Salesforce Release/Change Management and Org Documentation [Tools]

Posted February 10th, 2011 in Tips & Tricks by John Coppedge

After a very lengthy discussion on Linked In, I’ve gathered a few points managing change and documenting your Salesforce org:

 

1. Configuration Workbook for Org Documentation

Download Sample: Download Configuration Workbook

Typically a resource for consultants, but can easily be repurposed for ongoing documentation of your Salesforce org.  The challenge is that the document must be updated with each configuration change in a single centralized location (read: Content, Google Docs, Sharepoint).

2. Exact Metadata for Org Field Documentation

This is one of my favorite methods, as you can extract all objects/fields very easily.  Since the tools pull live data, there is no questioning if the documentation is up to date.  These tools are free, but will only describe field and object info; you’ll need to look elsewhere for documenting workflow, triggers, etc.

Also, I searched long and hard for a tool that will extract the description for each field from the metadata, and couldn’t find one.  My understanding is that the metadata API cannot access the description, yet I can see it through the IDE… which uses the metadata API…?  If you can shed some light on this one please leave a comment!

A. Cloud Converter: http://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N300000016cVIEAY

Click a button and extract all metadata from your org into a single excel workbook.  Brilliant.

B. Object Metadata Snapshot Tool: http://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N30000003Ih3aEAC

This one is neat, because actually creates records for each field/object.  This means that you can then take an analytic snapshot to create a ‘Point in Time’ view of your Salesforce metadata on a regular interval without any intervention.  Who wouldn’t want a self-documenting org?

C. Etherios EasyDescribe: http://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N300000018leZEAQ

3. Snapshot for Org Documentation and Change Management

More info: http://www.dreamfactory.com/solutions/snapshot/

Snapshot is a paid (and not inexpensive) tool for org management.  It take a snapshot of an org configuration, roll-back to a snapshot, transfer configuration changes org to org, and perform a variety of sophisticated functions.  I haven’t personally used the tool but have seen a demo, and it appears to be much more feature-rich than the above metadata tools or change sets.

4. Change Management App: ChangeIt!

Download: http://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N300000016ct3EAA

A free, fairly simple app for managing change requests.  By default is a stand-alone package (not linked to other Salesforce objects).

5. Product Management App

Download: http://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N300000016c6UEAQ

A free, fairly simple app for product release management.  Has been tailored by default to connect to cases and opportunities.

6. Force.com IDE

You can use the IDE to extract virtually all information about your Salesforce org.  Note that the IDE is a developer tool and will return information in a programtic fashion (XML), not easily accessible spreadsheets like the above metadata tools.  It can be combined with Subversion for version control.

http://wiki.developerforce.com/index.php/Using_Force.com_with_Subversion_for_Team_Development

http://www.romascanu.net/Blog/salesforce/version-control-and-force-projects/

7. View Setup Audit Trail

From within Salesforce: Administration Setup –> Security Controls –> View Setup Audit Trail

When all else fails, read the log Smile

 

This is by no means a comprehensive list.  Please leave a comment below if you have a favorite tool not mentioned above!

 

Cheers,

John

Advice on Passing the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Exam [Link]

Posted January 28th, 2011 in Certified Cloud Consultant by John Coppedge

Interesting in passing the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Exam?  Check @jeffdonthemic’s excellent blog: How to Pass the Service Cloud Consultant Exam

 

Great info as always Jeff!  Cheers,

 

John

Another Salesforce certification resource: forceprepare.com [Freebie]

Posted December 19th, 2010 in Certified Administrator, Certified Developer by John Coppedge

Check out another great community resource for certification: http://www.forceprepare.com/.  Looks like the materials are primarily for Developer and Administrator certs.

Cheers,

John

New Salesforce Certification Path(s): Service Cloud Consultant [Verified] & Sales Cloud Consultant [Unverified]

Posted December 14th, 2010 in Certification Updates by John Coppedge

Much to my dismay, I was unable to attend Dreamforce this year.  I did however get a chance to touch base with a  few folks that did attend a learn a bit more about the upcoming changes to Salesforce certifications.

 

Verified

The Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant is a new certification and is available today.  You can register for the certification exam at www.webassessor.com.  As soon as I have a chance I’ll be diving into this one!

12142010_22234 PM

 

Unverified

  • The Salesforce Certified Consultant exam will be phased out and no longer be offered.
    • It will be replaced with the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant (available today; see above) and Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant exams.
      • Salesforce Certified Administrator will become a prerequisite for both above exams.
    • Those of us with existing Consultant Certifications will be able to test for one of the above certifications for free.

 

Further Speculation

If the above changes are true, I suspect changes to the developer certifications are in order as well.  Perhaps Certified Custom Cloud Consultant or like?  Personally, I think the Developer certification is horribly misleading, as it has very little do with development in the traditional sense.  The distinction between a developer and advanced developer to the outside world is all but lost in my experience.

 

Did you attend DF?  Did you hear any of the same?  Please keep me in the loop, feel free to comment below!

 

Cheers,

John

Customer Portal & Self-Registration [How-to]

Posted December 14th, 2010 in Certified Advanced Administrator, Certified Consultant, Tips & Tricks by John Coppedge

Configuring customer portal can be somewhat confusing the first time around.  Here are a few basic guidelines to get you going in the right direction:

  • For each object that you expose in a portal, the sharing model must be private (unless you want to expose all records of that object to your portal).
  • Use sharing rules to recreate the sharing model for All Internal Users.
    Example rule creation for accounts:
    image
  • In order to expose an object and/or tab to the customer portal the following must be true:
    • The tab in question must be supported by the customer portal.  From the article “Why can’t I see my tab in the Customer Portal?”:

        Even though all objects are displayed in the Customer Portal setup, only the following can display as tabs in your Customer Portal:
        Home
        Cases
        Solutions
        Web tabs
        Documents
        Custom objects

    • When exposing a custom object, make sure to check ‘Available for Customer Portal’ on the object properties:
      image
    • Ensure that the customer portal profile(s) have access to the object:
      • Object Tab Setting: Default On

      • Standard Object Permissions: Object Read (minimum)

      • Field-level security on the object

    • Make sure profile(s) are assigned the correct page layout

    • Create the customer portal:

      • Ensure ‘Login Enabled’ is checked

      • Click Customize Portal Tabs (top) and choose tabs to expose (all of the above must be configured before tabs are exposed)
        image

      • Click Edit Profiles button (bottom) and assign profile(s) access to login to the portal
        image

    • Add/verify portal management buttons on the account and contact page layouts
      image

 

Self-registration will allow existing contacts within your Salesforce org to sign up for portal access.    To enable:

  • Enable self-registration on the portal itself
  • Give contacts ability to self-register
    • The field ‘Allow Customer Portal Self-Registration’ determines if a contact can self-register.  By default, this field is not checked.  First, enable visibility:
      • Grant the Visible permission to ‘Allow Customer Portal Self-Registration’ for portal administration profiles
        image
      • Add the ‘Allow Customer Portal Self-Registration’ field to the appropriate contact page layouts
    • Update all contacts to grant self-registration capability (this can now be accomplished through data loader as well)
  • Contacts should now be able to self-register through the portal login page
    • Note:  The email address provided on the self-registration page must match the email address on the contact record exactly (it IS case sensitive!).