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Salesforce Winter ’17 highlights

20th October 2016

Author Alexander Crossan

Salesforce Winter ’17 release

Three times a year, Salesforce launches new functionality and features in a packaged release. These coincide with the Northern Hemisphere seasons of Summer, Winter, and Spring (June, October, and February). Your Salesforce org will be upgraded to the new Winter ’17 release during October, but you can try some of these features within a Preview Sandbox. Salesforce have released instructions on how to preview Winter ’17.
There’s some really cool features coming in this release, and we wanted to share a handful that we’re looking forward to! Just a quick note before we get started, some of these features are currently only generally available, beta or in pilot.

Lightning Experience:
Lighting Experience, and in particular the user experience of Lightning, is a big focus for the Winter ’17 release. As a big fan of intuitive design and elegant user experience, this was great to see.
That kanban style board we know and love has made its way across opportunities, campaigns, leads and contracts. This allows users to update the status of records effortlessly, and interact intuitively, as they would with other boards. In addition to this, we have the ability to edit records directly from the board.
Continuing with the horizontal theme from the kanban board, the navigation barhas been completely flipped on its side! Instead of the navigation running down the side of Lightning Experience, it now lives across the top of the screen; more in line with Salesforce Classic and a much better user experience.

Lightning Experience navigation – Source: Salesforce Winter ‘17 Release Notes

The new navigation bar is more than just a copy from Salesforce Classic. The bar is contextual and reduces the time to complete an action by providing the ability to view relevant records, create new records, and access other functions relevant to your context.
Other key features:
Relating a Contact to Multiple Accounts Gets Even Better
Identify and Merge Duplicate Leads in Lightning Experience
Reply to and Forward Emails Right from Salesforce
Sync Appointments from Google Calendar™ to Salesforce (Beta)
Simplify Setup of Files Connect for Office 365 with Azure

Sales Cloud:
The focus for Sales Cloud in Winter ’17 predominately involves the Lightning Experience, which has been covered in the section above, however some key features worth mentioning are:
Campaigns: Give Credit for Opportunities to Multiple Campaigns with Customizable Campaign Influence (Generally Available)
Leads: Closing Deals Was Never So Much Fun
Lightning Voice: More New Calling Features
Contacts: Know What You Need to Know About Who You Need to Know

Service Cloud:
Similar to the Lightning Experience, the Winter ’17 release has a big focus on intuitive user experience for Service Console. Quick actions can now be added as components to the Service Console sidebar. This gives users the ability to instantly create records, update fields, search for related information or link to parent records, all within context and without leaving the current tab.
Snap-Ins for Service Cloud give your website the functionality of Service Cloud components. Supplying contextual support to your customers from within your website using tools like chat will be available through this feature. Snap-Ins are currently in Beta for Winter ’17.

Snap-In Service Cloud chat – Source: Salesforce Winter ‘17 Release Notes

There are lots of new features for the Field Service Lightning Toolbox. Work types standardise work orders, service appointments track work, while service resources manage your workforce.
Desktop CTI is on the way out, making way for Open CTI for Lightning. Open CTI helps facilitate integration between Salesforce and CTI systems (computer telephony integration). Before Winter ’17, Open CTI was only available in Salesforce Classic, but now we have Open CTI in Lightning Experience too!
Other key features:
Omni-Channel: Give Supervisors Real-Time Insight (Beta)
Social Customer Service: Instagram Generally Available, Improved Performance, and Lightning Experience
Case Feed: Increase Agent Efficiency in Lightning Experience
Chatter Answers: Help Customers Get Answers Fast

Communities:
Salesforce has put a big effort in Winter ’17 to ensure creating and managing communities is easier than ever.
Templates created can now be exported and reused, allowing for rapid development and customisation of new communities. Exported templates appear in the Community Creation wizard, ready to be used to create new communities. After the community is created, you can use the Community Builder to customise via custom pages, branding or lightning components.

Community Creation wizard – Source: Salesforce Winter ‘17 Release Notes

The Community Builder has been given an overhaul to be more user friendly, allowing intuitive creation of communities. A key feature of the Community Builder overhaul is the integration with AppExchange. This allows you to find and install Lightning components directly from within Community Builder.
Aligning your community with your brand is even easier now. Salesforce has given more flexibility around the branding of your community through custom theme layouts. These can be created to update the look and feel of your community. Salesforce allows you to rebrand your community by customising the header, footer, search bar and menu.
Content from external sources can be shared from within your community. This could be data in another Salesforce org, or perhaps data accessed via Files Connect, such as content from Google Drive or SharePoint.
Other key features:
Improve Your Community’s Search Quality with Search Dashboards
Community Management: It’s All About Moderation

App Cloud:
Salesforce’s Platform Encryption is getting even stronger with the Winter ’17 release. Platform Encryption now supporting syncing means you can interact with encrypted data from within Outlook, or other tools utilising Lightning Sync. A new pilot feature is the ability to access encrypted data from Flows, Process Builder and Formula Fields. With encrypted search indexes, Lightning Sync support and access across formula fields, flows and process builder, Salesforce has enabled more flexibility to how you interact with your sensitive or regulated encrypted data.
The main advantage coming from Winter ’17 for Process Builder is the ability to invoke a process from multiple other processes. This allows you to reuse certain processes. This will reduce the likelihood of you having to rewrite processes that are similar, or creating overly convoluted processes that are unmaintainable.

Invocable processes – Source: Salesforce Winter ‘17 Release Notes

Last, but not least, the AppExchange is awesome, and is now directly integrated into your Salesforce org, allowing administrators to install directly from the AppExchange without having to leave their org.

Get the most out of Winter ‘17!
This only covers a fraction of the features available in this release, as Winter ’17 includes more than 300 features! Therefore, you may wish to read more in-depth detail in Salesforce’s release notes.
Luckily we’re currently in New Zealand, so can enjoy Salesforce’s Winter release in the middle of summer! If you like the look of any of these features and want to have a chat about implementing them in your Salesforce org, get in contact with us at Davanti Consulting and we’ll help you get the most out of Winter ’17.