Yeah, I know the title of this post is cheesy, but hey – it’s May 4th! You know, “May the Fourth be With You” kind of May 4th! I thought that today we would talk about Salesforce1 – putting the power of the force into the hands and pockets of your users.
This post will not focus on the actual how-to of customization. There is plenty of great resources out there for that (and I’ve included links for these resources). Instead, we’ll focus on where to find those resources, a few considerations when thinking about requirements gathering, and some easy pieces of functionality that can be created and implemented quickly in order to steer users away from the dark side.
The Force is Strong With This One
A long, long time ago, in a galaxy called the Milky Way, there were several iterations of a Salesforce mobile app. If you have used (or tried to use) any of these apps in the past, you know that the product offering was lacking and didn’t meet the needs of many organizations. Customization was limited and Salesforce signed a deal with Boba Fett to collect a bounty in order to customize the app experience.
Compared to these former mobile apps, Salesforce1 is amazing! It’s built on the new Salesforce1 platform which was announced a few years ago. If you don’t understand why that’s amazing or relevant, consider this: Salesforce rewrote all of the code in the platform to be mobile and API first. This huge undertaking provides new technologies like the amazing Process Builder, Lightening Builder and more!
The transition to this new platform allows for customization on the Salesforce experience, especially on the mobile app, which is something that we haven’t seen before! As a result, every org can have a unique experience with Salesforce1 and it’s totally free!
Plus, with every release, Salesforce improves and iterates the application and the platform so that even more business can be done from the palm of your hand.
Blueprints to the Death Star
If you’re stress out about learning Salesforce1, relax! Fortunately,we have the force on our side which means that building Salesforce1 to meet company needs isn’t as difficult as it must have been to build the Death Star in space. The application is well documented and resources such as hacks and use cases can be found everywhere. The basic blueprints are accessible and free to everyone.
A great starting point is with the the developer guide. It will walk you through the basics of the application including navigation, page layout considerations and best practices. I would also suggest going through the Salesforce1 module on Trailhead.
After becoming familiar with the application, requirements can be gathered and the building process can begin.
Success With Deployment, You Will Have
Just like with any project, gather the requirements from users. By understanding the pain points of those users in the field, and working to reducing friction via Salesforce1, you’ll help them become as trusted and admired as Obi-Wan Kenobi; winning business with the simple wave of a hand.
When developing on mobile, the screen real estate is limited. That’s why it’s important to use a stripped-down process. Good, well understood requirements will keep the focus on what is most important for each mobile user.
If your field reps are Jedi knights, then Salesforce1 is the weapon of choice. That’s why, if there was any time to truly understand a day in the life of a field rep, this would be it. Salesforce1 should complement the user’s workflow and create no resistance, otherwise adoption will suffer.
Get into their head, you will. Successful deployment, you will achieve.
Do or do Not…There is no Try
The best way to begin, is to start. With that in mind, here are a few easy pieces of functionality that can be added to any Salesforce1 app to improve the use of the application.
Match Company Brand Standards – Salesforce1 can be customized to fit into your company branding standards. Changing the colors and logos to match your specific organization is a great way to increase user adoption. If you’ve re branded Salesforce internally (one company I worked for called it InTouch and other called it SellSMART), branding the mobile app is a great way to maintain the consistency. Note that the app logo itself cannot be renamed or re branded.
Chatter Publisher Actions – a great way to streamline the process of creating or updating records is through the Chatter Publisher Action. There are Global Actions (which can be found and executed anywhere in Salesforce) or record-specific actions (which can be executed on a record, like an Account).
I’ve talked about how I use Chatter Publisher Actions in my org to improve the creation time of a feature request record. Users are seeing a 54% reduction in the amount of time it takes to create a feature request. These Publisher Actions are accessible on the desktop and mobile experience so it’s a win-win for everyone (and you don’t have to have Chatter enabled to leverage them on Salesforce1)!
Approval Processes – approval processes can be configured and made available on Salesforce1. Users can submit, approve or reject approval requests on the go and receive notifications when the rep or manager has been assigned a record to review.
Submitting and approving records via the mobile app is a huge time saver and closes some gaps in the approval process life cycle.
Salesforce1 Ready AppExchange Apps – every organization has at least one AppExchange application installed (that’s my guess – not an official number) and the AppExchange just celebrated it’s 3 millionth install. Many of the major AppExchange players have modified their applications to be compatible with Salesforce1. With a little bit of configuration, mobile users can access apps like Conga, DocuSign, Evernote, TaskRay, Arrowpoint and more while on the go!
Click here to see a full list of Salesforce1 compatible AppExchange apps.
Report Scheduling with Salesforce1 Push Notifications – in the Spring ’15 release of Salesforce, report Subscriptions were made generally available. This feature allows users to subscribe to reports and can receive various types of notifications, including Chatter alerts or push notifications to Salesforce1, when certain criteria are met.
This is a great way for managers to be notified of changes or updates on the go, as well as for field reps who want to be notified when report details are updated to match criteria that matters most to them.
Mobile URL Schemes – by default, users are not automatically routed to the Salesforce1 mobile app when opening a link from something like Email. Instead, they’ll be routed to the mobile browser version. Use mobile URL schemes to modify links in emails sent out of Salesforce so that users will be routed to the Salesforce1 mobile app instead of the browser version.
This is not a full list of what Salesforce1 can do, but it’s a great place to get started because more than likely, you have at least two of the above items in your org which can be implemented with Salesforce1.
While Salesforce1 is a great app, there are still some limitations to consider.
Disturbances in the Force
Even with Salesforce1 being one of the best Salesforce mobile apps to date, there are still some issues which need to be considered before proceeding too far down the path.
No mobile page layouts – currently, Salesforce1 uses the page layout assigned to the user in Salesforce. There is no unique mobile page layout that can be assigned to a user. That means that if the page layout in Salesforce is extraordinarily long winded, the user will be scrolling for eons to see all of the details of the entire record.There is an idea on the IdeaExchange for unique mobile layouts. I would encourage you to vote.
App performance – some users can experience some strange performance issues. Endless searching, general slowness and more has been reported. I believe that Salesforce is doing a great job at trying to improve the performance by releasing regular bug fixes and stability improvements.
Navigation menu doesn’t auto update – Administrators need to pay special attention to what is available in the navigation menu as not all objects are automatically made available for users. For example, when Reports became available on Salesforce1, the Reports tab did not automatically become active for mobile users. Instead, the navigation menu needs to be updated manually by the Administrator.
Matrix reports are not available – While reports on Salesforce1 became generally available recently, this does not include Matrix reports. If your organization relies heavily on this type of reporting, it will be difficult to get the report data via Salesforce1.
I personally don’t believe that these are deal breakers for the majority of the Salesforce customers who need a mobile option but they need to be considered when evaluating Salesforce1 configuration options and the processes that will be implemented into the mobile app.
Administrators and Developers are doing a ton of cool stuff with Salesforce1 though. So, regardless, dive into Salesforce1 and see what features and functionality your company could benefit from.