Salesforce Summer ’18 is here! There are a number of great references available to help you understand what has changed, when it will occur, and how to plan for the release.
There are a number of great features added in each release and with a some planning and preparation you can insure your company has a smooth transition into the new release, and also leverage relevant new feature to make your users more productive.
To insure you minimize any risk to existing processes or customization’s, you need to create and execute a plan. The Trailblazer community has useful resource for understanding how to the release process works, and how to plan for each release.
The first place to start is to create a plan. If you don’t have a process currently, Salesforce describes how to manage releases within Craft Your Release Strategy unit in the Trailhead community.
The Craft Your Release Strategy unit talks about 7 steps. This is a sound process for any project, not just a Salesforce release.
Source: Salesforce Trailblazer – Craft Your Release Strategy
Learn – There are many different options on how to learn about each new release (links to these are found in the Resource section below). Most users, myself included, will use a combination of these resources.
Educate – Once you have determined what changes are coming, be able to articulate the value “What’s in it for me” for your users, and create training resources (KB Articles, Videos, Demo, Trailhead, etc.).
Plan – Define the key dates and get the resourcing to execute each part of your release plan.
Communicate – Communicate that plan to all stakeholders using a variety of methods (email, demos, newsletter, etc.). Remember, you can (almost) never over communicate!
Test – Write a simple, repeatable test plan with all key processes. You don’t want to go live and find support can’t answer customer cases. I’d recommend a shorter (smoke) test, and a more complete (regression) test.
Go Live – Check the launch dates and insure you have resources available to do a smoke test, and if all is good, send a communication to all stakeholders. If not, tell them how you plan on mitigating or resolving the issue. Be transparent!
Iterate – Have a means to get feedback, both internally and externally, after a release in case any issues arise. If there are issues, communicate early and often with your stakeholders and customers, if needed.
Summer ’18 Release Resources
Key Dates – List of all key dates for the Summer ’18 release.
Release Notes – Learn about all the changes int he upcoming release. This is the most important document for me. As an admin or community owner, I would recommend reading all relevant sections.
Release Readiness Trailblazers Group – Join this group for access to release resources and questions.
Summer ’18 Webinars – A listing of webinars for the Summer ’18 release.
Search on salesforce.com for Summer ’18 – Find all kinds of resources for Summer ’18 and filter by YouTube, Salesforce Live, Trailhead, Help & Training, Trailblazer Community, and the AppExchange.
Salesforce Trailblazer Community – Based on your product interests, join one of the groups and engage in the conversation.
Trailhead Prepare for Release Readiness – This trail prepares you for planning your release process. There are specific sections for the previous releases. Look for module call Summer ’18 Release Notes Highlights sometime around the release time frame. It’s a great walk-through of the features for this release.
Sandbox Preview Instructions – Even though it’s too late for requesting a new preview sandbox, check to see if one of your sandboxes was updated to Summer ’18. If not, make sure you have a sandbox that will be updated to the preview for the next release (Winter ’18).
Status – The Salesforce Trust site is a great resource for understanding your sites are having issues, and when maintenance or new releases are planned.
My favorite highlights for the Summer ’18 release
Lightning – If your organization has not yet moved to the Lightning Experience, you should access your readiness and think about timing and a plan. There is a Trailhead module on moving to the Lightning Experience. And many new features are Lightning Experience only.
Salesforce Einstein – Einstein continues to add features to help your organization streamline work and be more predictive.
- Display Einstein Discovery Recommendations on a Salesforce Object (Generally Available)
- Einstein Forecasting: Improve Sales Predictions (Generally Available)
Service Cloud – If you haven’t started to look into bots, flow, and Omni-Channel, your should.
- Einstein Bots to the Rescue: Boost Service Team Productivity with Bots (Generally Available)
- Case Management: Lightning Flow Guided Engagement, Case Teams, and Omni-Channel Skills-Based Routing
Community – Very useful new features, I’ll be looking into the sharing sets, case access, and recognition.
- Lightning Communities: Community Builder Improvements with Turnkey Themes, Progressive Rendering, and Audience Deletion
- Lightning Communities: New and Improved Lightning Components
- Sharing: Sharing Set Support for More Licenses (Beta), Improved Case Access (Beta)
- Community Engagement: Recognition Badges (Beta) and Question-and-Answer Journey Builder Triggers
- Files: Library Management and a New Files Detail Page
Lightning Knowledge – If you aren’t already on Lightning Knowledge, you should be thinking about it over the next couple of releases. A migration tool is now in Beta. Plan and test appropriately as there is no going back once Lightning Knowledge is turned on in an org.
Analytics – Report Builder helps you build great reports.
- Reports and Dashboards: Lightning Experience Report Builder (Generally Available), Lightning Joined Reports (Beta), Subscription Improvements
GDPR Related – If your organization hasn’t already addressed GDPR, the deadline for addressing data privacy is coming soon.
Prior to the release you should be able to ask yourself these questions and insure you have:
- You understand the changes and how
- A plan and resources to execute on schedule?
- A test plan to insure key features work as expected?
- Are my stakeholders aware of the changes and have been trained (if needed)?
A sound, well executed and communicated plan will help insure a smooth release. Having a simple, documented, repeatable process can also be re-used for upcoming releases.