A new Trailhead trail, Navigate the Salesforce Advantage, was just released. The stated goal of the trail is to “learn about the key differentiators that drive our success: our core values, innovative technology, and vibrant ecosystem.” and it definitely delivers on that. The rest of this post consists of my take on the trail, along with my thoughts of what was interesting or useful, and some of my own experiences related to the topics.
Salesforce Success Model
The Salesforce Success Model module starts off with a quick unit, Getting to Know Salesforce, which gives a good introduction into what Salesforce is and the different ways it can be utilized by businesses. That quick unit follows with another quick unit, Introducing our Four Core Differentiators which gives great explanations of each of the four differentiators: Customer Success, Leadership, Innovation, and Giving Back. After completing this module, someone that is new to Salesforce should start to have a very good idea that Salesforce is a different type of company.
Being in a technical role, I am impacted in a big way by the Innovation differentiator with Salesforce. I love to hack around, but the number one reason I’ve always liked developing is to make people’s lives and jobs easier. Salesforce is constantly producing more and more technologies and features that make it easier for me to make it easier for other people. Another reason I’ve always enjoyed my work is that I love learning new things, figuring them out, and understanding how to use them effectively With Salesforce, there is a ton of new innovation three times a year for me to consume.
Salesforce Cloud Benefits
The Salesforce Cloud Benefits module starts of with the Succeeding with a Complete CRM unit which introduces the concept that is the core of Salesforce’s business: it’s suite of seven Salesforce apps. The information in the unit that I thought was the most useful was the point made that more isn’t necessarily better, but rather the goal of Salesforce is to be able to provide the right mix at the right time and evolve with your needs.
The other unit in the module, Propelling Your Business with the Cloud, explains the difference between on-premise and cloud and includes a nice explanation of SaaS with a useful analogy (complete the unit to see it!).
Salesforce Technology Basics
The Salesforce Technology Basics module begins with the Getting Behind the Trusted Cloud unit and the Learning the Value of Multitenancy unit which discuss the security and multitenancy aspects of Salesforce. One point of emphasis that got repeated was that Salesforce runs on a single codebase in the cloud. One reason that I think this is a useful point to be made is that it enables very small companies to have the same level of security and infrastructure as very large companies.
It continues on with a unit, Understanding the Power of Metadata which gives a very good non-technical (but still somewhat technical) explanation of what metadata is within Salesforce and how it benefits customers. The video in the unit is great (do the unit to see it!).
The module finishes with the Experiencing Fast App Development and Customization which discusses point and click and code development. A quote I’ve heard before that development with Salesforce is five times faster on the platform than on traditional development was cited in this unit. It is real and I experienced that on the first Force.com project I worked (read about it here).
The Salesforce Ecosystem module starts off with the Leveraging our Community, Resources, and Events unit which highlights how those can be leveraged. I think that the importance of the AppExchange cannot be understated. The goal when trying to provide a solution should always be to use standard point and click functionality first, then apps from the AppExchange, and then custom code. With the AppExchange in place, where you might otherwise need to write custom code, you instead can just use an app.
The module finishes up with a Vanilla Ice named unit, Stopping, Collaborating, and Listening which goes into detail about the Salesforce community. Most of my experiences are within the developer community. I cannot overstate this enough. The Salesforce developer community is the best by a long shot. There is an excellent, and growing, community of developers who help out through blog posts, forum answers, twitter, developer groups, etc. If you ever need a little help, do not be afraid to ask. If you want to learn, try helping others.
The Navigate the Salesforce Advantage trail was an excellent look into what makes Salesforce…Salesforce. I recommend heading on over and blazing your own trail!