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Salesforce goes with the Flow - The future of automation in the platform

One of the beauties of using a business intelligence platform like Salesforce is having the ability to optimise your time and your business and automate processes that use to be tedious and time-consuming. The power of automation is to save users’ time and make sure required tasks are being done while improving the quality of your data.


In the past, complex Salesforce automation could be intimidating and hard to implement without the help of a developer. Simpler problems could be resolved using workflows and process builder but for more complex automations code-based solutions using APEX were the only option.


The introduction of Flows changed all that. Flows not only can use GUI (Graphical User Interface) elements for end-users to interact with but are capable of becoming your one stop shop for Salesforce automations. Salesforce has announced to retire Process Builder and Workflow Rule automation in the near future and already started to provide tools to move customers to Flows. It will then be the preferred tool for Salesforce admins and functional consultants to build effective and powerful automation, and innovate faster than ever before.


Why Flows?


The answer is fairly simple, simplicity and efficiency. Salesforce Flows was thought to allow everyone to create and edit automations and GUI forms without the need to code or the help of a developer. Flow builder is also a lot more complete, versatile, and user friendly than its predecessors. Flows include functionality that Workflow Rules and even Process Builder simply can’t do and can provide a large range of functionality that was previously only accessible to developers. In order to improve the automation building experience, Salesforce designed Flow Builder with four key design principles in mind: Clarity, Efficiency, Consistency, and Beauty. With those principles in mind, the new Flow Builder features:

  • Familiar and intuitive shapes to make flows easier to read

  • Lightning-fast performance built with the latest technologies

  • Standard controls based on the Lightning Design System to make the builder more efficient to use

  • A simplified toolbox to make it easier to find the element you’re looking for

Apart from the simplicity, Flows standout with regards to its possible applications:

  • Create Screen flows

  • Create background tasks that can be manually triggered (e.g. press of a button)

  • Trigger flows that fire when certain events happen (e.g. record change)

  • Scheduled tasks

In summary, Flows is the no-code tool that allows you to work your way up to code level automation. While flows are a no-code solution, they can be described as visual coding, and you need to understand some programming concepts like variables and how logic works to use them efficiently.


Spring 22 Release - New Features


When we discussed the Spring 22 release with our team at Micado, there was one clear theme that got everyone excited, Flows. We all agreed Flows make the lives of Salesforce Admins a lot easier and there is something exciting coming out with every release.

While every previous Salesforce release has added more and more useful features to Flows and its Flow Builder tool, the Spring 22 update has introduced a lot of new improvements, making the solution even better to an extent. It can compete with code-based solutions to solve a large variety of problems. For the latest Salesforce release those two updates got some of our teammates dancing on their desks:


Flow Trigger Explorer


Flow Trigger Explorer is a new feature that allows Admins to see and manage all Record-Triggered Flows on a per-object basis. In other words, Flow Trigger Explorer shows all of the flows that are associated with a specified object and that run when a record is created, updated, or deleted. For example, quickly see all flows that are triggered to run when a case record is created. This gives you a simple but effective view of your automations and allows you to better control what is happening to your Salesforce instance.


Manage the Order of Execution of Record-Triggered Flows


In an org there can be multiple Record-Triggered Flows per object and it is important to have the ability to specify which Flow should come before another. Without controlling the order customers may experience incorrect updates on object records due to the simple fact that two flows are executed in the wrong order. That’s where the new Trigger Order field on the Flow’s Save page comes in.

With “Trigger Order” option we can set the order of execution of record trigger flow. While saving the Flow you can set the Trigger Order number field. You can enter a number from 1 to 2000 to prioritize the order that the flow triggers run for a specified object. The Trigger order value will determine the order that flows with the same object will execute.


Migration Considerations and Planning


After Workflow Rules and Process Builder retirement announced people worried the migration to Flow would be a difficult and lengthy process, but it doesn't have to be. Salesforce just released the Migrate to flow tool to help migrate your Workflow Rules to Flows and its migration tool for process builder flows will follow soon after.

Now, the migration to Flows is an excellent opportunity to rethink the automation rules set up in the past and optimise the processes in place. The number one thing to do now is put a strategy in place and plan how the migration will be done. Performing a major migration of your Salesforce automations is not something to be rushed and requires rigorous testing to ensure that nothing has broken in the process.

Given that the technology behind Flow Builder is quite different and gives you much more versatility since it is a lot more feature-rich, there may be a better way to build your automations, and this can save you a lot of time and money in the future.

Our recommendation is that you consult with an expert before making the change to the new tool, as it may be a good idea to reconsider your current automations setup, rather than simply perform a 1-1 migration.


Find your trusted partner


Salesforce is definitely all-in on Flows as their primary and soon-to-be only automation tool. Depending on your business, and depending on the resources available within your business, you may not be ready to begin the process of migrating your legacy automations just yet.


Remember, it’s important to plan and test your migration prior to execution. If you have any doubts or think you can improve your automation processes, do not hesitate to contact us and our experienced team of experts will help you assess your options and guide you to the best path to easy and effective automation.

Sources: Thomas Ernst | Salesforce | SalesforceBen |