Southeast Dreamin Atlanta

So many workshops, so little time – which ones do you choose? This year’s Southeast Dreamin’ is packing quite a punch with the workshop and speaker list. If the workshops continue to look this good year over year, we may see Southeast Dreamin’ usurp Dreamforce! Well that might be wishful thinking, but if the organizers could get a killer local act (Ludacris, Outkast anyone?), who knows?

I’ve dug into the workshops and speakers quite a bit, and here’s what really stands out to me. Hopefully this helps you in your decision making process. Like trailmixes? Here’s are some SE Dreamin’ learning mixes for you – enjoy 🙂

Looking to Kill It in Nurturing (Especially Pardot)?

ATL is the birthplace of Pardot, Salesforce’s powerful B2B nurturing machine. Out of the box, you can construct rich nurturing campaigns, build lead capture forms, score prospects, track website visits, and quite a bit more. Going beyond, the sky is the limit. Whether you’re looking at Pardot, newly familiar or deeply versed, there’s a myriad of fantastic workshops for you at Southeast Dreamin’.

But it’s not just the tooling that should intrigue you – it’s connecting Pardot to things like Salesforce Campaigns (to measure ROI) and getting face time with some killer Pardot leaders that are well worth your attention. Nurturing your marketing and sales leads with tools like Pardot can be easy out of the box (NOTE: I say this cautiously), but putting all the pieces together, and further, executing a sound marketing strategy in these tools can be quite tricky.

In this realm, SE Dreamin’ has TONS for you ranging from learning what nurturing is all the way up to fine tuning your programs to really drive some big revenue opportunities for your company.

Looking to Take Your Aura, Apex, and LWC Development Skills to the Next Level?

Salesforce LightningIf you’re not familiar with names like Kevin Poorman, Jitendra Zaa, Amit Chaudhary, Rajesh Varma Mudunuri, and Mohith Shrivastava, you haven’t been reading Salesforce developer docs or Googling your way through problems enough. These folks have a killer presence on the twitter, stack exchange, and many other Salesforce developer forums. Some have even published some fantastic books (you’re welcome Mohith), blogs, and content across the web to help you step up your Apex, Aura, and Lighting Web Components (LWC) development game.

The hot new topic is LWC, and Southeast Dreamin’ delivers on this. BUT, I’d argue the topics that may not get as much attention as LWCs, like how to write mocks in unit tests, asynchronous apex, and (especially) incorporating CI into your build process (this is a MUST HAVE these days if you’re not there already) are arguably more critical to pick up if you have needs in those areas. There is a little bit of a learning curve in all of these areas for all of us – as much as I like to brute force my own way through learning these, these fantastic workshops will get you there at least ten (if not a hundred) times faster. It is rate to get up close and personal with development topics and pros like this – this is where geeks like me will really be focused on sharpinging our technical chops.

Looking to Become a Seriously Advanced Admin and Declarative Developer?

This is arguably where Southeast Dreamin’ covers the widest, largest breadth of territory. It is also (for me at least) the toughest area to select which workshops to attend!

Salesforce shines on clicks, not code (buyer beware* here – it’s not a binary strategic choice; it’s knowing when to use which), and Southeast Dreamin’ offers a plethora of skill building workshops for killer admins and declarative developers. There appears to be quite a focus on process builder, flows, and lightning pages – all of which (arguably) are the most powerful UX and automation tools available to admins and developers to use in lieu of lightning components & pages and apex solutions, like triggers. Workflows are nice, but… they only go so far. These tools give you some killer fire power.

Flow and Process Builder Automation

Business person typingSalesforce continues to improve upon these core technologies release over release. Flow (builder) just got a HUGE makeover in lightning – goodbye Flash! While you can still declare variables and lists, run records through for loops, and put together fantastic interview screens quickly, many names have changed, and some items (i.e. – the FAST database operations) appear to have disappeared.

With flows, process builder automations are coming along nicely too. There is so much you can do with clicks and even interacting with invocable apex classes. Coupling these two together, or even coupling a process that kicks off a headless flow that itself invokes an apex class (putting it all together), gives you some killer configurable solutions you can turn on and off with clicks. Putting all this together can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it appears these workshops will get you over this hurdle.

Killer User Experience in Lightning Pages, Console, and Service Cloud

Lastly, if you haven’t taken a deeper dive into console, lightning pages, and all the fantastic service cloud functionality you can access in console (think knowledge, macros, omnichannel, etc), there’s even more here at Southeast Dreamin’ for you. If you were able to go around and hit the following workshops, you have essentially a powerful grounding in building incredible console based service cloud experiences with little or no clicks:

  • THE UNSUNG HEROES OF CONSOLE APPS – ALL THE FEATURES YOU’RE NOT USING, BUT SHOULD
  • MANAGE BUSINESS PROCESSES WITH APP PAGES
  • KCS IS FOR CLOSERS

That right there appears to be a complete, comprehensive sweep through the very best that console and service cloud have to offer your users. Even those of you with deep experience in service cloud and console could benefit from finding those little things that may have confused, plagued, or evaded you over the years to round out a cleaner UX.

Cleaning up Messy Orgs

It’s no secret that many of you out there have nasty, ugly, poor performing, and hard to maintain orgs with TONS of tech debt. In fact, I think you past clients, present, and future for keeping me employed! You don’t have to come forward and admit this publicly, but you shouldn’t sit back and ignore the problem if it’s getting in the way of your end users doing their jobs (and especially if it creates unnecessary waste for you).

There are a killer hidden gems here that might escape your eye here if you’re just skimming through the topics. I would advice you to focus your workshop selection here:

  • LEARN THE 3 KEY SUPER-POWERS FOR ADMINS USING ELEMENTS.CLOUD
  • FSL LESSONS LEARNED: HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FSL IMPLEMENTATION
  • ORGS GONE WILD! AN ADMIN’S GUIDE TO ORG SIMPLIFICATION
  • WHAT IS EVENT MONITORING AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

dirty dishesEven though some of these take on a more security focus, security is often where big orgs (especially) have killer holes, some of which have PII, PCI, HIPAA, and other types of regulatory implications. Orgs don’t fail to deliver on objects and automation alone – they often put companies at risk (majorly) on the security side as well. Nobody wants to be on the 5 o’clock news or see their company lose major revenue because of a security risk gone wrong.

However, arguably the most exiting topic for me is the one that might appear at first glance to be a sales pitch, but it’s really not, especially if you wisely use the free option. Tired of managing disparate requirements, design docs, data dictionaries, process diagrams, and generally versioning background / business context for your entire org implementation? Having trouble figuring out where the hell your fields are being used and what data volumes they contain? If so, elements.cloud is a KILLER solution for you.

Whether you’ve hired help or not, this tool arms you with some powerful capabilities to understand much about your metadata and where many of the inefficiencies in your org lie. It is not a silver bullet to solve all of your problems (and it doesn’t really solve anything per se), it’s a metadata analytics super tool to give you the insights you need to start the long, painful process of getting your org back on track again.

Coupling this with the ORGS GONE WILD! AN ADMIN’S GUIDE TO ORG SIMPLIFICATION workshop, you may be able to plan out your org cleanup project with little or no help at all, although I would advise you always to work with a seasoned architect if you don’t have access to one already. This will ensure you have a solid path forward and don’t compound the pain you’re feeling today.

I <3 #ohana

makena beach in maui hawaiiMy career path has not really progressed in a straight line. In fact, my background is quite diverse – I’ve had the good fortune to work across many industries as a consultant and full time employee, such as banking / financial services, insurance, hospitality, healthcare. I’ve also worked in many capacities ranging from telesales (early career), to mining data as an analyst, building reporting and analytics apps, building mobile apps, and now building a myriad of killer Salesforce apps.

In all these lives I’ve lived, I have never seen any business or industry adopt a culture like #ohana here at Salesforce. As Salesforce states, “in Hawaiian culture, Ohana represents the idea that families — blood-related, adopted, or intentional — are bound together, and that family members are responsible for one another.” Salesforce lives and breathes this internally, in the community, and especially, here at Southeast Dreamin’.

Where else could you learn about Einstein’s background as a philanthropist, the paramount cultural importance of inclusion at your company’s core over more superficial benefits like a ping pong table, and how to incorporate charitable giving into your Salesforce implementation? These are fantastic opportunities to network with like minded good people and go beyond the technology that powers our organizations.

At the end of the day, it is people who show up 40 hours (and often more these days) to work to drive success. Culture is everything in powering recruitment, retention, and just plain ‘ole fun and satisfaction at work. If you’re not paying attention to, and more importantly, embracing, ideas like these, now is the time to start. Salesforce is propelling not just the tech industry (what oracle conferences boast topics like these???), but also corporate America in terms of how we think and work together. I am PROUD to be a part of #ohana and all the positive change it is bringing to our work lives together.

Oh my, Where to Go?

The general theme of the admin and developer workshops is to massively accelerate your learning around technical topics. While you can normally fumble through your learning on your own (thank you trailhead and google!) – oftentimes an expert can give you some killer clarity on how best (and when) to use these tools, not to mention how to cross the chasm from the old to the new when something upgrades on the platform. This is another opportunity to move faster through picking up the latest and greatest. Southeast Dreamin’ affords you some great opportunities to shortcut your learning time by exponential factors.

Luckily, you don’t have to fear about making a bad decision here, no matter what track you choose. What you choose will empower, educate, and ennoble you to drive killer solutions for the organization you serve. Good luck in making your decisions – if you’re able to align your focus in a track like we’ve laid out here, you’re likely to get a much higher return on your investment. You’ll be able to move across workshops, assemble topics together, and ask all the great burning questions you have about how to tie all this together.

Happy trails to you, and see you soon at Southeast Dreamin’!

‘* I mention this for a future topic to explore here on our Collective Force blog. Working across many clients, implementations, and industries, I have witnessed a rampant misperception that code is bad and should never be used on the platform from very smart, talented admins and declarative developers. We’ll dive into this hot topic in more detail to explore when to code and when not. This is a fantastic topic to explore all to itself.