Salesforce Associate Certification

The question I’ve been asked on every training this year and to which I probably have different answer than some other people. What a perfect opening for an article about a new certification Salesforce released a while ago.

Do I need certification to find a job?

And my answer is no, even though I love certifications and have plenty of them.

Actually, there are two perspective I can think of:

  • when looking for a job with client, it might be beneficial. At least in Czechia there aren’t many administrators with any certification, which will immediately give you some extra points. Also the smaller clients might not be able to evaluate your skills properly;
  • when joining partners or bigger customers, they are able to evaluate your knowledge properly and know that the practical experience is more important than a title.

Salesforce Associate – when you have no experience

That’s the moment when Salesforce brought the Associate certification, which should be your opener to the SF world. Its content is pretty interesting and shows what SF cares about – reports, data model, what is generally possible on the platform, what is around the platform (community groups, trailhead). I especially like the non-technical part, which is something even long-term admins are not aware about and used to use.

Also the certification is cheaper and shorter, which might be a great start for new joiners as a first win, which will remove a bit of uncertainty from taking additional certs.

And that’s exactly the point why I might suggest this cert as the first for any new joiner. Still not sure it should/will make a difference between hire/no-hire, but might be a great start to your new career.

Additional resources:

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Winter ’23 Release Notes

Salesforce Winter '23 logo

I’m just two months or so late with my reading, made it just in time when Salesforce starts rolling Spring release to their pre-release sandboxes. And there are a few interesting points:

  • Interactive Einstein Search Answers is just in pilot and while I originally didn’t pay much attention I liked it on second reading – it will search the knowledgebase and return just the important abstract plus a link to full article;
  • structure of custom report type when creating report – in last version they brough the list of objects & fields to the New Report screen, now you can see also what are the join details;
  • second interesting feature for new report is in beta – you can filtr on which (custom) report type specific field is included. This makes me wonder how many custom report types is normal in instances as I rarely create them;
  • Tableau and Tableau together. I mean now you can publish content from Tableau Online („full Tableau“) into CRM Analytics dashboard. I do wonder how many clients use both of these products and whether this overlap is the right step, but can definitely save some extra work;
  • it is almost time for Dynamic Forms – now they do support also Accounts, Contacts and Opportunities, if I’m not mistaken the Cases are the only „important“ standard object missing. And then rock and roll and have fun with migrations;
  • delete unused values on picklist fields might be a big life saver especially when you want to delete a lot of those values. Previously you had to go one by one which took a lot of time, now you can do it in bulk;
  • set field level security on permission sets during field creation is in beta but super important step in moving from profiles;
  • filtr the Change Events stream is really nice as there is a limit on delivered events, so if you can limit it on the subscriber side it awesome;
  • you can stream Salesforce Events into Amazon EventBridge, so if you already use it no need to change anything, just plug Salesforce in;
  • the Optimization Hub in Field Service which lets you track the improvements looks good, not sure it also covers the „what-if“ analysis or rather show hard data;
  • another Field Service thing – bundling appointment. So far there wasn’t such thing and we had to be creative or develop something special, now you can bundle multiple smaller one into „one bigger“;
  • Lightning Web Component support in the Field Service Mobile App is potentially a big thing as so far that app doesn’t allow for much customizations;
  • Automotive Cloud, who cares. But there is one interesting feature multiple (non-automotive) customers might like as well – Lead Line Items which allows you to record interest in products on lead level and will convert into Opportunity Line Items during lead conversion. Great idea, why I didn’t think about it yet?
  • Financial Cloud brings the same feeling but hey, all the ARC related components are pretty cool and would be great to be part of the core platform. Dtto for the Interest component;
  • ToDo list can be part of Utility bar. That might be big!
  • absolutely the biggest feature for me – when sending list email you can now choose from which org-wide address it will be send;
  • record-triggered flow and update of related records – so far one of the biggest reasons to stay with Process Builder as I didn’t want to create loop and all the fancy things around, now it is out of the box in the update element;
  • IN and NOT IN was another pain in flow and collections solved only with APEX, not anymore. A big win!
  • lookup flow component supports more records to be selected;
  • MFA to be (finally?) enforced in Spring ’23, probably time to prepare customers.

And with that my read through 723 pages is over and I probably have two months before the next release. What did you find interesting in the release notes or just in my notes?

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You need an app for your event! Really?

Topic around which we dance from the first CzechDreamin. We tested a few different apps, heard feedback on another few and still didn’t solve it. It was also one point on my list of things to check while attending French Touch Dreamin (FTD) last week.

On top of all those hassles there are emails from the providers of such applications with „thank you for you interest, we will raise our prices because we put a lot of new features in it.“

And I realised how important it is to understand your needs to get the solution you really want. And probably how old I am or why I would not be a good product owner. Or maybe I’ll be perfect one?

What was my experience

FTD probably got the full package – agenda, sponsors, networking, community, polls, leader board, q&a, maps, ….

Well, having agenda was super cool, be able to schedule it in advance and have it ready on my mobile phone.

Sponsors – I do understand their needs and I really liked that the app was connected with the physical badge and I didn’t have to open the app to be scanned.

Networking – a few people reached out to me in advanced, which was pleasant, and we were able to schedule a meeting in advanced or just agree that we will catch each other.

Community & leader board – oh man. This is the place I realised I don’t really need. It felt like a great idea how to draw people to communicate, but I rather dropped back to my normal channels on Twitter/LinkedIn, because I want to share my posts with wider community, not necessary with other attendees. I would also say that due to the leader board the communication went sideways with tons of obsolete topics just to get the points and there was no real value to me only noise.

What we probably need

The real life experience allowed me to think about what I feel we need for CzechDreamin:

  • lead scanning, ideally based on generated QR on badges;
  • agenda;
  • polls might be nice would – mainly speakers – use it;
  • Q&A – as above;
  • networking – not bad, just need to make sure no spam is going on and probably on the border of GDPR;
  • sync with Eventbrite needed.

Everything else we will switch off probably anyway, so looks like we don’t need full blown solution with tons of features, but something simple will be enough, maybe even two (one for attendees and one for sponsors) solutions will be ok.

Any recommendation? Yes, we are price sensitive 🙂

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What an event!

Last week we had our final user group for this year. As is our tradition it happened in the Deloitte’s offices together with all the other community groups located in Prague. Originally we had a space for 70 which we extend to 90 and probably run over a 100 for the first time ever!

I came with a new twist and asked attendees to buy a small gift and give it to some stranger. Surprisingly a lot of them really followed this idea and I believe it opened some nice conversations.

Absolutely amazing food provided by dCafe

We started the evening with a glass of Prosecco and with just a small delay started the presentations with reports from all the community group leaders who attended. WIT reported their crazy number of courses they did during the year, user group by some miracle crossed the 500 members bar (we grow probably a bit slower than Salesforce in CZ but we didn’t believe in this number a while back), marketers will join forces and plan to do some super cool meetup on January 12 and Slack is (re)starting this year and will see where it will go.

Full house

Then it was time for presentations from Dreamforce. Seven speakers were planned, seven different point of views. We heard everything about jetlag and how to plan agenda from Petr, how Salesforce invests heavily into (UX) Design (thank you Katka), which is probably also a great way how to get more people into the ecosystem, summary of CPQ news delivered by Misa remotely, all the architects insights (I’m still not sure how Tomas was able to get all those details from various people). A big surprise was Jan’s presentation about Marketing Cloud news, as he wasn’t able to make it, but Jakub, Ekat, Jan & Jan took stage and explain every slide he prepared with so many details which was incredible, partners collaboration in its best. Final word had Pepa with more news for architects, developers and admins. Based on all those session I would say interesting times are ahead.

It takes 4 consultants to present what 1 can prepare

A quick raffle and then off to pizza and drinks, as the super tasty food provided by dCafe (which is located in Deloitte’s office and not sure is publicly available) was already gone at this time, as people have been chatting during the presentations as well.

We also had to drink all the hot wine and finish the sweats and at 10pm sharp we left the building and spread across Prague. Some attendees went home, others for a beer or to the karaoke bar. Looks like additional tradition has been born, will see next year.

And the feedback day after – just wow! Something we aren’t really used to with Alča, this time it was a wave of super positive messages on social platforms and directly. Thank you!

You can find all the presentations on our Google Drive together with some photos and we hope with Alča to see you next year. Will see what will be the topic of our next user group, which we aim to organise in March.

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with Slack

Another user group in the books, this time we joined forces with the Prague Slack Group and learnt more about this tool. It happened just before Dreamforce so we didn’t have the latest and greatest news, but is was still great. You can check some photos and presentation or just read further to my summary.

Tom Jirinec and Slack presentation

Tom Jirinec walked us through all the great things Slack can offer, we spoke about the basics such as how to post message, tag someone, create channels, group them, use emoticons (actually one of the important skills worth even asking in the certification), shortcuts (he really uses them a lot), huddles (which looks like finally working without problems), Slack Connect (I heard that even Salesforce AE offers customers to add them into their workspace and have a swift communication) and finally about apps which can be integrate and workflow to support structured and/or repetitive tasks.

While I originally saw Slack just as a messaging tool which will just convert the email communication into this chat, so basically you still have the same amount of requests to process or even more, as people write quickly and send multiple messages instead of one well-thought email, with all the integrations in starts to make sense.

Naturally we also spoke about the integration with Salesforce, which is getting better every release (of the apps, which are still separated). I’m still not a fan of the ability to attach Slack messages to the record in Salesforce (as it has to be done manually) and feel Chatter is still more the record based chat while Slack is the not context related chat, but I like all the other possibilites, one of them presented at North East Community Group.

Which leads me to certifications, which now exists for admins with heavy focus on licencing and what implications it has on user provisioning, on naming structure and using emoticons. The second one is for developers, where the first 3 chapters of the preparation course focus on the possibilities and user experience and the rest is heavy on different APIs and which token use when.

It would be awesome to have some certification for consultants, which would cover how to setup the system, how to engage users, how to create a new app and what are the „UI related“ limits.

All in all, this possibility to develop a new app, create workflow or use a Salesforce Flow in Slack (as presented at CzechDreamin by Alex Edelstein) are great ideas where we, as Salesforce partner, might find some new space where to offer our services.

What’s next? Next Prague User Group will happen most likely in the second half of November and while wrap-up the Dreamforce, for next Slack meetup sign up and let’s see. But it is definitely a technology I’ll pay attention to.

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