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AppExchange All-Star: Steve Molis, Epsilon

Reports & Dashboards

You probably know this month's AppExchange All-Star better as "SteveMo".    Steve Molis is a 2 time hall of famer on the Salesforce Community site and a huge contributor to both Salesforce Ideas and Answers.   Read on to learn about some of the apps and tricks he has used over the last 8 years as a Salesforce admin.

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I’ve been the Salesforce administrator at Epsilon since our initial roll-out in August 2003.  Since then we’ve grown from 28 users on 1 Org to over 500 users on 3 Orgs located in 9 countries.  With that my responsibilities have grown from resetting passwords to creating custom validation rules, workflow rules and DIY application development.  Unfortunately my budget for third party solutions has not grown, and I don’t have any experience writing Apex Code or Visualforce, or as the famous bear and Salesforce admin Winnie the Pooh once said “For I am a bear of very little brain, and long words and Apex Code bother me”. 

When I find myself needing to build something that is beyond my grasp (and budget) I often turn to the AppExchange, and specifically to Force.com Labs apps.  They are a life saver for the budget and coding challenged Salesforce admin.  Even if they cannot solve the problem “out of the box” they often provide me with the building blocks to jump start custom app development, or the inspiration to implement an improvement on my Salesforce org.    

Here are just a few of my favorites: 

Data Quality Analysis Dashboards
Like a lot of you out there we’ve wrestled with data quality as our Salesforce orgs have grown.  You may find this hard to believe, but sales reps hate to do data entry (shocking isn’t it?)  The Data Quality Analysis Dashboard Pack was published by Force.com Labs and is available (for FREE) on the AppExchange.
 
It gives you:
•    4 Dashboards, 25 Reports (which can all be customized)
•    Data quality scoring on most standard objects (which can also be customized)
•    Data quality descriptions to help identify gaps in record data

Now the Data Quality Analysis Dashboard Pack comes with a lot of great reports and dashboards, but not every one of them is going be a perfect fit for every Salesforce org.  So I took the parts that were the best fit for my Salesforce org and customized the quality scoring a bit.  For example: our sales reps aren’t calling the switchboard at corporate headquarters, so "Account Phone" isn’t worth 20 points to us, but "Contact Phone" and "Email" are. 

The code can easily be copied and added to custom objects as needed with just a few clicks.  We now have an Executive Data Quality Dashboard that is emailed to our executive users every month and a Weekly Opportunity Data Quality Dashboard that is emailed to our sales users every week.  It gives a us a real insight into the problems areas that we need to focus on, as well as the low hanging fruit, and the quick fixes that we can address. 
 
Opportunity Primary Contact Required
Often times sales reps will take the “easy way out” and simply create a new opportunity at the account, without ever linking it to a specific contact.  This may not be a problem in small Salesforce orgs with just a few contacts and opportunities per account.  However in orgs with numerous contacts or opportunities per account this can wreak havoc when accounts are transferred to a new user.  It also presents a problem when trying to identify key contacts for inclusion in marketing campaigns. 

Opportunity Primary Contact was published by Force.com Labs and is available (for FREE) on the AppExchange.  It allows you to make the primary contact required on an opportunity with a simple and easily customizable formula field (all of the heavy lifting is done by Force.com Labs).     

Developer Edition Account
My all-time favorite isn’t really an “app”, it’s the Free Developer Edition account available on Developer Force.  It’s a full featured Salesforce org where you can kick the tires on AppExchange Apps, roll up your sleeves and "look under" the hood, and really learn how to build and develop, and take your Salesforce skills to the next level.  This is a complete Salesforce org that comes Pre-Loaded with Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities, Products, Cases, Solutions, and Contracts.  All of that test data that you LOVE to manually create, just so you can test your code to make sure that new custom button you’ve been working on doesn’t cause your neighbor’s printer to catch on fire every time you click it.  In addition to this, you also get access to the Force.com Workbooks and Force.com Cookbook Recipes

If you do nothing else, do yourself a huge favor and sign up for a Free Developer Edition account.   What are you waiting for?

Salesforce Answers
Okay this isn’t an “App” either, but I just have to mention it.  The Answers Community is the place to connect and collaborate with other Salesforce Users, Admins, Developers from all over the world.  If you have a question, we can answer it (or at least get you pointed in the right direction). 

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