Getting Cozy with the Winter ’16 Release

Getting Cozy with the Salesforce Winter ’16 Release (1)This release is HUGE. With over 400 pages (a majority of them being Lightning related), it’s one of the largest releases I recall in recent history!

With so much emphasis on the new Lightning Experience, I thought we could focus on the other impressive stuff coming out in just a few weeks in the Winter ’16 release!

If you haven’t read through the release notes, you can find them here. I strongly encourage everyone to at least skim through them! I would also encourage everyone to join the Release Readiness & Feature Adoption Group on the Success Community. This group is full of resources for all new features and Salesforce releases.

Okay, let’s get cozy and dive in!

General Administration

I’m going to start about half-way through the release notes in the General Administration section because this is where I consistently find some great stuff!

Auto-Completion for Standard Address Fields
Perhaps many of you have used free tools on the AppExchange to help increase the efficient of reps when filling out addresses on records. Salesforce is hoping to alleviate some of that problem by offering auto-complete on standard address fields. There are a few downsides that make this feature usable to only a small set of Salesforce customers: State and Country Picklists must be enabled on standard address fields, and it’s only available on the Lightning Experience.

Create 150% More Roll-Up Summary Fields!
I’ve run into this issue before where the limit of 10 roll-up summary fields per object prohibited us from using standard declarative Salesforce functionality and having to come up with some crazy Apex solution. I did find out that you could request an increase in the number of roll-up summary fields, but an excellent use case had to be provided. Now, each org can create 25 roll-up summary fields per object by default!

Improved Picklist Replace Process
Ever modify or update picklist values and need to map old values to the new values? The process isn’t a difficult one, but there was a general lack of communication from Salesforce indicating the status of the job and what to expect. That’s all changing now with updated text and links to tell you how to check the job’s status, improved job performance and an email notification to the Admin when the job is done processing.

Restricted Picklists Pilot
Picklist fields are great for keeping your data clean by forcing users to choose only one value. However, there is a way to get around this, and that’s by inserting records via the API with tools like Data Loader. When a lead list is imported without having been scrubbed, for example, values in the Excel sheet that are mapped to a picklist field in Salesforce become values in the picklist.

NO MORE! With restricted picklists, the Admin can prevent these extraneous values from being loaded to the record via the API.

the voice christina

Global Picklists – Share Picklists Across Objects
YUP! This is a huge win for every Admin! Direct from the horse’s mouth: “Efficiently reuse a single list of values for multiple custom picklist fields. Global picklists make it easy to share picklists across objects by letting you create picklist fields based on a master list of values. And, they keep your picklist data clean by preventing users from adding erroneous or redundant values through the API.”

Salesforce App for Outlook
The Salesforce App for Outlook was released as a Pilot in the last release, and it’s now GA (generally available)! This app can be enabled for Microsoft Outlook Web App (OWA), Outlook 2013, 2016 and Office 365! It’s an excellent tool for those organizations that don’t want to use Salesforce for Outlook or have web-based clients where Salesforce for Outlook doesn’t work.

Well, that’s a heck of a list already, but there’s more!

Service Cloud

The Service Cloud has some remarkable improvements headed it’s way. Here are some that stood out to me.

Lightning Service Console
The Salesforce Console is now called the Lightning Service Console, and it’s been improved and redesigned to make it easier for both sales and service reps to manage their records in the efficient console design. Even though its name references Lightning, it’s available for in Salesforce Classic and is turned on for everyone!

Lightning Service Console

  1. Simpler lists with responsive columns and buttons to see more details without scroll bars.
  2. Custom colors for branding headers and footers, and new color options for primary tabs.
  3. Slicker sidebars to display custom console components better.
  4. Extra space to improve searching and reading experiences.
  5. Cleaner header to get right to search, apps, and settings.
  6. More modern fonts and icons with a consistent look.
  7. Neater case feeds for easier scanning.

Block Sensitive Data in Chats
For those organizations with Live Agent enabled, there are some significant improvements. One of those is the ability to block sensitive data in chats in real time. With these new rules, you can block strange data patterns such as social security numbers, credit card numbers and the like. You can even now block profanity! Either remove the text or replace it with your preferred characters.

Agents Raise a Flag for Help
Another great Live Agent feature is the ability to let agents raise their hands within the tool to get some help. Supervisors are alerted and can help agent immediately. And, the flag action within the chat can be added as a metric on reporting.

Redesigned Live Agent UI
The last release saw a redesigned UI for support agents; now the goodness flows to the customer side of the chat experience! The experience is more modern and clean with clear button actions.

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Omni-Channel Becomes Generally Available!
Omni-Channel is an exciting new feature from Salesforce Service Cloud. It enables Salesforce records, such as Cases, Leads, and SOS video calls, to be routed to the most appropriate agent based on logic. This logic considers availability, the severity of the request, and the request type! It’s like an automated round robin, but it’s smart! Plus, since it’s automated based on rule sets, managers no longer need to triage those records to support agents! If your company uses the Service Cloud, I would strongly suggest seeing how Omni-Channel can fit into that business process.

Report and List Knowledge Users
Creating list views on users based on permissions is helpful, and now, you can create a list view or report of users who are assigned a Knowledge license! Quickly see who has a license (and who doesn’t) and take action to reassign licenses or confirm Knowledge level permissions.

Salesforce1 Mobile

This release of Salesforce includes some general improvements for better access to notes and files, richer notifications and more controls for Chatter group owners and managers. It’s one of those “small but mighty” releases for mobile. Let’s take a look.

Mobile Device Emulators (Goodbye /one/
Over the last year or two, Administrators were able to emulate the Salesforce1 mobile experience by adding /one/ to a Salesforce URL as Salesforce1 on the desktop. This was great for teaching users how to use Salesforce1. If you want to emulate one of the mobile devices, Salesforce is now encouraging users to leverage the Apple or Android simulators. These simulators require downloading some tools that may not be easy to use for some Admins. So, I recommend leveraging a cheap tool called Reflector. Reflector lets you broadcast your device (Apple or Android) to any PC or Mac! I use this in my user training and find it to be pretty easy to use!

Action Icons Now Include Labels!
The Action bar at the bottom of Salesforce1 consists of icons. But the icons weren’t as easy to navigate for some users. So now, the icons also include labels! You can now quickly read what the actions are! This is super helpful for user adoption and overall app usability.

Warn Mobile Users About Duplicate Records in Real Time!
With the Duplicate Management tool, users had to click Save to determine if a duplicate record existed. While real-time alerts were available on Salesforce, this is now the default behavior. So, if you have Duplicate Management enabled for your organization, users who are creating records on Salesforce1 will be notified of potential duplicates as they fill in fields!

Delete Chatter Groups & Manage Member Requests
Group owners can now manage their group on the go! Owners and managers can now accept or decline members via the mobile device. And, if you need to delete a group, this feature is also now available via the mobile app!

Improved Notifications in Salesforce1
Currently, when a user opens the notification tray in Salesforce1, all notifications are marked as read when the tray is closed. Now, when a user clicks into one of the notifications in the tray, that item will be marked as read and the count of notifications will reduce by one. This will allow users to keep track of the notification items that they haven’t reviewed. If there are a bunch of notifications that a user wants to remove, they can now tap the new Mark all as Read link. Unread notifications will display with a darker background until read.


Aside from being able to manage Chatter groups and member requests from Salesforce1, here are some other Chatter improvements in this release.

Broadcast Groups Pilot
This is an all new type of group in Chatter. This broadcast group can be public, private or unlisted but enables only group owners and managers to create new posts. Group members can comment on the posts in that group, but can’t create their own posts. Broadcast Groups allow the conversation to be focused and relevant. It’s a great way to share specific news from departments or teams (from HR for example).

Group @Mentions on Records Create Group-Record Relationships
When mentioning a group on a record feed, the group record relationship record is created and the record displays in the Group Records related list in the group. Another great enhancement to the group functionality, allowing users to recall conversation and documents related to the group from within the group itself quickly.

Ability to Mute Posts
Have you ever commented on a post and you continue to receive notifications even though you aren’t interested in the topic any longer? Mute posts functionality is going to help with that! This feature is enabled by default and allows users to select Mute from the post’s drop-down menu. Users can also reply to email notification with the word mute. After a user mutes a post:

  • The post no longer appears in the feed on the user’s Home and Chatter tabs.
  • The user no longer gets notifications for updates to that post.
  • The user can use the Muted filter on the side panel to view the muted posts.
  • If someone mentions the user on a muted post, the post is unmuted. It reappears in the user’s feed. If the user has email notifications enabled, the user gets a notification about the update.
  • If the post was originally posted to a group, profile, and record feed, it still appears on that feed.

Rich Text Formatting on Text Posts
Rich text formatting is perhaps one of my favorite updates in all of this release! A Chatter post can now include rich text editing. It allows users to create bulleted and numbered lists, and allows bold, italic and underlined characters. This helps to drive engagement and readability of text posts in Chatter. WOWZA! Just look how beautiful and easy to read this is:

Rich Text Chatter Post

More Relevant Information in Chatter Feed
When following users in Chatter, any post or update made to their profile from another user would be included in your Chatter feed. With the new follow feature, you no longer see updates from people you don’t follow, making your news feed more relevant. You now will only see updates from people that you are following, along with the groups you belong to and records you follow.

This feature is not enabled automatically for existing orgs, so if you want this feature enabled, you’ll need to contact Salesforce support.

Automatically Remove Signatures from Email Reply Comments
Having the ability to reply to a Chatter notification is a huge functional win, but using this feature clutters up the comments by including the email signature as part of the reply comment. Now, a line separator can be incorporated in the response email to indicate the portion of the email to ignore from the Chatter post.

The separator line must have a minimum of on of the following characters:

  • Dash (-)
  • Equal sign (=)
  • Underscore (_)

Users can also include any combination of these characters.

Redesigned Email Notifications
Anyone who has been using the Success Community recently has noticed a considerable redesign to the email notifications. The improvements make the updates more readable and easy to use. Another great win!

Community Email Alert

For Chatter users, these updates are going to make a world of difference!

Process Builder & Visual Workflow

Everyone loves Process Builder! It’s capabilities continue to improve and is very quickly becoming one of the most loved features of Salesforce. There are some great updates to Process Builder coming in this release. Here’s what I found.

Schedule Multiple Groups of Actions
Time-dependent actions in Process Builder are vastly improved as you are no longer limited to just one-time schedule! Multiple schedules are now available and enable optimization of business needs and processes within a single process. This mirrors the functionality of the current time-dependent actions in Workflow Rules.

PB Time Schedules

Increased SOQL Limits in Processes
One of the main complaints I’ve seen in the Success Community is that there is a lack of bulkificiation in Process Builder which means SOQL limits get hit faster. This means that processes can adequately handle more than one operation at a time.

Customize the Look and Feel of Flow Interviews Pilot
This update to Visual Workflow is a neat one. With Visual Workflow, Administrators can create Flow Interviews that users can engage with to enter data on screens, much like a form wizard. In the past, the form had limited UI customizations. Now, with this pilot, the new REST API allows customizations to flow interviews. Here’s what can be accomplished using the new API.

  • Apply your company’s branding
  • Create two-column layouts
  • Create choice buttons instead of requiring users to select a choice and click Next
  • Render dynamic screens.
Dynamic screens

Notice how the text input changes based on the radio button selection.

Sandbox Enhancements

There are a few updates to sandboxes that I think we should get us all excited!

Auto-Activate a Refreshed Sandbox
Who doesn’t like a more efficient process! You can now automatically activate a sandbox after it’s been refreshed! Now, instead of waiting for the refresh to happen then manually activating the sandbox, this can happen in one step. #efficiency! When refreshing a sandbox, click Auto Activate under Sandbox options.

Let Users Manage Sandboxes with Improved Data Security
Occasionally, there may be a user who you want to give sandbox refresh permissions. Under the current permissions model, the user needs to have the Modify All Data permission to create, refresh, activate or delete a sandbox. Now, users don’t need that permission! Instead, they can be awarded the new Manage Sandbox permission to create, refresh, activate and delete sandboxes. Users with the Modify All Data permission automatically are assigned the new Manage Sandbox permission.

As I said at the beginning, this is a HUGE release and one that I’m quite excited about! Obviously, this post doesn’t cover everything, so this is your chance to let me know what you are most excited about in this release! Leave a comment below. You can also post your favorite Winter ’16 feature to the Community Group on the Success Community!

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  1. Sushil

    October 12, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Excellent summary of features! thanks for sharing.


  2. Ashish Agarwal

    October 12, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Wow !! This post is really very helpful. Thanks


  3. Joanna Korda

    October 12, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Thank you! There has been so much about Lightening experience, it is really good to see an article about some of the other fans updates coming through!


    • Brent Downey

      October 12, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks Joanna! I though the same thing! Can’t let Lightning have all the fun!


  4. Julie Gleason

    October 12, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you so much for doing an update that isn’t about Lightning Experience, especially since many of us won’t be able to switch to LEX right away.


    • Brent Downey

      October 12, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Totally! I know that my org won’t be switching anytime soon so these non-Lightning Experience updates are more important to me right now!


  5. Ted Hazard

    October 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Well done, Brett! This list is outstanding. Your well articulated summaries of the key non-lightning features in Winter ’16 will be play a central role in my next team meeting!

    Thank you!


    • Ted Hazard

      October 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Sorry about the typo, Brent!


    • Brent Downey

      October 12, 2015 at 3:20 pm

      Awesome Ted! I’m glad it was a beneficial read!


  6. Natalie Avdich

    October 12, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    This is awesome! Thanks Brent! I have gone through the release notes but struggled to pinpoint some of the non-lightning related features relevant to me. You have done just that.


    • Brent Downey

      October 12, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      It was a little confusing for sure, especially since some of the features are available in Lightning only, Salesforce Classic only or both!


  7. Chad

    October 13, 2015 at 8:19 am

    Awesome summary. Glad i saw this post. It just reminded me to activate my full sandbox!! looking forward to the auto-activate feature. HA!


    • Brent Downey

      October 13, 2015 at 8:51 am

      LOL! Yes, that is going to be an awesome new feature!


  8. Tanmay

    October 17, 2015 at 4:53 am

    Thanks Brent! That’s great work, musst have saved hours for me going through the release notes.

    Regarding missing SF1 simulator, you can bring it back with this small tweak! I hope this helps.


  9. Gorav Seth

    October 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Found 2 buried treasures this weekend.

    Increased no. Of values in msp to 500. Now you can have a msp w all the countries in the world.

    Reporting on chatter topics w records. This was buried in the other chatter features section, but is so awesome. Reporting limited to record Id and name but a big step, and easy enough to join w addl data if needed.


    • Brent Downey

      October 21, 2015 at 8:52 am

      I love these little nuggets! You never know what you’re going to find!


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