Dependent Picklists and Validation Rules

Since we’re taking a look at all the different automation tools  I thought I’d focus on two basic but powerful tools that Salesforce gives admins; Dependencies and Validation Rules.  I’ll describe how each one is used, the basic steps to set it up and then give a few examples of how to put each to use.

#1 Dependent Picklist – Dependent Picklists prevent users from selecting incorrect values based on a controlling picklist value.  Setting up a controlling picklist value is easy and allows admins to make sure that the data in their orgs is accurate based on the values of a picklist.

Steps to set up:

  1. Create two picklist fields.
  2. Select Field Dependencies
  3. Click new to create a new dependency or edit next to the field dependency relationship you’re changing.
  4. Using the matrix, set the dependent values based on the controlling picklist value.
  5. Preview your selections and click Save.

#2 Opportunity Status and Reason

Based on an Opportunity status picklist we can define a set of picklist values.  For example, many sales teams like to track the reason an Opportunity was Closed Lost or Closed Won.  For example; did a competitor have better pricing or maybe the customer discovers they no longer need that product or service.  A few other common use cases are Type and Subtype or Region and State.


#3 Validation RulesValidation Rules are used to ensure data quality based on a set of criteria.  A system admin can create the criteria based on a formula, if the formula evaluates to true an error is displayed on the record page and the user is unable to save the record until they make the required changes.

Steps to set up:

  1. Click to create a Validation Rule on the object.
  2. Name and describe the Validation Rule
  3. Enter the error formula.  Keep in mind that if the formula evaluates to true an error will display.
  4. Enter an error message and decide where you would like it to display.
  5. Save.

Here are a few examples of Validation Rules from Salesforce.

#4 Confirm a reason is selected when an opportunity is Closed Lost.

Let’s say your org requires users to enter a reason when an opportunity is Closed Lost.  A picklist value for Reason must be selected before an Opportunity with Closed Lost Stage can be saved.  The validation below can do that for you and then the error can be displayed at the top of the page or at the field level to let your users know what they missed.

validation 1

#5 Enforce Date value entered must be in the future

As a system admin, it is important to make sure our users are entering the correct date.  In the example below, we’re making sure our users are entering a close date in the future but the formula could easily be modified to ensure the date is within a set period of time or in the past, depending on your needs.

validation 2

As you can see these are some very powerful tools!  I know these don’t seem like rocket science to the experienced admin but implementing a few dependent picklists and validation rules can really change the game for your users and they’re a great place to start improving a Salesforce org for a newer admin.  Next in our series we’ll take a look at Assignment Rules!

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each blog will have a board with pins to the resources used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board.  Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.

Fun with Formulas

I know that formulas may not seem like a “process automation” but I think it meets the criteria because it’s automating an additional step for a user while insuring data quality.  Any time we can automate something for our users we’re helping to minimize user error or forgetfulness and saving them time and effort.  For the savvy admin formulas are a lifesaver.

#1 What should an admin consider before creating a formula?

  • Keep in mind that formula fields are read only, only the formula can define the value in the field.
  • Does the formula calculate differently depending on the scenario?
  • Test the formula in a sandbox environment before adding it to the page layouts in production.
  • If a formula is complex, it helps me to write it out on paper before building it in the formula editor.

#2 Steps to create a formula:

  1. Define the formula parameters before building the actual field in Salesforce.  
  2. Name the formula field and select the formula return type.formula1
  3. Build the formula.  Here is a list of formula operators and functions with explanations.  I prefer to build formulas in the Advanced Formula builder.formula2
  4. Confirm the formula syntax is accurate.formula3
  5. Define how blank values will be handled.formula4
  6. Set field level security and add the field to the necessary layouts, just like with any custom Salesforce field.

Now, for some of my favorite formulas!

#3 Example -The Power of One

There are many blogs and community answers that reference this concept created by Thomas Tobin.  Basically you’ll create a formula field on an object, the formula will equal 1, it’s that simple.   


So, why is this such a big deal?  Well now you can do math on things like the average number of activities on Closed Won opportunities.  By adding this formula to Activities and Opportunities we can create a formula in a report that will calculate and visualize the average.


#4 Example – Image formulas

It’s always nice to allow your users to have a visual on their records, in list views or reports.  Formulas that display images based on a set of criteria are a great way to impress your users and your manager with your admin super powers.  Here’s an example, I’ve built an event management application for my event planning team, I’d like to display a warning on the Event Milestone Tasks when it is overdue. 


The IMAGE function is comprised of 3 parts; the image location, the alternate text and the size.

**For bonus points, a rollup summary field can be used to allow the event management hierarchy to roll up so that the warning image would display on the Event parent record record anytime one of the child records in the event plan was also overdue**

#5 Example – User ID formula

Most of the time the standard Record Owner field on every record in Salesforce all we need to create views and reports on the records that a user owns (ex–My Cases).  We can do this by selecting My in views and reports.

My Report  My View

But we can’t use the Salesforce standard ownership field to reflect when a user is related to a record via another lookup field.  For example, in our Event Management app the Event Owner/Record Owner might assign Event Milestones to other users.  The assignees would want to see only the work that has been assigned to them.  We can create a hidden checkbox formula field that will check to see if the user viewing the record is the user in the Assigned To field.  

My formula

Now, as an admin I can create a single “My Assigned Records” view or report for my users to use, instead of having to hardcode their name in separate views.

My formula view

A system admin should look to formulas to reduce keystrokes for users, get rid of manually calculated math (all of it), and to enhance data quality. Making things easy and accurate every time increases user adoption and makes everyone much much happier.

Come back next week for Dependencies and Validation rules!

Check out the Saasy5 Pinterest board for more process automation resources.

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each blog will have a board with pins to the resources used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board.  Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.

5 Things to Think About Before Automating a Process

Salesforce has done an excellent job of providing tools for a system admin to use declarative process automation.  In the next few weeks Saasy5 will review several of the process automation tools available to admins; starting with the basic and moving to more complex.  I’ll use examples to review the functionality of each tool.  But first I wanted to spend some time on what factors admins should consider before automating a process.

1. Is the process consistent every time it’s executed?

While no process is exactly the same every single time it’s executed, if a process executed in the same way based on a set of criteria the majority of the time it should be considered for automation.

2.  Does the process have multiple steps that are replicated?

A lot of times users get lost and fed up in Salesforce when they are required to execute the same action repeatedly.  Enter process automation!!!  Salesforce has a tool that can do that for your users so that all users have to do is trigger the automation process by entering a set of criteria.  This saves them time, increases adoption and decreases the risk of human error.  Oh yea, and it will save you some headache!

3. Does the process involve other teams?

It’s important to think about the who is involved in the process you’re trying to automate.  Are there multiple  groups or teams involved in the process?  How will the process transition from one team to another.  If you can, automate those transitions between team members because each transition is a point where the process can easily get off track or an important step can be missed.

4. Does leadership need to visualize the status of the process on each record throughout the org?

Always consider what leadership will view as success when working in Salesforce.  What are the metrics they are looking at to quantify the success of a project?  This goes for process automation too.  Are they looking for time saved internally?  A more seamless customer experience? Cost savings? Or insight into individual workloads?

5. What steps need to be tracked in Salesforce and what steps, if any, are performed outside of Salesforce.

Process automation helps our users do their jobs more efficiently because the system is doing the work for them.  It helps leadership know that a process is being executed properly. And it helps admins ensure that data is accurate for a given process.  The ultimate goal should be to keep as much of the process as possible in Salesforce or at least tracked in Salesforce.

Even after considering these 5 items there are crucial interactions with clients and team members that can’t be automated and require a personal touch.  I once tried to automate a process that really needed personal touch, it failed miserably, clients felt less valued and it hurt the work we’d done to try to help them in the first place.  

I’m looking forward to diving deep into the Salesforce toolbox of automation!

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each week I’ll have a board with pins to the resources I used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board. Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.


TrailheaDX -A Review in 5

So, it has taken me way too long to finish this blog but here it is, finally.  I am so honored to have attended the first TrailheaDX event ever with RAD Women!  If you want to know more about how I was able to go check out my last blog.  It turned out to be everything I hoped and so much more.

#1 Sessions

The sessions were full of applicable content and presented by knowledgeable presenters.  Most of the sessions I attended were focused on Lightning, because it’s new and I’m trying to learn all I can about it as my customers are starting to ask me more and more questions about the “new Salesforce”.  I attended the Mastering Lightning series on Tuesday and learned so much about Lightning.  I’m so thankful they’ve posted the recordings (part 1 & part 2) because there was too much information for me to catch in one sitting.  Then on Wednesday, my favorite session was the Lightning for Admins session, where I learned about all the cool things an admin can do in Lightning without any code. There were sessions on Apex, AI, inclusion and process automation.  What I’m trying to say is the content rocked harder than Lenny Kravits.

#2 Musical Guests20160607_200856

On that note (get it?! wink!), we were surprised with a musical guest at the keynote on Tuesday, Apex and the Limits played and released a new video!  They killed it, of course.  Then Lenny Kravits performed on Tuesday night at the the Warfield.  Both performances were amazing and  I have more pictures than words!  Enjoy!

20160607_085429#3 The Community

Just like most Salesforce events, the community is what takes it all to the next level.  The community did not disappoint at TrailheaDX.  I met Adam Olshansky, Nana Greg, Adam Seligman, Mary Scotton and Abhilasha Singh, just to name a few.  My favorite part of this event was meeting new people, because the event was smaller and focused on development each interaction was more meaningful to me.  In my opinion, this was a much more personal event than Dreamforce.

#4 San Francisco in June

Okay, so I wasn’t in San Francisco for a vacation, I was there to learn as much as possible.  To soak in as much Salesforce as I could in two days.  But since I’d never been to San Francisco in the summer, I wasn’t sure what to expect weather-wise.  How lovely!  I’m wishing I’d stayed a few days extra to enjoy the city.  Next time for sure!

#5 The Vibe

This is a smaller conference than Dreamforce, there are fewer session and fewer attendees.  The content was built for a more targeted audience, developers!  The combination of these made for an enjoyable two days with beneficial content and connections.  Salesforce hit the mark with this one.

Anyway this is why you should start making plans to be there next year, especially if Dreamforce is just a little too big for you!

Check out the Saasy5 Pinterest board for more TrailheaDX information and reviews.

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each blog will have a board with pins to the resources used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board.  Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.

RAD Women blazing the trail at TrailheaDX !

I wasn’t going to write a blog this week because I’m at TrailheaDX but since I’m still on Central time and woke up at 4 AM this morning, I figured I’d write up a quick blog about what I’m expecting TrailheaDX to be.  I have no idea what to expect but I suspect it will be great!

#1 How did I get here?

RAD!  RAD Women is a group of women with coaches, learners and graduates that are learning how to code together through a virtual curriculum.  The amazing thing is the coaches, curriculum writers and organizers are all volunteers teaching other women how to code.  Anyway, RAD Women let its recent graduates apply for free tickets to TrailheaDX.  I applied and now I get to come to the first ever TrailheaDX event!

#2 Ah!  The sessions and the learning!

I’m sitting here getting ready for TrailheaDX, mapping out my day and the sessions I would like to attend, let me tell you these are some difficult choices for sure.  Do I want to focus on Lightning? Process Builder? AI?  Apex?  Do you see the problem  I’m having here?  There’s too much learning to be done in such a short period of time.  Salesforce has set the content standard pretty high with this one!

#3 The Keynotes and Concert

If you’ve ever attended a Salesforce event you know that the Keynote speakers and musical guests are nothing to miss and Trailhead is no exception.  With keynote speakers like Steve Wozniak, Marc Benioff, Parker Harris and Shawna Wolverton; we’re sure to be amazed.  Oh but wait, we’re also hearing the great music of Lenny Kravitz tonight at a concert.

#4 Who am I hoping to meet

Through the RAD Women program, WIT and the Community I’ve met so many wonderful people virtually, I’m beyond excited to meet some of my virtual friends in person.  The list is huge…

#5 So far it’s more than I thought it would be!

So after flying in to San Francisco yesterday, I got to meet up with a few RAD Women at Parc55.  I absolutely love this group of women, they are all so supportive and encouraging.  I really feel like we’re on the same “learn how to code” team together.  Anyway if our impromptu pre-conference get together is any indication of how the next two days will be, things will be freakin’ awesome!!  Thank you RAD Women and Salesforce!  I’m so honored to be part of this group of smart, motivated, powerful and kind women!  Its rare to find a group of women that works together like this and I feel privileged to be part of it.

Next week Saasy5 will be about the top 5 reasons you HAVE to be at TrailheaDX next year.

No Pinterest board today, since I wasn’t expecting to post this week.


Summer ’16: According to the Experts

The Summer ‘16 release has so many amazing new features and enhancements, so Saasy5 decided to ask some Salesforce Community rockstars for their favorite part of the release and the resources they’re using to prepare for Summer ’16.  And here’s what they said…

ericEric Dreshfield

So what excites me most from the Summer ’16 release? The ability to export reports from Lightning Experience. Yes, I know, that’s really rather dull compared to so many of the other new features, but as a data geek, any day I can export a report is a good day. Of course, it would be a great day if I didn’t need to export at all, and just used X-Author for Excel from Apttus instead! (Shameless plug…I work for Apttus.)

The other thing that really thrills me about this release is the ability to clone sandboxes, and the fact that Professional Edition users now have access to sandboxes.

Twitter: @ericdresh


Success Community:

Lauren JordanLauren

I am super excited about the Summer ’16 Release!  There are so many awesome new features that those of us who are not on Lightning can implement and use right away! 

  1. The ability to associate a Contact with multiple Accounts – Yesssss!  I have been waiting for this one for a LONG time!
  2. The ability to mute a feed item from the detail view in Chatter – Thank goodness!!
  3. This almost brought a tear to my eye! The ability to ‘Evaluate The Next Criteria’ or just ‘Stop’ within Process Builder – This is a beautiful thing!!

I love referring to Rakesh Gupta’s Blog (Automation Champion) for release notes.  He does a fantastic job consolidating the notes into an easy to read post!

Twitter: @SaaSyGeek


Success Community:

MeighanMeighan Brodkey

I have to say, picking a favorite feature in the Summer 16 release has been pretty difficult, there are so many amazing enhancements.  When it comes down to it, I would have to say the ability to modify the Home Page and assign different home pages based on user profile is my favorite.  You might be thinking it sounds like a small feature, but I use the home page to hold the information I need users to see and to give them a central location in Salesforce to view an overview of what’s going on in the org, customized per team.  For Sales/Marketing/Service, I have Admin Updates – a list of new changes w/ links to release notes, Reminders with dates/times of upcoming trainings or company events, list views of past due opps, etc.  For my home page layout, I have a Visualforce section w/ org test coverage stats, a list view of my internal cases, users not logging in, etc.  The home page is the first thing users see when they login, and now in Lightning, the home page can now show relevant information for team, in a place I know they will view every day.



Success Community:

Benjamin BolopueBenjamin

While there’s SO much coming in the Summer ’16 release, the real game changer for me will be the ability to export report data from Lightning Reports. So far I’ve kept all my Users strictly using Classic largely due to this limitation. THANK YOU SALESFORCE for listening to the Community and making sure this feature was added in such short order!

Adam Olshansky’s Blog: Release Recap
SFDC Relase Notes
It’s also good to periodically check out SFDC’s release specific Known Issues listing.
The Summer ’16 Release Preview On-Demand Webinar

Twitter: @sfdcgeek


Success Community:

KylaKyla Longe

I’m pretty excited about the Service Cloud features we’ll get in the new licensing strategy, like Live Agent and Knowledge. We were considering paying for (and had added line items to the budget) for these features and suddenly they were free for us! Similarly, the Partial Sandbox is going to ease a lot of issues we have in our sandbox staging. Now that the data in our initial development is real, some of the issues we experience by the time we are in our testing/staging environment will completely go away!

Twitter: @seriouslykyla


Success Community:

Thanks experts! Happy Summer ‘16 Release!  Check out the Saasy5 Pinterest board for more Summer ’16 Release information.

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each blog will have a board with pins to the resources used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board.  Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.

Summer ’16: My Favorites

Okay, so we’ve talked about 5 of the cool Ideas that Salesforce is bringing to life this release and while those are some awesome updates I have a few more favorites!  Here are my 5 favorite updates in this release.

#1 – Opportunity and Account Teams in Lightning (Account & Opportunity Team Notes)

Reps can manage their Account and Opportunity Teams in Lightning now, one less reason to switch back and forth between Lightning and Classic.  I love that Salesforce is enhancing Lightning with each release.  Each of these enhancements makes me more  and more excited about Lightning.

#2 – User Switcher (Notes)

For those of us that work in multiple orgs this is fantastic!  This is huge for me personally; I work in client orgs, my company org and my Developer org so this will really cut down on open tabs and switching between screens.  Yay!!!

#3 – Responsive Lists in Service Console (Notes)

In the Service Console we can Enable Responsive Lists now, this means that when a user hover over the link to a record in Salesforce our users will see a preview of the record without having to open the record.  This will make our list views so much more useful and will save our users time.  Man, I really wish this had been released in time for my last Service Cloud implementation!responsive_list_hover

#4 – Share Notes with specific Users or Groups (Notes)

We can share notes with specific users or Groups now!  In the past any notes were either Public or Private but starting this summer we can share notes with an individual user or a group of users.  This will allow users to be in more control of who sees specific information about a record in the Notes object.


#5 – Picklist Administration (Notes)

There is so much awesome-ness in this section of the Release Notes!  Global picklists, tracking global picklists, restricted picklists, organizing restricted picklists, and removing old picklist values from records through setup.  Picklists are great because they give your users limited options, decrease dirty data and help with reporting but there have always been some administrative headaches with them.  

  • Updating picklist values and eliminating outdated options has always been difficult because of the limited options but now we can select a value to replace the old value with, replace the value with a blank, or keep the old value.  Because
  • We had to be careful updating or importing picklist values through the API because data outside of the picklist options could be inserted in that field by mistake or oversight, leading to dirty and inaccurate data.  With restricted picklists this is no longer an issue!

Next week we’re going to hear from some truly awesome community members about what they’re looking forward to most in the Summer ‘16 Release.  I can’t wait!  

Check out the Saasy5 Pinterest board for more Summer ’16 Release information.

Visit Saasy5 on Pinterest, each blog will have a board with pins to the resources used to write the blog.  Here’s this week’s board.  Since the Salesforce world is HUGE let me know if I missed something that should have been pinned and I’d be happy to pin it.