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Streamline your automation with Salesforce Flow

March 15, 2022By
Illustration of automation sequence

With the Spring ‘22 release, one of the most anticipated announcements was the enhancements to Salesforce’s premier point-and-click automation tool, Salesforce Flow.

Using Salesforce Flow is a great way to automate your organization’s Salesforce instance, saving your team time and resources so you can spend more time on strategic initiatives. Whether you’re new to Flow, are looking for tips on building high-quality, fail-proof Flows, or are concerned about the transfer of existing automation built on old tools, we’re here to help introduce you to this powerful tool.

What is Salesforce Flow?

Salesforce Flow is the best-in-class automation tool that lets admins and developers create robust automation with clicks, not code. Compared to other available tools, Flow gives you unprecedented control over how you automate, the order of execution, and the scope of records you can manipulate—all in one action.

It’s a great solution for any organization looking for tools that favor “clicks” over code. This allows you to automate work without relying on a custom-code solution that requires upkeep and extensive platform knowledge.

Retirement of Salesforce Workflow Rules and Process Builder

You may have heard Salesforce is now retiring Process Builder and Workflows and encouraging users to start building in Flow to prepare for the transition. This might be a big shift for a lot of organizations, but there’s a lot of opportunity in making the switch. We’ll explain what the Salesforce Workflow and Salesforce Process Builder retirement means for you and your org.

How organizations can use Salesforce Flow

If you’re new to Salesforce Flow or your current automation is working just fine, you might be wondering why you would bother moving to a different tool. Well, since the announcement of the Salesforce Workflow and Salesforce Process Builder retirement, you’ll want to reduce technical debt in advance of this.

First, Flow’s interface starts with a blank canvas, making it easier to create automation daily with all the tools you need at your fingertips. Plus, with Flow, you don’t have to worry about multiple tools triggering each other and stepping on each other’s toes.

Currently, tools like Process Builder and Workflows only let you update and create records of one object type. For example, the process builder for a contact can only create and update contact data. With Flow, you can access, manipulate, and manage almost any set of records in the system, launched from a much wider array of events within your Salesforce instance.

Here are a few Flows that come ready to help streamline your automation:

  • Before Save Flow: Automatically check a series of child records before updating the parent. This could include checking for any open opportunities before identifying an account as dormant.
  • After Delete Flows: Take action on records after a record is deleted.
  • Subflow and Flow Orchestrator: Connect two pieces of automation together, firing one after the other.
  • Point-and-click Flows: Rather than custom triggers you can use this flow to update a set of records once a week or at the same time every day.
  • Screen Flow: Walk your users through a series of screens while they input new data into the system.

For example, let’s say an applicant comes to sign up for your job training program. If you want an interface that walks your intake specialist through a customized list of questions, checks to see if the applicant is already in your system by matching their email address, creates the appropriate Contact, Account, Case, and Program Enrollment records, and sends an email confirming enrollment in the program, you can automate all of that using one Screen Flow.

Salesforce Flow will upgrade your automations

One of the greatest things about Salesforce Flow is its simplicity and ability to streamline automation that would previously take multiple sequences. This is clear from comparing automation in Workflow versus Flow. Below you can see how a simple email update automation requires three Workflows in what takes Flow just one.  With Flow, one automation is created and three steps can be built within that single flow. This means less maintenance and a much more visual representation of the steps, making it easier to understand with just a look.

Salesforce Workflow Rules
Screenshot from Workflow
Salesforce Flow example
Screenshot from Flow

The visible sequence in Flow not only helps in understanding the process in Flow, but you can even test it without changing a single record and watch the path your test record takes. This means that organizations no longer have to risk changing data, even if it’s just in a sandbox, in order to see how an automation will fire.

Gif of creating a Flow

With Flow, organizations have more control over automation, how it’s triggered, and what you can do with the record. This creates more opportunities for streamlined processes and consistent communication.

Finding success with Salesforce Flow

While it might seem like the opportunities with Flow are limitless, there are still cautions organizations should consider when working with Flow. Like other automation tools or faulty custom code, a poorly built Flow can cause issues in your Salesforce instance. Here’s how you can avoid Flow failures:

  1. Use best-practice patterns: It’s not easy to think like a developer, but consider “bulkification” when possible. This means thinking less about “If this record changes, do this” and instead, “If 1000 of these records change, what happens to the 1000 records connected to it.” There are many great resources that can help set you up for success and lay a great foundation before diving into your automation.
  2. Update your playbook: There are some Salesforce automation rules that need to be revised and recommendations are evolving. Previously, the recommendation from Salesforce was to have one type of automation on an object, and one version of that automation running at any time–whether that was Process Builder, Apex Trigger, or Flow. This was very hard to do and was made even more complicated by the fact that no single tool did all of the things that the other did. That will not be the case anymore.
  3. Evaluate the needs of your organization: As we adopt this single robust tool, it’s important to look at what automation will be most beneficial to your team and to consider what obstacles you might encounter. There are a lot of options available through Flow, so finding the right fit for your organization will be the key to success.

Migrating existing automation

If your organization has existing automation with Process Builder, there’s no need to be concerned about losing familiar functionalities, as Flow is just a more sophisticated version. Plus, Salesforce is ready to publish a tool for migrating your existing workflows to Flow in Spring ‘22.

However, if your organization has automation for one object built on each of these tools, you’ll likely have a lot of new flows all in one place. This can be challenging for admins and can inhibit further development within your Salesforce instance, potentially creating opportunities for tech debt.

Focus on strategic initiatives, not broken automation

This is where working with an implementation partner like Traction on Demand can help set your organization up for success by consolidating Flows into simpler, more unified automation.

With the right analysis of your existing automation and Salesforce instance, your organization can prevent tech debt and instead lay a strong foundation of best practices that allow for quicker, smarter, more reliable automation. As a result, your team will spend more time focusing on your strategic initiatives rather than trying to figure out where automation may be broken.

Manage your organization's tech debt.

Our team can help–we’ve been developing best practices for Flow for years and can help you get on the path to a healthier Salesforce org using Traction X-Ray.