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Common Mistakes Admins Make

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Certified-AdminI often feel like, as an Admin, we’re spending half of our time managing Data, and the other half managing Salesforce itself, and the other half managing users.  Did you see what I did there, basically, there’s never enough time to do it all.  Hopefully these tips can help in your management of all of the above and help avoid time consuming mistakes managing your Salesforce instance.

Someone asks you to “Just dump the data into Salesforce”

Problem: Indiscriminately dumping data into salesforce promulgates bad data, and more importantly does not provide a strategic use or central management of your org’s data.

Solution:  Have a plan.  First, determine who should even be authorized to import data.  2nd, you need to set rules around why data should be imported.  Don’t just import data for the sake of it.  Determine which business goal you are helping by importing data.  If that’s hard to determine, perhaps the data should not be imported.  Finally, set standards for data import.  Assure your team is aware of what’s expected.

Someone imports data and does not disable workflow rules on the object

Problem:  Depending on the nature of the workflow rules, Salesforce could perform undesirable actions (such as sending thousands of emails out to clients).

Solution:  Audit your workflow rules on the object prior to importing data on an object.  Also, test in Sandbox first!

Ignoring Duplicates

Problem:  Duplicates frustrate users, clients, and often cause undue expense to organizations.

Solution:  Acknowledge that dupes are a real problem and have a plan to minimize them.  Pre clean data (dedupe within itself).  You’d be surprised how many duplicates are often within an import file.  2nd, consider a 3rd party tool to aid in deduplication efforts. Finally, when testing imports, always test in a Sandbox.  I’ve seen many orgs where someone doubled or tripled the data in the system by running an import multiple times.

Fields Level Security – Field level security is a very nuanced, granular, and often ill considered part of Salesforce.  Here’s a few mistakes & solutions related to this.

Going on cruise control while adding new fields

Problem:  Often opening fields up to unintended audiences

Solution:  Slow down.  Don’t blow through the field setup wizard.  Every screen should be considered and decided upon before moving to the next screen.

Making fields required or read only incorrectly

Problem:  Sometimes fields are marked as required or read only at the wrong level of the system.

Solution:  Carefully consider which fields need to be considered as required, and then determine the best way to make them required.  Field level requirement often breaks other parts of a system and should be used with care.  Validation rules have more options but again, they should be used with care as they have many implications downstream (i.e. breaking integrations).  Page layout requirement is often a great compromise since it enforces data quality but will not interfere with system issues.

Profile sprawl and poor communication can leave users frustrated and confused. Let’s address these two common mistakes.

Too Many Profiles

Problem:  Cloning profiles to give 1 user added permissions can lead to profile sprawl and confusion

Solution:  Consider what permissions are needed by what users and come up with a “core” set of permissions that everyone can be assigned to. Then using Permissions sets delegate additional permissions to users based on what user needs. In addition, Permission sets are a great way to give users the needed permissions on a temporary basis- such as when a co-worker is on vacation or leave. Reducing the number of Profiles will help you deploy apps faster, and make trouble shooting easier.

Poor Communication

Problem: Making unannounced changes to Salesforce that directly impacts the user experience.

Solution: It’s easy to make changes in Salesforce, in fact, sometimes almost too easy. When we do make changes and push those live we forget about the impact it can have on our users. Lack of communication with users can leave them feeling disconnected and that the app is “still in beta, and not be trusted”. Building a consistent communication pattern with your users will help them understand what changes are coming, how this affects them, and where they can go for help.

Common methods of communication are frequent Chatter posts, a weekly or monthly newsletter, youtube videos, or monthly meetings. Don’t be the admin behind the curtain.

Not listening to your users

Solution: Our users will always give us the best feedback they can and ask for new features all the time. As admins, we need to dig deeper into their requests for changes or features to get to the, “Why?” If we don’t find out the answer to this question, we may tweak, develop, or even code for a solution that may not even be what was asked of us. Our users are not always Salesforce experts and may not know all the abilities that we or Salesforce can allow for. Take a step back and make sure you are getting to the, “Why,” of the request.

Not understanding the output

Solution: When designing a solution, one of the main focuses that we should work towards is the data output. Why is the data output so important? It could mean the difference between adding fields, adding an object, adding a report, or even pointing our users to a feature that they should be using. It is important for us to make the system usable and understanding the outcome or data output is the start of designing a strong, scalable solution.

You can read more session recaps from Red Argyle’s Dreamforce 13 sessions here.

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