Forcelandia Presentation


I was fortunate to be invited to the First Annual Forcelandia Developer User Group event. This was Portland’s first super user group event but on by the Developer User Group team and they rolled out the red carpet. We had a great lineup from the salesforce MVP’s and salesforce staff for approximately 100 participants.

There were two tracks – one for developers and one more for the admins. The devs learned more about Javascript Remoting and Heroku while the admins spent time on Wave, Process Builder, and understanding APEX.

The event was an amazing learning opportunity for all the people attending. Peter Coffee was the headliner and delivered a presentation about the growth of mobile, apps, and internet usage. I took away a few good ideas from that presentation alone.

I want to thank the group for putting on this amazing event, especially Angela Mahoney and Larry Latimer.  This team is already planning for next year (Forcelandia 2016) and I can’t wait to come back. After the event we also spent some time exploring Portland. We posted a few pictures below.


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5 Admin Tasks You’re Probably Not Doing

I know it seems crass and some of these are probably will take some time to implement but when we work with clients we see these five actions coming up as consistently not done. And so you have to ask yourself, “Self, SHOULD I be doing these things?” We think so….

Keeping a backup

If you’re an old school IT person like myself, then you know how important it is to maintain a backup. But you are not typically using the backup to restore the whole database. Nope. You are using it to restore someone’s goof up (typically you’re own), or you need to move data from one system to another. So many great uses of a backup.

The easiest method is to use the Data Export feature in Setup. Please set up a schedule and store it somewhere safe. If you are not storing attachments, the database file will stay relatively small. But you will get .zip files containing one CSV file for each object in Salesforce. Attachments are a bit more exciting (much larger files) but that’s a conversation for another time. Alternatively there are some great ISV partners that sell backup solutions. Spanning is one of those examples, as well as Backupify.

Don’t ask Salesforce to restore your data. It gets pretty pricey.

Cleaning out old reports
So you’re the admin that, like the Fairy Godmother, has created a report for every user needing every kind of situation report imaginable. Congrats! You’re a rock star! You really need to teach you’re people how to create their own reports. Let me ask a question: how often are they being used? You, and probably a good block of your users, are having to sift through all these reports when they are searching for the ones that really matter. There is a report type available that can show you the times that a report is run as well as other statistics. Run these every so often. Move the unused reports to a folder that only Administrators have access to, for a while.  If it’s not missed,  delete it!

And then while you’re doing that – train a few super users to create reports. Honestly. Huge time saver.

Tracking field usage
I gave a talk about the habits of a successful admin. One of my points is the that it’s not necessarily duplicate data I despise but, bad, missing or useless data! Do I really need to store that account ABC Inc. received the 2013 Christmas Card? Go and track down those fields that are routinely blank, are used by one person or have outlived their usefulness. Then get rid of them! (You do have a backup, right?) We find Field Trip particularly easy to work with and full of usefulness.

Listening to your users
We recently performed a one-day workshop for a client talking about their roadmap of work. Now while I discuss roadmaps below, let me discuss something more important than that: are you listening to your customers ie: your users? You may have the whole world figured out but if you’re users are asking for “X” and you build “Y”, it will be similar to building a schooner in the middle of the Sahara. So pretty and utterly useless.

Find a way to regularly discuss what is being built and get feedback from your user base. Build it in. Even Salesforce’s Project Managers are tasked to “retire” a certain amount of IdeaExchange points every release.

Maintaining a roadmap of work
What are you working on this month? What about next month? Have you thought about what will be necessary 6-12 months down the road to match business needs? Even with a small deployment of the tools, planning for the needs in advance can make a difference in the quantity of time necessary to deliver those goals. Some of us admins are part-timers, so we have to be extra careful to deliver the goods while we do other things.

It could be a simple spreadsheet or something way advanced, but in the end you should be able to answer:

  • What are we working on this month with concrete details?
  • What is on the plan for the next 2-3 months?
  • What are looking at for next 6-12 months?

Write it down, share it with your user base, get feedback, then alter accordingly.

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Midwest Dreamin’

Ever just wake up one morning and KNOW it was going to be a good day? Yeah, that happened in July in Chicago.

Midwest Dreamin’ is a regional User Group. This is the second year of this extravaganza. Last year Steve Molis and I brought the formula comedy road show, so this year the conversation was “Top Habits of a Highly Successful Admin”.

ask the expert

Before the session though, I caught up with several other Salesforce MVP’s and together we worked the “Ask the Expert” booth, in the expo hall. I’m continuously amazed at the knowledge and experience of what people are accomplishing, with this service. Our band of misfits have been playing deeply in the Marketing Cloud, Service Console, incredibly large deployments, and people trying to deploy as fast as possible.

Dreamin egg

If you are an Admin or Dev of Salesforce, spend some time and talk with your fellow attendees. “Day of Dreamforce” is probably the best description of the day.  In the end these kinds of days are all about what you put into it. I have been doing Salesforce for longer then just about anybody and I am still learning from others. If all you do is sit through sessions and drink the coffee, you’re missing the point of these events.

I was able to sit through some of the sessions. Cory Cowgill talked about how to utilize the Analytics API, an Open Source graphing tool, and JavaScript to create amazing info graphics with Salesforce data.  I then saw a presentation from the Salesforce Foundationwho are building a custom deployment of communities primarily focused on Education. Sounds like the Non-Profit Starter Pack all over again. That may be a good thing!

There are a number of these “Super User Groups” being scheduled. Reach out and find them. Awesome education.

Here are a few pics from the time there:

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