The Ultimate Low-code Tools for Salesforce Admins
As a developer, have you always sought ways to implement a requirement without using code? Or maybe someone starting a career in the Salesforce ecosystem and looking for somewhere to start with? Well then, this article is for you!
Ever since Salesforce started, there have been a few tools that administrators can configure with the help of developers. But as business needs rise and new technologies are introduced, more low-code tools are developed to promote adaptability, productivity, and usability and attract non-technical users.
Why use Low-Code Tools?
During our Salesforce Development training, we had always been taught to consider low-code tools before we resort to any form of “customization” - using code to address a business requirement. If you are a developer reading this, you would ask why you even need to if you can build everything using code, right? It is tempting, but the saying goes, “Just because you can, does not mean you should.”
- A few points on why low-code tools need to be considered:
- Code requires specialization in knowing how to apply best practices to maintain high-quality code, which ensures the maintenance effort will not be more challenging in the long run
- Low-code tools are faster and cheaper to build
- Low-code tools generally require less maintenance
- Low-code tools automatically receive upgrades when they are improved
- Enables users who aren’t code-savvy to become empowered in implementing business logic without the need of a developer
- Salesforce fully supports these tools by rolling out new features and updates every release
Lightning Flow is a much more powerful and capable feature than Workflow Rules and Process Builder. Since its roll-out, it has become the foundation of workflow automation in Salesforce.
Note: Workflow Rules and Process Builder are no longer included in this article as those will be retired soon in favor of Lightning Flows.
- A few capabilities only Flows can do are the following, which some are features Workflow Rule, Process Builder, and Apex Triggers are only able to do before:
- Create sub-flow elements to granularize processes and launch these sub-flows from a record-triggered flow
- Customize screen flows with multi-column layouts, record fields, etc., and faster set-up of these screen flows
- Access external systems via flow paths that run asynchronously using record-trigger flow
- Send outbound messages using Flow instead of Workflow Rule
Check out this article for more details on Lightning Flows, its features, and what you can do with them.
Lightning App Builder
Have you been a Salesforce user during the Classic era or a new user who only knows how to navigate in Lightning Experience? Do not fret! We all used page layouts and record types to control what users see on a record page. But since the roll-out of Lightning Experience in Summer ‘15, more development and improvements have been made. Now we have Lightning App Builder, which adds to our expanding admin toolkit to improve user experience and deliver results much more efficiently.
What exactly is Lightning App Builder? It’s a nifty drag-and-drop tool that enables you to design engaging apps quickly and provides multiple ways to create personalized pages for your users. Best part? It doesn’t require you to do or know any code!
- Still using the default pages? Consider using App Builder to create and customize the following for both Lightning Experience and Salesforce mobile app:
- App Page - Create a One-Page application
- Home Page - Customizes Lightning Experience Home Page
- Record Page - Customizes the default view users can see on top of page layouts
So, is that all Lightning App Builder has to offer? Of course not! Salesforce has added a new feature to Lightning App Builder I’m sure you will love. Introducing the “Dynamic” features: Dynamic Form, Dynamic Actions, and Dynamic Interactions!
Dynamic Form is an intuitive, user-centric page layout that gives the ability to configure record detail fields and sections inside the Lightning App Builder. Before Dynamic Forms, we had to create different page layouts (“Detail” section in Lightning Pages) to display fields that may be unnecessary for all users or not be shown all the time. This results in multiple profiles and page layouts which are expensive and labor-intensive to maintain.
- With Dynamic Form, you will be able to do the following:
- Add fields anywhere on the layout without worrying about them being added to the “classic” page layout
- Improve page load times. A page analysis tool is available at your disposal to analyze how much time the page takes to load and lists down which components take the longest to load. Click ”Analyze” at the top-right to show the page analysis at the bottom-right, which displays page performance per device type.
- Use visibility rules to display fields based on criteria you have set conditionally.
Dynamic Form is one convenient feature; however, it is currently only available for custom objects. At the time of writing, it is being developed by Salesforce under this idea, so stay tuned to upcoming releases!
Dynamic Actions enables you to create responsive and intuitive pages that only display actions to users based on the criteria you specify. The visibility of actions can be configured inside Lightning App Builder, reducing time and effort. Your users will also be presented with a simple list of relevant actions based on their role, profile, or specific criteria.
A new joiner in Salesforce’s “Dynamic” features - Dynamic Interactions. Released in Winter ‘22, Dynamic Interactions enables that perfect opportunity to collaborate with developers to build custom, reusable components that can be used to create apps that update based on user interactions in real-time!
How does Dynamic Interaction even work? Let’s say you have two components in App Builder. Back then, it was not easy to make them communicate with each other. With Dynamic Interactions, those two components can be made to talk to each other just by pointing and clicking. Developers only have to expose an event in the component, and admins can do the rest of making that component talk to another component.
Did your organization just recently roll-out Salesforce to its users? Or do you like to introduce new features and how to use them to your users? Or maybe you want to guide new onboarded users in what the org’s salesforce app has in store for them? Then, you might find In-App Guidance is what you are just looking for!
In-App Guidance is a tool that supports user adoption and training. Admins can use the wizard to set up walk-throughs and prompts with helpful messages displayed in specific areas of the page at the right time.
- You can choose to do the following while you are configuring in-app guidance:
- Add a URL in the last step of the prompt if it is a walkthrough prompt, or add a button that opens a URL if it is a docked prompt
- When to show the prompts. Specify the dates until which these prompts will be shown to the users and how frequent the prompts will be displayed
- Who is the target audience of this prompt? You can specify a profile to which these prompts will be displayed. You can also select a custom permission so the prompt will only be shown to users assigned to that custom permission
I thought we were talking about Salesforce here, but why is a scientist suddenly mentioned here? Well, you are partly right and wrong. Everybody knows that saying “Einstein” is synonymous with being intelligent. And yes, the name is derived from Albert Einstein, the famous scientist who came up with the theory of relativity.
Salesforce introduced Salesforce Einstein on Sept 19, 2016, embedding artificial intelligence into the Salesforce Platform, enabling companies to deliver more personalized and predictive customer experiences across every Salesforce Cloud. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can leverage all data in Salesforce, such as customer data, activities, emails, calendars, etc. Einstein then improves content relevancy and insights, predicts future behaviors, proactively recommends the best next actions, and automates tasks.
You can use many features powered by Salesforce Einstein to help your users fully leverage Salesforce and its rich data. Also, note that some of these features are free, and some are paid.
Einstein Next Best Actions
Einstein Next Best Actions is a free feature that displays the best recommendations for your users in their daily tasks. It uses data from Salesforce, AI predictions, and external sources to develop recommendations that users can accept or decline. Users are then guided through a guided workflow if they accept a recommendation. Starting Winter ‘22 release, Next Best Action creation can now be done in Flow Builder, utilizing the existing Flow capabilities such as advanced debugging, versioning, and templates.
Einstein Search is another free feature that improves the traditional Salesforce Global Search by displaying personalized and actionable results relevant to each user.
Einstein uses natural language search. With this, users can search using phrases like “My contacts in Philippines”.
- Users can also take advantage of the following with Einstein Search:
- Suggested lists and searches
- Recent items
Einstein Opportunity Scoring
Salesforce Einstein Opportunity Scoring uses data science and machine learning to score an Opportunity between 1 and 99 to indicate whether the Opportunity will likely end up as a “Closed Won”. Try having an AI guide your Sales Teams and enable them to prioritize “sure wins” or intervene and escalate an at-risk pipeline. Using Opportunity Scoring provides faster, more accurate information than traditional rule-based scoring approaches. Imagine all of these for free!
Einstein Lead Scoring
Salesforce Einstein Lead Scoring is a paid feature available with Sales Cloud Einstein. This nifty feature is similar to Opportunity Scoring, where it scores a Lead between 1 and 99 to indicate whether the Lead is likely to convert based on conversation patterns. It is instrumental in guiding Sales Teams which Leads to prioritize and other factors that contribute to the score. For more information regarding this feature, you can visit this link.
How to choose which tool to use?
Your decision will depend on the problems you are trying to solve and the resources available to solve them. Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule for choosing which tool to use. However, as a rule-of-thumb, consider the following when selecting the proper tool:
- How difficult will extending the tool for another similar business requirement be?
- How complex and expensive will it be to maintain?
- Will it be cheaper and faster to build the requirement there rather than write it in code or use another tool?
- How easy will it be to troubleshoot if there are errors?
However, no matter how powerful low-code tools are nowadays, some applications cannot be built with low-code tools alone.
- Programmatic tools are often needed for features that:
- Connect or integrate with third-party systems
- Implements complex business processes
- Provides highly customized user interfaces
Take some time to know what each tool is capable of to assess if a requirement can be delivered with a low-code tool or needs code to implement. Then, in no time, you will be that Awesome Admin who builds business logic with low-code tools like it's just ABC!