Gain User Insight with List Views

If you’re a Salesforce Admin chances are you have created tons of list views for Accounts, Contacts and other objects for your users to use. I recommend you take some time to create list views for YOU to use. You’ll find that they can help you quickly access information–saving you valuable time and frustration. In fact, there are several areas in the Setup area where you can add list views. You can create custom list views for Permission Sets, Profiles, Users, Public Groups and Domains just to name a few.

In this post, I’m continuing my series on User Management Tips from one of my Dreamforce 14 presentations. I’m sharing ideas on how you can use Salesforce List Views on the User object to make you a more efficient admin.

User List Views

In list views, you can filter on almost every User attribute found on the user record such as Storage Used, Status, Roles, Profiles, Managers, even Last Login. Here are some common list views that I recommend you set up:

  • Active Users
  • Inactive Users
  • Admin Users
  • Frozen Users
  • Users in each division or department.
  • Users by license type (ie Marketing Users, Content Users)

User List Views

In addition, to the above list views you may want to create list views that you can look at on a weekly or monthly basis to manage user adoption and data storage. Here are a few I recommend:

  • Large Storage Users
  • No Login This Week
  • Password Expring Soon

In my last post I talked about adding custom fields to your User object. You can use those in your list view as well. Say for example, you created a custom field to track users for an add-on webinar product, you can create a list view of “Webinar Users”. This is very helpful when you need to report on users or send a mass communication out to the users of that product. Other common list views on custom fields include users by cost center or mobile device users.

Filter Out Inactive Users

One of the most common user management complaints that I hear is that you cannot delete a User from Salesforce. Instead you can only make them active or inactive. Not being able to delete a User is actually a good thing as it helps maintain any historical information about that user, including completed tasks and prior record ownership. But most of the time if a user is Inactive an Admin doesn’t want to see them in the list of users. That’s why for all of my User list views I filter out inactive users. All you have to do is set the “Active” field to equal “True”. Now, those inactive users never, ever show up on my views–they’re as good as dead to me.

Active Users

Because I occasionally do need to see inactive users and you probably do as well, I do recommend creating one list view called “Inactive Users” where the “Active” field equals “False”.

List View Visibility

As with all list views, you can opt to have user list views visible only to you, to all users or share with certain groups of users. Most of these list views you’ll want to share only with other Admins.

It Slices and Dices

As you can probably tell, I love list views! I find them much faster than reports for managing my daily admin workload as I can jump from one view to another instantly. I can customize the columns on the fly if need be and quickly drill-down and view and edit the records I need to work on. I also like that I can click on column headers to quickly sort and filter by values. The one big gotcha though is you cannot do inline edit on the user list view. Be sure to vote for this idea as it will be a huge time-saver for editing multiple users at once.  Even without this, user list views should be in your user management arsenal.

 

#SMT

 

 

 

 

 

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Get Organized with Custom User Fields

One of the sessions that I presented at Dreamforce this year was “Don’t Let Managing Users Manage You” where I shared 10 tips to make user management less of a pain.

Because user management is such a time-consuming and high-profile part of most admins jobs I thought I would share my tips here over 10 blog posts where I can go into detail about each one.

Tip #1: Get Organized with Custom User Fields

I like to add custom fields to the user object to help stay organized. Obviously you can tailor these custom fields to your unique needs but here are some ideas of general-purpose custom fields that you may want to use.

  • Admin Notes  – I create a ‘private’ system admin-only field to track notes such as who requested the user be set up or deactivated, why and when.
  • Cost Center – This is useful if you need to create reports to charge back licenses to the correct group.
  • Personal Information – Common fields are personal Email and personal phone. Great for users to connect after hours.
  • Mobile Device – Here I track what type of mobile device they are using such as iPhone, Android or iPad. This is great for finding testers and sending device specific updates. (I’ll cover more about that on a future blog post)
  • Additional App Licenses – If you have add-on apps you may want to track what users have access. This can be redundant information but is very helpful to have every app license in one central place for reporting, terminations, and testing.
  • Signature Block – If you use email templates consider adding a signature block to the users record to prepopulate and format address and company taglines.
  • Photo Url – To include photos on html email templates just place the url of the photo on the users record. An easy way to get a url is to load the photos to a public Document in Salesforce.  Then just include that field in email templates
  • Access Deactivation date – Add a custom date field to track when you deactivated the user or when you should deactivate their license. Sometimes you know in advance when to turn off seats (terms or trial users) just put in a date and use workflow rule to auto-deactivate them.  (look for more tips on user workflow rules in a future post).

This is just scratching the surface for custom user fields.

To add custom fields just go to Setup>>Customize>>User>>Fields>>New.

As with any custom field, you can choose what profiles can View and Edit these new fields. You can also update your page layout so they are displayed in a logical manner. Unfortunately you can not change the layout for the Standard User fields which display at the top of the User page.

 

#SMT


Overcoming the Salesforce Tab Limit

Most Salesforce orgs have a limit to the number of custom “Tabs” that they can have. Currently, the limit is 5 for Group, 10 for Professional and 25 for Enterprise. Throw in a few custom objects and websites and it is easy to hit the ceiling on Tabs.

Fortunately there is an easy way to get to an objects Home page without using one of your precious few tabs.

Instead of a tab at the top you can easily add quick links to the left side-bar of your Salesforce screen that takes the user to the desired page.

home page small with circle

The first thing to do is to get the secret Entity ID to your custom objects home page. This is easy to do. Just go to ANY record for your custom object. Look at the URL and take note of the first three characters after “Salesforce.com”.

In this example, it is “a03”

getting object entity id

Two items of note, alpha characters are case-sensitive and zero (0) and O are really, really hard to tell apart. To reduce the likelihood of error I like to copy and paste.

 

Now that you have your secret code to your custom object it’s time to create a custom link. Go to Setup>>Customize>>Home>>Home Page Components and click {Edit} next to “Custom Links”

edit home page components

Enter a new Bookmark name to display and then the URL to link to. The URL only needs to contain the 3 digit Entity ID. You should remove the first part of the url that references the specific server (In this example I omitted https://na14.salesforce.com). This will allow your link to work even if you are moved to a new Salesforce server.

I also like to add “/o” to my link so it takes the user to the “Recent Items” view for the object and it displays the object name at the top. It works without the “/0” but that takes the user to their last List View.

So in this example, all I place in the URL to link to field is /a03/o

home page custom links

Now I make sure my “Custom Links” are displaying on the home page layout by going to “Home Page Layout” edits. I check the box next to “Custom Links” to display and indicate the order the narrow components should be in.

Home Page Layout

If you don’t want every user to see the link or you want different links for different groups there are ways to add Custom “Components” to different page layouts. For this example, we’re keeping it simple with just one group of “Custom Links”.

Viola! Now my links to my custom objects display on the left-side navigation for every page I visit just like a tab would display across the top on every page.

Clicking the link will take me directly to that objects home tab, as shown below, where I can now see my recent items and run any list view.

custom object home page

 

Note: If you don’t see the home page components on all pages then go to Setup>>Customize>>User Interface>>Settings and check “Show Custom Sidebar Components on All Pages”.

Show Custom Sidebar Components on All Pages

You can do this same thing for links to standard objects, Visualforce pages, and other web pages.

One very popular use for custom links is to link to the Activities tab. For your reference that is Entity ID number “/007”. Many users find it nice to have quick links to “My Open Activities” or “Today’s Activities”. That allows them to jump to activity list views without having to go to the Home Page.

What will you link to?

-SMT


There’s a Tab for That

If you’re like me you might be working on one Salesforce task when someone calls you to work on something else. Instead of clicking away from what I was working on (and risk forgetting) I just open a new browser tab. It’s one of the beautiful things about working in the cloud. You can have dozens of items in flight at once.

Because Salesforce is web based not only can I use multiple browsers but I can also use multiple tabs to truly help me multi-task. As you can see by this screenshot, by default each tab is labeled  so I can quickly jump between one item to another.

Salesforce Tabs with Title tags

To open up a new tab you can right-click and select {Open Link in New Tab} but when you do that dozens of times a day it can get old fast. Fortunately there is an easier way – just configure your mouse so clicking on the middle button or mouse wheel opens a new tab. If you don’t have a middle button you can also open a new tab by holding the CTRL button and left-clicking. Either way will save you a few clicks each time which will add up to some serious time-savings.

Opening new tabs is a great tip for both admins and end users. For example, end users can use it to look up a new contact while still keeping the first contact window open.

Word of advice though, be sure you save any critical information before leaving a tab. Also keep in mind that the related lists will always reflect the most current state when ever the window is refreshed.

>>SMT

 


Checklist for Saleforce.com Admins to Prep for 2013

Another year is quickly coming to an end. And what a year it’s been–Chatter improvements, Touch released and even Analytics updates. You might have been so preoccupied this year with staying up with release enhancements that you haven’t even thought about year-end tasks. But time is running out so here is a short checklist of year-end items for Salesforce.com Admins.

1. Dashboards. Take screenshots of dashboards and reports that contain YTD and PYTD information before the year switches.

2. Reports. Run a “Report Last Run” report and get rid of reports that have not been run by anyone in some time. Rather than just deleting, I like to add them to a private folder called “Reports to Remove” for future deletion—just in case someone comes asking for it in a month.

3. Custom Fields. Do you have any custom annual fields such as “2012 Ranking” or “YTD Sales” that need to be updated or replaced? For YTD fields consider running a report and archiving before the year ends.

4. Campaigns. Deactivate any campaigns from the year that are no longer generating activities.

5. Email Templates. Review your email templates to see if there are any old ones that are no longer being used.

6. Fields. Got any fields that aren’t being used? There is a great app on the AppExchange called Field Trip that can help answer that question. Remove any unused fields from the page layout and consider deleting.

7. Copyright. Do you have a force.com site or other website that needs the Copyright updated to include 2013?

8. Leads and Contacts. A new year is a great time to review and archive old leads that might not have current contact information. Consider sending Stay In Touch requests for contacts.

9. Fiscal Calendars. If using Fiscal Calendars this is a good time to add another year.

10. Travel budget. Now is the time to get that Dreamforce conference on the 2013 budget.

11. Users. Do you have any licenses that are no longer being used? Take an audit of last log in and inform users and managers of any seats that have not been used recently.

12. Salesforce.com Releases. Now is a great time to review the 2012 releases to see what you might have overlooked or postponed. And with Spring ’13 right around the corner take a look at what’s coming.

13. Year in Review. Take an hour or two and review your accomplishments for the last year and type them up for you next performance review (or resume). Have you added any custom objects, workflow rules, formula fields, new reports, conducted any training? These are all impressive items to add to your list of 2012 achievements.

Happy New Year!
-ST


Data is King

We’ve heard it all before…you’re only as good as your data. But users get creative and sometimes they will put things like a contact’s nickname and mobile phone in the zip code field. Which, for some reason, the post office doesn’t seem to appreciate their resourcefulness.

So what can you do to ensure consistent data that is easy to report and filter on? Validation Rules!

With validation rules, Salesforce admins can specify which values make the cut and get saved and which ones are rejected.

Going back to the postal code example, as an Admin you can specify that a postal code must be either 5 numbers or 5 plus 4 numbers if the country is USA. When your user tries to put in a 10 digit phone number in the postal field they will receive an error message that tells them it can only be in the 5 digit or zip plus 4 format.

Pretty cool huh? Here are some other common validation rules that many admins use:

  • Opportunity Close Date Must be Current Month
  • Opportunity Name Format
  • Mailing Address is required
  • Account Number must be a specific size
  • US Phone has 10 digits

Salesforce has put together this handy little cheat sheet filled with hundreds of useful validation rules.

http://login.salesforce.com/help/doc/en/fields_useful_field_validation_formulas.htm

 

There are a lot of powerful things you can do with validation rules to make sure your data stays squeaky clean.


What do I do when…

Sure you’ve read the Salesforce.com help docs, you’ve even tried calling Salesforce support but, for the life of you, Salesforce still won’t do what you want it to do. Don’t fret it happens to the best of us.

Of course, you can search the posts here on CRMology but chance are you have a real specific question. What do you do then? Take it to the cloud! That’s right–to the cloud.

There is a whole community of Salesforce experts answering your most pressing salesforce questions. Go to http://success.salesforce.com/answers and ask away. As someone who personally answers a lot of questions in the community here are some helpful tips to remember before you post:

1. Do several detailed searches first before you post. Chances are good someone else has already asked a similar question. Within minutes you can have the answer you were looking for–or at least enough information to start heading in the right direction.

2.  Give your question a detailed, meaningful title. Avoid generic ones like “New to Salesforce” or “Sending Emails”.

3. Take some time explaining your situation in a clear and concise way. Too often I’ve seen people leave important information out or ask too confusing of a question because they were in a hurry. This can lead to a lot of back and forth clarifying emails.

4. Include screenshots. This can greatly help with solving your problem. If you have sensitive information just black it out using basic image editing tools.

It couldn’t be easier to get your salesforce questions answered! When you get the right answer be sure to mark it as the best answer so others can learn from your experiences. And when you become a salesforce guru yourself be sure to pay it forward and start answering questions.