Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What’s New in Salesforce Wave Summer '15 Plus Release

For those of us that are working with Salesforce Wave, it is an exciting week.  The Summer ‘15 Plus release hits this week – Sandboxes on July 14 and Production on July 15.  As with other Salesforce Clouds, Salesforce Wave follows the normal Spring, Summer and Winter release schedule.  As a an emerging technology, we receive three additional Plus releases for double the innovation and new features.  Here is an overview of what we are getting.


Analytics Playground

If you have tried the Analytics Playground yet, now is a great time to try it out.  You can go through a tutorial and try out Analytics Cloud features.  Best of all, you can even start exploring your own data.  This can be an Excel or CSV file you upload or a Google doc you connect to.  Now, you can even connect to your Salesforce org and select an available report that you have created.  Nothing compares to analyzing your own data in the playground!

Wave Dashboards in Salesforce

The integration between dashboards in Wave and your Salesforce is even tighter.  The ability to add Dashboard to page layouts has gone GA.  On Page Layout using the Enhanced Page Layout Editor, there is an Analytics Cloud Assets section that list available dashboards.  After dragging a dashboard to a section, use Properties to control the Width & Height as well as set Show Title and Hide on Error settings.

Additionally, there is now a <wave:dashboard></wave:dashboard> tag that can be embedded in Visualforce pages.  For example, display a dashboard on the home page with the following,
<wave:dashboard dashboardId="{dashboard id}" height="400px"></wave:dashboard> in a


Quick Actions in Lenses & Dashboards

The tighter integration also extends inside the Analytics Cloud.  From attributes on Lenses & Dashboard there is now access to Quick Actions.  This allows users to initiate actions such as opening records or creating objects in Salesforce, directly from Wave.  Quick actions include:

  • Open Record
  • New Task
  • New Event
  • New Contact
  • New Case
  • New Note
  • New Opportunity
  • Links outside of Salesforce

  • Post to Chatter

    Chatter is also included in the integration party.  From a Wave dashboard, a Chatter post can be created that includes both the dashboard image and a link to the dashboard.  Users can access the image within Chatter to see the dashbaord details and then us the link to dive into the analysis.

    Sales Wave (Pilot) & Service Wave (Limited Pilot)

    As getting started with Analytics can be daunting to many, Salesforce is releasing targeted templates to get you started.  These templates contain the components needed to answer common questions.  The Sales Wave App gets you running in about the time it takes to get a coffee.  After answering a handful of questions presented in a wizard like interface, an Analytics Cloud App is created along with the datasets, data flows, lenses and dashboards to analyze the sales side of your business from any device.

    Sales Wave enables you to review and analyze your Forecasts, Pipelines, Team Coaching and an overall Business Review.  All of the topics are personalized based on the questions you answered.  For example, if you pick Industry as your primary method of Account segmentation, it is an available filter in the dashboard.  Best of all, the data is refreshed daily which lets you keep a pulse on your business.  A similar, but much more limited pilot, is underway to pull in data from the Service Cloud for analysis.

    Limit Changes

    Summer ‘15 Plus included increases that allow additional data loading.  The maximum number of dataflow jobs in a rolling 24 hours has been increases from 10 to 24.  This is a welcome improvement, as both failed and successful jobs count towards the limit.  When working to get a data extract right, I have hit this 10 data load limit before.  Additionally, the maximum number of external data uploads in a rolling 24 hour period has increased from 20 to 50.

    Several new or changes limits also come with Summer ‘15 Plus.  First, there is a maximum amount of external data to load, which is set to 50 GB.  Finally, the maximum length for dataset field names based on a CSV file has been decreased to 40 characters from 255.  This is a important change to take note of, as it can affect your datasets.

    SAQL Enhancements

    For those of us that push the Analytics Cloud to do more by writing SAQL, take note of the Use More Robust Syntax feature.  This release introduces more robust syntax checking to prevent errors when executing SAQL code, which is a nice improvement.  However, the changes may break existing SAQL code, which requires you to review and update your code.  Be sure to check out the release notes for full details of what has changed.  All of the breaking changes are called out.

    • min() and max() functions only take measures as arguments
    • Can't group a grouped stream
    • Can't reference a pre-projection ID in a post-projection order
    • Can't have two consecutive order statements on the same stream
    • Quotations mark rules applied consistently
    • Changes to foreach statement
    • count() function takes grouped source stream as an argument
    • SAQL queries must be compositional
    • Filtering an empty array returns and empty result
    • Explicit stream assignment required
    • Out of order range filter returns false


    What’s Next

    With all the new features in Summer ‘15 Plus, it’s exciting to be working with the Analytics Cloud.  I am excited to see tighter integration with Salesforce.  Now when an analysis finally finds the data in need of attention, you can quickly and easily take action.  What’s your favorite new feature?

    Tuesday, July 7, 2015

    Salesforce Certification Changes


    You may have heard about new Salesforce certifications.  If you are curious about what it coming, I will break down the details.  In summary, new certifications are on the way in the Marketing and Developer areas.  Let’s start with the changes in the Developer area first.

    Current Developer Certifications

    When I first started working with Salesforce, I found the concept of a Developer somewhat confusing.  When working with other technologies, Java, Microsoft.Net, Oracle, etc., a Developer was always someone who programmed by writing code.  While this is true in the Salesforce world, there is also the ability to create something new without programming.  Other platforms do not have the concept of declarative development, so this is unique.  

    Looking across other platforms, Administration universally refers to the process of running a system.  It does not refer to creating something new, as declarative development enables.  So declarative development would not fall under Administration. 

    From the Salesforce perspective, it makes perfect sense to combine both declarative and programmatic development under the Developer umbrella.  Looking at the current certification tracks, becoming a Certified Developer exam covers the declarative aspect of the platform and does not include any programming. This certainly creates confusion for those outside the Salesforce world, and even some within.

    While Advanced Developer does cover the programmatic aspects of the platform, it presents its own challenge.  First, Advanced Developer is not a widely held certification, yet is the only representation of programmatic development skills.  One of the hurdles to certification is the programming exam, which is only offered four times a year for up to 200 participants as the assignment is hand scored by multiple evaluators.  This leads to a significant backlog of candidates and multiple months of wait time. 

    Compounding the problem, Salesforce has not even offered the programming assignment since December 2014. (Yes, I am keeping track as I passed the exam in early December and have been waiting ever since.)  All of these factors creates confusion in the marketplace around what is a Developer and the skills they posses. 

    New Developer Certifications

    With three new certifications, Salesforce is acting to remove all confusion.  First, Salesforce Certified App Builder bridges the gap between an Administrator and a programmer.  It covers designing, building and implementing new custom applications using the declarative aspects of the platform. 

    Next, two programmatic certifications cover basic and advanced levels of programming skills.  Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I is meant to show ability to extend the platform through Apex and Visualforce.  Salesforce Certified Platform Developer II is all about going deep with the programming on the platform, including advanced topics.

    More details on each can be found at on Salesforce’s site.  App Builder and Developer I are currently going through beta testing and should wrap up around July 10.  Unfortunately the beta program is full for these exams.  Certified Platform Developer II will have beta exams starting at the end of July.  It appears invitations are going to those who currently hold Advanced Developer Certification.  Hopefully, we will hear more details on general availability in August or Dreamforce ‘15 at the latest.

    Marking Cloud Certifications

    At the end of last year, Salesforce introduced Pardot Consultant certification.  While Pardot has since been moved under Sales Cloud, it still is all about Business to Business Marketing Automation.  Now Salesforce is expanding certifications to the Marketing Cloud.  Two new certification tracks have been announced within the Marketing Cloud, focused on users that build, manage and analyze either Emails or Social within the Marketing Cloud.  While there are overview details on the certification site, the study guides and recommend online trainings have yet to be announced.

    Future Certifications Predictions (Safe Harbor)

    If I look into my crystal ball, I don’t think this is the end of the new certifications from Salesforce.  Based on my Analytics Cloud Brown Belt Accreditation training in April, there were indications of a future certification in this area.  I would also not be surprised to see a user focused certification within Pardot, just like with the Marketing Cloud. 

    Finally, the Certificated Technical Architect track has similar obstacles as the Advanced Developer.  A low number of certified individuals, long wait times for review boards and from what I have heard relatively low pass rates.  If we apply the changes from Advanced Developer to Platform Developer, a Technical Architect certification path with multiple levels and steps along the way would make sense and resonate with the market.

    Personally, I look forward to putting my skills to the test with these new certifications once they are available and will be sure to share my test taking experiences.