Yesterday, July 23rd, was the sixth day of my vacation, and so far one of my favorite days. No, I didn’t go to the beach or anything like that. I attended the NYC Salesforce.com User Group and helped facilitate User Group Therapy sessions. You may be reading this and looking at the title again, saying to yourself, “Didn’t she just say vacation day?” Yes, you read correctly.
A few weeks ago, I received an email from Kendra Webb-Scott, the NYC Salesforce.com User Group Leader, stating that she was going to be trying something new at the NYC User Group called User Group Therapy. The description of this read, “You asked, and we listened! Our focus for the next meeting is all about YOU! One of the biggest benefits of the User Group community is getting tips and best practices from your peers to make the most out of your CRM. That's why we're introducing User Group Therapy - an open forum session to allow all attendees to ask questions, seek advice, share experiences and generally help each other out.” When I read this, I immediately knew I wanted to attend this and offer up to help out. I can’t think of a better way to give back to the community that has helped me so much than to facilitate a session like this.
Kendra had this broken out into three different 45-minute sessions, which were held downstairs from the main area where the partners were presenting. There really weren’t specific topics, but each session had different facilitators. The session I was facilitating with Jean Winget was first at 9 AM. That first session had around eight attendees. After brief introductions, we jumped right in and the questions and comments just started flowing naturally. The questions included making sure the right people were informed about Opportunities, building mobile apps, data integrity, tools for data cleansing, and some general adoption questions. My co-facilitator, Jean, is a database/data expert and offered up some great advice on what to do if you have dirty data coming in from an integration, and who you may want to reach out to at your company to help you fix it. We ended the session by talking about some great administrator tools that come out-of-the-box, such as workflow, validation rules, visual workflow (flow), and of course, my favorite, publisher actions!
After the first User Group Therapy session ended, it seemed that word spread like wildfire about what was going on downstairs. As I was gathering my things to head back upstairs, I realized how big the group had gotten in the room; it more than doubled in size for the next two facilitators, Ohad Idan and Carlos Frias. I decided to stay because I thought there might be even more interesting discussion, because Ohad and Carlos both act as both admins and developers at their respective companies. I have always enjoyed hearing their perspective on things, so I knew this was going to be a great session.
The second session started similarly with brief introductions, then everyone just jumped right into it. The first question was around Documents vs. Content. Various people in the room, including myself, were able to answer questions on Libraries, some best practices on Libraries and some benefits of Content. Then, someone in the room made a comment about the session in general, “I can’t say the word workflow at my company, because I’m the only one who understands what that word means. I love that I can come here and talk to others who know what that means and can talk about challenges, ask questions, and see what others are doing.” This started to lead the discussion around the path of community, not just community, but The Salesforce community and how great it is. Carlos pulled up the New York User Group page on the Success Community and showed everyone how to access it. People in the room started to share their stories of how much the community has helped them over the years. Carlos and Ohad started to go through the different tabs on the community. When they got to the Ideas tab, more discussion started to happen on why you should vote on ideas. Ohad pointed out that they now put in the release notes all of the ideas that were delivered in that release. I talked about how one of my ideas was delivered in this release, and how many Ideas points Salesforce Product Managers released this past release. I also talked about the power of the community, and how if outside of these meetings if anyone needs advice just post on the New York User Group Page. Once they got to the Answers tab, some of the attendees started to recount Steve Mo answering their question. There was a lot of community love in the room.
One of the other major topics discussed was Chatter, on successful rollout and adoptions. There was one name that must have come up about five times during this discussion, and that name is Becky Webster. There were several of us talking about some of her great blog posts as well as her Dreamforce presentations from last year. We plan to post them on the New York User Group page so everyone can watch because they are so helpful.
After the community discussion, the second session wrapped up with questions around communication and training to users and some best practices. There were so many great suggestions in the room for the newbie admin. In my opinion, this is why these sessions were so successful. You had people from all types of companies, in various roles, helping each other be successful.
Allister McKenzie and Vikram Kamra, who both have a wealth of Salesforce knowledge and experience, facilitated the third session. It was actually Vikram’s first user group in NYC, but even though he didn’t know anyone, he was completely willing to help as many people as possible and share more than a decade worth of Salesforce knowledge. I figured I had stayed for the first two sessions, why not stay for all three? I’m so glad I did. The third session went through even more detail on Chatter, including some of the benefits and how to convince your manager to let you roll it out. There were so many great suggestions around this. We also talked about the different types of Sandboxes, what a Sandbox is, and how you should use it. I talked about how our developers use the different types of sandboxes for our development process. I also encouraged everyone in the room, after they make sure they are on the success community, to go to developer.salesforce.com and sign up for a developer org. It’s free and you can play with all sorts of stuff.
In the morning, I had set a goal for myself that I wanted to try and help five admins at the user group. Together, we helped around 40 admins of all levels. We received extremely positive feedback about these sessions, and Kendra has now made this a staple for the NYC User Group! I am so happy to have been a part of this.
I will never forget when I first attended the NYC User Group and how happy I was to get help with my formulas. If it weren’t for those people, I may not have the career I have today. I’m hoping that at least one person has the same feeling and maybe at the next meeting they will help facilitate a session and pay it forward. After reading this, I’m hoping now you will see why this was my favorite day of my vacation so far. To me, this isn’t work, this is fun.
As always, thank you for reading.
P.S. – if you haven’t attended your local user group, definitely do so, you can see a list of all user groups here.