The Summer ‘13 release for Salesforce is set to hit production starting May 10th and contains the following key features:
Chatter Communities – Generally Available
Salesforce Communities can be seen as the next evolution of the existing portal (customer, partner) offerings. Key differences include an updated native interface as well as the integration of Chatter into portals. Additional capabilities, such as access to dashboards, is also a key difference from the legacy portals. Similar to the portal products, Communities can be customized to incorporate a company’s brand, custom navigation, and other functionality. This customization can be done using both Force.com Sites as well as Site.com. Watch for a future blog post in regards to leveraging this new portal platform.
Site.com has been deemed Salesforce’s long-term solution for building and maintaining web sites/pages on the Force.com platform. Site.com provides business users with the ability to contribute text, images, and data without coding via a rich-text editor. Meanwhile, control over which items can be edited, and by whom can be closely controlled to ensure site integrity. Additionally, dynamic content can be added to pages through an integration with the existing Salesforce.com database. This is especially valuable when needing to display data that is already stored within Salesforce. Good examples might be product and pricing information as well as partner (dealer/distributor) information.
With the Summer ‘13 Release, Site.com is getting some key enhancements to increase its usability:
Authenticated Community Support – Site.com currently only supports publishing to public web pages. However, with Summer ‘13, Site.com can be coupled with the aforementioned Communities platform, allowing for sites, or even specific site resources (folders/pages) to be restricted to certain, authenticated users.
Site.com Sandbox – Currently Site.com is only available to be used in the production environment. This can be problematic when the site you are working to build is integrating with Salesforce.com data objects/fields that may not be in production. With Summer ’13, Site.com is available on sandbox environments. It is important to note that with Summer ‘13, you can’t move any work from sandbox to a production environment and there is an additional cost associated with Site.com sandbox.
Custom Widgets – With the new widgets feature, existing page elements, custom code, and CSS can be combined to create completely custom, reusable widgets. This feature will undoubtedly further enable business users to be able to construct more pages with less help of a web developer or admin.
Customizable Price Books and Archiving
Price books are a key component of opportunity management within Salesforce. However, the ability to customize the price book object, like can be done with other Salesforce objects, was limited. With Summer ’13, you can now add custom fields, record types, and page layouts. This enables companies to add another layer of flexibility to how they are managing their products and pricing. Previously, each logical product group or business segment could have their own price book, but this was essentially a logical separation with no opportunity to customize for the unique needs of the product group. With Summer ‘13, custom fields can be used in conjunction with record types and page layouts to give each product group this flexibility.
Data.com Social Key (Beta)
As Salesforce continues to integrate Social data capabilities into the platform, capturing social profile information about customers and leads becomes increasingly important. Without having the various social handles for each contact, there really isn’t any value of Social Contacts in Salesforce. Currently, each contact in Salesforce must be manually linked to each of the social profiles. This can certainly be daunting to obtain and enter several social network handles for each existing record.
With Summer ‘13, Salesforce is releasing the Beta version of Data.com Social Key to solve this very problem. Similar to the existing Data.com offering that helps to ‘fill in’ data such as phone numbers and titles for existing contacts, the Social Key will help to automatically capture social network handles for contacts. Social Key Beta will currently provide social handles for LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for contacts and leads in the United States only.