Archive for June, 2005

Random Wish List

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Wanted to document a few “wish list” items that Salesforce.com should put into the application. Hopefully someone from Salesforce.com is checking out this blog.

Mass Email Activities (more detail)

When using the mass email feature today, it can log an activity for each Contact. However, the activity says next to nothing. It does not contain the text of the email and has no reference to the email template. The activity created should provide the text of the email that went out and any attachments included (just like the Send Email feature does). If that is too much text and SFDC fears it’ll increase database size too much, at least have a reference to the email template that was used.

Campaign Visibility & Sharing

Right now, the Marketing User user profile field gives someone control of the Campaigns. It’d be fantastic if Campaigns were made to work just like the other objects with their own default Sharing Rule and the ability to add Campaign Sharing Rules to extend visibility to Campaigns. I think Campaigns were designed for a centralized marketing group to use. However, the functionality is applicable to a sales user too whereby a Sales person may want to run a personal Campaign. In today’s world, they would need the Marketing User flag set on their profile. This would let them do that, but it’d also let them edit/delete anyone else’s Campaigns.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Some keyboard shortcuts for things like Save, Cancel, New, etc. would be nice. SFDC currently requires heavy use of a mouse. Keyboard shortcuts are especially important on the Supportforce side of the house.

More than 1 personal reports folder

Give users the ability to create more than 1 personal reports folder. It is currently the equivalent of having 1 folder on your harddrive for all of your documents. Users should be able to create multiple folders. That’s step 1. The second (and less important) step would be to allow for a hierarchy of folders. This functionality would negate the need for the HTML component I mentioned in a earlier posting.

Sales History Related List being Customizable

The new customizable related list functionality is great. It’d be nice if the Sales History list was editable too. For example, Expected Revenue is stuck on there. I have yet to see an implementation where my clients puts any significance on that field. We should be able to remove it.

Additional To people on an email

In the summer 05 release, the CC and BCC fields can bring up a list of Contacts to pick from. That link needs to be on the Additional To field too. This may have been a Summer 05 release oversight.

Mass Mail Merge

Allow users to do a mass mail merge similar to how the mass email is performed.

My Personal Mail Merge Templates

Just like having personal email templates, personal mail merge templates should exist.

Personal Bookmarks on Homepage

The ability to add personal bookmarks on your homepage. This might be links to external sites, but could also be a link to a report or another record in Salesforce.com.

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Use an HTML homepage component with links to public reports

Over time, the Reports tab can be cumbersome to navigate through. You can only create 1 level of report folders and the reports are simply listed alphabetically. Try using an HTML component on the homepage with links directly to reports to help your users get right to the reports they need.

  1. First, determine the public reports being used most often in the organization. This can be done by surveying users. Also ask your users the type of reports that they are creating for personal use. Perhaps everyone is creating reports that are very similar, but not identical. You could create a public report that gets them 90% of the way there.
  2. Next, make sure all of the public reports are created properly and accessible in the Reports tab.
  3. Create the HTML component. The HTML component will allow you to use the flexibility of HTML to create a user-friendly look and feel with links pointing directly to your reports. Since every report (and every record, for that matter) has its own unique URL, you can link directly to those public reports. If desired, you could also create links to pages in the setup area such as Change Password, My Templates, My Personal Information, etc. Another useful thing would be to create links directly to any documents you have in the Documents tab that users reference regularly.
  4. Communicate and obtain feedback from your users. Then build this out over time. You will likely receive varying requests from different groups. Using separate homepage layouts, you could display differing HTML components on each, giving each profile its own component.

I have received a positive response from users when they see this functionality. Give it a try. Let me know what you think too.

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Auto Create Reports from Web Links

There is a little documented trick for building dynamic reports that can be launched from Web Links on a specific record. You can setup reports with pre-set criteria and pass the criteria values dynamically to the report through a URL string. To do so, pass the parameter values in the URL string where

pv0 is the value of the first parameter
pv1 is the value of the second parameter
pv2 is the value of the third parameter
and so on…

The URL would be:

https://na1.salesforce.com/id_of_the_report?pv0=value&pv1=value

Build this link this using a weblink or sforce control.

For example, suppose your company uses a Parent-Child account hierarchy. Suppose you do business with a number of GE subsidiaries and have a parent GE account is used to bring all of those accounts together. You want to easily run a report for all of the Opportunities related to the child accounts of that GE parent account.

To do this, create a Web Link to dynamically generate the report from an Account record.

Here’s how you do it:

Create an Opportunity report with the format you want. Add a single criteria line using the Parent Account ID field. Set the condition to “equals”. Leave the value blank. Save the report and note the URL of the report.

Create an Account web link that is a URL. The URL is “/id of the report?pv0={Account ID}“. Put that web link on the account page layout. When you run this report, the weblink will pass the Account ID into the first report criteria value. In this case, that’s the Account ID. So this report will pull all Opportunities where the Parent Account ID equals the Account ID of the Account record you clicked the weblink from. If you run that report from the GE record, it will pull up all Opportunities for child accounts of GE.

The parent-child situation is just 1 example. The concept can be used for a lot of situations where you cannot hardcode the criteria you need into the report.

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Salesforce.com via RSS

I came across a very interesting idea in another blog. Someone has used RSS technology to syndicate Salesforce.com leads. I think this is a fantastic idea and one that I would hope Salesforce.com might latch onto and include some syndication utilities for data into the sforce platform. If they are truly going the on-demand platform route, then this would be a necessary feature for all data objects and would provide ways to build alternative UIs for the data for particular purposes. If they want to keep people inside the user interface of Salesforce.com, then they’d want to pick their spots on incorporating this technology.

A link to the article I read: Moonwatcher Adoption: Salesforce.com via RSS

I’d love to hear from a developer on how this idea could be easily implemented. I am not familiar with the structure of RSS quite yet.

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