Turning Off

When was the last time you sat down with no technology in front of you?  It’s hard I know, especially given the field we’re all in.  My husband and I noticed that we rarely had an evening without some form of technology in front of us.  So, we’re changing that.  We’re starting by spending one night a week together with no TV, computers or cell phones.  So what are we doing instead….

 

  • Go for walks – I don’t know, because it’s nice to get fresh air and move.
  • Play Battleship – Why Battleship?  It’s a two player game and it was on sale the day we decided to start our no technology nights.  For the record, I win more often than him!  The point is there are fun things to do that are completely technology free.
  • Talk to each other – It’s a novel idea, I know.  Actually talking to your spouse or close friend without technology in front of you.  Anyway these have become some of my favorite conversations with him.  This is where I learn the real stuff, the stuff that makes our relationship great and the stuff that keeps me going when work is crazy.
  • Read Together – We rarely read the same books but we often sit on our patio with our cats and read together.
  • Enjoy the silence – Our lives are so noisy these days, even right now with no TV or music on  I can hear the sounds from the street below, voices from a few cubes down and the buzz of florescent lights.  Shutting some of that noise off to be in a quiet space is relaxing.  I find so much peace and relaxation in just reducing the amount of noise around me.

Anyway, in the past few months we’ve found the world survives without us for a few hours a week and what’s better, we survive without the world.  I debated about posting this but when I thought of the benefit I’ve felt from having a few (2-3) hours a week of controlled purposeful technology free space is huge.  I’ve felt more energized and creative when I am in front of a screen.  Just wanted to share!

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Approval Process Basics

Many business processes require approval from a manager or another department in order for the process to move forward.  Salesforce allows users to automate those approvals and track them through each step using Approval Processes.  We’ll use the Salesforce Approval Process help documentation to walk through the high level steps of how to create an Approval Process and then check out the SaaSy5 Pinterest board to check out some examples.

#1 Prepare to Set Up an Approval Process

Salesforce has a great checklist to consider before setting up an approval process.  Here are a few key takeaways.

  • Evaluate all possible scenarios to make sure the automation fits for each one.
  • Consider who the approvers are and how they will be notified when their approval is required.
  • Are there time limits before the approval is escalated or a manager is notified?
  • How are records pending approval handled?
  • Review and test the approval process in a sandbox before activating it in your production environment.

#2 Choose the Right Approval Wizard

Salesforce offers two wizards (the Jump Start Wizard and the Standard Wizard)to help set up Approval Processes.  As a System Administrator it’s important to evaluate which wizard is best suited for your skill level and needs.  The Jump Start Wizard is a great option for newer System Admins or for Approval Processed that are more simplistic.  The Jump Start Wizard allows system admins to create approval processes more quickly with a set of default options predefined.  Once the approval process is created in the Jump Start wizard these options can be changed, if needed.

In the following steps we’ll outline the steps to create an approval process with the Jump Start Wizard.

#3 Add an Approval Step

Once the approval process is created you’ll be brought to the page below.  It’s a lot, I know but we’ll get through it together.

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We’ll need to add Approval Steps, these are the users that should approve a record based on the business requirements.  In the image above there is only one step, but approvals can have several steps of approves that would need to approve a record.

#4 Add Automated Actions

Next we can add actions.  There are several types of actions we can add — initial actions, final approval, final rejection and recall actions.

  • Initial Actions – These are automated actions that occur when a record is first submitted for approval.
  • Final Approval or Rejection Actions – These are actions that automatically occur when after the final approval or rejection.
  • Recall Actions – If you’re giving your users the ability to recall a record that is pending approval you’ll need to define what automated actions will happen.

#5 Review and Activate the Approval

I can’t stress this enough –review the approval process before activating it.  I like to review my approval processes in the diagram form before activating them, especially the more complex approvals.

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Approval processes keep users from having to remember what must be approved by whom.  They decrease human error and help put safe blocks in place to prevent a users from progressing through a process that may not meet organizational standards.
Make sure to follow our Pinterest for more information.

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.

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#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.