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IT experts’ panel part 2: Salesforce

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Hi, today I invite you to a second launch of our blog. We stay on the topic of low code. We’ll be asking our expert, Łukasz Lelakowski, what is this Salesforce and what’s it all about. 😉

 

What is Salesforce? Is that a platform?­

 

Yes, Salesforce is a CRM (customer relationship management) platform, entirely cloud-based. It's divided into different clouds, offering different services, different features out of the box. So that's it in a nutshell.

 

What is Salesforce used for? I understand that it’s CRM but for what exactly?

 

Salesforce is by definition used to handle customer relationships in a broad sense. Above all, it is about sales. Sales Cloud and Service Cloud are the two main clouds. Sales Cloud is used for the sales process itself, Service Cloud for handling cases. Then they also split into other clouds. It can also be Marketing Cloud, which is personalized marketing campaigns and user interaction, it can also be Pardot which is email marketing. There are many salesforce products for different tasks and business scenarios. The salesforce itself also offers a lot of scope for customization and the ability to create your own implementations.

 

Is it necessary to be a Salesforce developer and not for example .NET developer in order to implement changes in the platform?

 

Generally, the entire Salesforce offering consists of multiple types of licenses in terms of users and different editions of the platform itself. And here it depends on the needs of the business. For most businesses, Sales Cloud and the out of the box features it offers are enough to get them started. Later there may be some possible modifications, which can be done using no code or low code, that is declarative tools in salesforce. When it turns out that what can be set up or configured declaratively is insufficient, or the business process is much more complex, or there are complex integrations, then salesforce developers step in. And we have the APEX language in salesforce, which is an object-oriented language very similar to Java. Using it requires programming skills. My experience is that there are a lot of people who used to work in .NET or Java and they switched to Salesforce and it is quite easy for them. Switching to this language is simply getting to know its capabilities and also its limitations. For people who have some experience in object-oriented languages, programming in salesforce is not difficult. Only in Salesforce there is also such an element as the characteristics of the platform itself, i.e. what can or cannot be done on it. You implement or do things differently than in other systems, because in Salesforce you have to bear in mind: the platform itself has many limits because of multitenancy. It's all about limits, which in Salesforce's assumption is to maintain balance in the use of resources by customers who use the platform, that is the management of cloud server resources. Programming in Salesforce, and especially being a Salesforce developer, it's a big challenge to design a system or application to keep these good practices, because something that can be done in .NET without the slightest problem in terms of performance or limitations there, in Salesforce can be a big challenge, so in this aspect Salesforce is very demanding.

 

Please tell me, because it’s like building with Lego blocks, isn’t it? Creating things from what already exist, whereas if you want to create a separate feature you have to write in from scratch.

 

Well a lot depends on the company’s policy, because if you have people who know the declarative tools well and the company accepts the possible limitations of using declarative tools, then in the case of Salesforce we have Process Builder, Flow Builder or Workflow. However, while the Flow Builder will remain in the future, Salesforce intends to discontinue these two other tools. For most companies this Flow Builder will be sufficient. This is certain. But if there are actually some more difficult elements, then APEX is needed. And here indeed, for declarative tools you don't need to have some strictly programming knowledge, although this knowledge is certainly useful.

 

Is Salesforce only efficient for companies that have sales or can you turn Salesforce into an application of other use?

 

It can be turned into application of other use and our company is a good example of that. While Salesforce is tailored for sales of things, recruitment is de facto sales as well, just with people. So due to the fact that salesforce provides many mechanisms that allow you to customize the platform to your needs, then yes. You can use the Salesforce database, these standard objects of a database for your implementation, and then develop it with custom objects, with your own structure, also with your own APEX code, which will support it, you can also possibly use these declarative tools. And then you could say that you use Salesforce as kind of a database. Plus the whole infrastructure, the whole security, that's what we have at the very beginning, or things related to user management. That's what Salesforce provides for us. We don't have to worry about that.

 

What does the development of Salesforce look like?

 

There are three major releases a year done by Salesforce. These are the Spring, Summer and Winter update. New features in the platform are implemented as part of these releases. There are also bug fixes or security holes are sealed.

 

3 times a year is quite often, isn’t it?

 

Well, yes. You need to keep an eye on it and do a proper regression, because things can happen there, and sometimes even looking through the release notes isn’t always fully efficient. You just have to double check everything. Especially if you have a very customized implementation.

 

Does that mean the platform is constantly evolving?

 

Yes. Salesforce itself evolves quite heavily. Generally this can also be seen, for example, in the companies and technologies that they buy. Recently, the biggest deal was Slack.

 

I’ve noticed that there is a big demand for Salesforce developers on the market, not only in Poland, but also abroad. How can you become a Salesforce developer?

 

In order to become a Salesforce developer you ought to have a basic understanding of any object-oriented language, preferably Java.

 

So basics of Java?

 

It would definitely help you find yourself in an environment of Salesforce. Also I think studies aren’t that necessary here.

 

But you need some sort of trainings?

 

The cool thing about Salesforce is that there's a whole platform called trailhead that you can learn from. These are such pre-made paths. Whether you're a Salesforce administrator, consultant or developer, there are plenty of modules and they're prepared in a nice, clear way. We have a module, we read the whole manual for it. At the end, we always have abcd questions, or we have to do something actually on the platform. It's free, and in fact, to start learning salesforce that way, you don't need any financial outlay or access through a company, because you can easily make trailheads modules on such a Sales Cloud and just learn it.

 

Why did you choose Salesforce and what was your path?

 

My path? Hmm when I started out in IT, I wanted to work as Frontend developer. I came across a project in which I was creating e-mail templates in Pardot. So firstly HTML, CSS, JavaScript and due to the fact that it was connected to Salesforce, through Pardot I switched to Salesforce tasks. And I liked it, I liked the development path, all those trailheads and growing Salesforce community. And the fact that there's definitely so much variety, because you're doing things in frontend, you're working with the database. Sometimes there is also something from the administration. There's such a wide spectrum of this work and thanks to the fact that it's varied it's actually more fun. It is also motivating to learn and develop. You know, when you're working somewhere with everything at once, it's great to do these certificates, because they give you an idea of what's worth using in Salesforce. What are some new features that might be worth investing in in your company. Moreover, even if you already have such a certificate and pass the official exam, you need to refresh it once a year. This consists of working on a particular trailhead module, on solving some small tasks, but they also motivate and even force the holders of these certificates to familiarize themselves with the latest features in Salesforce, because this kind of certificate ... these trailhead modules must be done, so that the certificate does not become invalid.

 

That’s great, it motivates you. You don’t get bored.

 

Exactly. From what I remember you needed to do 3 modules a year (one for every Salesforce release). If you have a big number of certificates it’s quite a lot of work.

 

I read that Salesforce presented forecasts on the need for Salesforce specialists in Poland (link: https://www.salesforce.com/eu/blog/2020/12/salesforce-economy-in-poland.html).

 

The results were that Salesforce is growing very much and in Poland there will be an increasing need not only for Salesforce developers but also for people working with Salesforce in general, this may even be business analysts, administrators, consultants. There are many different roles that can be played in the company.

 

So in other words, Salesforce is strongly evolving?

 

Yes, Indeed.

 

Thank you very much.

 

Thank you.

Bartosz Hetmański

Mendix Expert

Alicja Laube

Senior IT Recruiter

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