Wed, 31 March 2021
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we kick off Automation April by talking to Sam Reynard, Senior Manager of Product Management on the Flow team at Salesforce. We go over improvements coming to Flow and why it should be your one-stop shop for automations.
Join us as we talk about why you should pay attention to Flow, the improvements coming in new releases, and why it’s so important to start from a place of empathy for your users.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Sam Reynard.
Where Flow Builder is going.
Sam is a member of the Flow product management team—focused mainly on Screen Flows—so she’s the perfect person to have on the pod to kick off Automation month. We’ll be highlighting tools that are available to you and helping you make decisions about what automations to build in order to take advantage of this exciting new area of innovation. There’s a lot coming down the pipeline with Flow and we wanted to talk to Sam to find out what’s especially exciting and helpful.
The main goal is to make Flow Builder as easy to use as building a Workflow Rule or working in Process Builder. One thing that’s being released is support for rich layouts in Flow Screens, giving you the ability to create a section of your screen you can divvy up into multiple columns without touching any code using the section component. We’re also adding the ability to send rich text emails from Flows opening some great new possibilities.
More improvements to Flow coming down the pipeline.
“Today, if you as an admin are trying to create automation, there are so many options,” Sam says, “you can create a Workflow Rule, you can create an approval process, you can create a Flow or something in Process builder.” On the automation team, we’ve been questioning why there isn’t just one tool to give you everything you need without having to decide which tool is best for the job.
Another thing Sam and her team are working on is choices. If you need a simple choice that says yes or no, you shouldn’t need to click six or seven times to create it. There are a lot more little changes coming to make choices simpler and faster and make everyone’s lives easier, so be sure to listen to the full pod for more details, including what it’s like to have Mike in a focus group.
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Thu, 25 March 2021
March Monthly Retro with Gillian and Mike
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got the monthly retro. In this episode, we go over all the great blog posts, videos, and all the other Salesforce content from March.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation between Mike and Gillian.
Blog highlights from March.
Mike points to Brian Owens’ post about what to do after you get your certification. How do you prep for a Salesforce admin job interview? What should your LinkedIn profile look like? For Gillian, LeeAnne’s post about integration is something you simply shouldn’t miss.
Podcast highlights from March.
If you can’t tell, March has been integrations month, and Gillian wants to highlight a conversion she had with Zayne Turner and LeeAnne Rimel about how admins should think about integrations. Mike highlights another episode we did we LeeAnne about how to think through everything that’s changed as we move to a more virtual world.
Video highlights from March.
“I love when admins think through, visually, how you can call something out in the user interface,” Mike says. For him, a great video for this month was Marc’s walkthrough of how to incorporate emoji flags into your Salesforce org to make it more accessible and easier to understand at a glance. For Gillian, LeeAnne and Ashley Simmons going over MuleSoft Composer is something you simply can’t miss, and don’t miss the No Silly Questions episode about disabling person accounts.
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Full Show Transcript
Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or the March monthly retro for 2021. I'm your host, Jillian Bruce and in this episode we will review the top product, community and careers content for March. And to help me do that, I'm joined by the one and only Mike Gerholdt.
Mike Gerholdt: Hey, Gillian, we have literally a pot of gold at the end of this podcast because we are going to play a fun quiz show. Fun, that's the pot of gold.
Gillian Bruce: Well, I'm excited. I mean, I love fun.
Mike Gerholdt: And I would do that in an Irish accent, except it wouldn't sound that way, it just comes off as a rejected pirate try out for some, Johnny Depp movie.
Gillian Bruce: Now, I definitely am going to make you give me your Irish accent at some point.
Mike Gerholdt: No. Because it sounds like a pirate, just it's... I got a peg leg. Nothing.
Gillian Bruce: All right, Mike. Well, let's start with our content. Let's start with some blogs, what's a blog you'd love to highlight for the month of March?
Mike Gerholdt: Well, I am a big fan of Salesforce certification for admins, I've always been super empowered by my certification. I remember in October of 2008, when I first got mine. And so I loved reading the, you've earned your Salesforce administrator certification now what? And this sneaks in the window of being a March blog post, because it was published on March one by, Brian Owens. And I think it's just a good reminder of all the things you should do before you get a Salesforce admin job interview. Updating your LinkedIn profile, how to prepare for your interview and what to do before you accept the offer. And all of that is just money in the bank to me and makes me think back to those super fun days when I first got my certification.
Gillian Bruce: I think it's a really great post too because, we often get questions from the community of, cool I got certified, now how do I get a job? And I think that Brian's post hope it answers a lot of those questions and give some good structure and guidance around that process, so good highlight. Well, the post I would like to highlight for March, is all about integration. So March was a month of integrations, in case you couldn't tell, there was a lot of integration theme content across all of our channels. And this was a post by, Leanne who led the charge and it talks about, "Hey admins, how should you think about integrations? Why are they important to you? How might you approach them?" It's a great overview about all of the different types of integrations that we as admins should think about in the Salesforce universe and it's a good introduction to all of the different integration content we've got for the month, which I will be speaking more about in the next few sections.
Mike Gerholdt: This could quickly turn into the best of Leanne's content podcasts because, moving on I loved reading all of the integration stuff that we did this month. And I love thinking through, to me it's adding holiday lights when you can string them together, that's integrations when like, "How do I add more and make more things light up and make it all run off one timer?
Gillian Bruce: And make coordinate it with music.
Mike Gerholdt: Seriously, the people that do that are next level. You watch those YouTube videos, man, I'd love to be able to have that patience. I don't, I get through one string and I'm like, "Yeah, everything looks good, let's be done."
Gillian Bruce: If I have to do anything other than a couple pieces of electrical tape, no, no, that's it. The complexity that we're doing here, that's it.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, pretty much, pretty much. But we had some podcasts in March for an awkward segue that no one was expecting. Jillian, what was your favorite podcast in March?
Gillian Bruce: No, I thought that was a fine segue there, Mike.
Mike Gerholdt: My God but okay, go a head.
Gillian Bruce: Well, surprise, surprise, the podcast I would like to highlight from March is also about integrations. And this was a really fun conversation I got to have with, [Zane] Turner who leads our architect relations team and of course, Leanne [Rimal] who is part of almost all of our content this month. Again, talking about how admins should think about integrations and some of architect minded strategies that would help any admin no matter how complex or not complex your Salesforce implementation is. So it was really fun, it's also just super cool to be able to chat with two super technologically, skilled females on a tech podcast. I nerd out about that and it was really fun and they're two of my favorite people anyway, to work with. So it was a good conversation I highly recommend you check it out, we get into some really good meaty topics and help stretch your idea of what an integration is. So check it out.
Mike Gerholdt: I love those and I also preface by thinking, when you see Leann, do those really slick demos or when we have walk throughs of stuff. On the back end of that, we've thought through like, are we showing good architecture? Because, that's the unseen how quick when we demo something that we show and that's why I love listening to this one, is thinking through how architects think. Because all of that is the stuff we don't show.
Gillian Bruce: It's all the behind the scenes pre-planning so that when you see this finished product that makes sense, looks beautiful it's all put together, it flows well but those are all decisions that we made way before even getting to that first demo. So it's a very good set of strategies and skills for all admins to think about.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, in true, can't shake a stick and not hit some Leanne content this month. I chose the podcast that we did with, Leanne on learning in a virtual world for two reasons. One, it was great to have all of us back on one podcast again, just chatting. It takes me back to a few years of, I remember sitting at Salesforce offices on the second floor of that... Well, it was the second floor of the third floor of Rincon, which sounds super confusing to everybody listening. But it was this hot little loft and off in the corner and be like, "Okay, Leanne, let's sit down and record a podcast really quick." And it had 10 minutes in and it's like a sauna, cause it's so hot in there.
Gillian Bruce: Hey, we were talking about hot topics.
Mike Gerholdt: Nothing to do with this podcast, so this is just reminiscing. But it was good to think through, we've been working differently for a year now and to have a fresh perspective from, Leanne on working through this pandemic and then coming back and having observed and really taking that mental bandwidth with you. And thinking through, how are your colleagues going through this? What are you doing? How are you taking care of yourself? There's just a ton in this and it was just a good refresher pod that wasn't some of our usual content.
Gillian Bruce: Agreed. Not directly talking about how you structure Salesforce, but definitely talking about how you can better structure maybe some of your work habits. And yeah, I mean, working together and collaborating in this virtual world has actually been quite a fun transformation in a lot of ways, so it was interesting to talk about that. So we also had some videos in March, Mike.
Mike Gerholdt: I mean, we're a video machine. I feel every time I go to YouTube, I see you and I see, Leanne
Gillian Bruce: We're like the admin cable channel or something, it's just always something new coming out.
Mike Gerholdt: I feel it's more akin to early years of discovery, because it's these two expert corner and no silly questions.
Gillian Bruce: And we've got how I solve this too, which I believe is one of the ones you wanted to talk about, right?
Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely, I thought this one was great. So I love when admins think through visually how you can call something out in the user interface. And so, Mark did a great, how I solve this with emoji flags video and to me, you'd love to sit and think your users pine and read through every detail of all of the record and comb through all the activity history. And really sometimes they just run a list view and want to see the status and they spend a glancing look at it to figure out who they should call next. And I thought this video was really good at that and ultimately, it comes down to how do you help your users consume information visually faster and have a little bit of fun with emoji flags.
Gillian Bruce: I mean, who doesn't like emoji? I have yet to find. I mean, well, honestly, Damon, my partner does not like emoji at all. He refuses to retweet anything that has emoji in it or text any emojis, this is the one riff we have in our relationship. But other than him, I haven't found anyone that doesn't like emoji.
Mike Gerholdt: I'm often feel like sometimes I'm constrained, there's not enough emoji.
Gillian Bruce: Well, that's what we have now, Bitmoji and Animoji. I think we need to continue to build out our emoji languages since this is a secret goal of mine.
Mike Gerholdt: There's been times when I'm like-
Gillian Bruce: We have Trailmoji.
Mike Gerholdt: I know, yes. But I still need more flags. That flag portion that could be expanded, there could be more flags.
Gillian Bruce: Agreed.
Mike Gerholdt: What about a state flag, why don't we have those? Not that I own flag, is all that awesome let's be honest.
Gillian Bruce: There's actually a really total side note for those of you looking to nerd out on flag design, there's a great podcast that I recommend from 99% Invisible about actually flag design and they do a very interesting story about, I think it's Aruba and how their flag has drastically changed.
Mike Gerholdt: Really?
Gillian Bruce: And there's a whole international debate, it's fascinating. Anyway, I'll find out the exact episode, we'll put it in the show notes but-
Mike Gerholdt: Is it called fun with flags?
Gillian Bruce: And no, that would be great. But I don't think that's the title of it, that's what I would've called it. But I'm not cool enough to host 99% Invisible.
Mike Gerholdt: No, no, but vexillology is that how you say it? V-E-X-I-L-L-O-L-O-G-Y. Vexillology, it's the study of history and symbolism of flags.
Gillian Bruce: And there you go. See, learn something new, I would say.
Mike Gerholdt: Fun with flags.
Gillian Bruce: Fun with flags. Okay, but we also had other videos, so we're going to have fun with those videos too. I had two that I really wanted to highlight this month and they're two very different ones, so don't worry. One was the launching of this amazing new expert corner series that, Leanne is hosting. Again, Leanne is amazing, she created a ton of content this month and this again is focused on integrations. This is with our MuleSoft Composer, Product Manager, Ashley Simmons. This is amazing, this is the behind the scenes, one-on-one chat, you get with a PM at a Dreamforce or a TrailheaDX but you can just click play on the internet and you can watch it. It's really, really great in-depth, super nerdy discussion about MuleSoft Composer and the nitty gritty of how you use it, what admin should do with it.
Mike Gerholdt: No, that's awesome. First of all, thank you, Jonathan, for your service. I saw on Twitter his jubilation, I will call it over getting his question answered. That is a good and easy way to bubble your question at the top, let me tell you, because that was a fun, fun video to watch.
Gillian Bruce: And it's always great, excuse for me to, prod the product managers and being like, "Why does this work this way?" So if you've got a product question-
Mike Gerholdt: Why does person accounts have to be a permanent thing?
Gillian Bruce: Why is this so complicated? And then we get them on video and force them to answer. So please keep sending me your questions.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes, please do. So we promise you a pot of gold at the end of the podcast and we are there. I thought it would be fun in the vein of, we've had some sort of theme every month. So for March, we're going to do Mike's March madness quiz show. So, Gillian I have thought of three questions, they're all multiple choice for you, around things that happened in March that are in my mind, just kind of complete madness. And that's why-
Gillian Bruce: I like it.
Mike Gerholdt: That's I've called it. And if you get all three rights, I haven't determined what the prize is. I could do a-
Gillian Bruce: I thought I'll get a pot of gold, isn't that how that works?
Mike Gerholdt: You're sure, yeah. Pot and gold to be determined.
Gillian Bruce: Fair, fair. I mean, everybody I love it.
Mike Gerholdt: So this is fun, fun. A fun, fun, Mark's March madness quiz show. So, Jillian, March is a great month for basketball but not so much for employee productivity. According to USA today, unproductive workers cost their employers blank amount in 2019, and this was paid to employees, spending company time on bedding pool priorities. So blank amount in 2019, was that a, $90 million, b, $1 billion or c, $4 billion.
Gillian Bruce: Men, I mean, I know that March madness is the number one sports betting, fun bracket time of all. Before billion sounds a lot. So I'm going to pick the middle option, I'm going to say 1 billion, b.
Mike Gerholdt: You'll be incorrect. Is actually c, $4 billion. March madness costs employers in 2019, so obviously with pandemic in 2020, I couldn't find an article about that, but I was blown away too. So 4 billion.
Gillian Bruce: Okay, well there you go.
Mike Gerholdt: Madness. Our second madness question. The quote, luck of the Irish is celebrated on March 17th, which was not too long ago, if you listen to this podcast also known as St. Patrick's Day. But what other holidays are also celebrated in March? Is it a, National Fanny Pack Day?
Gillian Bruce: God, I hope that's true.
Mike Gerholdt: B, What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day?
Gillian Bruce: My God.
Mike Gerholdt: Or c, National Earmuff Day?
Gillian Bruce: These are fantastic, I didn't know any of these existed.
Mike Gerholdt: I put a lot of work into this quiz, I'm very proud of myself.
Gillian Bruce: I'm also not very distracted thinking about what would happen if my dog, Rex had opposable thumbs. I literally like the F... When I first got him as a puppy, I remember my dog walker sending me a photo of a destroyed kitchen with flour and chocolate and everything all over the place and her text message was, "Rex, tried to bake you a cake without thumbs." So I'm partial on the fanny packs, I think I'm going to go with a, I'm really hoping that's true. Because then I have an excuse to wear a fanny pack.
Mike Gerholdt: Actually. Ding, ding, ding, all of them are true. So March 3rd is, What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day, March-
Gillian Bruce: Who came up with that?
Mike Gerholdt: It's madness, I don't know. March 9th is International Fanny Pack Day.
Gillian Bruce: I missed it.
Mike Gerholdt: So that's come and gone and National Earmuff day, we just missed it, Nash is March 13th. The choices were actually so funny, I couldn't think of funnier ones and I was like, "I'm just going to make it all of them." This is all of them. Upcoming, March 21st is Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, so if you have an absolutely incredible kid-
Gillian Bruce: I mean, my kids are okay.
Mike Gerholdt: March 23rd is World Meteorological Day and March 31st is World Backup day.
Gillian Bruce: Backup?
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah.
Gillian Bruce: Backing up your data?
Mike Gerholdt: I Don't know, I just thought. This is also why I didn't choose those.
Gillian Bruce: You'll be excited about the Meteorological Day, because you love the weather channel?
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, sure.
Gillian Bruce: No, it's fantastic wake. I'm going to have to remember Fanny Pack Day, next year.
Mike Gerholdt: Fanny Pack Day is March 9th. Third question, so you're 50, 50 here for the win. According to research from the UK Office of National Statistics, kids born in March are statistically more likely to grow up to become what? A, a marine biologist, b, an airline pilot or c, a philanthropist?
Gillian Bruce: Well, Dana my partner was born in March and he's none of those. He's also not very common, I wouldn't use him as an example for anyone else.
Mike Gerholdt: Wow. That fun fact, learn during March madness quiz.
Gillian Bruce: What's appropriate, because he does do sports for a living so I should talk about him on podcast. And when I say, do sports, he just talks about that, he's not actually doing a sporting activities. So let's see, God, marine biologist, pilot and philanthropist. Pilot?
Mike Gerholdt: You are correct. Kids born in March according to UK Office of National Statistics are more likely to grow up to become a pilot. I threw marine biologists in there because I was a sign field fan and philanthropist because I felt like it would throw people off.
Gillian Bruce: A pilot, wow. Okay, well, I had-
Mike Gerholdt: So start racking up your frequent flyer miles if your kid was born in March.
Gillian Bruce: There you go. Okay. Well, that was fun, Mike.
Mike Gerholdt: You went two for three, on Mike's March madness quiz show.
Gillian Bruce: I mean, the second one was a give me, so that was good.
Mike Gerholdt: I know but who's going to turn down International Fanny Pack Day?
Gillian Bruce: Definitely not me. Thank you, Mike. That was very fun. I appreciate that.
Mike Gerholdt: Yes. What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day.
Gillian Bruce: That's going to give me nightmares, is what that's going to do.
Mike Gerholdt: Then bake your bread, you never know. Unlike the UK's Office of National Statistics, if you want to learn more about all things we just talked about in today's episode, please go to admin.salesforce.com to find those links and many more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins, we are @SalesforceAdmns. No, I, on Twitter. I am @MikeGerholdt and Gillian, is @GillianKBruce. Don't forget to tweet her non-silly or silly question. There is no such thing as a silly question. And with that, stay safe, stay awesome and stay tuned for our next episode. We'll see you in the cloud.
Tue, 23 March 2021
For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we team up with Josh Birk, host of the Salesforce Developer Podcast. We come together about the difference between admins and devs and how you can get more dev skills in your toolbox.
Join us as we talk about why it’s easier than ever to learn to code, and how you can put those skills into action.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Josh Birk.
Thinking like a dev.
While Flow and code can feel like two different things, the thought process behind it is the same. “The admin roles are very process-driven,” Josh says, “whereas in the developer role, you’re really trying to figure out what is the appropriate functionality and what is the appropriate tool to bring that functionality forward.”
The important thing to realize is that these skills are totally obtainable if they’re of interest, and Josh has tons of examples of people who have started without a computer science background and gone on to great things. But even more importantly, understanding how everything works is important so you can communicate effectively with your developers and create something that works together.
What happens when an admin learns to code?
One other thing that gets people tripped up is the idea of task versus identity. Just because you’re doing an admin or developer task doesn’t mean that it’s your identity—things aren’t always so black and white. Sometimes you need to developer tasks, even if you’re an admin at heart. As Josh puts it, “having the developer role and role understand their strengths and their weaknesses helps each other do their job better.”
There’s also the fact that you need someone to help you troubleshoot when something goes wrong. Failure is an important part of learning, and having someone over your shoulder can be a big help. If you make the transition to being a dev or acquiring dev skills, there are a lot of options out there for where to go next.
There’s a lot more in the pod about how to get code skills and what to do with them once you acquire them, so be sure to listen in!
Mike: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we are diving into a really great discussion with fellow podcaster and host of the Salesforce Developer Podcast, Josh Birk. You may also know him for Trailhead.
Josh Birk: Thanks for having me, Mike.
Mike: So, since we last chatted, somebody started their own podcast.
Josh Birk: Oh really? Who was that?
Mike: Yeah. I don't know.
Gillian Bruce: I know. I know.
Gillian Bruce: Josh, it's you.
Josh Birk: Oh, since we last recorded. Oh my God. That was so long ago.
Mike: Yes, it was.
Josh Birk: Well, that was a whole pandemic and a half ago, at least.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, the way time moves these days, it's like 10 years ago.
Mike: So, you have the Developer Podcast now.
Josh Birk: I have the developer podcast now. We are rounding up towards episode 75. Like y'all, we have gone out weekly since two Dreamforces ago, basically. And, and yeah, no, it's, it's been great. We've got episodes that are, these days lasting somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes, about 30 minutes usually.
Mike: Yeah, no, it's a great podcast. I'm always glad there's more podcasters for our audience to listen to. Well, we're bringing you on. We did a whole bunch of, of course everybody's doing video content these days, and we got some questions in the community and one of them really stood out that I responded to. It was during our release readiness and I know the developer release rain has got this question too, but there's a lot of people out there and they identify as admins, they identify as developers, they identify as architects and so many different identities. And one of them was, "Hey, I'm doing this, but I need some developer content."
Josh Birk: Yeah. Yeah. And it really isn't just a link, I think, would be my answer there. And I'm trying to remember what I actually pointed her to, if it was Trailhead or any of the podcast episodes, do you recall?
Mike: Well, I think it was a combination of both, but your response, because I got you on a hangout because our calendar was free. Your response got me thinking, which was, does she want to learn the skills or she want to learn how to think like a developer?
Josh Birk: Mmm, yes, yes. Yeah. And it's come up on in a lot of different conversations that, for instance, if we start comparing Flow to coding, for instance, and people like to call Flow "low code." But even developers brace at that a little bit, because they're like, "No, Flow is actually more like visual code," and the thought process between putting behind a Flow together versus putting an apex class together is actually really, really similar.
Gillian Bruce: So I think that's interesting, because I think we focus so much on the skills and like you said, Trailhead is very skills focused, but that thinking, that strategy, can you dig into maybe what some of those differences are?
Josh Birk: So, I think the admin roles, they're very process driven. It's very much a getting the right things into the right boxes at the right time for the right people kind of thing. Whereas in the developer role, you're really trying to figure out what's what's the appropriate functionality and what's the appropriate tool to bring that functionality forward.
Gillian Bruce: I think that's interesting Josh, because I know my personality, I would never have the patience to sit there and write a bunch of code and test it and troubleshoot it for hours and hours on end. I just know that that is not something that even appetizes me in the slightest. But there are people that just love that, and it's like tackling a really complex problem and getting in there. And so, I definitely would have a very hard time being a developer, I know that. I could probably learn the stuff, learn the skills, but actually having that kind of mindset and that kind of approach to my work would absolutely not do it for me.
Josh Birk: I want to add though, quickly, I sound like I'm almost diminishing taking time and learning some of the skills and getting a grasp of triggers and things like that. And I think even if you acknowledge that, that adding developer into your role is it's not something for you, getting your eyeballs on it is still very useful. I've had people in workshops admit to me, "I'm not a developer, I'm not a programmer, I'm never going to code the stuff, but I need to know what you're saying so that I can actually talk to my developers."
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I think 100%, that's the difference between understanding versus building it yourself. And I think I've also, very similarly, I think it's so interesting to understand how the LWC works or understanding how to troubleshoot and use [SOCO] and some of those more complex things, but I would not sit there and come up with that stuff on my own. But I think that that is an important distinction there.
Josh Birk: Yeah. I have an anecdote for my workshop days, where somebody came to me and said that to me. They said, "I'm not a developer, but I need to learn some of this because I think my developers are lying to me."
Gillian Bruce: That's hilarious.
Mike: Josh, I think one of the things that seems to come to mind for me is, task versus identity. And just because, to the point of some of the questions we get, an individual doing a developer or an admin task doesn't necessarily mean that that's their identity.
Josh Birk: Yeah. And I feel like we have a lot of like marketing and organizational cruft, which leans to having those very distinct concepts. But then when you wander around the community, that distinction is never as black and white as sometimes we put it in our organization or our training material.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, the admin-eloper a really interesting thing that popped up from the community, which I mean, this is always where these... Everything we get is because of what people are actually doing. And I think it is interesting because understanding the language, understanding the skillset and even understanding the different... A developer approach as an admin, can really add a great deal to your abilities, to either help manage your own Salesforce instance, or even work across different teams and up-level your game there, which I think is a really interesting way to think about it. So, even if you're not going to go down the developer path, understanding enough to be dangerous, kind of thing.
Josh Birk: Yeah, absolutely. And I think we've always said, from either side of the spectrums, having the developer role, an admin role, know their strengths and their weaknesses helps each other do their job. And so I always, and this is the classic example, but I remember being in a business requirements gathering meeting, and they were going through this automation process that was going to have to happen. And I get out of the meeting and I turn to my business partner and I'm like, "That's not that bad. I can put it into a trigger. It'll probably take me a couple of days, but I want to have a couple more days just to be able to test it." And he just looked at me blankly, and this will tell you how old this anecdote is, but he's like, "Or I could just put it in a workflow for you and we're done."
Mike: And it would have been native, no code.
Josh Birk: And it would've been native, no code, which, we get that with Flow these days as well. So, you still get that advantage of not having code, but you have a lot of the flexibility too.
Mike: Is some of that just a symptom of systems not having their own configurable backend, front end, prior to Salesforce?
Josh Birk: Yeah, no, absolutely. That's 100% spot on, because I come from a web development background. And so, my world is client server, client asking polite questions, the server thinking about it ponderously and then giving some kind of response. And if there was any automation at that point, that's an integration layer on the server, that's going and kicking something off or handing things over and things like that.
Gillian Bruce: So Josh, let's go back to our original question about an admin actually wanting to learn how to be a developer. You talked about like the difference in the thinking, the strategy. What are some first steps that someone in that category might do, from your perspective?
Gillian Bruce: I mean, nobody goes to the gym if they don't have an accountability buddy, I totally get that.
Mike: And sometimes they don't go to the gym even if they do.
Josh Birk: Right.
Gillian Bruce: Especially when your accountability buddy isn't very accountable. But one of the things, so, I like taking myself back to when I first started at Salesforce and we were all in four floors in the landmark building. And I worked on the floor with all of our product team. A bunch of developers. And they actually did so much of that, I guess they call it partner programming or whatever, where they both sit at the same desk and are looking at the screens together and actually working together. And I think that's immediately what came to my mind when you were describing that process of having somebody to bounce ideas off of and work with, it's really important when you're getting the developer chops.
Josh Birk: Yeah. I think there's two things that are always true if you're really getting into that role of a developer, identifying as developer. One is that you get into that peer programming, and there's a joke amongst developers that, I'm glad I got you to look over my shoulder because that's the only thing I needed to know to see the bug in my code. Weirdly, just having another human being in your cubicle was the one thing that got you to get to the next point. So, there's always, I think, a social aspect to it, or it's easier if there's a social aspect to it.
Gillian Bruce: Wow, writing code from magazines. That's a stamp in time right there.
Josh Birk: Yeah, I'm not young.
Mike: Those things are punch cards [crosstalk].
Josh Birk: It's just after that, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Mike: I was saving my box tops and putting them in an envelope, self-addressed and waiting the six to eight weeks.
Josh Birk: Yeah, no, that was the generation right before me. That was, one of my old bosses used to say that I couldn't complain to him until I had to carry my punch cards uphill both ways. Because, that's what he says he had to do.
Gillian Bruce: That's hilarious. Well, I mean, the idea that failure is part of learning and it's very important part of learning, I think is something that is, as you say, it's embedded in the developer experience and developer journey. But from an admin perspective, I could understand how that might be a little like, "Wait, what? I'm going to fail? And that's part of the thing? Because my job is to make everything work and to make my users super happy. And that's why I have Sandbox, that's why I test stuff."
Josh Birk: And I do like that there's a shared experience, and this is probably true across anybody working with the solutions that are for a lot of customers or clients. You are doing your job right when the trains are coming in on time. And it's like, then nobody's complaining. It's like that, if everything's running smoothly, then that's when things were actually going green. I think that's definitely true for both admins and developers.
Gillian Bruce: So Josh, let's talk a little bit about what the options are when an admin does transition into the developer realm. Can you talk to me a little bit about what those career path options look like? What kind of roles would a newly minted developer in the Salesforce ecosystem look for, and what are the different options in that space?
Gillian Bruce: That's great. That's great. It's helpful too, to understand what your developer job would actually look like day-to-day. So, when you described, like you're accepting the business requirements and building thing, that is a shift from a day-to-day admin role. So, that's good. I always like understanding, so if I take this job, what am I actually going to be doing every day? It's a good thing to think about.
Josh Birk: Yeah. And there's another thing that's come up recently a lot, which is you have Flow. How do you unit test Flow? How do you keep Flow in check when you're moving it from Sandbox to production? And the correct answer, there's actually Apex unit testing. Having Apex pull the levers that the Flow is going to do and make sure that it does the right thing at the end. And so, there's a good example of, if you've got that domain knowledge between those two things, whether you started from an admin perspective or a developer perspective, your production is probably going to be a lot more stable that way.
Mike: I thought you just told it, it was a good boy and gave it treats when it went to production correctly.
Josh Birk: That's my usual strategy, but Flow and I have a very strange relationship.
Mike: Good boy, Flow.
Gillian Bruce: Josh, you spent many years cultivating that relationship. So, you've earned that.
Josh Birk: I have. There's been a lot of interesting conversations along the way. This is true.
Gillian Bruce: Well, Josh, thank you so much for taking time.
Josh Birk: Yeah, no, it's a delight and I look forward to talking to you two. And I also, just so you get this in audio, I want to thank both of you. Mike, you were instrumental in me thinking that maybe we should actually do a Salesforce Developer Podcast.
Gillian Bruce: Hey, we love having new awesome Salesforce podcasts, and you have just taken it and rocked it. So, thanks for the kudos, but it's all you Josh. So, nice job.
Josh Birk: All right. Well, thanks for having me. And I look forward to talking to you two, in the future.
Gillian Bruce: Well, huge thanks to Josh for taking the time to chat with us today. It's always great to have another fellow podcaster join us on the pod. It's like metapod action. If you want to learn more about all things, Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. You can check out Josh's Developer Podcast at developer.salesforce.com.
Josh Birk: Because Paige was like, "I really want to go get a turtle." And we had forgotten about the salmonella scare which made turtles not pets anymore.
Gillian Bruce: Oh yeah.
Josh Birk: Yeah, so.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, they are huge harbors of nasty salmonella, but the best part about Zippy real quick, is that, tortoises live for 80 plus years. So, my next door neighbor, Bernadette, she's older. She's got to be in her seventies and she's already having to create her retirement plan for Zippy after she passes because no one's going to be around to take care of Zippy. So, she's like, "I've talked to the zoo. The zoo is willing to take him."
Josh Birk: Oh, aw. Aw, Zippy.
Gillian Bruce: So, caution when you, when you invest in animals that live a long time.
Josh Birk: Yes, yes. You might have to consider that they're living well, true.
Mike: I think I read somewhere that there was... One of the oldest tortoises was like 180 some years old.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, some of those Galapagos tortoises.
Mike: I'm fairly certain he doesn't care. Do you think he remembers his first owner?
Josh Birk: I think your one 180 is probably very similar to year 80, which is probably very similar to year 40 for him.
Thu, 18 March 2021
Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Kris Harrison, Director of Product Management at Salesforce for data, integration, and metadata focusing on Enterprise API and External Services. We’ll dive into all those technical topics and more as we dive into APIs and how they affect everything that goes on in your org.
Join us as we talk about why you should be thinking about APIs and how to learn more.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Kris Harrison.
Why APIs are important for admins to understand.
Kris is a Product Manager at Salesforce focused on the Enterprise API Product Suite. “The encompasses the REST, SOAP, and Bulk APIs that provide programmatic access to the core Salesforce data that we know and love and run so many important functions across many different businesses,” he says. That includes the API framework and specific API operations and resources, like the query operation.
While interacting with APIs sometimes feels like it’s out of the scope of your average admin, so much of what goes on happens either implicitly or explicitly through an API request. Even if you’re not writing code, tons of things you’re doing on your org interact with APIs, and it’s important to understand how they work and how they affect your day-to-day. “If you’re interacting with an org, there’s an API that’s part of making that magic happen,” Kris says.
New API changes in Spring ‘21.
For Spring ‘21, Kris’s team has added the FIELDS() function to the SOQL query. This lets you pull back a pre-defined grouping of fields within the results set you can reference. You can return standard fields, custom fields, or even all fields in the resulting data to save on keystrokes and research to make that exploration on data within an org much easier. That means you can stay within the SOQL query and interpret that results without having to toggle back and forth—one of the most requested ideas on the IdeaExchange.
They’ve also created a plan to retire versions 7-20 of the SOAP, REST, and Bulk API. “Every new release we stamp out a new version of the API,” Kris says, “in Spring ‘21, we issued version 51.” So there’s now a plan to retire the oldest versions of the API (version 7 is from Summer ‘06, for example). There’s information in the Release Update tool in Setup on how to think about how to prepare for this change and what steps can be taken to ensure the org and it’s integrations won’t be impacted by the retirement plan. This helps you take advantage of the newest innovations that ship with every major release.
Adding to capabilities to your org.
For admins, we’re always looking for areas of opportunity—ways we can make the environment better and more efficient. While we’re often focused on new declarative features, looking at API improvements can give users and developers access to new innovation.
“As the CLI capabilities are able to evolve and become more feature-rich, they’re plugging into new capabilities that are expressed through the API,” Kris says, “so there’s a win-win there. As you upgrade and make steps to take advantage of the capability that ships with every major release, that’s an opportunity to refresh the state of any older, pre-exisiting integrations with the org, take stock of them, and see if they would benefit from some of those newer capabilities that have been brought to market and question if they’re still needed and providing a viable service for the org.”
Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, LeeAnne is sitting in for Gillian, and the two of us are talking with Kris Harrison, who is the product management director for products at Salesforce within data integration, metadata, and focusing on enterprise API and external services.
Kris Harrison: Thank you so much and I'm grateful to be here.
Mike Gerholdt: Ah, it's exciting to always talk with new product majors and have guest interviewers on the pod. Why don't we get started and tell us a little bit about what you do at Salesforce.
Kris Harrison: Sure. I'm a product manager within our platform services area, and my focus is on our enterprise API product suite that encompasses the REST, the SOAP, the bulk APIs that provide programmatic access to the core Salesforce data that we know and love and run so many important functions across so many different businesses.
LeeAnne: So, Kris, I know that you've been working more and more with admins and you mentioned you've been working with a lot of our customers, and I know that many of our admins, myself when I was an admin, we didn't really always view our role as intersecting with APIs, or that didn't always feel like it was within our scope, but I know it is very much within the scope of the admin.
Kris Harrison: So much of what takes place in interacting with the data on an org happens either implicitly or explicitly through an API request. So it's important to keep tabs on that notion of how interactivity with the org and the form of exchange of data or enablement of functionality takes place.
LeeAnne: So APIs are very much are in the domain of admins, even if they're not necessarily writing scripts or writing code that is calling those APIs. All of the things that admins are doing within Salesforce is interacting in some way with the APIs.
Kris Harrison: I think it's safe to say that if interacting with an org, there's an API that's part of that, making that magic happen.
LeeAnne: Awesome. And I think that that's one of the things we think about a lot for our admin community out there. They do a lot of building and they are often using the declarative tools to build out customizations and to build these experiences. But really the scope of what they're making decisions on or helping make prioritizations on, it extends beyond, well beyond what is being built declaratively.
Mike Gerholdt: Absolutely. So the fields function is the latest enhancement to the SOQL query language that I made mention of. So as owners of query operations on Core, you perform those query operations by writing a SOQL query. And so one of the things that we've done to make interacting with data through SOQL more approachable for admins who are writing those queries through the CLI or any number of places where SOQL comes into play.
LeeAnne: So this means like in a practical application, if I was writing a SOQL query and previously maybe as an admin, I would have been going into the object record and set-up and looking at the fields and pulling the API names. But now that can just happen where I'm writing the queries. Is that what you're saying?
Kris Harrison: That's right. You can stay within the context of writing the SOQL query and interpreting the results without having to toggle back and forth or do a lot of that research.
LeeAnne: And this is something that was very much a major request from the community. I think this was one of the top idea exchange ideas.
Kris Harrison: Within our area of ownership, yes.
LeeAnne: It's awesome, and it just reinforces the importance of everyone who's listening, if you haven't participated in prioritization, like this is, it's so important. We love hearing your ideas. We want you to vote on ideas because often they get delivered and they get that visibility with our product teams.
Kris Harrison: Of course. So in December of 2019, we announced a program to retire versions seven through 20 of the SOAP, REST and bulk API. Every major release, we stamp out a new version of the API. In spring 2021, we issued version 51 of the API.
LeeAnne: So this is something that is very important for our admins, especially admins with older, more established environments to be really cognizant of. Because this is something that could impact their integrations, and it's something that's within their scope to be keeping track of and to ideally include updating the API versions in their prioritization and their project planning. Correct?
Kris Harrison: That's right. At every major release, there's additional API based capability to take advantage of, and that newer capability will only ever be able to be accessed by upgrading integrations to consume that latest version. For example, the fields function that we just talked about in SOQL, you cannot access that function if your query operation is going against an older version of the API.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, to me this sounds like the perfect opportunity to have a discussion with your IT. Like what are we integrated? What had been integrated in Salesforce? I mean, if you're running an API from 2006, do we even need that Legacy system anymore? Are we pulling 14 year old data?
LeeAnne: Well, anything to what Kris was just explaining is even if you have some architecture from, or an integration that was built in like 2011, so you've got five years before, or you've got a period of time before that API version's retired.
Mike Gerholdt: So, what you're saying is I should have switched off FireWire a long time ago to USB-C and stay ahead of the different Apple plugs, because that's what it sounds like.
LeeAnne: Yes, always upgrade the hardware as well. I think this is for admins presents a good opportunity, because I think our admins are often out there thinking about the three, six, nine month plans for their environments and doing both tech debt management prioritization of maybe different business schools. But also a lot of our admins are out there, very often trying to find these areas of opportunity. To make the environment better, to make it more efficient, to solve different problems.
Kris Harrison: Definitely. I mean one really handy tool I made mention of data loader before, but the Salesforce CLI, another great tool to take advantage of and to help managing and extend what's going on with an org.
Mike Gerholdt: Kris, for some of our newer admins who maybe are still listening, because it's interesting and they want to ask their IT. They know they've got an integration. How do they go about verifying what version of the API that integration's on?
Kris Harrison: Yeah. So there are a number of touchpoints and solutions are available through event monitoring, primarily, that report on the calls coming into an org and part of that information includes the version of the endpoint that is being called.
Mike Gerholdt: Cool, and we'll be sure to link that in the show notes.
Kris Harrison: Yes.
LeeAnne: So one thing I'd like to just do a quick plug for. I know we talk about Trailhead of course a lot for admins, but if you're hearing some of this and if elements of it do feel a little intimidating, like the CLI, if you haven't used the CLI before.
Kris Harrison: So definitely review the release notes of every major release that comes out and study the API section to see if there's any capability that is of interest. I wouldn't shy away from considering the API section of the release notes as for developers only.
LeeAnne: So we've got lots of awesome API content for our awesome admins, it sounds like.
Kris Harrison: Absolutely.
Mike Gerholdt: Fabulous. Well, I want to thank you Kris for being on the podcast and enlightening us on APIs. I feel like it's the current in our walls that runs along and never makes sense to me when I plug something in. It pops a fuse, but I do it anyway.
Kris Harrison: There are so many great API metaphors out there. One of the...
Mike Gerholdt: Oh, tell me your favorite. Tell me your favorite, please.
Kris Harrison: I can't take credit for it, and I don't know who is the originator of it, but the metaphor of APIs in the context of going to a restaurant, giving an order to a waiter and having the waiter go to the kitchen to fulfill that request and bring the food or drink back to you.
Mike Gerholdt: I like it.
LeeAnne: I really like that metaphor. I'm not on many podcasts, but when I am, we always seem to end up talking about...
Mike Gerholdt: That's because you're on podcasts with me, LeeAnne. That's all.
LeeAnne: Maybe it's just because we record at lunchtime. I don't know.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, that was great. Thanks Kris.
Kris Harrison: My pleasure.
Mike Gerholdt: Well, it was a great discussion about APIs with LeeAnne and Kris. There's so much that an admin knows and does and interacts with the API. And I love the analogy that Kris gave us of a restaurant server, taking your order and going back to the chef. That's a neat way to think about it.
Thu, 11 March 2021
For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re joined by LeeAnne Rimel, Architect Admin Relations, fellow Evangelist, and host of the Youtube video series “Did You Know” and “Expert Corner” to share some tips for how to learn in a virtual world.
Join us as we talk about distributed work, how to address concerns with working from home, and how to get a better work-life balance.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with LeeAnne Rimel.
Join us in the Expert Corner.
March is Admin Integration Month, and it also marks the launch of Expert Corner, a new video series that gives our community the chance to meet the product managers that build the tools our admins are using. “One of the things that came up as I was thinking about how we bring technical content and technical conversations to admins was those conversations that we often witness or have with product managers when we’re at in-person events,” LeeAnne says.
The video series is a way of bringing that experience to everyone. In short, Expert Corner is a front-row seat to a Dreamforce session for anyone with an internet connection.
Tips for working from home
Working from home for seven years, LeeAnne has developed some habits to help her keep focused. Her first tip is that if you’re in a meeting, always imagine you’re right there in the conference room. Close any extra tabs, turn off notifications, and do everything you’d do if you were in a conference room with your boss’s boss’s boss. The same goes for taking time for yourself: “treat yourself and your own time and mental bandwidth with the same respect you would for your colleagues,” LeeAnne says.
If you’re having trouble getting your manager onboard with a remote working situation, one thing that LeeAnne’s found is helpful is to get specific about their concerns. You can then address those concerns with specific solutions, and sometimes it’s about thinking creatively. Maybe you can address their concern that they won’t know the status of your work with a quick 5-minute status update at the beginning of the day, for example.
Admins lead the way
“Having an entire workforce change the way they’re working with technology—for any reason—presents an opportunity for admins to be leaders on how their company is using technology,” LeeAnne says, “when there is change, often there is a need and a thirst for some direction and some leadership and some pathfinding.” That can be setting the tone for communicating project statuses, or just how things are communicated within your organization.
One thing LeeAnne does to be on top of the ball is consume information from a lot of sources and synthesize it quickly. She takes a lot of notes but aims to cut down 90% of it and find the important takeaways. Finally, LeeAnne recommends taking the time to figure out how to communicate that information in a way that your users will consume it.
LeeAnne has tons of great tips for working from home and work-life balance, so make sure you listen to the full episode.
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Full Show Transcript
Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we are talking with architect admin relations, fellow evangelist, host of many YouTube video series like Did You Know and Expert Corner. I think there's probably five other things I should say about LeeAnne, but LeeAnne Rimel is on the podcast to share with us her expertise in learning in a virtual world, and Gillian, this is just such a fun discussion.
Gillian Bruce: Anytime we get to chat with LeeAnne it's super fun.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. So if you ever want to know what our team meetings are like, this podcast is pretty much it. So with that, let's get LeeAnne on the podcast. So LeeAnne, welcome to the podcast.
LeeAnne Rimel: Thank you so much for having me. I'm glad to be back.
Mike Gerholdt: You have a lot going on.
LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah, it's been a busy month. It's been a busy few weeks around here. Got some really exciting stuff coming for our admin audience that's been rolled out during March because it's admin integration month. So having a really good time at putting together and collaborating on a lot of content to help our admins be awesome integrators.
Gillian Bruce: Oh, you're not just integrating admins?
LeeAnne Rimel: All of our awesome admins are also awesome integrators.
Gillian Bruce: I love it. Well, LeeAnne. So in addition to integration, which we have a few amazing episodes in the month of March focused on integration, talking to some great people in the Salesforce ecosystem about that, there's also a new video series that you launched that I'd love to dig into a little bit and it's called Expert Corner. So can you talk to us a little bit more about what that is and what it's about?
LeeAnne Rimel: Absolutely. So video is a really important medium for us and it's a medium that I really enjoy working with. I've worked with video for a number of years now. I love that as a communication medium when we're talking to our community. So I love exploring different ways to use video, and one of the things that actually came up as I was preparing and thinking about how we bring technical content to admins and technical conversations to admins was those conversations that we often witness or have with product managers when we're at in-person events.
Mike Gerholdt: I feel like it's a front row seat at a Dreamforce session.
LeeAnne Rimel: I love it. That's a much faster way. I should just describe it that way. That's a much faster way.
Gillian Bruce: And what's great about it is that it's not a Dreamforce session, because only so many people can come to a Dreamforce or come to a World Tour. And what this does is it enables anyone who has an internet connection to get that experience, which I think is pretty awesome.
LeeAnne Rimel: And that's really the goal. We appreciate and love our admin community globally, so I think even if we were having in-person events like this week, I think we would still be doing this type of series because I think that this gives our global audience a chance to feel really connected to the product management life cycle because that so deeply impacts all of our implementations that we're working on, the decisions that we're making as admins. So like Mike said, front row seat. I want all of our admins globally to have a front row seat to get to know their product managers, get to know the products that they're building.
Mike Gerholdt: One thing I like about it is in addition to just having that front row seat, it's very consumable. And I know one thing that you focus on and really help the whole team do is understand how we're learning in a virtual world, because when we're at Dreamforce, you can sit there and not necessarily turn your phone off, but leave it in your bag or your pocket and not get pinged with email or Slack notifications. But now that we're all sitting at home trying to figure that out, working and our email is always on, video is always on, I'd love to know your thoughts on how you balance your calendar and demands so that admins can find time to watch videos like what you're producing.
LeeAnne Rimel: And I think that's a really important conversation that a lot of us are facing right now. And I think even before we were all, or many of us were working from home, I think there was a lot of conversations around being inundated with incoming messages and the attention span that... Shortening our attention span, because we'd always get pings. I have a few things that I do that I actually started doing when I began working from home seven years ago, that really helped me focus on and what I was doing at the moment. One of those is even if you're home and you've got three monitors, if you're on a meeting, imagine as if you were in a conference room for that meeting. I try to close all of my other windows I might have open, I turn off notifications on my phone and on my computer, I try to really do the things... Imagine if you were going to be in a conference room with your boss's boss's boss, and you don't want all your stuff pinging, you wouldn't be answering chats at the end of the table, most likely.
Gillian Bruce: LeeAnne, I'm just going to add to that. One thing I always find myself doing, or at least I definitely did during this first part of my working from home very regularly experienced was I would have a video or something playing constantly, because I'm like, "Oh, I can just absorb this while I'm doing this." It was too much. It was like answering the Slack. I was answering this email. I was trying to pay attention to the video, and I wasn't doing anything very well. Nobody wants a multipurpose printer because it... Yes, it can scan, it can fax, it can print, but does it do any of those very well? Usually not.
LeeAnne Rimel: Yeah, give yourself the space... I mean, I wish I could just absorb by osmosis and just... I wish I could just play technical videos while I was sleeping and I would just wake up knowing new programming languages, but that's not how it works. You have to be really focused. And I think to me that's a huge thing. And I think the more that you can put that on your calendar, it works... I'm a huge fan of turning off notifications whenever you can and just communicate about that. I know I communicate to my team back in the day of building demos and stuff. I'd say, "Hey, I'm going to be heads down building a demo for the next 90 minutes. I'll be back." And I think everyone has different work cultures and work team set ups and all of that, but as much as you can set that time aside because 30 minutes well-spent is so much more impactful than 120 minutes of half way reading a Trailhead module or a blog. Like you said, Gillian, we're not multi-purpose printers. Which is not a sentence I thought I would say.
Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, by the way, I have a multi-purpose printer. I thought what you were going to say is, "But does it do all three at the same time? No."
Gillian Bruce: I mean, they have gotten better in the last few years, but in general they're not super efficient at any one of those things. They're trying to do at all.
Mike Gerholdt: Yep. LeeAnne, as I was listening to talk about all of that stuff, one of the things that I think I've had conversations on Twitter about, and I also feel you're really good at managing up and helping other admins talk to their managers or their stakeholders, what happens if you're in an environment where your boss says, "I need to see you online," or, "I need to see this," or, "I need you to be available." How do you have those conversations or what would your advice be?
LeeAnne Rimel: I think a lot of times when people in our professional or personal lives are asking us for something, I think it can behoove us as individuals to spend some time thinking about what is really the ask behind the ask. And sometimes you can just actually come out and ask them what it is. So for example, if I had a manager who really wanted to see me online, and actually I did have that at one point. In my career, when I was starting to work from home sometimes as a sales engineer, there was some trepidation about like, "Well, we need to be able to see you." And I was like, "I really want to be able to work from home one day a week. How can I work together with this manager to mitigate what their fear is here?"
Gillian Bruce: That could be really tough because a lot of it is ingrained culture for some organizations, you know? I think even at Salesforce, as in the last year, I mean our whole workforce has pretty much been remote. I know that there's even specific groups that have struggled more with it than others just because there's some... There's a vibe that comes with specific types of organizations. And I know your idea of what is the real fear of not having a butt in seat methodology.
LeeAnne Rimel: What are they worried about?
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. I've seen several conversations where you get in that discussion and all of a sudden it's like, "Oh, well, I worry about knowing where something's at." And like you said, "Oh, we can actually resolve that by giving updates at this time every day or whatever." It's interesting, because it's... I mean, I'm not going to say that some of it is maybe generational, but there is an evolution of work that is happening right now that I think is really fascinating, and a lot of these digital tools enable us to do that in new ways and help transform and evolve the culture there. One question I think would be interesting to work on is specific to admins. I know there are many admins who've already been able to rock their role not being physically in the office. What are some things maybe in the last year or so that you've seen with Salesforce specifically, or that you've seen evolve or surface in the Salesforce community that enable admins to even take this to a further level and continue to actually be a driver of digital transformation at their organizations?
LeeAnne Rimel: I think that's a great question because I think having an entire workforce or a large bulk of your workforce change the way they're working with technology, for really any reason, presents, I think, an opportunity for admins to be leaders on how their company is using technology. I think that admins are good at change management and we're good at training and we're going to communication. And I think that when there is change, often there is really a need and a thirst for some direction and some leadership and some pathfinding like with product pathfinding and tools and creating what are those processes that help us be successful now. So I think that admins can be very well positioned to really help their companies be really successful during this transition.
Mike Gerholdt: Gillian, I love that term, rock their role. I see a hashtag coming on, and I am going to turn that into another question because I feel, LeeAnne, one of the things that evangelists do and you've helped teach the team to do is really consume a lot of information from many different sources and synthesize it and also make it very relatable. So taking information from videos, or like you said, your chats with PMs and documentation, and then making it very relevant for our admin audience, which coincidentally, I think admins do as well. They take information from us, from your videos, from release notes and synthesize that for their organizations. If you had... And we did a podcast earlier this year with Lizz Hellinga on three things admin should pay attention to. I'd love to know three tips on how admins can help synthesize that information like you do.
LeeAnne Rimel: I take a lot of notes. I know that's probably a very boring tip, but I constantly take notes. Like Gillian and Mike know, I've got endless quips of just notes from calls, notes from presentation. I take a ton of notes and my notes are... So that's my tip one, just really documenting and taking as many notes as I can. Everything that stuck out to me. And then I try to get rid of 90% of the notes. So I really try to trim down. I'll take tons and tons of notes and then I read through my notes again and I think about what is really the important takeaways here. If I'm trying to, like you said, synthesize a large piece of information. And I think centering not yourself is really important in this exercise, really trying to center and think about and have an empathy mindset and think about placing yourself in someone else's position. Who's rocking their role, as Gillian said, and think about, "Okay, if I was managing a complex implementation right now and I had meetings on my calendar for six months planning, what is information that I might need to know?"
Gillian Bruce: I think that's a really good point. I mean, everyone's got different learning styles anyway. I mean, we have people like myself who need to learn by actually going through it and doing it. There's other people who consume much better by hearing something like a podcast. Shout out to you people. And then there's people who love to consume videos or read about it. And I think that's a very, very good point of trying to meet people where they're at, and as admins and especially with these digital tools, we have the ability to do that, which is pretty awesome. I will continue the rock their role. It's making me think of sushi too, for some reason.
LeeAnne Rimel: Okay, now I want sushi too. I feel like there's restaurants that had like a rock and roll...
Gillian Bruce: Exactly. Yeah, the rock and roll is a good go-to.
Mike Gerholdt: I'm just excited that Gillian was first one to bring up food and not me this time right now.
LeeAnne Rimel: Now I'm hungry. Thank you, Gillian.
Gillian Bruce: Sorry.
Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, I want sushis too. Specifically California rolls.
Gillian Bruce: Oh yeah, totally. Totally. All right, I know what I'm ordering tonight. So one of the other things, LeeAnne, I think that's really important and we touched on it a little bit earlier, but maybe you do have three screens and you have the ability to do all of the things all the time and you don't have maybe a barrier of hopping on the train to get to work or hopping in the car. How do you set boundaries and trying to make sure that you're not like burnt out all the time, because I know that's something that I have struggled with on and off in the last year of, "Well, I can just pop open the laptop and do this now, or I'm just at home so I can pop upstairs, have a meal and come right back downstairs and get back in it." As someone who has worked remotely for a very long time, what are some strategies you have around not putting yourself constantly into overdrive or overwhelm?
LeeAnne Rimel: That's a really good question, I think, and this is very much a know thyself thing too, because it's a little bit different for everybody. But I think that the step one I think is to... And I would challenge everyone who's listening to this, sit down, write this out, what are the things that help you decompress or help you forget about work? So for me, that's walking my dog and cooking. Those are two things that I can't be on my phone during. I'm out in the world walking my dog or my hands are dirty because I'm cooking. So those are two things that I get pretty focused on what I'm doing in the moment and I can't work. I physically cannot be working while I'm doing it. So when you identify what are some things that maybe help you get in a flow state that's not a work flow state, and how can you schedule those in your day?
Mike Gerholdt: I was just going to say, I hear your bookend calling.
LeeAnne Rimel: She knows I'm talking about her, but I think that also giving yourself grace where you can. I think a lot of us really want, like I said, the 80% rule. Do the best that you can, but also give yourself grace. If you have the ability to, and you have to ask for an extension on a project or something, think about when are those times that it is okay and that I can try to load balance a little bit. Sometimes I have to do that. I say, "I committed to these five things and I have to drop one of them. I'm going to talk to my manager and see which of those I can de-prioritize for another month just to try to stay at a steady pace," because I can guarantee also, your manager doesn't want you to burn out either. Everyone who's listening here, no one wants to burn their employees out or they shouldn't want to burn their employees out. So I think whenever possible, communicating about it and asking for guidance on prioritizing and stuff too is helpful.
Mike Gerholdt: Well I think that is a fantastic way to bookend the podcast.
LeeAnne Rimel: I see what you did there.
Mike Gerholdt: Every now and then. No, this was really good. LeeAnne, I'm super excited for these Expert Corner videos selfishly. I think they can be bigger than this podcast. So I hope everybody that listens watches it and shares them a few hundred times to everybody that they know.
LeeAnne Rimel: That's a pretty lofty goal, but I'm pretty excited about it. I've been at Salesforce for almost 12 years and I still super nerd out every time I get to talk to our product teams. I love working with our product teams and hearing about roadmap and stuff. So I'm really excited for our admins to get to participate in these Expert Corners and hear from our awesome product experts.
Gillian Bruce: You're going to create a whole slew of... What is it, the Shannon Hale society. They're going to have followers for all of the PMs now.
LeeAnne Rimel: I know. I don't know if the newer PMs really realize what they're getting into. I'm like, "Hey, this is the most awesome community ever, but also you got to get on Twitter. You're about to get a lot of tweets."
Mike Gerholdt: I'm sure there's an app to immediately spin up fan clubs. If not, somebody needs to build that.
LeeAnne Rimel: Perfect. I feel like it's called the Salesforce community, or Salesforce Trailblazer community is our awesome PM fan clubs that we see.
Gillian Bruce: 100%. LeeAnne, thank you so much for taking the time to join us on the pod today and share your wisdom and expertise with us. Very much appreciated.
LeeAnne Rimel: Thank you so much for having me. It's been a joy. I love getting to show up and chat with you all on the pod.
Gillian Bruce: So huge thanks to LeeAnne for taking the time to chat with us. It's just so fun to get the three of us on the line together. Some major takeaways from our chat today. Number one, check out the brand new Expert Corner that has now launched on the admin YouTube channel. It's awesome. These are amazing opportunities to get direct access to our product managers who are building the features that you are using every single day. And if you're missing that Q&A interaction, casual chat that you might get at an event in the before times, this is the chance to get that connection now, and they're awesome, so make sure you check those out.
Direct download: How_to_Learn_in_a_Virtual_World_with_LeeAnne_Rimel.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am PDT
Thu, 4 March 2021
On this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’re talking to a Salesforce dream team of Zayne Turner, Senior Director of Architect Relations, and LeeAnne Rimel, Architect, Admin Relations. We’ll cover integrations and the tools coming down the road to make them even easier.
Join us as we talk about why you’re already doing integrations as an admin, what questions to ask about integrations, and the Trailhead content you should look at to get started.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Zayne Tuner and LeeAnne Rimel.
Admins are integrators.
“Admins are integrators—admins often are responsible for integrations at their organizations, they are often the ones making important decisions about what to do with existing integrations,” LeeAnne says, “so how do we give you the tools to think about integrations in the larger business scope for your company?” If you connect your data in Salesforce to something else, somewhere else, then you’re already dealing with integrations.
Salesforce has been working hard to get better guidance out there to help admins who have to make these kinds of decisions. “One of the biggest things is to really understand what it is you’re integrating,” Zayne says, and while that might be data, “there’s this whole, powerful realm of processes and process integration—when something has to start inside Salesforce and continue outside.” Understanding the two sides of integrations, process and data, is key to making sure you can make a solid plan for whatever it is you need to do.
Salesforce tools to help you get started with integrations.
The important thing to remember is that the habits you’re already honing to be the product owner of your environment are going to relevant for integration management. Questions like what kind of security you should have, or what kind of data access should have apply equally to your org and to integrations.
“Loosely coupled” is a term that’s thrown around a lot when discussing integrations. It’s the idea that data and process moves easily between systems, but they’re not chained or locked together in a way that can’t change. The Mulesoft Anypoint platform, for example, gives you a middle layer that adds some flexibility. At the same time, we live in a world with budget constraints, so if you’re using out-of-the-box tools, you need to go through a process to identify what really needs to be integrated and what might be better served with a simpler solution.
There are also some new Integration Pattern Architect Trailhead trails that can help you get a handle on everything, so take the time to brush up on your knowledge. Listen to the full episode for more about integrations from this expert guest lineup, and don’t be afraid to jump into Mulesoft Composer and get started.
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Full Show Transcript