True to The Core – Inside Look into How Salesforce are Developing Salesforce (Dreamforce ‘21 Edition)

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‘True to The Core’ sessions could be described as an ‘ask me anything’ to Salesforce executives and product managers.

This unfiltered view into Salesforce’s forward-looking roadmap makes TTTC consistently popular and highly anticipated. The audience can ask even the thorniest questions and get a transparent response that includes why Salesforce are taking longer to deliver a feature (dependencies) and tradeoffs they are making internally.

One of Salesforce’s greatest assets is the community of users, admins, consultants, and developers – “Trailblazers” who evangelize the Salesforce platform ‘off their own bat’, and become active stakeholders in the product roadmap, as a result.

True to The Core is one session I never hesitate to attend and was my pick for the must-see Dreamforce sessions. I found myself sat in front of my screen, on the edge of my seat (sofa), despite it nearing midnight. I’m glad I did – here are the highlights from ‘True to The Core’ at Dreamforce ‘21.

Panelists:

  • Parker Harris, Co-Founder & CTO
  • Bret Taylor, COO
  • David Schmaier, Chief Product Officer

IdeaExchange Success

3500 ideas have been delivered from the IdeaExchange since it was launched in 2007 – 35 have been delivered as a result of idea prioritization, which has been running since 2019 to put the Salesforce community in more control.

There’s a new IdeaExchange launching in October! We’ll be covering its best features when the release date arrives.

Salesforce Easy

Did you wonder how Lionel Richie and Salesforce are connected? 🎶 “Ooh, that’s why I’m easy, I’m easy like Salesforce Easy” 🎶

‘Easy’ is the new word on all Salesforce executive’s lips, one of the five innovation themes. There’s a newfound motivation for all setup, installation, and configuration on Salesforce to be as easy as possible. The executives shared what they got up to on their offsite – walking through the setup process in an Admin’s shoes for various Salesforce products.

Their conclusions? Ease of setup was not what they expect, and there should only be one way to do something:

“We just add add add and we rarely simplify”

That’s where initiatives, such as retiring Process Builder, and delivering Admin tools, like Flow Orchestrator, come in – in fact, both of these examples were raised during the session.

Slack Developer Experience

There was talk around unifying the developer experiences between Slack and Salesforce.

“Which platform do you want us to develop as a joint company?”, asked Brett Taylor. Could that be Slack?

The power of Slack is that it can be integrated with tools beyond Salesforce to create collaboration experiences that wouldn’t ever be possible to create in Chatter. This means that Slack resonates with a broader range of business stakeholders, therefore a more powerful offering than Chatter.

If Slack is the new Chatter, then it’s worth flagging that a huge benefit Chatter brings is that it’s embedded in the Salesforce interface. So, will Slack ever be embedded in Salesforce?

Rather than asking: “can it be embedded in Salesforce…focus on the workflows, focus on the use cases”, advised David Schmaier, Chief Product Officer.

And Salesforce wants to hear your use cases. Salesforce are ‘productizing their own requirements’, in other words, trying to be the first customer for use cases that will eventually be launched into the product offering. It’s a major focus for them over the next 12-18 months – they said it “won’t be long” for us to see the fruits of their labor.

Flow Support as an Admin Tool

The first question from the audience came from Scott, who asked “How can Flow be supported as an admin tool?”, relaying experiences when raising a case with Salesforce support to only be turned around in circles. Salesforce Flow is currently considered a developer tool in terms of support – which mismatches the messaging that Flow is the go-to automation tool for Salesforce Admins.

All executives agreed that support offerings really need to match product offerings – and so this should be changed soon now it’s on everyone’s radar.

Process Builder and Workflow Rules Retirement

Following earlier Dreamforce sessions, word got out into the Salesforce community that Process Builder and Workflow Rules were going to phase out, in favour of Salesforce Flow. It sent some Admins into a tail-spin.

The Product Manager responsible for the retirement, Patrick Stokes, delivered some peace of mind. There will be a formal end-of-life roadmap, that is governed by an end-of-life council, he reassured. In the spirit of transparency, here are the stages they have planned:

  • Spring ‘22 release: launch migration tool for Workflow Rules
  • Summer ‘22 release: launch migration tool for Process Builder
  • Winter ‘23 release: will no longer be able to create new Process Builders or Workflow Rules

As you can see, it will be a gradual process over the course of years, not months. Salesforce do want your feedback though, on whether you think this is realistic!

Salesforce Mobile Experience

What’s the roadmap for Salesforce Mobile? As we know, desktop users versus mobile is a scale that’s continually tipping in favour of mobile.

The Product Manager for mobile shared that Mobile Publisher has seen more adoption, and there have been plenty of requests for extensions and offline capabilities. These are the themes the development team is working towards:

  1. Mobile Home: the ability for users to personalize their Salesforce home screen on the mobile app (coming Winter ‘22)
  2. Nimbus: will open up developers to access the same software that the Salesforce mobile app can tap into – including address book, GPS, QR code scanning (coming Summer ‘22)
  3. Dynamic Forms for mobile (release date TBD)
  4. Offline support for the Salesforce mobile app (coming in the next 12 months)

Lightning Page Load Times (parity with Classic?)

As you can imagine, page load times in Lightning got airtime in the True to The Core Live – Platform edition last year. No matter how attractive the Lightning user experience is, there are grumbles over time the time pages take to load – which is why Salesforce launched the ‘analyze’ button for Admins to inspect their page components, and follow recommendations to speed them up.

When will Lightning page load times be on parity with the speedier Salesforce Classic?
Even the analyze button is revealing that some very standard components/layouts are not optimal.

Parker Harris is keen to investigate, saying “let’s get the data”. Watch this space!

What’s up with ‘Modify all data’?

What’s up with ‘Modify all data?’ was a conversation that started a few years ago with Admins pointing out the flaws in this all-or-nothing, very powerful user permission, that put into the wrong hands, could be detrimental.

Cheryl Fieldman was one of the original Trailblazers leading that conversation. As if by fate, she’s now the Product Manager for authorization, which includes permissions.

She said she’s passionate about splitting up the ‘modify all data’ permission – on a permission mission, you could say. One aspect she’s looking for feedback on is how “login as” should be split from “modify all data”.

Although there are no timelines for any changes, she promised to revert back with a plan at the first opportunity.

Why is Dataloader.io not on platform?

Dataloader.io is a web-based application that plugs into Salesforce to import, upsert, and remove record data. It’s become core to an Admins’ toolbox, offering more functionality than the other Salesforce data loader options – Dataloader.io makes Data Loader look like it came out of the 90s!

Originally developed by MuleSoft, Dataloader.io has since been brought into the Salesforce family through the MuleSoft acquisition. Yet, it’s still a freemium product – and it’s still off-platform.

“Where Salesforce came from 20 years ago, there was next to no data”, the panel reflected, which lead to Salesforce native data loaders being less sophisticated. But times have changed, and it’s fair to say that this corner of the platform was left behind “we should consider this” the panel agreed.

They came back to experience at the offsite: “we had to show our product implementation end-to-end…and discovered too many ways to load data, and most of them aren’t great”

“Where do we have 12 ways of doing something…there’s technical debt we’ve accrued over time…we’re in a spring clean mode” – why? 🎶 “Ooh, that’s why I’m easy… easy like Salesforce Easy” 🎶

Over to you – what do you think?

  • Do you see your use cases fitting Slack or Chatter better?
  • How soon do you want the Slack developer experience to be unified with Salesforce’s?
  • How should the ‘modify all data’ permission be restructured?
  • What does ‘Salesforce Easy’ mean to you?

If you liked this summary, then check out our previous True to the Core write-up on Salesforce Platform/Lightning development and Pardot.

9 thoughts on “True to The Core – Inside Look into How Salesforce are Developing Salesforce (Dreamforce ‘21 Edition)

  1. I’m definitely concerned about all of the Slack forward development. We’re a MS shop internally, and are not a SW company with a team of Devs and Engineers who are definitely at the forefront of Slack usage. I can’t see my CIO allowing Slack when we’re pushing so hard to get everyone up on MS Teams.

    1. I tried to look for it, but seems it was not made on-demand. This post was made from my furious note-taking – I may have missed many more things! I will update you if I find a link though.

  2. I was shocked to find that that nonprofits that are faith-based organizations still do not have access to SLACK discounts. It’s their product to manage, but with SLACK seeming to play such a huge role in Salesforce future, it’s very worrisome. I won’t be using it anytime soon and am a bit afriad of the future, something I rarely say.

  3. The move to deprecate Workflow Rules and Process Builder is very interesting. I’m curious what impacts this may have one the field Updates, Email alerts etc that are tied to things like Approval Processes. How will those pieces fit into the long term declarative automation toolkit?

  4. Typically, none of the Product roadmap sessions or ‘True to the core’ are recorded. Even if recorded, it’s generally not made available to public. This is how it has been for many years.

  5. I missed this session. Did they all talk about approval process since that uses field updates/workflow rules. Wondering how that will be impacted when PB and WF is going to retire.

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