Late in 2011 I was contacted to read and review a new Salesforce book, Salesforce CRM: Definitive Admin Handbook by Paul Goodey. I’m a huge fan of anything that will improve someone’s knowledge of Salesforce and looked forward to reviewing it.
Then I received it. (Disclaimer- I was provided a free pdf version of the book by the publisher. I have no previous ties to the publisher nor to the author)
It’s not a bad book- there wasn’t glaring problems and the information itself wasn’t poor. Without getting into a lot of gritty detail here is my short list of pros & cons:
Pro- I like paper manuals. Sometimes paper just works better for me as a format and I’m about as electronic as it gets.
Pro- Covers a lot of information.
Pro- Found a few things that I wasn’t immediately aware of (didn’t realize you could export reports to the background for example, which would allow you to run reports that would otherwise time out).
Pro- Shout out in the Acknowledgements to the Salesforce community and how great a resource it is.
Cons- Dry dry dry. I love Salesforce and reading and it couldn’t keep my attention like other resource books have (Salesforce for Dummies and The Salesforce Handbook – I easily recommend either of them, note publication dates as Salesforce updates often if coming across discrepancies)
Cons- editing issues. I didn’t read this to check for edits, but sometimes they just jumped off the page at me. For example, when discussing changing a formula to keep it within the limits, the reference is to keep removing the sales tax field sales_tax__c. However, in the example the sales_tax__c field remains the same in both examples and the number of instances for other item prices changes. Very very confusing for someone who may be reading and a beginner to formula writing.
Cons- Omission of important information during discussions. For example: Bravo for writing about the exporting reports but boo for not including the permissions on the profile which are necessary to have once Salesforce turns it on. Lots of what I would consider to be incomplete information for a book toting itself as definitive.
Cons- No addressing of the possible outdated information in the book or identification as to what version the information is based on. With 3 updates a year, you need to have a reference as to when the printed text was valid. Bonus for point users to where they can get updates for the book or at least see the changes coming to Salesforce.
Cons- Shout out omission in the acknowledgements. The Salesforce user community has two core groups– the Force.com side for developers/coders, and the success site Answers group which focuses more on questions posed by typical administrators. For a book written with the intent of being for administrators, I’m puzzled why the main administrator site is not mentioned – success.salesforce.com/answers. Additionally twitter is mentioned but no reference to where/what on twitter. No discussion of the official Salesforce handles to follow or how to best ask for assistance with the #askforce hashtag from the community.
Overall, I can not recommend this book without major reservations. It addresses only Enterprise, Unlimited, and Dev orgs, noted only in the preface under “What you need for this book”. Listings should make it clear it is not for Professional or Group editions. It doesn’t address/explain the Salesforce update cycle and how you should take it into consideration or find out more about the next release. I also noted that a book which claims to be the definitive administrator handbook was written by someone with only the DEV 401 certification. Having at least the administrator certification ADM 201 would go further in establishing the author’s expertise and credibility, ADM 301 would be best.
There’s nothing in this handbook that would give you reason to purchase it versus simply reading the Salesforce Help provided free with your org. Help provides more details and is kept up to date.
This said, what is really needed by administrators is a resource where they can learn about best practices among other Salesforce users, keep up to date in regards to releases, and create solutions for their issues. For now, after learning the basics, the next best thing in any administrator’s interest is to get involved in the community- through social media (twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc), the official Salesforce site, user groups, classes, Dreamforce, Cloudforce, and if you’re a non-profit, working with the Salesforce foundation.
Salesforce CRM: The Definitive Admin Handbook at Packt Publishing
Salesforce CRM: The Definitive Admin Handbook on Amazon
Alternative resources I can recommend:
Salesforce for Dummies – Amazon — great resource for non-techy types. Note this is 4th edition, published in October 2010, so it is not up to date. Basic principles remain the same and it’s the least “techy” of all the resources.
The Salesforce Handbook – website
The Salesforce Handbook – Amazon
Great resource book – more technical than the Dummies book but easy to read for those ready to dig deep. Doesn’t seem like a reprinting of the Help documents. Authors are well respected members of the Salesforce community.