News & Resources — Tips & Tricks

Buan’s Tip of the Month:  Salesforce Communities by Senior Consultant David Solsberry

Dave SolsberrySalesforce Communities, a useful way to share and exchange information with customers or partners, is a new feature of the Salesforce Summer 2013 release. Communities helps make business processes social – it lets both internal and external users interact in a secure way throughout your business.

Salesforce Communities is intended to replace customer portals. If organizations currently use customer portal, they will be able to continue doing so; however, customer portal will no longer be offered in future Salesforce releases.

Multiple communities can be created if the situation warrants, each with a different purpose.

For example, one community could be created with an eye toward reducing support costs, while another community could be created as an information source for an upcoming event.

It can draw from features and data available in your Salesforce organization and can be customized to use company branding. The layout can be customized, supporting both Visualforce and Site.com extensions. You can also choose which members from your company, customers, partners, or other people outside your company can join.

An example might be a support community that enables customers to get real-time information about their particular Cases. Support staff, in turn, can more closely monitor these cases to increase time efficiency and clarity with customers.

To begin, go to Setup | Customize and enable the Communities feature. From there, an easy-to-follow wizard gets you up and running in no time.

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Once your community is created, a Community Settings menu awaits. By visiting each of the five sections – Members, Tabs, Branding, Login Page, and Emails – a new Community can be fully designed and functional in less than five minutes.

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  • Members is where the users or groups that will have access to the community are specified.
  • Tabs specify which tabs or objects will be included and available.
  • Branding sets the images, logos, and color schemes that users will identify with the community.
  • Login Page sets the images, logos, and color schemes of the login page.
  • Emails can use existing email templates, or a predefined template specifically for communities.

Once enabled, communities can be accessed from a drop down menu in the upper left corner of your Salesforce screen.

Company ABC can now accurately report for each user the amount that their 3% commission will be based on in real time and motivate them to meet their personal goals.

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Integrated with the new Summer ’13 chatter-topics and chatter-publisher options, Communities brings new levels of flexibility to external access, customer and vendor engagement.

You can read more information in Salesforce Help & Training or contact your Buan Consultant for any questions you might have at 410-263-2707.


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