AppExchange for Experts 5 Awesome Tools for Admins

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I’m excited to have been invited to participate in a session at Dreamforce with Benjamin which focuses on the AppExchange and a few of our favorite tools.

The short story is, the AppExchange has evolved from a curiosity to an application powerhouse that now has over 2,000 applications that enhance the Salesforce platform.  The AppExchange is a safe, secure way to extend Salesforce without needing to meddle with unknown 3rd party developers or build your own.  If you’ve ever had a challenge with Salesforce, it’s likely that someone else has built an application for it.

As an administrator and consultant, I’ve been managing many org functions for years.  Over time, a few apps have stood out to me as great tools that allow me to do my job better.  The best part is that everything listed here is free, or cheap.  Cheap tools to rock your Salesforce world?  How can you go wrong?

Field Trip by Qandor

AppExchange ToolsDid you ever wonder, “How often is that field actually used”.  Field trip answers this question!  Pick your object, click “Analyze”, and report away on field population information.  The output report will display the number of records and the number of times each field is populated.  This app should be installed in every org and run periodically to keep your field lists trimmed and tidy.

Native Platform, Enterprise, Unlimited and Developer Editions

Price:  Free!!

Made by a cool dude

The Permissioner

The permissionerThis application helps organizations that have a lot of users and a lot of permission sets.  It allows for mass allocation and deallocation of users to permission sets.  Simple install, free, and does a great job doing what it was built to do.

Native Platform, Enterprise, Unlimited and Developer Editions

Price:  Free!!

Made by the cool dudes at Arkus

Crowdguide

Crowd GuideDid you ever wish there was a custom help menu in Salesforce that your users could quickly get contextual help for the screen that they’re on in the system?  And do you wish that this help system was easy to build and maintain?  Crowdguide is just that.  The secret sauce is that it’s a sidebar widget which updates depending on which page you’re on to show exactly the right help topics at the right time.  Talk about a great way to increase user adoption and lower calls to your desk!

Native Platform, Group, Professional, Enterprise, Unlimited and Developer Editions

Price:  $30/month. Cheap!

Made by the cool dudes at TrainTheCrowd

GridBuddy – Edit lots of data quickly

GridBuddyGridbuddy takes list views to a new level by allowing you to combine multiple objects at the same time.  Want to see Opportunities, Contacts, and Activities together?  No problem!  Make it all editable at the same time.  Even insert a custom grid as a related list on a record.  Want to modify products quickly on an Opportunity?  A grid on the object can manage it.  I included this in my list because as an administrator, a problem I often have is giving power users ways to access and edit their data faster.  Gridbuddy does just that.  The free version is pretty powerful, the paid version removes limits.

Native Platform, Group, Professional, Enterprise, Unlimited and Developer Editions

Price:  Free and Paid versions

Made by the cool dudes at AppBuddy

Graphics Pack – Improve Communications!

Salesforce Graphics PackImageformula fields are an underutilized feature of Salesforce.  A stop sign showing up on a record to indicate they are behind on payment communicates much faster and intuitively than a text field.  Check out some documentation on image formula fields here. One challenge with building these fields is getting the actual images for them.  Graphics pack solves this problem perfectly.  Containing hundreds of image icons for all types of situations, this one application can solve your image needs… forever.  And, 100% free.  Forever.

Honorable Mention – Dashboard Category

I often find myself browsing the dashboard category on the AppExchange because knowing what types of dashboard options are out there kick my imagination into high gear when crafting solutions for clients and users.  You don’t even need to install them all (although feel free) to benefit from looking through things and see what people are building.  You might be surprised how the data you already have can work for you when analyzed correctly with intuitive reports and dashboards.

Conclusion

I hope this information will help you in your day-to-day administration of your Salesforce instance.  For me as a consultant, I’m often trying to get as much done as possible in the shortest amount of time and these apps help me do that.  The other side of the coin is that as I’m building solutions, how do I ensure that they are being documented and allowing for high adoption?  That’s where something like CrowdGuide comes in.

Disclaimer:  Red Argyle is a Conga Alliance Partner and Appbuddy partner.  Red Argyle was not compensated for any content in this blog post.

You can read more about Red Argyle’s Dreamforce Sessions here.

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