These days, it seems the people with answers are reluctant to share the whole picture until you pay full price. If you want the full episode of X-Files, you must purchase it. If you want to write a full document, you have to buy the software package. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s simply a fact of life in the world of commerce. But when it comes to changing systems or discovering ways your Salesforce platform can better serve the unique needs of your workplace, it’s nice to know there are communities willing to share knowledge while walking you through the process. Whether you are looking for basic questions on fields or extensive direction on coding, Salesforce communities are emerging as a preeminent source for online technology expertise.
Salesforce Success Community
With a following exceeding two million members, this forum offers help for specific questions covering a variety of topics. What makes this community unique is its ties to the MVP program. Candidates are required to participate in this service as part of the MVP incentive program. Candidates must participate in the communities at least 9 days per month, and they must have a strong understanding of the product and needs of a particular community. As a result, they provide expertise that is unsurpassed in any other online help site.
Salesforce Developer Community
These sites are designed for more technical dialogue and aren’t geared toward administrators or casual users. These forums are for people who are customizing code and other technical issues. Also with every update, Salesforce releases a large documentation set which addresses bugs and features and provides the full explanation of the reasons behind the features, its functions, and developer documentation. If you want to know why a particular feature or field was removed from your platform, this documentation will explain why.
Salesforce Nonprofit Community
Since Marc Benioff’s SaaS impact is probably surpassed only by his philanthropic efforts, it is not surprising that Salesforce would provide services for the nonprofit sector. Usually, support forums don’t break down into specific industries, but Salesforce singles out nonprofits and recognizes their unique needs for tracking their operations.
This community addresses the customized non-profit platform and application. Experts answer questions on how foundations and service organizations can track donations, families, and companies. This forum easily handles questions unique to the nonprofit community and directs administrators to fields that are ideal for tracking their data.
Success Certifications Community
This community illustrates the power in personal experience. Rather than hiding a successful strategy for achieving a particular level of certification, this community is anxious to share one’s experience and the method used to acquire certifications. There is no sign of territorial competition in this forum. Instead, experts regularly share steps of how they achieved levels of certification, and I consider this a great resource. The information is reliable and trustworthy since it is shared by Salesforce MVPs.
Moving upward through the various levels of certification requires support from those who can relate because the testing environment is atypical. To uphold certification integrity, testing is unique. Salesforce tells you if you passed or failed, but no scores nor old test samples are available as study materials. The reason? The overall goal of certification is knowledge not mere memorization.
For example, if you are preparing for the administrator test, it is recommended you take the exam one year after you have been working in the position. Your practical working knowledge will be an essential component during certification testing. The Salesforce environment may be designed as self-help, but it is geared more toward self-improvement, and the goal is to achieve application knowledge, not merely memorization. This testing strategy maintains integrity through verifying application from work experience.
“Our customers often tell us that getting connected to a user group can be incredibly helpful in furthering your adoption of salesforce.com and making your organization more successful.”
–Salesforce Users Group site
There is an enormous amount of knowledge shared within user groups. As an example of that unique connection, every month in Salt Lake City there is a new user group where two people will present something specific on what they have worked on recently. Most likely, this presentation topic is something other users have struggled with as well. As a Salesforce user, I get inspiration from seeing someone handling something live, and I enjoy the unity this environment creates among Salesforce users. Within every community, I receive the complete story, the full experience, and the whole enchilada.
Whether a forum encourages hands-on applications, technical coding, certification strategies or live instruction based on personal experience, everyone can benefit from a community, and Salesforce is leading the way while building leaders in the process.