Winter 13 Release Notes

Written by ShamrockCRM on August 24, 2012 – 2:16 pm

Salesforce released the Winter 13 release notes today.

Salesforce Winter 13

Here are some of the more interesting features to expect:

Chatter Polls – similar to Facebook polls allowing users to collect data on users’ thoughts and opinions.  Might be a bit easier than corporate surveys with a simple 1 click response.

Chatter Reporting – now available are 2 Chatter custom report types to report on Chatter Activity statistics (comment counts, like counts, post counts, “influence” score, etc) and hashtag usage.

Google Talk no longer supported – just like the Google Adsense plugin for web 2 leads, there goes Google Talk as well.  I guess you don’t need 2 messenger clients in one tool, do you?  :)

Customizable Forecast custom report types – allowing more granular overviews of exactly what is happening within forecasts (e.g. value before manager overrides/user overrides, owner only amounts, etc).  Chime in here if you use customizable forecasts and not just reports/dashboards?  Most of the people I work with only use basic reporting without adding in forecasting.  I feel most organizations requiring this typically already have their own quota management tools and use them in combination with SFDC reports.

Opportunity Teams (previously Sales Teams) enhancements – Now this enhancement is a bit interesting.  Opportunity teams will now be an entirely new entity with their own page layouts, custom fields, custom buttons, links, validation rules, reports, APEX Triggers, their own related lists, and more to allow better automation of sales team assignments.  There will now be a brand new Opportunity Team Member page.  You will need to go back and “disable team selling” to remove the old sales teams and do some picklist adjusting for the existing roles.

You can now create custom reports that will report on “team” performance and success.  You can also assign teams to specific Accounts and report on them this way as well.  Definitely a different way of thinking from the traditional “this is the salesperson and THIS is THEIR opportunity.”

Salesforce for Outlook enhancements – This is also a nice feature.  This is essentially embedding additional details, such as recent activities (emails, calls, meetings) and recent opportunities about the contacts / leads that you are emailing directly in a side panel in Outlook.  If you are an “Outlook” shop that essentially lives in Outlook, this can be a great tool for saving time.

Salesforce for Outlook

Also, if you use Social Accounts, Social Contacts, the pictures that you have chosen from Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn will show up as well.

Draft Emails in Cases – Salesforce is now becoming a full Chat / Email / Communication client.  As least they are getting close.  Now case agents do not need to send an email immediately.  They can start an email, draft it, continue to work on the case, and send the email when ready.  This is a much needed feature for users that use only Salesforce for customer service.

Smart Email Templates in Cases – Searching for templates is not a fun process in, especially if there are multiple to use based on different scenarios.  Now, you can preload specific templates based on field criteria (e.g. region, product, etc).

Chatter Answers Reputation – Very similar to what you see all across the web on similar sites, Chatter Answers now provides “reputation scores” to users that respond to questions.  This will provide users with different milestones like “Newbie” and provide an overview of how many posts they have made and the quality.  Users receive points from “voted” answers and “best answers”

Chatter Answers in Portals with VisualForce – You can now embed Chatter Answers onto a VisualForce page that can be displayed in the Customer Portals and Partner Portals.  Instead of the default branding, this will allow you to brand your page how you would like it and add additional widgets to it as well.  A little bit more flexibility couldn’t hurt.

Universal Knowledge (pilot) – A redesign of the Articles tab, which shows all of your articles as well as results from a federated search of other databases, like SharePoint.  This sounds extremely useful, but there is not much information on it.

Salesforce Touch (beta) – Only for the iPad at the moment, Salesforce Touch is Salesforce’s HTML5 solution to mobile apps.  Their current mobile app is lacking and this hopes to pull everything together.  You will be able to access this from an iOS app as well as mobile web.  Work with real time, up to date data, create records, edit records, manage activities and tasks, collaborate with Chatter.  This is really a great app and I wish it was generally available.  I wonder if the Facebook decision to move away from HTML5 apps due to speed will ever have any kind of impact on this.

Salesforce Touch Beta

Canvas Framework (developer edition only) – a set of tools and JavaScript APIs to integrate your third party app directly in  Don’t redesign or reintegrate your apps.  Integrate them with the Canvas Framework.  I’m interested to see where this goes.  Salesforce provides these user scenarios:

• Application integration—You’re a partner, systems integrator, or customer that builds cloud apps, and you’d like to integrate
these applications with Salesforce.
• Application rationalization/enterprise desktop—You’re a large organization that has many existing apps that your users
access in addition to Salesforce. You’d like to integrate these apps into Salesforce so that users can accomplish all of their
tasks in one place.

SOQL Polymorphism (dev preview) – in the case of querying IDs (for example) from Tasks, these IDs could represent multiple objects (Accounts/Contacts/Leads/etc).  Instead of doing a “startsWith” command to determine what type of record and then query appropriately, a polymorphic statement can be issued to handle that:

WHEN Account THEN Phone, NumberOfEmployees
WHEN Opportunity THEN Amount, CloseDate
WHEN Campaign THEN ExpectedRevenue, StartDate
FROM Event

VisualForce Charting Generally Available – Programmatically build extremely complex charts in VisualForce.  This should enable some amazing things, but I am on the fence as to if this should be used or if a BI solution should be chosen.  There are definitely trade offs.

VisualForce charting

Environment Hub (pilot) – use multiple Salesforce orgs for development and testing and have a difficult time managing them?  This will help pull them together and manage them.

Some of the lesser details (IMO):
-Salesforce Communities is in Pilot mode for collaborating with customers, employees, partners.  This allows users to collaborate on chatter and SFDC records.  It can be public facing and also authenticated.
-Chatter “influencer” customizations – currently, it is too easy for a user to become a “Top Influencer.”  This allows organizations to customize their own thresholds based on their own criteria.
-Overall improvement of Chatter desktop.  Basically, adding functionality from the web app (likes, etc).
-Syncing recurring events with Outlook.
-Shared Activities for non-recurring events – assign up to 10 contacts to both Tasks and Events.  The reason that this is not higher is because I thought this was already fully operational.
-Case Feed is now more customizable – this tool is really outstanding.  It is beautiful, easy to use, and allows for a lot of customer service automation.  This is in addition to Live Agent transcripts and Facebook/Twitter posts associated to a case now showing up in the Feed.
Salesforce Case Feed

-Rich text and pictures in questions in Chatter Answers.
-Custom hotkeys for the Service Cloud Console to help move even quicker.
-Saved user sessions for the Service Cloud Console to remember what you were last doing if you get logged out.
-Sharing rules for Knowledge.  This should make this process a lot more “standard.”
-Ability to share Knowledge Articles with publicly accessible links.
-Exportable joined reports to Excel.
-Joined reports charts now allowed as Dashboard components.
-Scatter charts on Dashboards.
-D&B companies now available as Leads.
-New custom field type – Geolocation (beta).  Now use formulas to calculate distance between locations.  Nice!
-Global permission sets that cross license type boundaries, e.g. One app and License.
-Sharing rules for User records, e.g. prevent agents from viewing employee user profiles.
-Major enhancements to the Developer console, allowing you to edit, test, debug code directly from the console as well as a SOQL Query Editor that has many nice features.  This console is getting serious!  Command line mode for executing anonymous APEX, perspective manager, inserting/editing/deleting records, etc.
-Support for testing Callouts!
-TONS of new methods for handling Strings in APEX.  Very nice!
-Loading test data from Static resources (CSVs, etc) instead of manually generating data or having to create a mess in the APEX Class.
-Pushing major upgrades for AppExchange packages (rather than only patches).

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