Salesforce.com Spring ‘13 Release Features

The Spring ‘13 release for Salesforce is set to hit production starting January 18th and contains the following new/updated features:

Chatter Enhancements:

1. Chatter Tasks – Staring in Spring ‘13, task related posts will be available in your Chatter feed.  As soon as a task is created on any record (e.g. an account), the task appears right in the Chatter feed for that record.  Additionally, you can now enable the creation of tasks right from the chatter feed for a record:

Chatter Tasks

2. Chatter Group Search – Currently chatter search is across all chatter groups.  With Spring ‘13, you can search within a specific group directly from the group page allowing for a more direct, refined search.

3. Post to any public group – Currently, in order to post to a group, you must be a member of the group, even a public group.  With Spring ‘13, any user can post to a public group regardless of membership.  This can be helpful for posting announcements and other information to various groups within your organization without having to be a member of each group.

Salesforce Touch Enhancements:

Salesforce Touch became “Generally Available” with the Winter ‘13 release, but there were some significant limitations that has lessened it’s adoption by many organizations.  Several of these limitations have been addressed as part of the Spring ‘13 release.

1. Chatter no longer required – Previously, in order to activate and use Salesforce Touch in your Salesforce org, Chatter needed to be enabled.  Although using Chatter is definitely recommended, there are no doubt many organizations that have decided to not use Chatter for one reason or another.  Fortunately, with the Spring ‘13 release, Chatter is no longer a requirement for using Salesforce Touch.

2. Expanded Tab Access – Prior to Spring ‘13, only the Sales Cloud app and it’s standard tabs were available.  With the new release, users can access any application, including custom apps that have been configured.  Additionally, users can work with the following in any app: accounts (including person accounts), cases, contacts, dashboards, opportunities, tasks, and all custom tabs.  Inclusive in this list is any tab that is being rendered via a visualforce tab.  Other visualforce components are not yet supported.

3. Dashboard Access – You can now view dashboards in Salesforce Touch.  Dashboards in Salesforce Touch provide the user the ability to view recently viewed dashboards, search for dashboards and refresh dashboards.  Additionally users can select data segments on a dashboard to view more details for that data.

Salesforce Touch Dashboards

Other Notable Changes:

Force.com – One App license changes – Currently, Salesforce offers the “Force.com – One App” license that allows users access to one custom app (tabset) that includes up to 10 custom objects and read-only access to Accounts and Contacts.  This license has typically been leveraged for those users that only need access to a small set of non-CRM system functionality. In order to allow for some more flexibility in this model, Salesforce is sunsetting the Force.com – One App license and replacing with two new license types:

Force.com Light App – This license is very similar to the current one app license, except that this license has a more restrictive API capability.  Specifically, this license does not give access to Sharing, Bulk API, or Streaming API.

Force.com Enterprise App – This license is also very similar to the current one app license, except that it provides read/write access to Accounts and Contacts.  Previously, in order to have write access to these standard objects, users needed to have, at minimum, a Force.com Enterprise App.  This new license type allows for giving users access to a more extensive “one app” while keeping the license cost down.

Note that Salesforce has not yet released any pricing information on these two new license types.  Additionally, any existing Force.com – One App licenses users can continue to be leveraged and be renewed.

State and Country Picklists—Beta – A long awaited feature is to provide picklist versions of the standard state and country address components.  State and country picklists allow users to select values from predefined, standardized lists, instead of entering state and country data into text fields. According to the Spring ‘13 release notes: “The state and country names in the picklists are based on ISO-3166 standard values, making them compatible with other applications as well.”  The release notes also indicate that this feature is being released in “Beta,” meaning that the feature is ready to be used in a production application, but there may be limitations or issues with using this new feature.

Of course, there are many more new features and changes coming with the Spring ‘13 release.  This post is intended to hit on the features that have the most probable value and/or impact.  Be sure to check on the Spring ‘13 release notes for detailed information on these and other enhancements.

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