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Salesforce to Retire Workflow Rules and Process Builder

By Christine Marshall

Rumors have been swirling for quite some time about the potential for Workflow Rules and Process Builder retirement – and it’s true, it really is happening. 

Salesforce has been rapidly enhancing Flow’s functionality and encouraging us to move away from using Workflow Rules and Process Builder. In this article, we’ll examine the current retirement timeline. Plus, we’ll provide you with some ideas and resources to get started.

Workflow Rules and Process Builder Retirement Timeline

If you’ve been keeping a close eye on the support documentation on Salesforce Help or Trailhead, you may also have noticed that the advice on which automation tool to use has been updated to the following message:

“For all behind-the-scenes automation needs, we recommend that you use Flow Builder.” Trailhead: Choose the Right Automation Tool

During Dreamforce ‘21, Patrick Stokes (the Product Manager responsible for the retirement) explained there would be a formal end-of-life roadmap, governed by an end-of-life council.

As of Winter ’23, you can no longer create Workflow Rules, however, you can still activate, deactivate, and edit any existing Workflow Rules. From Summer ’23, you will no longer be able to create Process Builder Processes either! You should now build all new automation using Flow Builder and start planning to move existing automaitons to Flow.

Why are Salesforce Retiring Workflow Rules and Process Builder?

Much of the value in a CRM tool lies in automating manual tasks. By automating repetitive, time consuming tasks, we can free up time to perform activities that generate new sales and improve customer retention. This is where the money is – and this is the true ROI (return on investment) that Salesforce can provide.

Salesforce have always understood the importance of automation and provided multiple tools over the years. Each tool seemed to be a better version of the last, giving us new ways to create ever more complex process automation, using clicks not code.

READ MORE: The History & Future of Salesforce Automation

Salesforce have ended up supporting several automation tools with overlapping capabilities – the main three being Workflow Rules, Process Builder, and Flow.

There are several problems with having multiple tools:

  • It’s difficult to get an overall picture of your automations and your automation health when they are spread across several products.
  • Businesses’ automation requirements are becoming ever more complicated, requiring more sophisticated tools.
  • It’s costly and time consuming to maintain and enhance multiple tools – therefore, it makes sense to work on developing just one of the three tools. Salesforce can now focus on enhancing and future-proofing Flow.

Why Flow?

Flow is capable of so much more than either Workflow Rules or Process Builder, and the majority of parity gaps have been addressed.

In particular, Flow offers:

  • Better overall performance.
  • Functionality to improve high-volume automation such as Fast Field Updates (Before Save).
  • Powerful error handling and debugging.
  • Repeatable and reusable functionality such as the use of Sub-Flows.
  • Additional features such as Screen Flows.

That only scratches the surface of what Flow has to offer…

What Next?

Whilst there’s no need to panic about the Workflow Rule and Process Builder retirement, there is certainly a level of momentum required at this point. Depending on the age and complexity of your org, you could have hundreds if not thousands of automations.

Let’s be very clear here – the migration tool from Salesforce are a great resource, but they are not the answer to all your migration needs. The current Salesforce migration tool is a 1-1; this means that 100 Workflow Rules would create 100 Flows. This is a problem… as using the tool could create hundreds of Flows!

As part of your migration project, a ‘rebuild and enhance’ strategy is advised – you should map out all existing automations and work out how they can be combined in to an optimal Flow strategy.

So where should you start?

1. Learn How to Use Flow

For many, there will be a learning curve when it comes to using Flow. You’ll definitely want to complete the Salesforce Flow module on Trailhead. Next, Salesforce Ben has plenty of resources to help you on your way! Here are just a few suggestions, but there are many more on our website:

2. Get Comfortable with Flow Jargon

I think half the battle to becoming proficient at using Flow is understanding the terminology. We’ve put together a complete A-Z of all the Flow terms you need to know – from Variables to Loops, we’ve got you covered.

READ MORE: A-Z Guide to the Salesforce Flow Builder

3. Determine Your Flow Strategy

Avoid creating an unruly mass of flows by following best practices and creating a Flow strategy. Read out complete guide below…

READ MORE: How Many Flows Should You Have Per Object?

4. Explore the Flow Trigger Explorer

Want an easy way to visualize your existing flows on an object? Look no further – the Flow Trigger Explorer will show you a birds-eye view of all flows for a specific object in a particular situation, e.g. upon record create.

READ MORE: Introducing Flow Trigger Explorer: View All Your Triggered Automation in One Place

5. Start Thinking Like a Programmatic Developer

Flows are subject to specific limits such as SOQL query limits and DML statements. You might hear that you need to “bulkify” your Flows. Sound a bit complicated? Never fear, Tim covers these concepts in his Ultimate Salesforce Flow Foundation Course.

Find out more about Flow limits and how to avoid them:

READ MORE: Complete Guide to Salesforce Flow Limits and How to Avoid Them

6. Pay Special Attention to Testing and Debugging

“With great power comes great responsibility”… this is so true of Salesforce Flow! As you’re getting to grips with this amazing automation tool, you’ll need to get comfortable with governor limits, testing, and unexpected errors.

READ MORE: How to Solve Salesforce Flow Errors

7. Try Out the Flow Migration Tool

We’ve put together a complete guide with a video to show you how to use the migration tool!

READ MORE: Migrate Salesforce Workflow Rules & Process Builder to Flow

8. Build All New Automation in Flow

Now that you’re practically a Flow Pro, build any new automation request in Flow! We all know that hands-on experience is the best way to become proficient with a Salesforce feature.

9. When an Existing Automation Needs Changing, Rebuild in Flow

Yes, it’s tempting to keep updating automations in Workflow or Process Builder while you can! However, it’s not in your best interest in the long term… Do you future self a favor, and when you get a requirement to update an existing automation, rebuild it in Flow.

Summary

Workflow Rules and Process Builder have been around for quite some time (Workflow especially) so migrating your existing processes to Flow will be no easy task. Not only will setting up new flows take time, there is also the need to upskill for many Salesforce professionals, who may not yet be entirely comfortable with using Flow. 

That’s why it is so important to start planning your Flow migration and get hands-on with Flow – starting now. As usual, we’re incredibly fortunate in the Salesforce ecosystem that we have an abundance of resources, both from Salesforce and the community. Let us know what you think about the Workflow Rule and Process Builder retirement in the comments.

The Author

Christine Marshall

Christine is the Courses Director at Salesforce Ben. She is an 11x certified Salesforce MVP and leads the Bristol Admin User Group.

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