Categories
Platform Migration & Modernization

Salesforce Winter ’20 Release Notes Highlights

Calling All Salesforce Admins! The Winter ’20 Release Notes are here, and Salesforce has crammed them full of features ranging from a new and improved Salesforce Mobile app, to really cool Lightning updates (including some Classic to Lightning updates), to Flow, Surveys, and everything in between. We dove in and read cover to cover on the Release Notes to bring you a high-level overview of the changes we think can really add value to your org. Also, don’t miss our suggested Trailhead module to help you get that leg up on the new Mobile App!

New Salesforce Mobile App

Get more of the Lightning features you love, coming to a mobile device near you! Salesforce has really given some attention to the Salesforce Mobile App in everything from getting it started, to navigation, to the features themselves. The mobile app changes will not be released until around October 14th, 2019, but here are some of our favorite features we’re looking forward to:

  • New Salesforce Mobile App QuickStart allows for a seamless upgrade
  • Thumb-friendly navigation at the bottom, with the action bar moved to the top
    Salesforce Winter '20 Release Highlights
  • Mobile App Launcher allows you to switch between apps
  • Einstein Analytics Dashboards are now available
  • Lists and Related Lists are now easier to use with batch loading in list views and “View More” button for better navigation with both List Views and Related Lists
  • Twitter profiles for Accounts and Contacts

In the meantime, check out the Trailhead for Lightning Experience for Salesforce Mobile App

What’s New with Einstein?

Einstein also had a lot of changes for the better, including renaming “Steps” to “Queries”, and a host of beta features for this release.

  • See Search Results more fine-tuned for you with Personalized Search Results (Beta)
  • Enhanced Instant Results (Beta) allow a simple click in the search bar to show record previews, list views, and more
  • Conversational Search (Beta) empowers your users to narrow results using the search bar without navigating to a report or dashboard
    Salesforce Winter '20 Release Highlights
  • Recommended Result (Beta) shows a preview of a record based on your search results
  • Profile-Specific Search Results Layouts (Beta) allows you to have unique layouts for different objects depending on the profile
  • Einstein Article Recommendations (Pilot) allows customer service agents to respond more quickly

Einstein Analytics

Take your Analytics up a notch with these new Einstein Analytics features:

  • New Analytics Home page
  • Track your Analytics trailhead progress in the Learning Center
    Salesforce Winter '20 Release Highlights
  • Deploy Predictions on records without writing code
  • Plot charts allow visualization of model performance
  • Publish Einstein Analytics Dashboards in Quip
  • Hone in on key metrics by subscribing to metric-specific email updates

Admin Time Savers

There never seem to be enough hours in the day for a Salesforce Admin — but with time-saving ways to support users, Winter ’20 is helping to add more minutes to your day.

  • Recycle Bin now available in Lightning
    Salesforce Winter '20 Release Highlights
  • Use the new AppExchange Packages tab to see if your packages are Lightning Ready (Beta)
  • Salesforce Forms allow you to now give feedback to Salesforce without submitting a case and without a ton of navigation
  • Turn a List View into a printable form
  • Customize and Report on Account Teams, minimizing repetitive data entry, and even better, automate account team creation
  • Find Archived Activities faster after cleanup
  • Keep attached files when migrating from Salesforce Knowledge to Lightning Knowledge
  • Cut down time on Permissions distribution with Permission Set Groups
  • Checkbox for more accurate Daylight Savings Time values on the User Record
  • Enhanced reporting with Field to Field Filters (Beta), which allows filtering based on field comparison

Go with the Lightning Flow

Some of the most exciting changes are within Lightning Flow itself.

  • Schedule Flows ahead of time to launch once, daily, or weekly
    Salesforce Winter '20 Release Highlights
  • Flow Execution Error Event allows custom notifications to be sent to chatter when a failure occurs
  • Flows List View allows the management of flow details in a nice, organized list view
  • Set your own Flow Test Coverage requirements, separately from the Apex requirements

Security Updates

Salesforce prides itself on being a secure platform, as you can see with a few of these highlights below:

  • Guest Users can have Org-Wide defaults set to Private (available in September)
  • Customer Access switch allows you to share files on certain records in Communities
  • Email Verification is now required when Community Users change their email address
  • Shield Platform Encryption allows you to encrypt sensitive customer insurance information
  • Requirement of TLS 1.2 for HTTPS connections is a critical update for Winter ‘20
  • Security updates now available in a centralized hub
    Salesforce Winter '20 Release Highlights

Support & Services

There were a ton of features for support and services for Winter ‘20:

  • Right-to-Left Language support for customers in Chat (Beta) allows reps to communicate in Hebrew and Arabic much easier
  • Right-to-Left Language support for Reports and Dashboards (Beta) allows a more connected customer experience
  • WeChat (Pilot) and WhatsApp (Pilot) now allow Support representatives to communicate on two more channels
  • Display the Customer Experience Score (Pilot) in an easy-to-find location
  • Send surveys for cases automatically
  • Understand permissions quickly of Account Team and Opportunity Team Members
  • Secondary Routing Priority moves items up in the queue according to urgency
  • Provide customers with a Chat Estimated Wait Time (Beta)
  • Never miss another post with Bold print for unread feed items in the Case feed
    Salesforce Winter '20 Release Highlights
  • Lock icon indicates which Case comments are private

Keeping Your Sales Team in Mind

There are some really great changes affecting your Sales team in a positive way!

  • High-Velocity Sales Branching allows a cadence for reps to follow depending on the outcome of their calls
    Salesforce Winter '20 Release Highlights
  • Add products to opportunities more quickly in Lightning Experience
  • Use a custom caller ID such as a personal number in Lightning Dialer
  • Managers can now see if Sales reps are using Pricing Guidance for CPQ
  • Prospect Reports can now be grouped by behavior score

And Last But Not Least…

  • Communities will now accept payments and save credit cards
  • Allow workers to log hours on the go with mobile time sheets in Field Service Lightning
    Salesforce Winter '20 Release Highlights

This is not a complete list of the features for Winter ’20, but surely enough to whet your appetite. Hopefully, you feel more prepared for the changes to come and can take some time to dig deeper into your sandbox. Use these features to step up your Org into a mobile-ready, lightning-friendly, analytics powerhouse! Keep an eye out for a future post where we dig deeper into the “whys” of Winter ’20!

Interested in learning more about our Salesforce services? Contact us. We’d love to discuss how we can help you maximize the value of Salesforce.

Categories
Green Irony News

Green Irony Advances to Silver Salesforce Consulting Partner Tier

It’s with great pride that we can announce that we have advanced our Salesforce partner tier. Green Irony is now a Silver Salesforce Consulting Partner and on the path to becoming a Gold partner.

Green Irony’s core mission is to unlock the value of the Salesforce platform and give our clients the tools they need to run large portions of their businesses on the Salesforce platform.

“We’re excited to have achieved Silver status as a Salesforce partner and look forward to aggressively attacking our next goal of Gold partner. We’ve been fortunate enough to build a team of skilled consultants who live and breathe Salesforce and MuleSoft and thrive on evangelizing the software platform and continually learn about the next great thing so that we are well-equipped to add the most value possible to both our customers and our trusted partners at Salesforce and MuleSoft. We’re proud of the achievement but are by no means finished since our goal has always been to be the most knowledgeable in the market.” – Aaron Shook, Green Irony CEO

Our core competency is enterprise architecture and our team of Salesforce experts have a great understanding of the platform’s capabilities and how it fits within the enterprise environment. By combining our enterprise architectural skills with heavily certified and seasoned Salesforce professionals, our team is able to push the limits of the Salesforce platform and create scalable business solutions that set our customers up for future success.

About Green Irony

Green Irony combines high-end enterprise technology expertise with heavily experienced and certified MuleSoft and Salesforce experts to maximize the return on its customers’ investments in the MuleSoft and Salesforce technology platforms. Green Irony’s core focuses include the financial services vertical, MuleSoft application networks, and complex Salesforce implementations. Green Irony blends expertise in enterprise architecture, Salesforce, and MuleSoft to build best-of-breed solutions with real business impact for its partners.

Categories
Digital Transformation Platform Migration & Modernization

Balancing the Scales of API Networks with MuleSoft and CloudHub

In a previous blog post, Aaron Shook broke down how MuleSoft as the platform for your API network can be the key to modernizing the legacy systems driving critical areas of your business. In this post, I want to take that explanation a step further and break down how MuleSoft can be a fulcrum in the balance between your business’s needs and the methods and speed of technology to address those needs.

The Current State of Enterprise Application Networks

There’s always a balancing act that must be maintained when developing enterprise application networks. Often, the balance is focused on size, though not of any one monolithic application or complex microservice. Instead, it’s the size of the business application network.

More and more businesses are relying on building new applications that communicate with older, existing applications developed over the years internally, and from third-party sources. New microservices and APIs are built to bring all of this information together to fulfill an internal business need or build out a more robust offering for their clients. Even more APIs and data flow systems are then required for financial reporting and trends analysis.

The Problems as API Networks Evolve

At some point, an architect or CTO comes to the realization that the evolution of business needs over time has resulted in a number of disparate mainframe systems, web applications, financial systems, CRMs, and so on and so forth. The ability to manage user access, security, and overall maintenance and operations begins to accrue not only technical debt but administrative and project management debt. Even attempting to discuss and agree on a single API design often leads to scattered internal wiki pages, email chains, and often multiple conflicting API design documents.

Now everything slows down – development, the ability to orchestrate multiple layers of APIs, or just trying to find a single source of truth for the company’s API offerings. Progress begins to grind to a halt. As an architect or CTO, one must find a balance that allows for autonomous changes, updates, and new offerings to be made, all the while coordinating the overall flow, access, operation, and maintenance of this living, breathing system.

MuleSoft and their CloudHub iPaaS offering provide that balance, as I’ll detail below.

API Design With MuleSoft

Having a centralized source of truth for an API spec that reflects previous, current, and future versions of an API, and that can be shared amongst departments and units is very important in an enterprise setting.

MuleSoft’s Design View and Exchange allow architects and API designers to develop API specs that are automatically backed by mock implementations and include basic validation declarations of fields and more. These specs can be shared and viewed by those within the company, acting as both documentation and testing platforms before the implementation is ever touched.

On top of that, the implementations can be automatically “discovered” or associated with a particular specification, allowing for multiple concurrent versions to be running, and historical implementations to be viewable by the internal team and others.

As more APIs are added, individual data types can be aggregated into common API data type libraries and shared across APIs. This improves both consistencies of data and models across APIs but also standardizes the languages used by architects, developers, and product managers across the enterprise.

API design provides the foundation from which implementation, changes, and discussions spring. This ethos is ever-present in MuleSoft’s infrastructure and has saved Green Irony a vast amount of time in working with clients and keeping all of product and software development on the same page.

Application Network Security Within MuleSoft’s CloudHub

Security policies, SLA tiers, and access management can all be handled within MuleSoft’s CloudHub platform. It comes built with hooks and supporting modules for Oauth, SAML, basic authentication, client id/secret access, and more. The interesting thing is that policies themselves are associated with a combination of a particular API and consumer – not with the API’s implementation or code. This is important since it allows you to associate a particular policy with many different APIs and manage access across your API network without having to be concerned with how a particular API itself is implemented.

API consumers can request access to a particular API that abides by their associated credentials and CloudHub itself will handle disseminating the request to admins, who themselves have an interface for approving or rejecting individual requests.

On the other side of things, HTTP requests allow for the inclusion of TLS trust and keystores, so there’s no need to sacrifice on the security of outgoing communications.

Banks, insurance companies, and various other financial institutions are using MuleSoft as a bedrock foundation for their application networks. One of the main reasons for that use is MuleSoft’s focus on security. The ease with which we can implement and configure TLS and other security protocols further solidify their focus on protecting data and network traffic.

Developing APIs With MuleSoft’s Anypoint Studio

Since the API design and implementation are entirely separate, the roles of architects, API managers, and implementation developers are kept separate. This separation allows architects to work with product development teams to create, update, and improve the design of an API without impacting developers. Once an API has been designed, developers can import the new or updated API spec into Anypoint Studio and begin working on implementation and changes.

Unlike most frameworks and platforms, MuleSoft’s Anypoint Studio will automatically generate the basic plumbing and connectors for an API based on the spec itself. When an API design is published to Exchange, that connector can then be imported and used by any other API with access. This aforementioned handling of plumbing gives developers input validation, automatically generates MUnit tests for each endpoint, and provides other assorted freebies.

The ease with which development teams can pull API designs into new projects and update existing projects with changes to the API design cannot be overstated. Additionally, these changes to the API are reflected in the automatically generated connectors by API version, which greatly simplifies updating other APIs and interfacing with them.

There’s also a significant depth to errors, allowing for the continuation of processing if an error is reached, or allowing it to bubble up to the response. All of these errors are wrapped by intuitive namespace/identifier combos that let a developer easily categorize and reclassify errors.

These features all come together to provide developers with more time to focus on the implementation itself. Once development is complete, the API implementation can be deployed to CloudHub where it will be automatically associated with the API specification.

Of course, no API is perfect or complete out of the gate. The spec will change over time. When an API designer updates the specification, developers can import the changes into their Anypoint Studio project, where top-level endpoint updates will be handled automatically.

DevOps for Application Networks With MuleSoft

After development has been completed, it must be deployed, monitored, and maintained. MuleSoft’s CloudHub offering provides for common DevOps needs, from CI/CD, application network monitoring, to VPC management, and more.

Many development teams attempt to wrangle their various technology stacks into some semblance of a CI/CD flow. Understanding this need, MuleSoft has a variety of APIs that can be used to handle deployment, monitoring, and various others needs. Whether it’s Jenkins, Azure, or any other automation setup, the combination of MuleSoft’s maven plugin and REST APIs lets you run and publish test results, as well as deploy full applications, their updates, and associated SLA policies, and more.

Provisioning VPCs, region management, clusters, high availability settings, load balancing – all are actually really easy to do with the Runtime Manager admin interface. It’s also easy to integrate your SLA policy infrastructure and manage those in the API Manager section of CloudHub, and how those APIs are tied to the actual worker applications in Runtime Manager. Runtime Manager admins can also build their dashboards to track their applications, or if already using Splunk, configure their CloudHub workers to interact with and send log data to Splunk.

As applications are running, there will be inevitable issues that need to be tracked down across an application network. Usually, these are associated with individual requests that are failing. MuleSoft comes with a built-in feature called “correlation ID”, that will let external clients communicate with MuleSoft, and especially requests between MuleSoft APIs, to log errors and anything else and have them associated with that particular ID.

As with API design, security, and development, the suite of features presented to DevOps personnel simplifies the provisioning, management, and maintenance of APIs.

Conclusion

There is no single feature in the MuleSoft family that causes it to dominate the API industry. Instead, it’s the culmination of all the helpful features and abilities across every aspect of API network design, development, and implementation.

MuleSoft and CloudHub give enterprise companies a holistic view and insight into all of their APIs on the application network. Everything from having built-in API documentation and source of truth, to full-feature operations support – these are all extremely helpful and useful for businesses trying to get a hold of all of their APIs. Sure, keep the APIs on other systems, but have MuleSoft provide its own tiny API microservice interface to them, and bring them into the fold of everything else in your business.

Everything in IT is a balance. MuleSoft attempts to be a fulcrum in the balance between a business’s needs and the methods and speed of technology to implement them. It goes out of its way to provide a suite of features, all customizable, to remove the boilerplate and solved problems in building and maintaining application networks. This allows developers, business analysts, and operational teams the freedom and time to focus on the actual business problem and not on recreating the wheel around API design, implementation, and management.