Posted by: eliz_beth | January 31, 2012

Salesforce Valentines 2012

Two years ago I was introduced to Salesforce.com.
A year ago I wrote a post about my Salesforce Valentines- the members of the Salesforce community who had helped me so much my first year and had welcomed me into the community. Another year has gone by and it has been great. I was honored to be selected as a MVP, presented at Community Conference, met tons of more community members through the Dreamforce app, and built lots of exciting and cool features for work in Salesforce.

In my life before Salesforce, I was a data junkie. I loved creating and running reports- didn’t matter what the question, if I could get access to the data I was figuring it out and finding where we needed to improve or where we were excelling. I admit to feeling my hands were a bit tied when it came to reporting in Salesforce because I couldn’t report natively on such a simple thing as “give me all accounts with opportunities and call reports (a custom object we use)”. In order to pull it off I could run a report on accounts with opportunities, a report on accounts with custom objects and hope for the best when looking or export to excel and play with the data more there. When you’ve used solid reporting tools before, you really do not want to go back to hacking things in excel. Not only is it just frustrating, it’s easy to make a mistake. One of my goals for Dreamforce was to start looking at options to get around this reporting issue. There’s lots of great companies ready to help you – I’ll mention GoodData as one- they were very helpful and quick to answer any questions I had. So there were solutions that would help us, but I honestly wished Salesforce could handle this on it’s own.

At the Analytics Roadmap session at Dreamforce, I found out they’d been working on doing just this. I don’t think you could have found a more excited group of people than those of us in the room who were cheering and tweeting about the news of what *safe harbor of course* was coming.

So we decided to wait and see what Salesforce would come out with officially. I was thrilled to see various ideas being marked coming in next release on the Idea Exchange. Finally!! Then I found out it was coming, in Analytics Edition, for a price that quickly took it off the table especially since we had just upgraded our licenses to Unlimited Edition.

Talking to others in the community, seeing various posts and tweets and comments regarding how others agreed this was needed core functionality I did not feel alone. I watched and participated as things continued, stayed in touch with my account executive, and thought various Salesforce reps had good points into why they were going with an Analytics Edition format instead of including it into the regular licenses. I was really impressed with the passion behind those who expressed their disappointment with the decisions that had been made. It could have dissolved into some horrible trash talking or threats even, It didn’t. People – partners and customers and users used their voice via social media to tell Salesforce they were not satisfied with this structure. The moment had come where Marc Benioff and Salesforce had to “walk the walk” and recognize what the people were saying, what Marc’s talked about doing all year. Salesforce had to make a hard decision- continue the path they’d chosen or change their game plan. They could have gone back and modified the AE license structure to better suit the needs of customers.

They didn’t. They actually listened to us, the community, and heard us when we said this functionality is core to what we do in Salesforce, core to what will make our businesses stronger while using your platform. Core to understanding our data and our business better.

Tonight they responded. Analytics Edition – bucketing, cross-object reporting and more– will be part of the licenses. You can read more about it hereAE goes GA for free.

So this year my Salesforce Valentine is you Salesforce.com. For being an example and a leader in this new bueiness world. For listening to your customers like no other company has before. For showing the world it is easier and better to listen to us now than to wait to see what a ledger line item might say down the road.

You’ve got my business, I’m not going anywhere and I’m advocating that we continue to expand our use of your platforms. Thank you Salesforce– I’ll always be your valentine!

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