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Preparing Data for Import: Separating Couples’ Names

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. As Francis wrote a few weeks ago, it’s important to import clean data into your Salesforce system. Gaining & keeping users’ trust is especially critical at the beginning of a project. When we work on a QuickStart project, the client is always tasked with preparing their data in a spreadsheet file with all the columns named and set-up. Even if you’re paying a consultant to manage your data import, you can save money by making sure you’re giving them the best data possible for import. And consultants won’t be able to catch anomalies in your data the way someone who’s more familiar with it can. Whether you’re migrating from another database, or finally moving away from multiple spreadsheets to manage your data, there are a few principles you want to keep in mind, and some tools you can use in Excel or another spreadsheet program to achieve them. SEPARATING COUPLES’ NAMES Many organizations have data where both members of the couple are listed in one field. If your data has a separate Last Name column, and you have a single column in which couples’ names are together, you’ll want to separate them (unlike Trish’s post from last week about sticking them together). You’ll have a lot more flexibility going forward with Salesforce if we use the 1 Contact = 1 Person concept consistently. What you can do for data import, that will make your data preparation much easier, is to just separate the column with the two first names together into two columns: If there is a mix of “Chris &...

Apsona Multi-Step Reporting: Taking Analytics to the Next Level

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. Standard Salesforce reporting works fairly well for many people.  Unfortunately, for those users with more complex analytics requirements, even the addition of joined reports to the Salesforce toolkit doesn’t quite fit the bill.  The problem is essentially that we are still looking primarily at one object and its directly adjacent relationships.  For example, all cases grouped by Priority and listed by Status, or all Opportunities grouped by Owner and listed by Stage (see more examples here).  But what if you wanted to show the top 10 most frequently sold Products by the 5 users with the highest total Closed-Won Opportunity value this year?  Now, you see, the limitations of standard reporting are becoming clearer.  Where to turn now?  I’d recommend trying out Apsona Multi-Step Reporting (fondly referred to as MSR). What’s Apsona Multi-Step Reporting? If you haven’t heard about Apsona, Francis wrote a great overview post just a couple months ago.  The two sentence summary is this: Apsona is a great app that sits directly inside of Salesforce and provides users some powerful options for querying, updating, importing and exporting, and reporting on their Salesforce data.  It even has a mail merge add-on that Dylan wrote about last month!  The best thing is that Apsona donates free licenses to non-profits for Apsona for Salesforce, so those organizations only ever pay for the extras, like Email and Document Merge or MSR.  [To learn more, sign up for our Apsona webinar later this year, led by Cloud For Good CEO Tal Frankfurt.]  If Apsona for Salesforce allows for reporting, why would I pay extra for the Multi-Step Reporting add-on? The reporting capabilities of Apsona for Salesforce are awesome, especially when...

Investing in Salesforce Success

This is a cross post from the Cloud for Good blog. Roll out is often considered the end of a software or systems project, but the end of every Salesforce project is really just the beginning. As a Salesforce administrator or champion, you need to be prepared to help your organization through its journey with Salesforce. Chart a course for success by making investments in knowledge, data quality and your users. Investing in knowledge gives you the power to steer the system towards more fully supporting your organization’s needs. Investing in data quality is essential for building trust in the system and investing in users helps build  community around Salesforce. INVEST IN KNOWLEDGE According to the old adage, knowledge is power. The more you know about Salesforce, the better equipped you’ll be to answer user questions, make decisions about enhancements and be a valuable resource to your organization. Salesforce is a platform whose features and functionality increase with each thrice-yearly release.  Your organization’s use of Salesforce will change over time and knowing what the capabilities of Salesforce are is important for maintaining the growth and health of the system.  Learning doesn’t have to be a chore, though. There are excellent online resources and a vibrant community out there for you to engage with. The Salesforce Help portal should be your first stop when you have a question. It’s rich with user guides, videos and support answers.  If you’re looking for help on how to do something specific in Salesforce, check out the Salesforce Foundation’s YouTube playlist of the Top 25 Best Help Videos from Salesforce. The video topics cover everything from...