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Salesforce Heretic » Salesforce.com

April 14, 2006

Mail Merge - The Third Rail of Salesforce.com

Filed under: Salesforce.com, Mail Merge — heretic @ 5:22 pm

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Mail Merge — What I’m sure is one of the most used extensions to Salesforce.com, is also one of my most hated things. In fact, every time I hear it come up I cringe, because I know it’s not going to be good. I’ve gone as far as to label it The Third Rail of Salesforce.com. (Ok, so I kinda stole the thrid rail bit from Social Secuirty and Politics, but it fits…)

When one of my clients was evaluating new CRM packages circa July/August 2004 we ran Salesforce.com through it’s paces. We tested the security model, custom fields, even ran a quick test mail merge… We knew we’d find some limitations, no surprise to anyone really, but everything seemed ok. The client migrated all his data and went live Oct 1st, 2004. And woah did we miss something with Mail Merge… (more…)

April 10, 2006

Progmatic Access to Salesforce.com Reports

Filed under: Howto, Salesforce.com — heretic @ 8:51 am

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Every once in awhile the topic gets broached on the Salesforce.com forums about getting access to reports via the API. Still no dice on that though, but there are a few tips and tricks you can use to get your data — if you’re willing to work for it. (more…)

April 5, 2006

The Elusive Five 9’s

Filed under: Salesforce.com — heretic @ 8:58 pm

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The Salesforce.com marketing machine went into hyperdrive today with this press release, quoted in part below, emphasis mine:

SAN FRANCISCO, April 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM - News), the technology and market leader in on-demand customer relationship management (CRM), today announced it has delivered 99.999% planned uptime and availability on its service to its customers over the past month.

Before I get into the point I wish to make, I thought I’d mention I’ve really found myself becoming a fan of Steven Colbert’s new show, The Colbert Report. Nevermind The Daily Show, both with season passes on my TiVo… After reading that press release I feel like ‘borrowing’ Steven’s “Tip of My Hat, Wag of My Finger” segment…

First, a Tip of My Hat to the Salesforce.com team for pulling off the five 9’s feat. Clearly an about-face from where things were in late Janurary. A Wag of My Finger for having needed to put the word “planned” in the press release at all. Five 9’s is truly an impressive feat, until you look at the platform availability including the nearly-every-weekend maintenance windows. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. (Note: For those non-customers, just because there have been maintenance windows does not mean the service was unavilable for the entire window, if at all.)

I understand, and can appreciate, how many customers are more or less 9 to 5 shops. But with Customer Self-Service, and some SFDC orgs running 24/7/364 (or more), every Saturday maintenance tends to get tiring. In fact, I end up spending a good amount of time on Friday making sure offline clients are synched and my client’s disaster recovery plans are in place for an extended outage. Here’s to hoping there’s an end in sight, and the next uptime press release doesn’t have that word in it.



April 3, 2006

Homepage and Dashboard Auto-Refresh

Filed under: Howto, Code, Salesforce.com — heretic @ 11:56 pm

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The Salesforce.com customer forums has some interesting discussions from time to time. Back in December Salesforce.com user jay07 posted a thread entitled “Favorite Home Page Elements.” In it some nice home page components were disccused. I offered my personal favorite - the homepage auto-refresh.

My placing an HTML META refresh tag inside the “Messages and Alerts” homepage component you can cause the home page to reload at certain intervals. The upside to this change is that users who leave their homepage acive in the background of their PC will never be logged out of the system. It’s also a significant drawback too.

A user replied asking if there was a way to have the dashboard automatically refresh too. Unfortunately at the time while there was a way to do it, it wasn’t very pretty. With the new UI in the Winter ‘06 release this became alot simpler. (more…)