Salesforce is the connector and enabler of so many critical business functions. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its headaches. The environment is so complex that it really takes a conscious, focused effort to properly leverage all that Salesforce has to offer, as well as stay up-to-speed on everything that’s new and evolving.
The Salesforce spring ‘23 release brought a lot of change. Some old tools disappeared and new products, dashboards and automation tools were introduced that admins will have to adapt to. There’s a lot to catch up on.
Combing through the 600+ pages of release notes, there are three main themes represented in the spring release that will be useful to the entire organization, from DevOps and RevOps to sales and marketing teams, including: 1) new admin and developer tools and dashboards, 2) doubling down on low-code/no-code with enhancement to Flow and 3) commitment to security and permissions best practices.
Admin and Developer Updates
From an administrator’s and developer’s perspective, there are some exciting new features that will undoubtedly improve DevOps’ day-to-day. For instance:
- Flows – allows you to migrate your old automations.
- Connect to external data source (beta)
- Support for lookup fields
- Reactive screens (reduce the number of “Next” clicks)
- Removal of “Iteration Limit Exceeded” governor limits
- Element descriptions are now visible on the canvas
- Migrate to Flow from Process Builder
- DevOps Center – Still in V1, but it provides developers with a new interface.
- Getting on the software development life cycle bandwagon so we can all say goodbye to change sets – finally!
- Dashboards – Now you can insert text and graphics around charts.
- Collections – organize reports and dashboard into logical collections that are free from their folder hierarchy. While they will still “live” in their folders, they can be accessed from a collection as well.
- Add image and text components in your Dashboard to make better experiences with additional information, descriptions, instructions or whatever you want.
These updates are not only useful for DevOps but, from an executive viewpoint, are extremely useful to showcase the business’s data with a clearer perspective. In other words, the new dashboards have more options to provide additional context and insight. In general, the user interface is not only more organized but can be navigated at a significantly faster rate than before.
Doubling Down on Flow
As the old adage goes, “Out with the old, in with the new;” Salesforce will be retiring the automation tools Workflows and Process Builders and converting them to Flow. The reason Salesforce is making this move—and ultimately forcing users to Flow—is because Workflows and Process Builders don’t have the flexibility or functionality that Flow does. Flow can create automation and provide great screen experiences that derive a far greater bandwidth of context and situational logic. The additions made to this much-anticipated migration tool will help administrators convert their current automation into Flow with less stress and hassle than rebuilding them all from scratch.
So what is the timeline for this migration? Salesforce plans on blocking the ability to create new Process Builders in the Summer ‘23 release but has admitted that it’s not a hard date and will look at the success of customers’ migrations to Flow and feedback from the community. They have not yet announced a date for complete retirement but expect it to come sometime in 2025. That said, users should start doing this now. With any major change to your Salesforce environment, a plan is always recommended, especially with such a huge migration like this one. Given the amount of data and processes most organizations already have in place, we suggest taking time to strategize and test your migration prior to releasing it directly to Flow to make sure your order of operations for your automation is clear and follows best practices. Analyze your business processes and confirm with your users that these processes are still accurate.
Commitment to Security
As organizations lean more on Salesforce as their primary business operating system, Salesforce is becoming a critical piece of infrastructure rather than just software that businesses consume. It is also the “build-and-develop” nature of Salesforce that has more companies treating Salesforce as software they build rather than just software they use. The ripple effect is that as companies build within Salesforce, more developers are responsible for deploying and managing data. With that comes the responsibility for security and compliance.
This has traditionally been handled as an administrative task, but now, Salesforce has created the tools for true enterprise infrastructure security and data management with permission sets and permission set groups. Even though permission sets have been around a while, the introduction of permission set groups and the growing need to transition permissions into more complex structures have changed the way permission sets are being consumed. Permission sets were previously used for basic exceptions to the permissions provided by profiles, but now they are front and center, providing even more organizational capability with Permission Set Groups (and their muting capability, but that’s a different story).
Salesforce has taken note and announced the partial end of permissions within profiles as they lean into the new, better way to manage permissions. Profiles won’t be gone entirely, as they will still be needed for basic defaults, i.e., defining users’ default app selections. However, while Permission Sets will still have the responsibility for what apps you have access to, it will be the Profile that states which one is your default. This is also true for other types of assignments where there needs to be a single source of truth, like page layout assignments.
Salesforce said they will be enforcing this plan in 2026 but are beginning to make sure everyone gets on board now by releasing great new tools to make this transition smoother, including user access policies and access to Permission Sets when adding new fields (currently only available for profiles). For large organizations, three years is just around the corner when it means implementing major overhauls in technology and philosophy to the business. While some are heading to building Permission Sets based on each object, I’d recommend basing them on features or functional areas to have the most control and the clearest overview of your new vast area of Permission Sets.
Next Salesforce Release
Overall, the spring ‘23 release was jam-packed with content to boost productivity, strengthen security, enhance the user experience and improve the overall business functionality. There are two Salesforce releases still to come in 2023, and I’ll be dissecting them both to highlight the most critical changes that can help you better your business. I’m looking forward to seeing what the summer ‘23 release has in store – any predictions on what Salesforce will come up with next? I’ve got a few guesses…