Archive for June, 2007

Introducing Arrowpointe Maps

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arrowpointemaps_logo.png

I am pleased to announce Arrowpointe’s newest product, Arrowpointe Maps.

Arrowpointe Maps is an on-demand mapping platform that facilitates a conversation between Salesforce.com & MapQuest allowing for easy deployment of mapping capabilities in your organization and providing end-users a simple means for mapping their data. Arrowpointe Maps is configurable and can be tailored to your organization, so that your users can work with their information in a meaningful way.

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What It Does

Arrowpointe Maps currently supports mapping your Leads, Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities and Cases (with Custom Objects coming soon). There are currently 2 ways of mapping your information:

  1. Map Pages – Your administrator configures “Map Pages”. A Map Page is a dynamically generated query form that includes the key criteria you need to map your data. Based upon my experience implementing these kinds of solutions, I have found that end-users really respond to this approach because it is SIMPLE. The image below shows how a Map Page can be configured and the end result that a user sees when that page is run. The end result is the query form. The user would use that form to generate their map.

    arrowpointemaps_mappages.png

  2. From a View – A arrowpointemaps_maprecordsbutton.png button comes with the Arrowpointe Maps AppExchange package for you to include on your List Views for all supported objects. On a View, check the records you want to map and click the Map Records button.

    arrowpointemaps_viewmaps.png

Some other functionality of note:

  • Custom Address Fields: In the admin area of Arrowpointe Maps, you specify where your addresses reside. Thus, it is a non-issue to have your addresses in custom fields (which about 50% of my clients do).
  • Create as many Map Pages as you desire: For example, suppose you wanted a separate Map Page for each of 5 Lead Sources. You create a separate Map Page for each and pre-filter the data by the specific Lead Source. Thus, no matter what a user does on that Map Page, their results would always be limited by the Lead Source you (the admin) specified.
  • International Support: MapQuest has very good international support and can handle addresses in lots of countries.
  • Supports joined fields: For example, from an Opportunity, you could pull information in from the Account or Owner records. Only certain joins are supported.
  • Recognizes Field Level Security settings: If you include a field on the map that some users can’t see, they won’t see it. If there certain objects they can’t see, they won’t even have the option of running maps for that object.
  • License subsets of your user base: Arrowpointe Maps is priced per user per month, but you can select from a subset of your total Salesforce.com user base to determine who should have access.

The functionality of the product will not end there. We have other enhancements in the pipeline, but more importantly, we want to implement the functionality YOU (the customer) needs. This product will be evolving.

Guiding Principles

Mapping your Salesforce.com data (any data for that matter) has proven to be a much desired, yet very difficult thing to do. There are some key requirements that I hear over and over again from Salesforce customers contacting me about mapping solutions:

  1. Ease of Use: For adoption purposes, the solution must be easy to use. End users should not need to know how to run complex queries, but should have a simple way to pick and choose how to map their data.
  2. Supported Objects: At a minimum, Leads, Accounts and Contacts should be supported. The ability to map Opportunities and Cases is a nice-to-have. For many Salesforce customers, mapping custom objects is a necessity.
  3. On Demand: Salesforce customers have already adopted the on-demand model. Typically, they are not looking for a solution that requires them to house the code.
  4. Configurable: The solution must be able to support the customer’s unique configuration such as storing addresses in non-standard fields, including custom fields in the info windows on the map, accounting for Field Level Security settings and more.
  5. Affordable: Mapping business data can be expensive because, in most cases, you need to obtain a license with your preferred mapping provider. Most mapping services you read about have restrictions on using the service for business or internal use. A mapping solution should spread such costs across customers, thereby making it more affordable to use.
  6. Reliability, Accuracy & Security: You want to use a solution that is reliable and can be counted on to provide accurate mapping results. Also, it must run on a stable platform and adhere to Salesforce.com’s strong security requirements.
  7. Support: The solution must have a good support model in place to ensure your needs are met.

Arrowpointe Maps was designed to deliver upon those principles.

Getting More Information

The official location for information on Arrowpointe Maps is its product page at http://www.arrowpointe.com/maps. There, you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Arrowpointe Maps is currently live, but is not yet publicly available on the AppExchange. It is being made available by invitation only at this time. If you want to be invited to trial the product, please submit your contact information to Arrowpointe on the Arrowpointe Maps product page. If you have contacted Arrowpointe before regarding our Salesforce.com & Google Maps mashup, then you are already on the list and don’t need to submit your contact information.

I will continue to post more information about Arrowpointe Maps on this blog. If you are interested in subscribing to the contents of the blog, you can get more information here.

Lastly, Arrowpointe has many other products that work with Salesforce.com. Many of them are available on the AppExchange. To see the entire portfolio, please visit our main Product page.

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Summer ’07 Features

As you may know by now, Salesforce has an Idea Exchange category for upcoming Summer ’07 features. There are a lot of great features to be excited about including improvements to Mass Email, Workflow and Reporting. However, for me, the most exciting/useful feature will be the Cross-Object Formulas. Salesforce product management added a note to that idea saying that:

This idea really encompasses two features – referencing parent fields on a child, and rolling up child information to a parent. The latter of these is on schedule to be available with the Summer ’07 release! Stay tuned for more information in the coming months!

The ability to create formulas that COUNT, SUM, MIN, MAX, etc. values from child records will be huge. It will especially huge if conditions can be added within that. For example, from an Account, you might have a formula field to SUM(all Won Opporortunities from a particular Lead Source). Another might be to simply SUM(all Won Opportunities).

Until the release notes are out, we won’t know exactly what this functionality will (not) do, but it’s exciting to know some aspect of it is coming. This will save users a lot of time from having to run reports to get this information and it will save developers a lot of time having to create those reports!

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Salesforce under Safari on Windows

I have to echo Jeff’s thoughts from crmfyi.com regarding running Safari on Windows to access Salesforce. It is a very good experience and Salesforce runs really really fast!

Apple released Safari for Windows last week. Hours after its arrival, reports of security holes came out and an update to the browser was already made. Because of those security concerns and due to its lack of Firefox-quality plugins (at this time), I won’t be switching away from Firefox.

However, I would recommend trying Safari out for use with Salesforce. Especially for the administrative side of things. Salesforce’s setup screens send my Firefox memory utilization up around 400MB after an hour or so and things really start to slow down. Using Safari, all of the screens fly. Some pages loaded so fast, I wasn’t even sure the browser recognized my command to navigate to a new page.

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Info Center v1.0

The latest version of the Info Center is up on AppExchange.

The only change in this version is that it utilizes the production version of the AJAX Toolkit, which should improve the performance for you.

If you have Info Center installed already

The Info Center is an unmanaged package, meaning it requires you to uninstall/reinstall it to get the new version. Uninstalling it deletes all of the custom objects and your data will get deleted! If you already have the Info Center installed in your org, I have created a different package for you, Info Center (s-Control Only) 1.0. As the name implies, this package only contains the new s-Control code. If you have Info Center installed and want to only upgrade the code, do the following:

  1. Copy your current “IC Web Tab” s-Control code to a document just in case something goes wrong.
  2. Install the Info Center (s-Control Only) 1.0 package.
  3. Copy the “IC Web Tab 06072007” s-Control code to your clipboard.
  4. Edit the “IC Web Tab” s-Control. Select all the existing code and delete it. Paste the code from your clipboard to this s-Control. Click Save.
  5. Go to the Info Center tab and make sure the page renders nicely. If you have an issue, revert the “IC Web Tab” s-Control to the code from your document in step 1. You can contact me if you have an issue or add a comment to this post.
  6. If all is good, then you can uninstall the Info Center (s-Control Only). You don’t have to uninstall it, but it isn’t providing a function for you anymore.
  7. Enjoy! Hopefully performance will be improved for you

I haven’t been planning on making Info Center a managed package because it is meant to be a proof of concept and something that, hopefully, people will modify and make better. If it’s managed, then even the objects are locked down and you won’t be able to make any changes. Thus, it is staying unmanaged. There are arguments to be made on either side whether to make it a managed or unmanaged package. If you feel strongly about it, feel free to leave a comment.

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Auto vCard v1.2

The Auto vCard package was updated on the AppExchange. If you are using Auto vCard in your org, it is recommended that you uninstall the existing package and install the new one. The changes in the new version are:

  • Custom Button: Rather than being a custom link, the new package uses a custom button. This looks much more professional and is more noticeable for users.
  • Managed Package: The package was updated to be a “managed package”. This will allow future upgrades to be installed over the existing package and allow me to know who is running the package so I can better communicate future updates.

The functional changes in this version are minor. However, I plan on making changes over the next few months that will be much easier on you if you have a managed package installed. These changes include moving the scripts to a new URL and rewriting the logic so that the annoying window doesn’t pop up and force you to close it after every vCard you run. Having it be a managed package will let me communicate with you directly when it comes time to communicate those changes.

Salesforce recently told me that the Auto vCard package has 188 active customer installs and is one of the most installed partner applications on the AppExchange. That’s good news! The bad news is me not knowing who those Orgs are and not being able to communicate with you when the future changes take effect. That’s why it is recommended that you uninstall the existing package and install the new one.

Leave a comment if you have questions/concerns. If you want to contact me privately about it, you can use my support page.

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