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Omniscripts vs. Salesforce Flow for building a guided UX 

Feb 25, 2022 | Admin, Latest News

Salesforce acquired Vlocity (now known as Salesforce Industries) two years ago to the impressive tune of $1.33B. It was a huge strategic grab for Salesforce, giving the platform industry-specific journeys and responsive mobile software. It’s been gaining popularity over the years due to its laser focus on industries with the biggest digital transformation challenges, by providing out-of-the-box data models tailored to each industry’s specific needs, along with rich user experiences and integrations to industry-standard systems.  Its momentum has only accelerated since Salesforce has started integrating it into its industry-specific clouds and the core platform. 

With recent, drastic improvements to Salesforce Flow, and the introduction of Omnistudio automation tools onto the platform, there has been a lot of confusion about whether to use Omniscripts or Salesforce Flow to build guided user experiences on the platform. Salesforce Flow has become a real player for creating robust UX, but compared to Omniscripts, has a much more restricted breadth of application.  It is critical to evaluate and understand which tools are best suited for your business, technology, and maintenance priorities. 

In this article, I’ll break down the differences and provide the Simplus recommendation between the two tools across five key areas of consideration: branding, user experience, usage analytics,  and responsiveness, data integration, performance, and implementation and maintenance

 

The TLDR 

1. If you need to build responsive, picture-perfect, robust, complex, step-by-step guided user experiences, especially for your customers, and especially ones that involve a high degree of data manipulation or complexity, use Omniscripts. 

2. If you have very simple flow requirements that serve more of an accessory function for internal users, choose Salesforce Flows.

The chart below outlines some key, high-level requirements typical of most user experiences and compares how Omniscripts and Salesforce Flow support (or don’t support) each requirement.

 

 

Branded UX as a Priority

Simplus recommendation: Omniscripts

If you are building a guided experience to be used by both internal users and your customers, or even portions of an overall function that would be used by both, and you’d like to maintain consistency with the styling of your customer-facing website and web-based apps, Omniscripts are your best choice. 

Omniscripts provide support for CSS styling, and you can publish internally branding changes that happen externally with the OmniOut technology. 

Salesforce Flow does not natively support CSS styling. To work around this, you would need developers (Apex) to build custom Lightning Web Components and then incorporate those into the flow. 

 

Building for Mobile Users and Customers

Simplus recommendation: Omniscripts

 

Responsiveness

When it comes to UX, responsiveness is critical. Omnistudio makes it very easy to design Omniscript screens (and Flexcards) for screens both big and small. Salesforce Flow does not inherently support responsive design.

 

UX Best Practices

Standard practice for any UX is to always show users the number of steps in a particular process, and their progression through that process.  Additionally, with the current trend for icon buttons (as opposed to text), and rich graphical content (such as detailed product pictures from multiple angles), rich graphical UI support is a must.

Omniscripts natively support a breadcrumb feature – without any extra work on the developer’s part.  Omniscripts also support graphical buttons and images, which enable developers to implement elegant UI designs.   It also includes a rich library of user input validations, and the ability to specify an error message to display above the offending field.

Salesforce Flow does not inherently support breadcrumbs/steps, robust UI elements such as icon buttons or graphics, or on-screen user input validation with error message handling. That’s not to say you can’t incorporate these elements using Salesforce Flow, but it would require either a clunky design with lots of conditional screen text (in the case of error message handling) or building custom Lightning Web Components to build something comparable to what could be done with OOTB Omniscript capabilities. 

 

Clickstream Analytics

In order to understand the behavior of your customers to fine-tune your offerings or your applications to user behavior, it’s critical to capture clickstream data and be able to harvest insights into the behavior of your customers, channel partners, and internal users. Every UX built on the Omnistudio platform provides you the opportunity to gain insights into your users’ and customers’ clicks and navigational decisions, out-of-the-box. 

Salesforce Flow does not support clickstream analytics. This would need to be custom-built and incorporated into the flow.

 

Data Integration

Simplus recommendation: Omniscripts

Another key component of guided UX is data integration. This can include retrieving data from external systems (not Salesforce) to display in the flow, sending data from the flow to an external system, operating on a set of data that may come from multiple sources, and using systems that are industry-standard and connected to Salesforce.  

 

Homogenizing Data from Disparate Sources

Omniscripts is again built with all of these needs top-of-mind.  As one example, it is easy to build a “Find Customer” experience for call center reps to search both Leads and Accounts for a customer’s name or phone number, and retrieve a single, unified list of Customers that match the criteria – no matter if the record is sourced from a Lead or an Account.  

 

Retrieving Data from External Sources

You can easily retrieve or update data between external systems and Salesforce using REST APIs, or, for less common or complex APIs, you can plug in Apex classes. There are also several pre-built APIs available for download from the Salesforce Industries Process Library, which offers a selection of several out-of-the-box integrations to industry-standard systems such as  SAP-ISU for Energy, Matrixx for Communications, and NPES and CAQH integrations for HLS. 

Unfortunately, Salesforce Flow does not accommodate any ability to homogenize data from disparate sources or offer any data integration capability OOTB without additional Apex custom builds. 

 

Performance & Caching

Simplus recommendation: Omniscripts

Oftentimes it is desirable to tune performance with respect to either caching specific user records/interactions or caching records frequently accessed by multiple users, caching specific data, or forcing cache refresh on certain events. 

Omniscripts offers multiple caching options that allow you to customize caching for DataRaptors and Integration Procedures to be either at the user-session level or the org level, with robust configuration options such as setting time to live, refresh/ignore/add to the cache, or even skip caching on an error. Salesforce Flow relies on native Salesforce caching. 

 

Implementation and Maintenance: Fast to Build, Easy to Maintain

Simplus recommendation: Salesforce Flow

For those who want things done as quickly as possible to make things easier for the end users to use, such as automated record creation or an enhanced request process. If this is the case, Salesforce Flows are the best choice. They’re a fast and flexible tool for internal users to simplify and automate routine user interactions with Salesforce. Omniscripts are intended for more involved, complex flows.

Additionally, if you don’t have a development team at your disposal to build and maintain a complex coding system, you’ll want to use Salesforce Flows as well. A typical Salesforce Admin won’t have the Omniscripts skillset, but Salesforce Flows are perfectly within the realm of possibility for your average admin. 

 

The WRAP

The functionality and flexibility of Salesforce Flow is fantastic—for many situations. But if you have a Salesforce Industries installation and require robust, picture-perfect, and responsive user experiences in a complex environment, you will want to use Omniscripts, which is especially true if you are building anything intended to be customer-facing. 

If you have simpler requirements that are accessory functions for your internal users, Salesforce Flow is the best pick. 

Whatever you choose, Simplus is a trusted Salesforce partner with years of experience and a wide breadth of experience creating solutions for clients in any industry, any size. We can advise your business wherever you are on your digital transformation journey. 

 

 

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