So anyone who knows me, probably knows that I have a wide variety of interests. However, the one passion that I have had consistently over the last few decades, is the unending pursuit to give back. I have been incredibly lucky, have had amazing people supporting me, and of course, throw in a bit of good old-fashioned hard work. But, the one thing that I can point to as being the pivotal element of success has been having access to technology at a young age.
When I was in elementary school, I was lucky enough to have access to a (not so) super sophisticated, high-tech computer lab, full of Commodore 64 computers. Yes, I know I am dating myself, and yes, I see the irony of naming an 8-bit computer “64”. None the less, I was able to get out of class a few times a week to go down to the computer lab and boot all of the computers for the upcoming class, since each machine needed to be booted with a 5.25″ floppy disk.
From an early age, I was obsessed with technology. I was learning how to program in Basic (there was no visual basic yet) in Junior High, and by High School, I was learning to develop in Pascal. I turned my Dad’s IBM 8086 PC into a hub for FidoNet at age 13, because it was so advanced it had a 10MB hard drive and 1200 baud modem, much more than the handful of personal computers had at the time. People could now send emails through a chain of hubs that allowed messages to be delivered across the country in about 18-24 hours. While I was in college, Object Oriented Programming was just being born, and still seemed a bit too “gimmicky” for most programmers to take seriously.
Skip ahead to 2004 and I had started on what would become my life, and careers obsession with Salesforce. I watched release notes grow from 30 pages to over 300 pages. I was fortunate enough to be there for the birth of Force.com, one of the first Cloud Development Platforms. I will say that there is some excitement to have been around to see the death of S-Controls and it’s rebirth in the age of Lightning.
And, if Salesforce wasn’t transformational enough in my life, I found the Power of Us! The Power of Us Hub helps non-profit organizations fulfill their mission by providing the support of the world best cloud based technologies. My dream was not just to be successful working in an industry I love, but to help build a future full of successful leaders, that enjoyed the same opportunities because they had the same advantages that technology provides.
Thanks to The Power of Us Hub, Apple2Share.org has been ablet to collaborate with other non-profit leaders from around the world, exchange ideas, and leverage one of the most advanced technologies available today, Salesforce.com. As we begin our journey of providing the best technologies to all students to promote the learning of STEM, we look to a future of economic equality, made possible by equal learning opportunities for all students.
When I first downloaded the latest iOS 9.3 to my iPhone 6s, like most people I was excited to see the new features. And like most early adopters of technology, and a software developer myself, I was also strangely excited to see if I could be one of the first to find any bugs in the new system.
Like many other people, one of the first “Undocumented Features” I found was that links no longer worked on my phone. Not just links from a web browser, but any links. Inconvenient, yes. End of the world, definitely not. Of course I reached out to Apple to see if they had a work around (which it was too early and they did not). I jumped on Apple Bug Reporter and logged a ticket and attached stackshots.
In the end, from the March 22nd release date until the March 31st 9.3.1 patch that resolved the issue, Apple was able to receive reports, identify the issue, design a solution, test, and release in just over a week. While that may seem like a long time to an everyday user, it’s actually quite impressive.
In fact, one of the first things I tell clients when I engage in a project is that we always need to plan for bug fixes and remediation because there will always be bugs. It’s a fact of life in software development and technology as whole. Could you build a solution that is 100% bug free. Sure, but why would you want to? If you build a system that is 99% bug free, that means you’ve also built a system that is is likely 0-1% innovative. With great innovation and improvements comes that task of iterating through improvements.
So what is the moral of the story here? Well first, if you are not one of the 2.5% of innovators or 13.5 percent of early adopters of technology you probably want to hit the “Not Now” button when you iPhone asks you to update to a major release (major releases have just 1 decimal point like 8.0 or 9.3). If you are a tech-nerd like me than dive right in and enjoy the ride. There’s something to be said for being one of the first to find something new! Cheers!
As I’m getting ready for Dreamforce 2015, I’ve noticed I haven’t updated in my blog in over a year. Well, I have to say it’s been a heck of a year, but that’s no excuse. In the last year I’ve changed jobs. I’ve moved out of the consulting arena , which is still amazing to me. When I first started consulting all of the conversation in the Salesforce community was around “where have all the admins gone”.
It’s crazy to see the transformation from companies not being able to justify a full-time Salesforce admin, which in large part drove the need for consultants, to enterprise customers building admin and development teams large enough to compete with all but the largest consulting firms. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not saying consulting firms are going anywhere. Right now I am working with a global team of about 30+ resources, as well as working with consulting partners for strategic planning. It’s just interesting to see how quickly business needs change and how consulting partners have differentiated themselves to stay leaders in an extremely competitive environment.
Over the last year there have been many small changes that have been really impactful to businesses that utilize Salesforce and the Force.com platform. However, what motivated me to start blogging again is the huge shift that is about to take place. Unlike Apple (yes, I just bought an Apple watch for myself and one as a gift) which hasn’t really innovated much since the passing of Steve Jobs, Salesforce is on the verge of yet another revelation in business technology.
I consider myself lucky to have been there when Salesforce introduced features like workflow rules, the Force.com platform, which was by all means the first wildly successfully cloud based development platform, and Chatter. I watched as businesses around the globe pushed back stating they didn’t want the “Facebook for Business” because they needed productivity. Only to learn that Social Collaboration was the Industrial Revolution of our generation!
Well, love him or hate him, Marc Benioff has done it again! Lightning is now changing the way Cloud Based, Social, Enterprise business is able to scale to an increasingly mobile world. Lightening has been around for some time now, and it’s what has helped fuel the mobile development world for enterprise business. However, there are aspects that desktop users have been missing, specifically, removing the dependance on heavy server side code, for the quick responsiveness of more browser based solutions.
While Visualforce was revolutionary for it’s time (I certainly don’t miss S-Controls), the latency of waiting on server responses, even for desktop user, was no longer acceptable. Visualforce has long supported other technologies such as Angular, and all the other JS’s, but the new Lightning framework moves us to the next level in technology. Even the Salesforce “Developer” certification is changing! Why, you ask? Well because, no longer are we stuck with the old MVC model of development, but now we are moving towards more responsive component based solutions. It’s hard to overstate how dramatic this change actually is.
I’m looking forward to the opportunity that Dreamforce provides to brainstorm with so many other Salesforce enthusiasts on how we can continue to drive both the platform and enterprise business. At the end of Dreamforce, I can’t wait to share some of these ideas with you all!
I’m sure I’m not the only Apple addict that has been waiting, and waiting ,and waiting, for iCloud to finally become something more useful than a glorified backup utility. Of course I love some of the features like being able to stream my whole iTunes library, but truth be told that doesn’t do a whole lot to improve my everyday life.
I have multiple cloud storage accounts, mainly for work. Box, Dropbox, Cubby, there are so many and for some reason I never really seemed to fall in love with any of them. Then when sharing a Google Doc with a client it hit me. Why am I not using Google Drive for everything. I can collaborate using Google Docs with clients and co-workers, I can store all of my files, FINALLY I can clean up my desk top and keep it clean!
So I guess the only remaining question is how much I trust Google with that much of my personal information. I know there has been plenty of news about the NSA accessing personal information through unsecured channels, or possibly (probably) while Google was conveniently not looking. I’m not shy about sharing my support of the second amendment online or the fact that I think government should be smaller. But if the government wants to read my boring monthly budget or Paleo recipes then they can have at it.
Kicking my use of Google Drive into high gear has instantly improved my life (or at least my desktop). I love the flexibility of storing files or transferring them into a Google Doc version. Being able to instantly share with with friends, co-workers and clients is a major win. And of course all of this comes with the ease of use and intuitive interface that has made us all know and love Google. I may not be willing to switched to an Android just yet, but I have to say I do still love Google.
So nothing gets us computers geeks more excited than the possibility of Quantum Computers. I took some time to attend a Google Hangout this morning, May 29th @4am by ScienceAlert where they were discussing the creation of the Quantum Bit and what this means for the future of Quantum Computing. This Hangout is available now on YouTube http://youtu.be/NkWTrcwHaMI. While most people are talking abou the implications for things like encryption, my mind went right to “what will this mean for the cloud?” Could we soon have Salesforce.com Enterprise, Unlimited and QUANTUM editions?
Safe Harbor Statement: Comercial Quantum Computers are still largely theoretical. Do not make purchasing decisions based on the theoretical possibility of future computer systems that use entanglement and the superposition of state for quantum particles to process all possible solutions simultaneously by co-operating with versions of itself in alternate universes. (Salesforce you can use this disclaimer in your SHS for free if you like!)
Now, I understand the implications to RSA Encoding for public key encryption. I found a great example of this on www.askamathematician.com. It basically said if you have a number like PQ=7,323,443,213 (where the encryption key M = is the product of two prime numbers P and Q) it would take a Quantum Computer about 1 second to factor and 1 second for a powerful standard computer. If you make that 2x as long and a billion times larger like PQ=5,347,905,121,457,778,013 it would take a Quantum Computer about 2 seconds to factor and a powerful standard computer 32 years. Crazy right? Well wait, if you make that 3x as long and a billion billion times bigger like PQ=2,654,348,900,361,474,778,451,121,009 it woud take the Quantum Computer a whopping 3 seconds, but the most powerful computers available today would take approximately 2 * the age of the universe.
So this is what prompted me to reach out to my friends in the Salesforce community and start brainstorming! Putting security aside for a moment what do you think some of the implications of Quantum Computing would be on the Force.com Platform. Would the standard data storage for Quantum edition go from 1 Gigabyte to 1 Petabyte? Would there be a need for governor limits? What would a Quantum Database even look like?
Quantum Query Governor Limits: We all look forward to Salesforce releases where governor limits are able to be increased while maintaining performance. One reason for governor limits is the basic limitation of binary or half-interval searches. In traditional databases we need to find the position of specific value and it must be within a sorted array. Now, what if this were unnecessary? What if instead, with the superposition of states, we were able to search all items in our database at once? Welcome to Quantum computing.
Increased Data Storage Limits: Right now new Salesforce Orgs include 1 Gigabyte of data storage. Of course you can buy more, but for large volumes of data this can get costly. Storage space has become significantly less expenses since the 80’s when 1 Gigabyte of storage could cost nearly $1 million dollars. But even today as the size of data sets grow, so does the cost. Think about 1 Terrabyte of information or 243 bits (2 * 2 repeated 43 times!). Now, say we were to store data on 500 qubits, or Quantum Bits. 500 qubits would be 2501 that’s a lot of zero’s!
Quantum Analytics Edition: I don’t think I can even imagine what Salesforce Analytics edition might look like using Quantum Computers, but I’m sure going to try. Have you ever run a report and received a time out error because the data set was too large? Well, you can kiss those days goodbye when every single record can be evaluated simultaneously at run time! What if a new Google for Salesforce Quantum integration could load all of the available news sources so that Opportunity stages could be automatically adjusted based on the probability of closing considering every possible scenario and outside influence! (And yes, Google is one of the private companies investing heavily in Quantum Computer research)
Okay, I know I went a little too far with that last one. However, when you consider how much technology has changed over the last 20 years, the possibilities seem endless. When you think how Salesforce only recently reached it’s teenage years and has already grown into one of the strongest cloud computing platforms in the world, it’s hard to stop yourself from imagining what could be over the next horizon.
So Spring ’13 has already sprung and without much fanfare. Sure the Country and State picklists were a nice addition (if you requested it and went through the setup and customization to make it work) but it was uneventful as Salesforce releases go. Now Summer ’13 is heating up and boy does it sizzle. The first and most exciting change coming in Summer ’13 has got to be the end of Portals for new Salesforce Orgs. I know it sounds sad, but while we say goodbye to Portals we welcome the new and social Chatter Communities.
Customer and Partner portals were game changers way back in the old days of 2007 (yes, I scoured old release notes to find when it went GA), back in a time before Enterprise organizations were Social. In Summer ’13 we say goodbye to an era when companies spoke to you, not with you and customers were meant to be seen, not heard. Back before Enterprise Organizations transformed into Customer Companies. Are you a Customer Company?
So today as we look back at some of the great features released in Summer ’07, we also celebrate what’s being born in Summer ’13.
Summer ’07 was a good release, loved by customers and admins alike (Force.com Developers were just being born). We saw great features come from the life of the Summer ’07 release such as:
- Apex Code – The world first Multi-tenant programming language (only free in Unlimited Edition)
- Advanced currency management
- Multiple Sandboxes
- Rollup Summary Fields
- Recycle Bins
It’s hard to imagine a time when rollup up summary data had to come from Excel, Recycle Bins were only in your garage, and the only people who created triggers were gunsmiths. It was a simpler time but somehow me made it through. Back in 2007 we poured through 84 pages of release notes!
Today as we begin to explore the Summer ’13 release, we breeze through 278 pages of release notes packed with new features and enhancements that we couldn’t imagine in 2007. Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Force.com, Data.com, Site.com and exactly why are you Touch(ing) my Mobile? (The first iPhone wasn’t released until June 29th 2007).
The other big change in Summer ’13 is the Chatter Publisher Actions. When I heard the claims that Marc Benioff was going to be moving Saleforce in a direction to allow users the ability to work completely within a Chatter UI, I thought surely he must be mad. Chatter was genius but trying to run completely out of Chatter is going to far. Well the Chatter Publisher Actions not just made that a reality, but it is almost impossible to resist.
Now you can create records directly in a chatter feed. Not just can you, but unlike the Quick Create menu, Create Actions will enforce required fields and validation rules. This is something that quick create can’t match. I don’t know about you but I am all set to disable quick create in my orgs. If you need even greater flexibility you can use Visualforce to create completely custom actions.
When you combine this with the Pilot of Enhanced Profile Page Layouts the possibilities seem limitless (except for the known limitations which you can find in the release notes). I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of Summer ’13 but out of fear of being called a Salesforce geek I am going to save those for another day. Meanwhile grab a drink (#WhySFDCAdminsDrink), put your feet in the pool and relax while you read through the full Summer release notes.
So if you’re like me you’re probably thinking that the Holidays came a little early this year, due to all of the great features packed into the Winter ’13 release of Salesforce.com. And what would the Holidays be if one couldn’t be just a bit nostalgic. It was just about a year ago, on a warm Florida Winter Night, that I had the opportunity to write one my favorite series of blog posts, “The 12 Days of Winter 12” http://bit.ly/Xod16T for Riptide Software. Oh to be a year younger and foolish enough to think that writing 12 blog posts in 12 days would be easy. Luckily, Winter ’12 provided plenty of features to write about and Winter ’13 is keeping up the tradition.
Now, I usually start off blog posts with the declarative features added to the new releases of Salesforce.com, but today I’m going to break with tradition. On the development side, while I will admit that I understand and appreciate the importance of test coverage, I still struggle with having to write it. It’s like my creepy Uncle at Christmas that insists on telling everyone about the dangers of alcohol, while he’s tossing back his 25th egg nog of the evening. It’s not that I don’t like writing test coverage, I just have a hard time resisting the urge to use real data which I know may not always be available and will cause my tests to fail. Well Winter ’13 has provided a solution that I’m ready to unwrap for you all! With the new Test.loadData () method, data can be stored in a csv file, stored as a static resource and used in test methods. What’s that you say? You want to be able to create simulated web service calls in your test methods? Surprise! With the new Test.setMock (HttpCalloutMock.class, mock); method. Winter ’13 hasn’t left a lump of coal for anyone! You can now test your web service calls as easily as your other test methods.
Then there is Data.com. Data.com continues to bring valuable insight to your sales team with enhanced features such as filtering search results based on revenue or employee count. As an administrator are you worried about CAN SPAM compliance? Well now you have the option to filter out contact phone and email for lead or contact records marked as do not contact. And what about the records that Data.com could not add? Well now there is error logging to see why records could not be added. Data.com helps move your sales team to the next level. Are you thinking right now that, this just isn’t enough? Well, it certainly wasn’t for my company, however with Data.com premium you also bring over 70 Dunn & Bradstreet fields into the mix.
Are you a sales organization? Of course you are, business stays in business because they sell, no matter which vertical they are in. Well with that said it’s time to take advantage of Opportunity Teams. You already have Sales Teams you say! Well Opportunity Teams is the next evolution in Teams selling. Opportunity Teams moves your Sales Cloud Org to the next level by allowing administrators to capture information through custom fields on Opportunity Teams, customize layouts to make sure the right sales people have access to the right information at the right time, and even build custom Opportunity Report Team report types.
At this point we’ve covered a lot of topics. Now, here is one feature that is closest to my heart. Case Feeds! I L-O-V-E Service Cloud and the new features and enhancements of Case Feeds is second only to Cloud CTI. There are so many great features that Service organizations need to be aware of. From improved Chatter Feeds to updated functionality in Chatter Answers, your service organization can build it’s reputation, by way of it’s power users, through community engagement. From Chatter to Ideas, Winter ’13 help service organizations better connect with the community that helps drive their business. Community is what has driven the Force.com platform, now let this technology help drive your business forward!
So for all of my fellow Froce.com geeks, May be the Force.com be with you! If you are a Certified Salesforce.com Professional thanks for continuing to support the community. If not, what are you waiting for it’s never too late, Geek is the new Chic! The Force.com Community is one of the things that makes this platform so strong, so continue to support, continue to share knowledge and continue to get those certs!
So it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything but I promise that’s only because I couldn’t figure out how to add a 25th hour to the day. But here we are again with the Salesforce #Summer12 Release just around the corner. Like always this one was a page turner! I read through the release notes, cover-to-cover, for the first time on a flight from Orlando to Dallas, and I’ll admit I may have told other passengers I couldn’t put it down because I was reading The Hunger Games.
Right now it’s Saturday night and after spending the day creating a project plan in Version One, I am writing a blog post… “Hello Geek, Party of 1.. Your table is ready”. But seriously, I am hoping for a beautiful #Summer12 Florida day tomorrow so I can sit by the pool with the frozen Pina Colada, which I put in the freezer tonight, and read through the release notes 1 more time.
There are a ton of new features I’m excited about, and much as I expected after 2 releases of MAJOR Admin features, this release has a ton of features to offer developers as well. So I’m going to go ahead and throw in my 2 cents, which admittedly is worth about .09 cents in todays economy, and talk about some of my favorites.
Forecasts – Generally Available – Got you! That was available in Winter ’12, however 2 releases later we continue to see some pretty substantial improvements to Forecasts in the Summer ’12 Release. For customers already using Customizable Forecasts, they can now begin to migrate to Forecasts by disabling Customizable Forecasts. Forecast managers can now easily find Forecasts by user name just by using the Jump to feature.
There is also new functionality to allow Quotas. Administrators in DE/EE/and UE Orgs can enable quotas for users in their Forecasts. There is also a new permission in Summer ’12 to allow administrators to delegate users to create, edit and delete quotas.
Chatter Messenger – Generally Available – So last release we saw the addition of private Chatter Messages. Well now we are stepping to the next level with Chatter Messenger. I still think it was a brilliant idea for Salesforce to not immediately make private chatter or chat available to users that were not accustomed to social collaboration. But now as Enterprises around the globe have adopted this new social technology, the ability to have more private communication is being released.
The entire idea of having a Social Enterprise is not that there is not a place for more private communication, but that our first line of communication should be public. Instead of CC’ing 10 people I post to Chatter, instead of sending a file to one person when everyone could benefit I post to Chatter, when I have a private message to a specific colleague that no one else needs to see, I have Chatter Messages, and when I have a quick private conversation I now have Chatter Messenger.
In the words of Marc Benioff, “We were born Cloud, but we were Re-Born Social”.
Cloud CIT API – So I’m going to go Geek for a minute and talk about what I think is the coolest feature. The Cloud CTI API definitely qualifies for that. First because it’s close to my heart because I have a client that requires CTI integration for their call center and I’m not thrilled with the available adapters. Now however, they can maintain all of their current functionality but incorporate it into the new Force.com platform that we are building for them, Call Center – Meet Cloud!
After such a long break, this blog post is getting a bit to wordy. So I will say Adios (I’m trying to learn Spanish) for now and I will be posting more about my other favorite features shortly. (Yes, I know that spans almost all of the release notes).
May the Force.com be with you!
Welcome to 2012 Everyone! So I started to think back on 2011 and what I was grateful for last year, and what I’m grateful for going into 2012. Of course as a huge Cloud Computing and Salesforce.com geek I immediately began to think about some of the cool features and platforms that 2011 brought. For all of us social media enthusiasts, what did we do before obsessively checking our Klout scores daily? I can’t even imagine living in a world without Twitter, and of course last year brought us the Winter ’12 release of Salesforce with features such as Social Contacts, Cloud-Based Flow Designer and Siteforce. It was definitely a great year!
When looking at all of the cool new technologies which I’m super stoked about, there’s one thing they all have in common. They are all Social, and who better to adopt these new Social tools then the Salesforce Community! As a community we have amazing resources like Twitter giving us the ability to collaborate on all things Force.com just by using the hash tag #AskForce and the Developerforce message boards where 100’s of Salesforce Guru’s are more then happy to share their knowledge in order to help our community continue to grow.
One of the strongest resources in the Salesforce community are the many Salesforce User Groups around the Country. Salesforce User Groups allow true Salesforce Evangelists like @CRMJen and @Jhoskins who lead the “Core-lando” Orlando Salesforce User Group (had to shout out my #OSUG tweeps), to create an environment where Users, Administrators, and Developers at all skill levels can come and take advantage of the shared Salesforce Knowledge. And of course there are the Salesforce veterans that are always happy to share some Kool-Aid with the Salesforce Newbies.
Salesforce is a great technology, but it’s not just the technology behind all of the Force.com Clouds that makes it so powerful, it’s the people. The Salesforce community is made up of thousands of passionate Salesforce users that want nothing more than to see every business, every user, every future Salesforce Evangelist be successful. The old “Big Software” way of thinking where knowledge is tightly held and sharing ideas was unthinkable is being broken down by a new Social and Collaborative way of doing business where we each become more successful by helping each other. And for that I say Thank You! to the entire Salesforce community. Kumbaya!
Jumping off of my Salesforce soap box for a moment I also wanted to take a minute to say Thank You to all of the men and women of our Armed Services. Of course there is a special level of gratitude that must go out to the 471 service people that gave their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq during 2011 in defense of our Country. “All Gave Some, Some Gave All”.
If you can spare a moment please click on the link to Army Ranger LT Steven Hail’s blog http://www.iRun4Casualties.org where he is running 1 mile for each of the lives lost during Operation Enduring Freedom in order to pay tribute and honor the memory of America’s fallen hero’s.
Ok, so while making hand turkey’s with my 2 year old niece for her Thankful Book, I of course began to think about all of the reasons I’m thankful for Salesforce. Salesforce is no Turkey, but I still wanted to take a few minutes to pound out a few lines that I could share with the rest of the Salesforce community about what I’m thankful for.
- Clicks-Not-Code – This statement will shortly contradict itself because my next favorite thing is the Force.com platform. However, I love the fact that after their initial implementation, companies are able to have their Power Users and Salesforce Evangelists quickly learn and administrate the platform. Salesforce doesn’t require a lot of syntax or custom coding to be a powerful tool. Off the top of my head I can think of some of the best Salesforce Administrator / Developers that I know who have backgrounds in fields like Accounting, Marketing and Psychology.
- Force.com – While the ease of use that Salesforce’s declarative programming model provides users is fatalistic, when standard functionality reaches it’s limit, have no fear, as Yoda would say a Salesforce Jedi’s strength flows from the Force.com. The Force.com platform allows for complete customization of both the business logic behind the scenes using custom Apex code and on the UI side through Visualforce.
- The Salesforce Community – One of the things that I think makes Salesforce so great is the number of people in the Salesforce community all working together. Thanks to the social revolution you have places like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook , where Salesforce professionals from around the world help each other by answering questions, discussing best practices, and even sharing cooking tips (we pull ourselves away from the keyboard sometimes).
- Visual Workflow – So yes I am partial to this one because I have spent well over the allotted hours creating training for both the Desktop and Cloud versions of Flow Designer. However, Visual Workflow is an amazing and fairly new tool which is a perfect add-on to Service Cloud. Visual Workflow allows Salesforce Administrators and even power users to quickly build complex branching scripts that can run in Salesforce, interact with the database, and never write a line of code. It’s the epitomy of the Clicks-Not-Code idea.
- 1-1-1 Corporate Philanthropy – What I’m most thankful for is that I get to spend most of my day working with a company that is Thankful as well, and wants to give back to the community. Salesforce.com’s Corporate model of donating 1% Time, 1% Product and 1% Equity creates an amazing corporate culture of caring and I would love to see every company follow their lead.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and a special thanks to all of the Service Members that can’t be with their families today because they are protecting all that we are thankful for.