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Salesforce TrailblazerDX - automating the way to a future where enterprise software comes to you

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan April 27, 2022
The developer branch of the Salesforce Ohana is gathering in San Francisco today. Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris explains the importance of this and points to what's to come.

Parker Harris

As Salesforce’s TrailblazerDX developer gathering gets underway in San Francisco today, the recurring themes are automation, the power of the platform and making life easier for non-developers. Or as company co-founder Parker Harris puts it:

Why do it yourself if you can have the computer do it for you?

He expands his thesis:

At Salesforce, we really see a world where enterprise software is not going to be something that you have to proactively log into or go activate; it's something that's going to come to you when it's important, through the power of automation. That's what's so exciting and what we're talking about this week. We see automation as the orchestrator. It's able to pull people in at specific times - when human sentience is needed for decision making, or for simply an approval -  and as a trend [with a]  tremendous amount of potential. With automation, you can automate processes and workflows with low code  - or you can do it with no code at all...Everyone's always looking at ways more productivity...and that's the power of automation.

Automation is already delivering some impressive stats, according to Patrick Stokes, EVP of Salesforce Platform:

Automation is where a ton of innovation is happening and it's where so much of what we're launching this week is...Salesforce Platform is now powering more than 1 trillion automations per month. This is really an incredible number. It's about 44 billion automations happening every single day and coming to over a trillion a month. We estimate this as driving over $2 trillion in customer business value for our customers.

Coming attractions

So what is being announced today? For starters, there’s a significant expansion of Flow, Salesforce’s automation suite. The firm points to:

  • Flow in Slack to combine Slack’s collaboration capabilities with Salesforce low-code automation tools to "invoke rich business processes built in Flow inside of Slack". Flow in Slack will be released in beta in June, with general availability in October.
  • New Flow Actions to enable customers to launch workflows in Salesforce Flow directly from a Tableau dashboard, which the company says enables users to “go from insights to actions, and eliminate problems that arise from switching between multiple applications to get work done”. Meanwhile Flow Orchestration uses automation to simplify multi-step and multi-user processes.  Flow Orchestration is available today.
  • New Flow Integration to enable admins and developers to integrate data from any system with clicks, and invoke processes in any Flow. In addition, Flow RPA leverages Robotic Process Automation technology from MuleSoft - natively integrated in Salesforce Flow - to bring in data or take action from legacy systems. Flow Integration is available now, while Flow RPA will follow in the second half of this year.

Stokes says:

What makes [Flow]  so special is that it's very no code, low code. It's empowering. So anybody - not just developers, but folks that are actually within the business - can come in with Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, whatever they have from Salesforce, and automate within their business themselves.

It's a very empowering tool because anybody can use it…With Flow, service agents can now automatically route work across teams. Wealth managers can focus more on client outcomes by automating repetitive data entry, rather than doing that themselves sitting on the phone and typing it in. Healthcare providers can improve the patient experience by automating referral processes. And you can just go on down the line for any type of of industry.

Other announcements include:

  • Anypoint Code Builder, a new Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to enable developers to create APIs and integrations with a modern user experience built on Visual Studio Code. This is pitched as enabling developers to design, implement, and deploy APIs and integrations from a single environment in “days instead of weeks or months with costly custom code”.
  • Salesforce Platform for Slack, a new toolkit that empowers developers to build custom Slack apps that pull key functionalities – like actions, automations and business insights – directly from Salesforce into Slack. Apex SDK for Slack will allow developers to write in Apex code they’re already familiar with and automatically generate Block Kit. Salesforce says this means that developers can now build for Slack by bringing context to any custom Slack UI, using Apex to fetch Salesforce records, creating reusable views, and routing events between Salesforce and Slack.
  • Beta availability for multiple Salesforce for Slack apps, including Sales Cloud for Slack, Service Cloud for Slack and Marketing Cloud for Slack.

Of Salesforce Platform for Slack, Tamar Yehoshua, Slack Chief Product Officer, says:

This is going to enable 11 million Salesforce developers to be empowered to build applications in Slack. This means that all of the existing knowledge they have about the Salesforce Platform, they can use to build Slack apps. They can use their existing development skills that can leverage Salesforce authentication, UI definitions, and automation and bring that into Slack with no middleware.

As for Flow in Slack, she adds:

What Flow in Slack does is it takes the Salesforce Flow and connects it with actions. In a low code way, I can make a workflow in Salesforce that then creates a channel on Slack. So, let's say a deal status changes, and you want to collaborate on that deal in a deal room in Slack. All you do is connect it through Salesforce Flow to automatically create a channel.

My take

There are about 20 million or so Trailblazers...I've heard other estimates that there are about 22 million developers in the world. So take that in - there are almost as many Trailblazers out there as there are developers in the entire world.

That comment from Shaun Clowes, MuleSoft Chief Product Officer, indicates the importance to Salesforce of the TrailblazerDX event this week. This week is also the first in-person gathering of this section of the Salesforce Ohana since the COVID kicked off, so there will doubtless be an extra buzz in the air.

Final words to Parker Harris:

We want to solve problems quickly, which is possible with the best no code, which I love. Just do it with no code if you can do it. Like, why write code? But also we also have code tools if you need them, and capabilities to deliver innovation without compromise. We want to deliver an incredible experience for the end user and we want it to be simple and also beautiful, because they need a little magic, from personalized shopping to remembering which updates to paste into which system.  For employees, little moments of magic make a huge difference.

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