United We Must Stand

I voted for Trump.

Do I agree with everything he has said or done? No.

Do I agree with everything that any other elected official whom I have voted for has said or done? No.

Do I understand why some of my loved ones are extremely offended by and/or hurt by things that Trump has said or done? Yes.

At the end of the day, though, the election is over and we do have a new President Elect named Donald J. Trump.

For those unhappy with the outcome of the election, we, as Americans, do have the right to protest peacefully on any issue, including our elections; however, none of us has the right to carry out random and indiscriminate physical attacks on our fellow Americans for any reason, and especially not under the guise of protected protest.

Such violence is not only illegal and unacceptable, it is non-productive.

Instead, I offer the following options for all who are truly concerned about the state of our Country as a whole.

We are one Country, one Community, one United States and we owe it to ourselves to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in unity and support of our fellow Americans at every opportunity that we can.

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Green Light a Vet! How You can show your Thanks all year long

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I am privileged to have the opportunity today to blog about a phenomenal community campaign to show our thanks nationwide for all those who have Served to keep us safe, protect our freedoms and ensure the livelihood that we, at times, may take for granted.

Often times when out at a restaurant, at the airport, in a mall, a school or just on the street, I have witnessed the sincere gratitude that lay people have for our Men and Women in Uniform, walking right up to them and saying “Thank you for your Service.”  This warms my heart every time I see it and I try to do it myself whenever possible as well, but we cannot possibly reach every Man and Woman who has Served, nor their Families, for a variety of reasons.

Not all who have Served are obvious out among us lay folks and some, whether those who have significant medical complications post-Service or those who Serve covertly, are rarely ever in a position that Civilians even have the opportunity to give our Thanks.

That is why I was so thrilled to learn about the Green Light A Vet campaign that has a nationwide reach.  This is a campaign that so many can participate in and, imagine the experience, as a Veteran, to look out across your Community and see the thousands of people who are all united to tell You and your Family “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!”

Let’s not stop there though – there are so many opportunities that we have to be able to engage directly with our Veterans and continue to thank them, day in and day out, for all that they have given us.  Here are a few examples:

  • VetForce – this is an amazing initiative to train Veterans so that they may obtain a Salesforce Certification in order to pursue a career as a Salesforce Professional (Administrator, Developer or Business Analyst)
  • Inspiring Our Heroes – this organization, by Veterans for Veterans, provides programs, services, education, and a much needed support group to Veterans with many different needs
  • Veterans Network – this is a large directory of organizations providing various services and support to our Veterans
  • Operation Support Our Troops – this organization has programs for both Active Duty and Veterans
  • They Fought We Ride – this organization has hosted the past 5 years of the Boston Wounded Vet (Bike) Run and inspired similar Wounded Vet Bike Run’s in New York, North Carolina, Colorado, Hartford, Georgia and Kansas
    • Each year, every Run honors a Veteran and tells us all about the Veteran, their Family and their Service
    • Many of the Riders from each Run also regularly participate in Flag Lines and other honors for Veterans across the Country when they pass
  • Honor Flight – Chicago – this is one of many similar organizations across the Country to support our Veterans and say Thank You with an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. in order to see their War Memorial.  Current flights are honoring WWII Veterans
  • MARSOC Foundation – provides support to members of U. S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) – Active Duty, Medically Retired and those who have Fallen – and their Families for services unmet by the government or other agencies
  • Raising Raiders – this organization provides financial support and empowering programs for mental, physical and emotional support and growth to MARSOC Families
  • Various Hospices throughout the Country such as Angels Grace Hospice or Heartland Hospice are regularly seeking Volunteers to support our Veterans and their Families at end-of-life and to ensure that no Veteran dies alone

Let’s light up the night with our green lights of Thanks and get out into our Community and touch as many Veterans and their Families as we can!

Thanks to all involved in the Green Light A Vet campaign and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to add to the conversation!

Please Do Not Forget Our Children

With all of the ultra-connectedness that we appear to have through Technology, this is a plea to not forget those who cannot stand up for themselves, make their voices heard, their pain felt, their faces seen.

Directly from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website

  • The most recent, comprehensive national study for the number of missing children estimated in 1999: [1]
    • Approximately 800,000 children younger than 18 were reported missing.
    • More than 200,000 children were abducted by family members.
    • More than 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members.
    • An estimated 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These “stereotypical” kidnappings involved someone the child did not know or was an acquaintance. The child was held overnight, transported 50 miles or more, killed, ransomed or held with the intent to keep the child permanently.
  • In 2013, there were 462,567 entries for missing children under the age of 18 into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, also called NCIC.
  • To find the number of children missing from a specific state or territory contact the state’s Missing Child Clearinghouses.
  • The first three hours are the most critical when trying to locate a missing child. The murder of an abducted child is rare, and an estimated 100 cases in which an abducted child is murdered occur in the U.S. each year. A 2006 study indicated that 76.2 percent of abducted children who are killed are dead within three hours of the abduction. [2]
  • The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 202,667missing children since it was founded in 1984. Our recovery rate for missing children has grown from 62 percent in 1990 to 97 percent today.
  • The AMBER Alert program was created in 1996 and is operated by the U.S. Department of Justice. As of Nov. 3, 2014, 711 children have been successfully recovered as a result of the program. [3]
  • As of October 2014, NCMEC’s toll free, 24 hour call center has received more than 4,040,876 calls since it was created in 1984. Information about missing or exploited children can be reported to the call center by calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

According to Amber Alert‘s recent Tweet 728 children have been returned since 1996 (19 years)

  • This statistic is phenomenal for the Families and Children, but that is an average of 38 Children per Year
  • I personally received 221 NCMEC Alerts of Missing Children as part of the Partner Posters Program in 2014
    • That is approximately 1 Alert of a new Missing Child every 36 Hours
    • Over 19 Years, that would be approximately 4,199 new Alerts of a Missing Child; the ratio of Missing to Found is far too disparate

Our Missing Children are not the only ones in danger or at risk

It Is Not Enough for Us to be Outraged

  • Nor is it enough to pass judgement on anyone involved
  • Nor is it enough to simply remove the children from the home
  • We must provide more support to Children and Families and the Organizations that support and facilitate their wellness and well-being
  • There are many Organizations that have been created to support Children and Families but they cannot operate effectively when they are under-funded, under-staffed or poorly run and we can help in many ways
    • Donate!  Whatever phrase comes to mind, money may not solve ALL problems, but it sure as hell helps, and In-Kind Donations such as supplies, office equipment, vehicles, clothing and food are all extremely beneficial too
    • Volunteer!  For legal reasons, not every position in Child and Family Wellness Organizations can be staffed by Volunteers, but there are many ways that we lay-people can lift the burden and contribute our time and skills, whether constituent-facing, such as serving on a call-center/hotline or being a receptionist, or behind-the-scenes, such as building maintenance or technology support
    • Vote!  Many Child and Family Wellness Organizations receive funding from government entities (oh, and by the way, I count SCHOOLS among the Child and Family Wellness Organizations) and our voting can help drive the distribution of government funds IF we are united and clear

Find the Organizations that Support Children and Families

  • There are many Organizations that support and facilitate wellness and well-being for Children and Families; search your social channels, ask neighbors, co-workers and friends – more people may already be involved than you realize and it will get the conversation back in the real world
  • You can also leverage your search engines, City, County or State offices, local media and news outlets and volunteer matching sites to help locate an Organization where you can provide support of your own

Thank you.

How Divisions can break down Silos

That’s right…the powerful but not widely known Salesforce Divisions feature can actually help break down silos within your Organization!  This is one of my favorite features and it has been a while since we’ve discussed; please do not hesitate to add comments with additional feedback or resources for this feature!

Use Case

Most often when I recommend Divisions to Customers it stems from the following key requirements:

  • Organization includes 3 or more Business Units that generally function independent of one and other but occasionally cross-collaborate on National or Global Accounts
  • Organization has Executive Sponsorship that includes standardized processes; for example, a unified Sales Process that has a single meaning for each Stage (cannot have “Negotiation” at 30% for one Business Unit and at 70% for another)
  • Organization has a desire for both Business-Unit-specific and Org-Wide analytics
  • Organization has a public data model (Internal Org Wide Sharing for most, if not all, objects is public)
  • Organization is on Professional Edition or above

In the majority of instances where I have recommended Divisions in the past, it has been on an existing Org that had implemented a private data model with several very complex sharing rules and Teams to open data back up to the majority of users.  The initial reason for the private model and complexity, as I understood it from the customers, was typically due to complaints from users in a public data model about “too much noise” when having to sift through other Business Units’ records in Searches, List Views and Reports.

The Solution

  • In order to get started with Divisions, your System Administrator must log a case with Salesforce.com Support to activate the feature
    • Generally, the Support Team needs to know your Org Id and your Use Case; I recommend providing them a high-level explanation of your Org’s structure as well as your reporting and collaboration needs
  • Once the Divisions feature has been activated, you will need to assign a “Default Division” to each User (Note: this is a new field, it is not the standard text field labeled “Division”) and each Lead and Account as well as any Custom Object that is a “parent” in a Master-Detail relationship will need to be assigned to a Division
    • The Divisions can be set with native transfer utilities and/or a Dataloader
  • Divisions propagate down from the parent to all child objects such as from Account to all Contacts, Cases and Opportunities on the Account
  • From there, you can update your List Views and Reports to filter by the Running User’s Division but the cool thing is that the User can change the filter of any Report or change his/her default Search Division to be any specific Division or the “All Divisions” option

A Few Notes

  • In the Divisions documentation in Help & Training, there is a note indicating that you may benefit from Divisions if your Org has more than one million records…do not panic, that is not a hard/fast requirement for turning on Divisions; simply make a sound business case to your Support Rep and, in my experience, the feature will be turned on
  • Child records cannot cross Divisions so, as an example, you cannot have an Account in the “Global” Division with Opportunities, some of which are in the “U.S.” Division and others in the “U.K.” Division…Division is always inherited down from the parent record
  • Divisions is not a Security feature…there is absolutely nothing that Divisions will impact in tightening nor relaxing your existing security model…it is merely about minimizing the day-to-day “noise” across Divisions while still allowing for Org-wide visibility, reportability and collaboration when needed
    • This is directly opposite functionality from Territories which is deeply entrenched in Security and far more appropriate for a private data model
  • Once Divisions is enabled, it cannot be disabled, so it is highly recommended that you activate in your Sandbox (or, if you are on PE, in a Dev Org) and testing rigorously before pushing into Production

Additional Resources

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

Dear Santa…(my Spring ’15 Wishlist)

Dear Santa,

I have been a very good girl this year working hard with all my Salesforce friends to build up the Chicago Suburban User Group, the Success Community, Midwest Dreamin’ and the MVP Program.

As all of us around the world get ourselves ready for Dreamforce, I thought that I’d better start making my Spring ’15 Wishlist now (I promise that the list is smaller than a dissertation but it is definitely bigger than a Tweet).

Santa, my list is straight from the Idea Exchange and I have grouped it by Categories to make it easier for you and your Elves to consider; I hope that all of my Salesforce friends will add their votes to any and all that they love too!

Category 1 – Analytics

I know that I already have Analytics and my Reports (Tabular, Summary, Matrix and Joined), Dashboards (Static and Dynamic), Embedded Charts and Analytics APIs are well-loved (like the Velveteen Rabbit), but, as you can see below, I am growing up and my needs are changing.

 

Category 2 – Chatter/Community

I Chatter with the best of them, Santa, and I just can’t get enough of my Community!  May I please have these additional enhancements to make me an even better Communicator and Collaborator?  (P.S. May I also have my very own Chatty and Sassy dolls?)

 

Category 3 – SFA

Santa, I do declare that I am a proud ButtonClick Admin and I really love to Go With the Flow so if I could get these extra features, I would be able to impress the pants off of my Co-Workers and fellow Salesforce Friends!

 

Category 4 – Setup/Config

I work so long and hard to implement awesome solutions on the Salesforce platform but these additional items would really make my setup and config time a lot faster and more efficient.

 

Category 5 – Security

These are just some extra stocking-stuffers that would really make my job monitoring and supporting our Users easier.

 

Thank You and Happy Holidays,

 

Jennie Nelson

Winter

Happy Winter ’15, Y’all!

 

 

How to Become a Salesforce.com Partner

Hello!  A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on How to Become a Salesforce.com Consultant and one of the Readers suggested that a great follow-up would be tips on how to become a Salesforce.com Partner.

Please keep in mind that I, personally, do not work for Salesforce.com.  This post is merely tips and recommendations based on what I have seen, read and gathered from the Community.

Essentially, there are two main types of Partners in the Ecosystem: AppExchange Partners (aka Independent Software Vendor or ISV Partners) and Consulting Partners (aka System Integrator or SI Partners).  Special note – you can actually search for ISV and SI Partners on the AppExchange!

Consulting (SI) Partners

  • These are the System Integrators and can be found nearly worldwide in most, if not all, Salesforce.com markets
  • System Integrators are proficient in the best practices of implementing, customizing, training, developing and ongoing roadmapping of Salesforce.com
  • Certifications play an extremely important role in the System Integrators’ partnership with Salesforce.com and the following Certifications hold great value in the Partner Program
    • Administrator – there are 2 exams, Administrator and Advanced Administrator. In my opinion, the Administrator certification is considered the most pertinent of the two; the Advanced certification is certainly laudable but, from a Partner perspective, someone with Administrator and one or more of the other certifications listed below will carry more weight than someone who only possesses the Administrator and Advanced certifications
    • Implementation Experts – there are 2 exams, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, and both are highly coveted among the SI Partners and within the Salesforce.com Partner channel though, among the two, in my opinion, Service Cloud is of higher value because fewer individuals hold the Cert and Salesforce continues to strive toward a holistic Customer approach where they emphasize the platform which extends far beyond the base (Sales Cloud)
    • Developers – there are 2 exams, Developer and Advanced Developer. Within the Salesforce.com Partner Channel, both exams have value when counting the total number of Certs that an SI Partner Org holds. The Developer exam is essentially the Administrator exam for a Developer audience. The Advanced Developer Cert is highly coveted and very difficult; it includes, not only an Exam, but also a Programming Assignment and an Essay Exam
    • Architects – this is the most technical of all certifications…I only know of people who are studying for the exam, I do not personally know anyone who has made it through yet. The actual name is Certified Technical Architect and it comprises of a self-evaluation, the exam and a Review Board Presentation. Registration costs $6000 (yes, thousand) and you only get 2 attempts to pass
  • Quality of work is also extremely important within the Partner Channel; all SI Partners are asked to not only register their Leads, but also register Projects, share Case Studies and Survey their Customers post-Project to ensure that the level of quality and care expected of all Salesforce.com employees is being extended by Partners as well
  • I believe there are currently five (5) levels of SI Partners – Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Global Strategic – which are determined by a host of factors including, but not limited to the number of certifications a Org holds, the number of certified employees holding multiple certifications, quality of work, survey results and sourced revenue

Special Thanks to Blakely Graham (Bracket Labs), Jeff May (MTI Solutions and Consulting) and Eanna Cunnane (salesforce.com) for their insight on AppExchange ISV Partners!

AppExchange (ISV) Partners

    • These are the Independent Software Vendors with listings on the AppExchange and can be found nearly worldwide
    • Apps can range from free to paid and, ideally, are compatible with as many Editions (Group – Performance and Developer) as technologically possible
    • Apps may be utilities, packs (reports/dashboards or graphics) or full applications
    • Ideally, an App listing will include documentation and, in some cases, support offerings or a knowledgebase
    • All Apps on the AppExchange must go through a Security Review by the Salesforce.com AppExchange Team when posted and each time it is upgraded; ideally, Apps, particularly the full applications, will be updated in concert with each Salesforce.com Release – here are some recommendations from others who have gone before you:
      • Follow the ISV Guide step by step (also available as a PDF). If you jump ahead or decide something doesn’t apply to you, things can get complicated very quickly
      • Run the automated scanner and clear the results before submitting to security review: http://security.force.com/security/tools/forcecom/scanner
      • Start the contract process and the product build/security review in parallel (both can take some time)
      • Your product is only one aspect of the total AppExchange experience; be sure to have your launch marketing ready to go by security review
      • Fill out your listing completely and don’t hide your pricing
      • Make the install and buying process the best possible experience for your customers (and keep it straightforward)
      • Know the difference between all Editions – what works on EE might not work on GE and could prevent potential customers from installing successfully
        • TIP: Install and uninstall your solution on all Editions before packaging
      • Most important – talk to your customers (or prospects) – validate your product and the need before you write your first line of code
        • Make sure to also think architecture long before you start to build. How will your app be coded? What will it integrate with? How will you ensure it scales technically as your customers grow? Have you thought about security? Have you considered “special” metadata impact such as Record Types, Advanced Currency or Divisions?
        • Don’t reinvent the wheel; for example, an app with a custom object called Deal that lets you track sales activity would not be a compelling proposition
      • Make sure to have a Org username naming scheme. As an ISV Partner, you will have many, many orgs and logins. Trying to keep them straight without a username naming scheme is nearly impossible. For example, append .apo, .dev, .appA, .appAPatch, etc to your usernames so all you have to remember is the suffix for the org you want to log into
    • Often times, particularly with the full applications, the Providers will also offer Email Notifications and/or Webinars each time that a major Release comes out

How to Get Started

  • Start at the beginning and make sure to review all of Salesforce.com’s documentation regarding Partnership and Getting Started – make sure to read all of the tabs!
  • Once you have registered as a Partner, make sure to create your own Partner Dev Org – this is a very valuable tool for testing but you must have your Partner credentials to login
  • Join the Success Community and engage with Users and other Partners – we are a social community!
  • Make the most of Partner Support!  Salesforce.com offers a variety of support depending on your Partner type, make sure to read the full series of tabs and not just the Overview
  • Follow @partnerforce on Twitter

Special Contributors – additional contact information

How to Become a Salesforce.com Consultant (aka What I Wish I Had Known 10 Years Ago!)

MVP Certs and UG

I am asked many questions about what I do from friends, family and neighbors but the most popular question of late is “What steps can I take to pursue a career as a Salesforce.com Consultant?”

Here is my answer:

  1. Go to https://developer.salesforce.com/, click the “Sign-up” button and get your own Developer Org – it is free and it is Employer agnostic…it is just yours.  You CANNOT run a business out of it, but it gives you a username/password for the Success Community and a place to try out new features and learn without worrying about breaking anything for a real customer
  2. Once in, make sure to go to Help & Training and take the time to go through the online free training – there is a whole link for free online Training in Help and most people never go through it
  3. Login to the Success Community with your Developer Org credentials and get to know the Ecosystem, especially in Answers, Collaboration and Ideas. Be an active part of the Community, add your picture and a quick “About Me” and make sure you have a real Name, not “Evaluation User” nor “System Admin” – we can all learn from each other!
  4. Check out the Group in the Success Community called “Job Postings” – this is where we are trying to keep all Job Posts focused and centralized so that we do not have Job Postings nor Sales Pitches in the User Groups
  5. Search locally – you would be surprised how many local businesses have Salesforce, even if it is only Professional Edition, it is still experience and practice and a foot in the door – do some local searches for various newspapers’ online Classifieds and see if there is any mention of “CRM” or something similar
  6. Support Non-profits by helping out with Salesforce.com Projects through the Salesforce Foundation and their Partners such as Taproot Foundation
  7. Join the local Salesforce User Group (I am the Leader for the Chicago Suburban User Group).  It is a great way to network and a great environment to learn from others who have gone before you
  8. Follow and/or connect with Salesforce folks on LinkedIn and Twitter

We cannot wait to Get to Know You!

Salesforce MVPs