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#DF15: 2015 Admin Keynote Highlights


This year’s Dreamforce has seen the announcement of many remarkable new features such as Lightning Experience, IoT built on Thunder, and a great deal more. But one of the most exciting keynotes to look forward to this year, in this author’s opinion, is the new Admin keynote. It’s in this session that admins get recognition for the amazing work they do building solutions and solving problems for their companies. It’s also where we find out what, as configurators are the cool nuggets that are going to make our lives easier, and help us look like heroes to our customers.

2015’s Admin Keynote started off with a high-energy cheer show by CHEER San Francisco, full of great acrobatics, death-defying stunts, and excitement. OK, maybe not death-defying. But the energy was definitely there.

Salesforce Co-Founder Parker Harris opened up discussing the Customer Success Platform. Parker described that there are currently 1.7 million community members submitting millions of ideas to his product team. He also highlighted Steve Molis for answering over 40,000 user questions on the community. With that recognition he also awarded him the lightning bolt that we saw during the opening keynote with Marc Benioff.

Following Parker was Sarah Franklin, VP, Admin Marketing for Salesforce. Sarah recognized admins with incredible stories and backgrounds that have become successful Salesforce admins in their organizations starting with almost zero technical skills. Sarah welcomed to the stage Krystal Carter, VP, Legal Management Consulting Duff & Phelps.

Krystal’s story started as an office administrator. She has since spent the past 15 years working with several different customers using Salesforce, and now has moved into a position of leadership at Duff & Phelps. Krystal described the key skills of a Salesforce Admin include solving problems, but more importantly the ability to listen. She described the ability to listen as key to understanding your user’s needs and goals. Additionally, she describes that a strong leader is also a strong mentor, sharing their knowledge with others.

To demo Lightning Experience was Shawna Wolverton, VP, Product Management at Salesforce. The demo began with how to setup Lightning. She describes that the path for customers considering Lightning Experience are:

  • Trailhead for learning about Lightning Experience
  • Setup toggles to easily enable it
  • Permissions to roll-out Lightning Experience to specific users instead of the entire organization

The highlight of the new setup in Lightning Experience is the new Object Manager. All objects in one place with an intelligent search. A new feature on Object Manager includes Quick Create. This new feature allows admins to quickly create the things they do most often, such as users, email templates, objects, etc.

Page customization in Lightning Experience launches a new page builder. The new builder allows admins to easily move components around a page without code. Custom Components can be downloaded from the AppExchange or built. No additional work needs to happen to make pages compatible and responsive on iPhone, iPad, or Android. On the AppExchange for Components more than 50 partners have contributed to the exchange. One additional new feature discussed was that customization for objects now allow for up to 25 roll-up summary fields.

A new feature on the home page allow users to update their own goals. The assistant give users a list of what is most important, including what they next actions are. The Home Page can be customized similar to object pages. To admins, this means being able to drag and drop components onto the home page just like you would with the object pages.

On the roadmap for Spring ‘16+ may see some of the following:

  • Service, Platform coming on line including:
  • App Builder Customization
  • Person Accounts
  • Account Teams
  • Opportunity Teams
  • Campaigns
  • Product Selector
  • Advanced Charts

Next on stage was well-known Salesforce personality, Mike Gerholdt, Admin Evangelist. Mike described his journey as a beginner admin nine years ago to his role now as Admin Evangelist at Salesforce. He discussed Salesforce’s recommendation to admins approaching rolling out Lightning Experience to be thoroughly planned and a well-thought-out process. He said that the path can be broken down into three core strategies:

  1. ​Learn
  2. Get Hands-On
  3. Engage

To begin learning, Mike recommended admins begin with Trailhead. Salesforce has prepared several new Lightning Trails and Badges on Trailhead for admins and users alike. He pointed out that to date admins have already earned over 50,000 Lightning badges since the new content went live. Additionally the new Lightning Design System for building pixel perfect apps comes with Sample Code to help admins and developers to have a starting point when creating new apps.

Lastly, as part of the Engage strategy to roll out Lightning Experience, Mike recommends implementing a strategy to engage users. For example, he suggested creating a Chatter group and collecting feedback – but not to stop there. Admins should engage with their users and take the time to talk to them directly and discuss what there pains and frustrations are.

The admin keynote definitely succeeded in getting the room excited over what’s to come with Salesforce. The suggestions were absolutely spot on. One of the main takeaways from this keynote was that the resources are out there for anyone interested in becoming an admin. The support from the community around Salesforce is outstanding and making it possible for anyone to be a successful admin.

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David Schild

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