If, like me, you identify yourself as a System Admin, you’re probably always looking for ways to achieve every business requirement declaratively, which means using the point-and-click solution that Salesforce CRM offers.
How about when it comes to automation? Sure there are a lot of ways to choose from what Salesforce has laid out for us. Nowadays, being able to automate things is a must, not just because tasks get done ‘automatically’ but because it saves time from all those manual entries, drives efficiency and helps the business run smoothly.
In the current Salesforce automation paradigm, the following are the commonly used tools that can be managed by a System Admin.
These execute actions based on the triggered event. With workflow, you can create a new task, update a field, and send email alerts and outbound messages. Let’s say an opportunity is closed won, then we wanted to send an email alert to specific users; that can be achieved using just this tool. Workflow rules are not able to create, edit, or delete records though.
Another way to automate business processes, and is the upgraded version of the workflow rule. Though it can’t send an outbound message like the workflow, with process builder you can update any related record, send an email, invoke a flow, submit a record for approval, and post to chatter. For example, when an opportunity is moved to closed won, a chatter to Sales and Delivery team members will need to be posted; process builder is the simplest way to achieve this. Process builders can also create records, but they can not delete them.
Flow/Lightning Flow Builder
This is popularly coined as the ‘future of Salesforce automation’. You are able to create, edit, and delete any record passed into the flow. Records do not have to be related in order to pass data in a flow. Let’s say a case is identified as spam. With flow you can automatically delete the case along with its related contact and account. You can also schedule it to run on a set interval.
So, how do you decide when to use each one of these processes when some things can be done using any of them? Generally one would say, it depends on the complexity of the requirement. However, in most cases, knowing where the data for the processes comes from and where it needs to go will determine which of these power automation tools to use for specific processes.
Additionally, to get things working in great shape, we also need to consider making things ‘future-proof’. We must be mindful of what’s in the roadmap for Salesforce automation. According to Salesforce, “moving forward we will be focusing our investments on Flow. We recommend building in Flow where possible, and resorting to Process Builder and/or Workflow only when necessary. We will continue supporting Process Builder and Workflow rules within their current functional capacities, but do not plan on making further investments”.
However, this doesn’t really mean that we are saying goodbye to our two good pals workflow and process builder. They are staying and are still available, but no further enhancements are planned for them.
If you want to jumpstart your Flow skills, you can check out the vast list of resources that will guide you through what you need, including Salesforce Trailhead, knowledge articles and many tutorial videos.
Salesforce is such a powerful CRM tool but everything has limitations and Salesforce is no exception. Flow may be the future of Salesforce process automation, but sometimes complicated logic comes into play that requires multiple steps and actions. In these situations, all these declarative tools to automate processes may become hefty, although that doesn’t mean it isn’t achievable. If something can’t be achieved using any of these three mentioned tools, then you may be better served with robust Apex code, with the help of our talented developers.