It is here again – the time when we get a new surprises to our instances, some great features we might like and use. Looks like part of my customers will get them this weekend, the other part next weekend. So I read release notes just in time to be prepared (hopefully). I still prefer the full PDF format a what I really like is, that on first 50 pages you have listed all the new features, so you can just quickly scroll through them and get more complex view than the short summary of things which really catch my eye.
The best change in Winter release? Density settings, which put the field title on the same line as content and save a lot of space on screen. Now we can get more content on one page than was possible in Classic.
Frankly, I hated welcome mat. And then I saw the presentation at Dreamforce about switching to Lightning and realized, we might use and might be really cool. Just don’t stick with the default content, update it with our own, make it relevant for users. Those small details, which make their life easier, such as putting a rich text component on home page, where you write some tips you want them to learn, changes in new release, Trailhead badges which might be relevant. Update it regularly and they will love it. That was one of my „aha“ moments from Dreamforce.
You can now also ask for a feedback why users are switching back to Classic, so you know better, what needs to be upgraded. Plus you can now see report of page performance and where people switch to Classic the most. No more excuses that it is slow, because you will see how „slow“ it really is.
List View Search looks awesome, the only downside I can see is, that you have another search bar on page and it might confuse user. Hope not, but will see. And some fields are searchable, which makes it confusing as well.
Background Utility Items looks like a great concept, just implement lightning:backgroundUtilityItem interface in your Lightning Component and it will listen in the background for keystrokes or events and make the user experience more dynamic. Need to find use case for it, but sounds cool.
You can see whether customer opened your email right in the activity overview. Plus you can put first and last open date on email page layout. Sweat.
Quick Text in Emails plus attachments in List emails are small changes, which make life easier. The first could be somehow solved with templates, but quick text is just way easier and more flexible. Plus you can use classic template in your email and still attach a file – that’s a great change and I was really surprised when I before found it isn’t possible.
What is really cool is, that in email templates you can choose for which object the template will be used and Salesforce then offer you just relevant merge fields. This will definitely make life easier for my customers and I won’t have to fix their templates.
Field History Tracking will delete data after 18 months. So far they haven’t enforced this rule but starting from Winter ’19 data older than 18 months will be deleted, unless you purchased Field Audit Trail add-on or your org has been created after June 2011.
Looks like it really is time to switch on the sync with Google/Exchange. Insights, which scan email and will let you know, what is the most important action to do, is one reason. Recommended connections – your colleagues, who has the strongest connection to each contact – make sense especially in bigger companies.
Good bye Salesforce for Outlook – I want to say finally. Outlook Integration (formerly called Lightning for Outlook) has been around for a while and people were usually confused which one to use. New orgs won’t have it anymore as well as those who didn’t use it during the Summer ’18 release. No patches are planned as well. I think this means we lost the ability to synchronize tasks, but according to release notes Outlook Integration combined with Lightning Sync is way better. Also the Connect for Office (Excel and Word) is being discountinued, but we got the integration with Google Drive and Quip, so not a big deal (haha).
Pardot is in Lightning! Prospects who are synchronized to Salesforce can easily opt-in back – this is huge and unless you experienced it you have no idea how terribly it worked. Now it is fixed and work as you would expect. Hurayy. It has to be enabled in the Salesforce Connector setting, so do it right after upgrade. Prospects can now re-enter Engagement Program and you can filter the process how it went by period to see, whether it changes over time. Cool. And you can also sync prospects as campaign members (need to be enabled).
Einstein Bots are easier to setup and support running flows – great to see flows everywhere. What still surprise me and cannot believe it, that for each licence you have just 25 conversations per months, you will easily run out of them in a day.
Guided actions look cool, you can set them as mandatory (just create a RecordAction record with Is Mandatory true), you can see their history and you can show just a subset of them. I think I need to work with all of my clients on their processes, so we can use this fully. But there is a lot of potential. The whole flow got a tons of new features, which starts with raised limits (100 millions of flow interviews without UI per month), continue with new field types (toggle, slider, name, phone, email or URL – clear signal that successful unofficial components make it to production) and depended picklists, screens can remember previously entered values when you go back (but you have to update the flow), Lightning Components in flow supports validations. Some changes more for developers/admins – flow can be deployed active, not version suffix in Metadata API file names, alert when you have more than one active process per object.
Reports get even better, now you can switch to Enhanced Run Page, where you can see report type, easily switch off some summaries or drill down into your data. Just select lines you want to drill down and then by which field you want to summarize the result. It looks super nice and easy, but I have to admit they show it on a few records only, not sure how great it will be if you have hundreds of them. Plus you can select currency in which you want to show the report, no more only your default currency. And charts (on the enhanced page only) reflect all your records, not only those in the 2000 lines limit. Cool.
In Einstein Analytics the conversational queries are GA (and works really nice), you can explore data from multiple datasets in single lens (with clicks not code), faster way how to add data filters (no need to drag anymore, you can type it in), more app templates, SAQL timeseries function which brings predictions to your numbers and CLI support.
Threaded discussion in Communities! Not sure why it isn’t in normal Chatter, but glad to see it in communities (has to be enabled). And report Questions with and without Answers looks promising if you really want to fully utilize communities. Also CDNs are generally available with 5TB of usage annually – if you have a global operations and want to speed up your website, there is a way.
Developers got a new Lightning Components they can use – map, streaming event listener (means I can update my article and use standard component), menu and menu divider. Accordion now support multiple open sections (huray).
Salesforce DX and VS Code extensions got better as well with ability to work with „normal“ instances as well – exactly the thing I’ve been missing when preparing for my presentation at Dreamforce. Looks like I’ll be finally able to fully switch to VS Code which would be awesome. Also support for debug and tests. And Dev Hub available in Developer Edition, so I can really use DX without problems. With unlocked packages generally available it also means I should learn something new, this whole packaging thing looks really interesting and great way how to organize code.
Tons of improvement in Surveys, hopefully they will make it usable – I tried with one client and found out that it doesn’t matter how they set it up, it always fall back to details. Just one survey for free might be limited, but unlimited surveys costs not much and are way cheaper than with other solutions.
I’m not really a fan of the „new“ Essential Edition (I think it is just 25€/user), but it is getting more and more features – CTI is supported as well as knowledgebase.
Things you hoped are already there:
- mass change of owner on leads/cases/custom objects;
- list view sharing;
- territory forecasting;
- routing by skills in Live agent;
- transfer serialized product items in Field Service Lightning (cannot believe it is in beta, looks like super easy to solve);
- add related single list in communities;
- customize actions on user profiles in communities (you can hide that Follow button);
- edit field sets in Lightning.
What others find interesting:
It is quite a list, I like the UI changes a lot and can spot a few other really interesting features. So let’s the winter begin.