purchased the new Apex Mobile so we can access our Salesforce data from our devices (huge discount for nonprofits). This means that if I’m working from a waiting room as I’m known to do, I can delegate tasks, add to my Salesforce calendar, check on a contact’s email address and log emails without waiting until I get back to a regular computer. Salesforce purchased their mobile version from Sendia and until Winter ’08, the setup of new profiles was in a completely different interface and complicated, to say the least.

Now it appears that configuration has moved off the AppExchange and into the main “Setup” window as it belongs. It also looks a lot more straight-forward than it was when I needed one-on-one help from Support to configure the Sendia screens.

From this:

salesforce-sendia.jpg

to this:

mobile-admin.jpg

I only hope that our old-style configuration is automatically converted to the new screens.

Disappointment: Roll-up Summary fields are not there yet. At least not for us. When it was announced before Summer ’07 that you can create a field on a record and have it automatically total the items in a related list, I was thrilled. But it only works on custom objects, and only on established master-child relationships.

Now in Winter ’08, Roll-up Summary fields come to a single standard object: Opportunities. But, that master-child limitation remains. So you can put the field on an opportunity record, but then the only option to aggregate is something like Products.

What I want: add a field to a Contact or Account record that lists the total dollar value of opportunities associated with that contact (through contact role) or account, with the ability to filter based on their actual contact role. So I want to see how much they’ve donated themselves, but also anything that was donated in their honor. Right now, that information is only available by running reports, or by manually adding the items in the “Donations” related list on the record. Maybe in Spring ’08.

Fellow Salesforce geeks: Anything else I missed that I should be looking at for our organization?

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One thought on “An early look at Salesforce Winter '08

  1. Field History Tracking on Accounts and Contacts – this even works for custom fields on these objects. “Who did what to whom” on your objects. Very handy.

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