It feels like 5 minutes since Winter ’21 and now we’re talking about Spring ’21!
On the 18th of December, Salesforce released the Preview of the Release Notes. The following summarises some of the features which grabbed my attention. This is not exhaustive. Equally, this is based on a ‘Preview’; features are still subject to change. The outline of this is as follows:
Table of Contents
Please feel free to share or add anything which captured your imagination. Let’s get started!
Background: What/When is Spring '21?
Each year, Salesforce has three release cycles, Spring, Summer and Winter. Each release introduces many new innovations. These updates are made available to all customers, automatically.
The schedule of major release cycles are available on the Salesforce Trust Site. To see the dates for your Salesforce system (Org), you can search for your Instance’s or Domain’s maintenance schedule. If you do not know how to find this, please follow the steps in this knowledge article.
Salesforce staggers the release. This gives everyone time to look at the release, understand what is in it and assess what the release will mean for you (e.g. new opportunities, maintenance etc). Whilst precise dates for Spring’ 21 do vary depending on your Org, the key dates are as follows:
Preview Release Notes
08/01/2021 – 09/01/2021
Rollout of Spring ’21
12/02/2021 – 13/02/2020
You can register for a free Preview org here: https://www.salesforce.com/form/signup/prerelease-spring21/. Additionally, check out this Salesforce Admins guide to help with preparing for the Spring ’21 Release.
Reports: Multi-Field Selection
Sometimes the little things can make a big difference. In Spring ’21, we are now able to select and add multiple fields to a report at once. This has the potential to save Admins and End-Users quite a lot of time when building Reports! Detail here
Dashboards: URL Filter Parameters
Dashboard filters are a great feature. They help us avoid having to create multiple Dashboards, which only have filter differences. However, filters still require user involvement/updating. In Spring ’21, we will be able to pass values into our URLs. In other words, it allows us to prefill the filters (here).
For example, let’s say we have a sample Dashboard called ‘SFDC Penguin Sample Dashboard’ which has the following filters:
We are now able to pass in filter values to the URL. The below shows a sample URL with placeholders in bold italics. Substitute the bold italic values to suit your needs.
https://Your MyDomain.lightning.force.com/lightning/r/Dashboard/Your Dashboard ID/view?queryScope=userFolders&fv0=Insert Filter value
https://Your MyDomain.lightning.force.com/lightning/r/Dashboard/Your Dashboard ID/view?queryScope=userFolders&fv0=Richard%20Pomeroy
In-App Guidance: Add Images, Snooze, Floating Prompt Controls & Rich-Text
Since its release, In-App Guidance has been one of my favourite features. It has the potential to significantly help adoption. Salesforce has consistently enhanced this feature in recent releases, and Spring ’21 is no exception. Some of the features in Spring ’21 which are noteworthy are:
- Ability to add images to In-App Guidance (.jpeg, .jpg, .png or .gif – up to 5MB) (here)
- Ability for users to ‘snooze’ In-App guidance by clicking on the clock icon. Users can snooze prompts for 20 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours, until tomorrow or until next week (here)
- More control over the location of ‘Floating Prompts’ (i.e. addition of ‘Middle Left’, ‘Middle Center’ and ‘Middle Right’) (here)
- Rich-Text in docked Prompts (e.g. hyperlink other resources, underline text, etc) (here)
Custom Fields: More Help Text!
A nice, simple and greatly appreciated update! Adding Help Text to fields is a very good practice. It helps users orientate themselves and can even help Admins/Developers in future (alongside the Description field of course!).
In Spring ’21, the character limit of the Help Text field has been increased from 255 to 510 characters (here)!
Flows: Prior Value, Time-based Monitoring, Scheduled Branches, Debugging and much more!
Lightning Flow Builder (as of Spring ’21 officially called Flow Builder), provides us the ability to see ‘Prior Values’. before the process runs. Access to the ‘Prior Values’ is provided via a new Global Variable called ‘$Record__Prior’. Per the release notes, the $Record__Prior Global variable is available within:
- Action Input values
- Assignment values
- Decision Outcomes
- Filters and individual fields (during get, creation, update and delete actions)
Details of this are available here.
This has many different use cases. A recent post by Automation Champion explores this in detail and for those interested I would recommend taking a look (here).
For a long-time, I have wondered if Salesforce would integrate time-based monitoring of Workflows with that of Process Builder, Flows, etc. In Spring ’21, it appears that they are! The current ‘Time-Based Workflow’ screen will be upgraded to support:
- Scheduled Path Record Trigger Flows (more on this below)
- Scheduled Actions on Process Builder
- Time-based Flows
- Workflows (as before – this will continue to show the Object, the others will not)
I feel this is a great step forward. It will help Admins/Developers troubleshoot time-based processes in a single place. Additionally, the ease of ‘filtering’ etc should help to simplify debugging. I am looking forward to seeing this in the release!
Further Flow & Automation Updates
We’ve been spoilt for choice on Flow/Automation updates in Spring ’21. In truth, covering the updates in Flows alone could have been a single (very long) post! A few of the other features which caught my eye were as follows…this is still far from exhaustive!:
- Time-triggered branches in a Record-Triggered Flow (here)
- It is now possible to add a scheduled branch to a record-triggered flow (e.g. one branch running immediately, one running at a later date). Check out the release notes to see an example of this
- Use Lightning Email Templates in Automation (Email Alerts, Flow, Workflow, Process Builder, Approvals, etc) (here)
- Speaking personally, this is a big deal. Up until now, I have not been able to leverage Lightning Email Templates that much due to this limitation. I am looking forward to seeing what opportunities this will bring!
- Create Rich-Text Emails in Flow using ‘Send Email’ Action (here)
- The Email Action has been enhanced to support a ‘Rich-Text’ formatted email to be sent
- Multicolumn Screen Flows (Beta) (here)
- For anyone who loves ‘low-code’ (i.e. avoiding code), Flow is amazing. This beta feature is the latest in a long-list of feature enhancements in recent releases. It allows us to create screen flows with multiple columns, which are also mobile responsive. Check out the sample images by Salesforce – very exciting indeed!
Einstein Opportunity Scoring: Work with Less Data
Einstein Opportunity Scoring allows us to get a metric (1-99) of how likely the Opportunity will be ‘won’. This is visible on the Record, List Views, Process Builder, Workflow etc. The premise is to allow machine learning to provide insight into which Opportunities are the most promising/which to prioritise. Pretty powerful stuff!
Prior to Spring ’21, Einstein Opportunity Scoring required a number of pre-requisites, outlined here. As an example, one pre-requisite was 200 Closed Won & Closed Lost Opportunities within the past 24 months, each with a lifespan of at least 2 days. For smaller businesses, such data volumes would be a barrier.
In Spring ’21, Salesforce is introducing an anonymised ‘global scoring model’ (here). This will reduce the adoption barrier by leveraging a broader pool of anonymised & aggregated data. When a business has sufficient data to build its own model, Einstein Opportunity Scoring will use the ‘single-customer model’.
As outlined in the Release Notes, it is easy to see which ‘model’ (global or single-customer) your org is eligible to use. To do so, navigate to the following area of Setup:
- Quick Find | Readiness Assessor | Sales Cloud Einstein