Understanding Salesforce Platform for Admin

Introduction

As a Salesforce Admin, you’ll be required to perform a multitude of tasks ranging from User Management to Health Checks, but before we look into all the responsibilities you’ll be taking on, let’s look at some of the quintessential elements of Salesforce and Trailhead. We’ll start by looking at a couple of key terms, following which, we’ll create our very own Trailhead Playground and install the Dreamhouse App, and finally, customize the Salesforce Platform.

Important Terms of Salesforce Platform

App

An App in Salesforce is a container holding a collection of items that work together to serve a definite purpose. Alternately, an app can be described as an ordered set of tabs that work together and performs various functionalities of the app. However, an App can be summed up by its 3 major constituents :

  • Logo
  • Name
  • An ordered set of items (often tabs)

We have two types of Apps in Salesforce:

  • Standard Apps
    These are the apps that are already included in every instance of Salesforce. The label, description, and logo of standard apps are permanent and cannot be customized. Examples: App Launcher, Call Centre, Marketing, and Community.
  • Custom Apps
    As your business continues to grow in the Salesforce platform you may come across new business needs that require automation, this is where custom apps come into play, you can combine standard and custom tabs to create your very own app. The best part is you can change the logo and other details as and when required.

Objects

We are sure that all of all us know what a database is, similarly, a Salesforce Object is a database that allows us to store data specific to the org.

The two types of objects in Salesforce are:

  • Standard Objects
    You may be familiar with accounts, contacts, leads, and opportunities, these are standard objects provided by Salesforce.
  • Custom Objects
    Custom Objects are created by businesses to fulfill any need or requirement that is unique and specific to them. For example, if you run a café with multiple outlets, you can create Properties, an object that stores information about the various cafes run by you.

Records

A database contains rows and columns, likewise, the rows in Salesforce Objects are called Records.
For example: In the Contact object, each record represents a unique individual (eg; John Don) with information specific to them.

Fields

Columns in a Salesforce Object are referred to as Fields. Let’s take the example of the Contact object, the fields in the object may include – Unique ID, First Name, Last Name, Company, Role, Telephone Number, and so on.

Org

An Org short for Organization represents your organization’s data and metadata, which is unique to your business. You can find your Organization Id and Edition on the Setup Page. Once on the Setup page, type in “Company Information” in the Quick Find box and select the result, and voila! You can find anything and everything related to your company right here!
So did you find your Org ID and Edition? It will be something like the below:

 

Salesforce offers the following Editions:

  • Essentials
  • Professional
  • Enterprise
  • Unlimited
  • Developer

Create a Trailhead Playground

So, what is a Trailhead Playground? It’s your very own org that you can use to complete hands-on challenges as well as use to experiment and play with new features and customizations.

Let’s create our very own Trailhead Playground! Simply follow the step-by-step guide given below to be the proud owner of a Trailhead Playground.

1. Create an account on Trailhead
Visit Trailhead and Sign Up for an account using either your Salesforce, Social, or e-mail account.

2. Now there are two ways to go about it when creating a Playground, either launch the Playground from a hands-on challenge or create an org from your Profile Icon on Trailhead.
A. From Hands-On Challenges

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(1) Scroll down to the very end of any hands-on challenge unit being completed on Trailhead to find something similar to the above image.

(2) Click on A picture containing icon Description automatically generated to be navigated to a pop-up menu.

(3) Select A picture containing graphical user interface Description automatically generated on the pop-up menu to create your very own playground.

B. From Your Trailhead Profile Icon

Once on your Trailhead account, click on your profile icon (1) in the top-right corner to access a drop-down menu with the option “Hands-On Orgs”(2). Simply click on it to be directed to a page containing all your Hand-on Orgs with an option to create new orgs and manage any old ones, all on the same page.

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Install the DreamHouse App

Now that you have our very own Trailhead Playground, let’s install the DreamHouse App on it. The DreamHouse App is a sample real-estate application available on Salesforce.

1. Launch your Playground.
2. From the App Launcher on the top-left corner of your org, select Playground Starter and follow the steps.

  • Click on the Install a Package Tab.
  • Paste 04tB00000009UeX into the field available for the Package ID.
  • Click Install.
  • Select Install for All Users, then click Install.

3. That was it! You now have the DreamHouse App installed on your org!

Customize the Salesforce Platform

Customization refers to the addition of more features, it stresses expanding the platform’s functionality and capitalizing on the platform for additional benefits. Customization makes it possible to perform functions that do not already exist in the platform.

There’s a point that needs to be mentioned before we go further into this topic. We tend to commonly confuse the terms Configuration and Customization on Salesforce. While Configuration does not involve adding any new functionalities to the platform, the latter does. Common examples of configuration include adding new fields, altering existing fields, creating reports, etc. In most cases, Customizations are performed by the Developer, while the Admin focuses on Configuring the platform.

There’s so much we can do to customize the Salesforce platform depending on our requirements and criteria. Here are a few things we can do:

  • Creating Apex classes and triggers.
  • Changing UI using CSS
  • Integrating third-party systems
  • Adding new features using CSS

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