Salesforce Winter '18 Release

12th October 2017

Author James Coleman

Whether you’re a certified professional or an end user there’s no hiding your excitement when the new Salesforce release notes are released. To the dismay of its competitors Salesforce upgrades ALL its customers, FOR FREE, three times a year.

Before a major release Salesforce provides the ability for customers to preview its new features in their sandbox environments. All eligible sandboxes were upgraded on September 8th/9th 2017 so you may already be an expert on Winter ’18. You can view Salesforce`s Winter ‘18 Sandbox Preview Instructions blog to determine if your sandboxes were upgraded or not. If you’ve missed the sandbox upgrade don’t panic as you only have until October 13th/14th 2017 to wait until your sandbox and production environments will be upgraded.

Lightning Experience

Salesforce`s Lightning UI has progressively been becoming the dominating subject of previous Salesforce releases. This is no different for Winter ’18, in fact there isn’t much that doesn’t link back to lightning.

Improved Lightning UI – Based on customer feedback several aspects of the Lightning UI have been updated, including improved information density, legibility, contrast, and even added a splash of color. That means less time scrolling and scanning and more time focused on what matters most. 

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Enhanced Instant Results – Several new features have been added to instant results. These include spelling correction and making suggestions more focused and relevant to your search. 

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Use Favorites in Console Apps – This feature will allow users to have their most-visited pages and important records, lists, groups, dashboards at their fingertips. Favorites are similar to bookmarks in a web browser, providing quick access to frequently used items.

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Sales Cloud

Salesforce Sales Cloud is a key component to many Salesforce implementations so it is encouraging to see some great features being introduced.

Added flexibility to Lead Conversions - The new lead conversion process matches leads with contacts and accounts already in Salesforce. At the same time, reps create an opportunity or select one already in Add Opportunity Team Members Faster – You can now add multiple members of an opportunity team on one page. 

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Prompt Users to Add Products to Opportunities - Ensure that opportunities are more complete by having Salesforce prompt sales reps to add products to new or cloned opportunities.

Keep Track of List Emails in the Activity Timeline - Now the timeline shows an activity when a list email has been sent to a lead or contact.  List Email allows users to curate a list of contacts, lists and person accounts and also allows users to send a separate, personalized email to each recipient on the list.

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Task Notifications - Visual cues keep sales reps on time and on task. Notifications, the notifications tray, and task icons remind reps that they have tasks to do. 

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Einstein for Sales Cloud

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." - Albert Einstein. Salesforce Einstein was announced at Dreamforce 2016 and is at the forefront of AI products. This has been accelerated by the strategic partnership between Salesforce and IBM`s own AI product, Watson. Although for Winter ’18 the new features are limited we predict this to be a growing feature in releases to come.

Einstein Lead Scoring in Salesforce Classic - Add the Lead Insights component to your Salesforce Classic lead page layouts so that sales reps see their leads’ scores and the insights that support them.

Keep Track of and Control Einstein Lead Scoring Enablement – Salesforce have made setup easier by providing helpful information about issues that arise during lead scoring enablement and initial analysis. After enablement, you can now turn off lead scoring if needed. 

Service Cloud

Salesforce Service Cloud is a Gartner Magic Quadrant Leading customer service application and offers a multitude of different features to cover all aspects of case management.

Attach External Documents to Cases and Report on Them - Users can attach external documents to cases instead of just referencing them. For instance, a user can close a case with a YouTube video or a SharePoint file.

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Embed Videos and Code Blocks in Knowledge Articles - Lightning Knowledge authors can create a rich article experience by embedding videos and inserting code blocks. 

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Merge Fields and Salesforce Classic Templates - Agents can insert merge fields, preview emails, and clear emails from the email publisher for cases. They can also insert Salesforce Classic email templates, attach files, and remove attachments if they change their mind. Previously, agents could only attach files and insert templates created in Lightning Experience.

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Do More in Service Console with Macros – Salesforce has added ways to increase agent productivity with macros, favorites, enhanced email capabilities, Live Agent, and updates to the case feed. You can specify which objects open as subtabs, speeding up your service agents’ workflows. Knowledge users can create articles without leaving the console. 

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Communities

Salesforce Communities allows all its customers to seamlessly communicate and interact with their customers via a fully customisable, secure portal.

Keep Track of Community Health with the Service Community Scorecard - Now you can track member activity, daily use, service metrics, search activity, and results in one place with the Service Community Scorecard.  

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Get More Criteria-Based Audiences - Criteria-Based Audiences work with page variations to let you target specific audiences with specific pages. 

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Spice Up Your Community with Emojis - Emojis have arrived! Engage your audience by adding zest to your feed. When you post, comment, and add details to your questions, or when you answer questions, the emoji icon appears in the Chatter publisher.

Add Topics with Hashtags in Communities - You can now use hashtags to add topics in Lightning communities, rather than adding topics manually. 

Salesforce Reporting

Salesforce has a built-in reporting tool which allows users to report on any data they can access in real time.

Customize Chart Tooltips - You can customize the tooltip that appears when the pointer is hoveringover a data point on any chart that has tooltips. Choose which of the chart's dimensions and measures to show in the tooltip.  

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View Filtered Reports by Clicking Chart Segments from Dashboards - Click a chart segment, axis label, or legend to view a filtered version of the source report. The chart segment you clicked, plus any applied dashboard filters, appear as linked filters when the report opens. For example, click the prospecting segment of an opportunity pipeline funnel chart to open and filter the source report by stage equals prospecting. 

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Embed Dashboards on the Home Tab and in Lightning Apps - Embed dashboards to surface insights right where people work. For example, add the Sales Pipeline dashboard to the Home tab to give your sales team the information they need when they log in to Salesforce. Embedded dashboards are fully functional and interactive. Refresh them, apply filters, and click chart segments to drill into filtered reports. 

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See More Relevant Objects in the Recent Section - The Recent section in the navigation menu contains the same items as the Lightning Experience navigation bar. When performing a global search in Salesforce1, users see results only for the objects that appear in the Recent section. When users start building a search history, the default list is replaced with their frequently used objects.

Seamlessly Clone Cases - Agents can easily log multiple issues for a customer or use information in existing cases. It’s as simple as clicking the clone button, filling in the information, assigning and saving the case.

Platform Improvements

Process Builder can now be triggered by Platform Events. Platform Events has many possible uses, and from Winter 18 it provides a way of triggering Process Builder without the need for record updates! The triggering event can even be generated from outside Salesforce.

At long last we can now set up separate sharing rules for Contacts when Person Accounts is enabled.

A minor improvement is the ability to login as Community users from Lightning Experience. No more need to switch back to Classic for testing.

Development

Salesforce DX is now generally available. It offers an entire library of tools and resources to manage development environments and deployments and is set to revolutionise the way Salesforce solutions are delivered.

Lightning Data Service is also GA. Let Salesforce do the heavy lifting to bind records to your Lightning Components. Multiple components on a page can all refer to the same record and will stay in sync automatically when the record data changes.

Service Cloud & Community

Community 360 has gone GA. It provides a timeline view of community users’ activities which service agents can use to better support these users.

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Hopefully this gives you a good feel for some of our favourite features but we would encourage you to review the full Salesforce Winter ’18 release notes for more about other features in the release or more details about the features we’ve talked about in this post.  We’re here to help you get the most out of Salesforce, so if any of these features look good to you, get in contact with us at Davanti Consulting and we’ll discuss how best to use its capabilities to deliver benefits for your organisation.