Hurry! Offer Expires at 11:59 PM Central Time, July 31, 2018!

Want to Attend Dreamforce 2018, and Help Homeless Children at the Same Time?

If you had the chance to do something (that you do every year) and help a great cause at the same time, would you do it?

Yes, that was a rhetorical question, but do me a favor, answer it anyway.

My answer would be a resounding ‘Yes!’ I try to give back to the Salesforce community every chance I get. So I reached out into my network of connections in search of a pass to Dreamforce that I could auction off with the proceeds going to Project Night Night. I was very fortunate in that the first person I emailed replied back with a resounding “Happy to provide that for you.”

Today I’m thrilled to launch the 2018 edition of the “Attend Dreamforce, Help a Homeless Child” auction. The rules are pretty simple:

  1. Place you bid here.
  2. All entries must be received by 11:59 PM Central Time on July 31, 2018.
  3. The highest bid wins.
  4. Free pass covers conference registration fees only. All travel and other accomodations are the responsibility of the winner.

When registration for Dreamforce 2018 opens, the rate for a full Dreamforce pass will be $1,899.

One lucky winner will get a free pass to attend Dreamforce and many homeless children will get a NightNight pack from Project Night Night.

Please answer these two questions:

  1. Do you, or someone you know, still need a pass to Dreamforce, or want to save money on the pass you already have?
  2. Do you want to help children have sweeter dreams at the same time?

If you answered yes to both questions, please place your bids here. To see the current high bid, follow me on Twitter and search for #DF18PNN_HIGHBID.

The bidding will close at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

If you happened to answer the first question with a no, please visit Project Night Night and consider making a donation.

Either way, please follow Project Night Night on Twitter and support their cause with prayers!

Thanks!

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Come Celebrate a year of Salesforce Saturday in Chicago

Special Guest Post by Mary Tagler.

Mary Tagler

For Chicago, it all started with a Tweet.

The lovely Jen Nelson asked who ran our local Salesforce Saturday group and the answer was no one. At the time, I didn’t know a lot about Salesforce Saturday, but the idea intrigued me and I batted the idea of starting one around. Then I went to TrailheaDX in 2016 and met Stephanie Herrera. Her enthusiasm is infectious; the doubts and hesitations I had about kicking off a Salesforce Saturday group in my hometown transformed into ideas and excitement. I came back ready to make it happen.

So what is Salesforce Saturday? Started in 2015 in Austin, it has become a global movement to motivate and inspire our current and future Ohana while strengthening our community spirit. Spending your Saturday Salesforce-ing might sound strange as many of us spend our weekdays immersed in the system and weekends are our time, but I honestly look forward to every single one. It excites me to laugh, collaborate, network, and learn with some great people. I am so pleased to see new faces, satisfied when they find the help they seek, and elated when they come back for another one.

Our Midwest Dreamin’ 2018 Salesforce Saturday will be our one-year anniversary. In that year, I’ve meet some wonderful people and deepened relationships with others. We also grew from one Saturday a month to two and excitedly participated in the first Global Trailhead challenge.

Summer is one of the best times to explore Chicago. If you’re considering extending your Midwest Dreamin’ experience into the weekend, we would love to have you spend some of it with us at Salesforce Saturday.

Register for Chicago Salesforce Saturday, July 14, 2018 here.

Join the Chicago Salesforce Saturday group on the Trailblazer Community.

5 things you might not know about Skyvia – Salesforce data integration & backup platform

Special guest post from Alex Hirniy, Head of Skyvia Platform.

alex hirniy

Never heard of Skyvia? Here’s 5 things you should know to about them.

One: Skyvia is a product of Devart, a well-known vendor of a data connectivity solutions.

Devart is software development company with 20+ years of experience in creating the database tools for developers and administrators. The company has more than a dozen product lines and is trusted by over 40k of grateful customers, including companies from Fortune 100 and Fortune 500.

4 years ago Devart entered the cloud data integration market with Skyvia – at that time a simple Salesforce data loader tool. From that time the product has evolved greatly. Now Skyvia is a full-featured cloud data platform suitable for solving a wide range of business data-related tasks. Skyvia supports over 30 major cloud applications & databases and has over 20,000 of devoted users from companies of different sizes and industries.

(EFD – Are you one of the over 20,000 already using Skyvia?)

Two: All-in-one platform for a wide range of data-related tasks

Skyvia is an all-in-one cloud data platform with support for all major cloud and on-premise data sources. It solves a wide range of data related tasks, including no coding data integration for automating data workflows, managing data via SQL from web, exposing data as an OData endpoint, and protecting it via a secure cloud-to-cloud backup. Skyvia is an intuitive and easy-to-use web product that provides a convenient GUI to configure and automate your data-related tasks.

(EFD – Check out the supported data sources…it’s quite a list!)

Three: Easy Salesforce integration and backup

Skyvia’s goal is to automate routine tasks and data flows and save your time. It is a completely no coding solution both for IT professionals and people without any technical skills. You can use Skyvia to integrate Salesforce data with multiple cloud and on-premise data sources, ETL your business data to a database for archiving or analysis, expose database and cloud data via OData to access it directly from the Salesforce interface via Salesforce Connect, etc. All the integrations are configured in an intuitive UI and can be flexibly scheduled for automatic execution.

In addition to data integration, Skyvia platform offers a daily automatic backup for Salesforce. Skyvia stores your backups in a secure Azure GRS storage, and at any time you can restore your data directly from web browser in just a few clicks.

(EFD – Backups stored in Azure – wait a sec, that’s Microsoft!)

Four: We value our clients by delivering the best support

Skyvia team adheres to customer-oriented approach. We use best customer success practices in order to help our customers with on-boarding and assist should they have questions later on. Our customers address us the way they like: at our Support portal, via an online chat in the application, or just schedule a demo/on-boarding call with a technical specialist and management.

As a result, we help our customers to set up their accounts and solve even the most difficult scenarios quickly and seamlessly.

(EFD – The support portal looks similar to the Salesforce Trailblazer Community Answers forum.)

Five: Skyvia future plans

Skyvia’s mission is to provide a universal product for solving all the data related tasks in one platform suitable for companies of any size. We constantly improve Skyvia’s usability, performance, add support for more connectors, and we plan to significantly increase the number of supported cloud applications in near future. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority.

Currently, our team is developing a new product – a visual designer for automating workflows in a company and providing a true trigger-based integration. Find us in Facebook or Twitter and keep updated about our future releases and improvements, or try Skyvia right now.

(EFD – Check you their story, and be sure to check out the app.)

EFD – Thanks, Alex, for bringing the value of Skyvia to my attention and allowing me to share it with others.

5 things you might not know about Salesforce ISV Partner StatX

Special guest post from Prasad Raje, Founder & CEO, StatX.

Prasad Raje

Never heard of StatX? Here’s 5 things you should know to about them. (EFD – I had never heard of them until getting connected to them leading up to Midwest Dreamin’ 2017.)

One: StatX is to desktop browser apps what Salesforce was to on-premise apps.

Salesforce was built on the promise of “No Software” and was one of the pioneers of business apps in the cloud. StatX is taking this to the next level of “No Desktop”. We are a pure mobile app because this is the ubiquitous computer that is in the hands of 2.2 billion people and mobile use and traffic now exceeds desktop. (EFD – I wonder how many people are reading this post on a mobile device right now.)

Two: StatX is a complete re-thinking of business mobile apps.

Our design philosophy for StatX is that we do not want to re-create a miniature web app on mobile. Users do not want to click and explore or spend as much time in mobile apps as they do on the desktop in a web app. StatX is a complete re-think from the ground up of the mobile use case in a simple, beautiful, easy to use app. (EFD – So StatX is kind of like mobile phones were back in the 1980s…a totally new approach to an old problem.)

Three: StatX relieves pipeline anxiety.

StatX with Salesforce brings sales progress to the user instead of requiring constant attention, keeps teams in sync in real-time for faster communication on deals, presents deals and dashboards visually together for efficient consumption, enables easy succinct updates on deals on mobile to improve sales data quality and improves user adoption of Salesforce. See it in action in this demo video or try it for yourself by downloading the mobile app or try the Test Drive in AppExchange. (EFD – You’ve said a mouthful there – a very important mouthful: in sync, real-time, faster.)

Four: StatX is like Google Now™ for Business.

StatX also connects to other data sources in the cloud like QuickBooks, MailChimp, GitHub, Google Sheets or even desktop Excel to bring visual, succinct information to mobile for fast consumption, change updates and easy collaboration. We have built a general platform that we can build connectors to any REST API in the cloud – eventually we will open this for 3rd parties. (EFD – Check out the integrations page on their website for more details.)

Five: StatX founding story.

StatX was founded by Prasad Raje and Pablo Bellver. Prasad had previously sold his enterprise cloud software company (Instantis) to Oracle. Pablo had co-created Google Now as one the first engineers on the team. They joined forces to create StatX to bring relevant information to business users on mobile (full story). (EFD – Check you their story, and be sure to check out the app.)

EFD – Thanks, Prasad, for bringing the value of StatX to my attention and allowing me to share it with others.

5 Things About a New Integration for Dealing with Documents Within a Salesforce Iframe – DaDaDocs

Special guest post from Irene Samozdran, Content Marketer, PDFfiler.

Irene Samozdran

Never heard of PDFfiler or DaDaDocs? Here’s 5 things you should know to about them. (EFD – I had never heard of them until seeing them at the Chicago World Tour in June, 2017.)

One: About PDFfiller and how we created the DaDaDocs integration

Let me introduce you to PDFfiller, a company that has been on the document solution market since 2008. We provide a PDF editor, eSignature solution and form builder combined in a single platform. This year we crossed the benchmark of 300,000 customers and decided to take on the strategy of building partnerships with other companies our customers use. Lots of our clients use Salesforce every day. They often struggle with the document management, having to download every document, edit it in another application and upload the results back to Salesforce. This is why we created DaDaDocs for Salesforce. (EFD – I had a great conversation with Gal Steinberg from PDFfiler at the Chicago World Tour. So good, in fact, that it led to DaDaDocs becoming a sponsor of Midwest Dreamin’ 2017.)

Two: What DaDaDocs brought to Salesforce

The main job of the DaDaDocs integration is to simplify complex workflows with documents, cut them down to minutes rather than hours and run every issue entirely within the Salesforce iframe. In a single integration, Salesforce users get an intuitive PDF editor, eSignature platform and form builder for data merging and collection. It means that any problem with documents – adding a customer’s notes to an offer, sending documents out for signature, using data from Salesforce objects to generate contract templates – all these issues can now be solved without leaving Salesforce. We’ve organized a comprehensive kit that should streamline complex business processes on the back end, so you won’t ever have to worry about paperwork again. (EFD – It sounds complex and somewhat confusing, but after watching the demo on the website, it looks like they made it easy! )

Three: Guiding customers through configuration

We understand how complicated setting up a new app can be, which is why we provide full customer support 24/7. When a new customer gets DaDaDocs at the AppExchange, we provide a 7-day free trial. They receive an email with detailed instructions for getting started and a link to contact customer support directly. Our support team is happy to walk anybody through the configuration process. (EFD – Customer support can make or break a deal…just like it can make a meal great or take a restaurant off your list completely!)

Four: How we believe in contributing to IT self-education

At PDFfiller we believe in self-made success. This is also the reason we support educational projects in local IT-communities. Our engineers conduct regular meetups, participate in conferences where they can share their experience and everyone can learn from common mistakes. (EFD – That’s what I like to call giving back to help others grow and learn.)

Five: The philosophy of businesses going green starts with a paperless office

We started this company without a big idea but eventually understood the obvious truth right in front of us. Taking all your documents to the cloud and running a paperless office is the first step to green entrepreneurship. We believe it’s important to do your part for better and cleaner environment. We’re proud to provide a product that helps businesses make that change. (EFD – I used to think that going paperless was far-fetched idea that wouldn’t happen until way out into the future, if it could happen at all. With technology like Salesforce and DaDaDocs, the future just might be here now.)

EFD – Thanks, Irene, for bringing the value of DaDaDocs to my attention and allowing me to share it with others.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Lauren Touyet

This is the forty-seventh post in my blog series in which I feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.) Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce the founder of Salesforce Ohana Coffee, and Salesforce FanGirl (her words,  not mine), Lauren Touyet.

Lauren

What’s your job title? Senior Systems Analyst, DocuSign, and Host of Salesforce Ohana Coffee! (EFD – DocuSign?!?  I love DocuSign. I’ve used them for a few years to manage all the sponsorship agreements for Midwest Dreamin’!)

What does that mean you do? Obviously, I talk about how amazing Salesforce is but I also am the only Salesforce professional in Europe for my company so I wear a few hats: I am a trainer, making sure we are using the system the way we should and stopping the bad habits; I am a sounding board for all the ideas the business has; I am an Admin who solves problems with Salesforce, I am a ninja who fixes all the gremlins in the system; I am a process adviser making sure processes match the system design and finally I am a gate keeper of our security making sure the apps and plug ins we install are above board. (EFD – I have just one question, ok, maybe three: 1.) With all that stuff you do, how do you find time to sleep? 2.) If you are the gate keeper, who is the key master? and 3.) What prompted you to start Salesforce Ohana Coffee, and what is it all about?)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I started using Salesforce when I was order processing in my old job. We used it for discounting customers’ orders – that was back in 2009. I remember the training we received (it was nothing fancy) but I remember thinking finally a system we can use that doesn’t have the hassle of chasing Sales people for approval codes. From there I tried to learn as much as I could. In 2011 that company was rolling out email to case and a few managers encouraged me to apply for the Salesforce admin position, and the rest, as they say is history!.  (EFD – Hey! It sounds like you may not have been an “Accidental Admin”! )

Bacon or sausage? It’s Bacon, or nothing!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? While is it definitely imperative to know your stuff, you can’t be expected to know everything which is why who you know is so important. That’s why I love the community – if I get stuck I can reach out and I know they all have my back. To me, the community is more than people who do the same job as me, they are family and my best friends! I know that is silly to say about people who are half way around the world and who I only see at Dreamforce but true I talk to the Ohana daily. That is why I love Ohana Coffee so much. I meet up with my friends to talk work, life, events and everything else! (EFD – I guess that answers my 3rd question from above. One word of caution – if you join the Ohana Coffee sessions, be aware that Lauren says she will post unflattering pictures of everyone on Twitter. It’s true…check out the pics below!)

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How did our relationship start, and when? I followed you on twitter for a while and then we met at a Dreamforce party, however I didn’t know it was you until after the party! But our relationship definitely grew when you started attending Ohana Coffee and we got to chat more and share stories and experiences. The timing is hard to pinpoint. I was twitter stalking you for a good while before Dreamforce, but wasn’t sure if you were a catfish. So I would say the Dreamforce Party on a rooftop (I think it was the Apttus party.)  (EFD – And now I’m Googling “catfish” to see what that really means. Should I be insulted, or flattered?)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? When I was a kid, I used to work on movie sets in Ireland with my Dad. We would rewire the stars’ trailers as they were brought in from America and were a different voltage! I have worked on the sets of “Michael Collins”, “Mrs Browns Boys”, “Veronica Guerin” and “Agnes Brown”. (EFD – So you might have rubbed elbows with some celebrities…and now you are a celebrity in the Salesforce ecosystem! It’s really true: what goes around, comes around.)

You can find Lauren on Twitter. Be sure to also follow Ohana Coffee.

I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Launa Saunders

This is the forty-sixth post in my blog series in which I feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.) Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce the co-leader of the San Diego Salesforce User Group, and Salesforce MVP, Launa Saunders.

launa-saunders

 

What’s your job title? Manager, Sales Operations, Illumina, Inc. (EFD – I had to look up Illumina…I knew you worked there, but really didn’t know much about the company. According to their website: “Today we are a global leader in genomics – an industry at the intersection of biology and technology. At the most fundamental level, we enable our customers to read and understand genetic variations. We strive to make our solutions increasingly simple, more accessible, and always reliable. As a result, discoveries that were unimaginable even a few years ago are now becoming routine – and are making their way into patient treatment.” I’m still not sure what the company does! It’s a biotechnology firm.)

What does that mean you do? Currently my focus is on the strategy of our CRM from the technical perspective. When I first started at Illumina, I was a Sr. Business Analyst in the GIS department. Now that I am in Sales Operations I am able to tie the needs of the business to the IT infrastructure. (I speak in Salesforce talk to our Admins: “WFR”, “FLS”, etc. oh yeah, and “LOL”). (EFD – I bet sometimes your Salesforce Admins and users make you also say “WTF”, and then you reach for a drink! #WhyAdminsDrink)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I have been managing Salesforce systems since 2007. I started off as an Administrative Assistant responsible for running the department metrics, out of Salesforce. When I started (at this particular company) every employee was assigned the Admin profile, and had the ability to change layouts, fields, etc. I couldn’t run metrics successfully since we would come in and find that someone had changed a picklist value the night before, or removed a field altogether. I became a member of the Salesforce Community and eventually taught myself Salesforce through trial and error (and a little help from SteveMo of course). Eventually I submitted a project plan to revamp Salesforce, including removing everyone’s admin rights. Since then I have worked in multiple orgs with various titles, but it always comes back to the strategy and improving adoption.  (EFD – Ouch! “every employee was assigned the Admin profile” Yeah…that’s calls for another drink! #WhyAdminsDrink)

Bacon or sausage? Eww…a pork product? No thank you!

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? It’s definitely who you know, the community proves that! I don’t have to be an expert on everything Salesforce, but if I go to the community, I know someone will be and I can reach out to them with questions, advice, etc., I can then pay it forward and share my knowledge. It’s what makes the world go ’round (plus I like to avoid being a “jack of all trades, master of none”. The community is my Rolodex of experts to reach out to when the time comes) (EFD – Ooo…Love that: “The community is my Rolodex of experts.” WOW!)

How did our relationship start, and when? Well, we are both UG leaders, and inducted as MVPs at the same time (Spring ’13), so that’s when it started. But you were the first MVP that I had a beer with at the first MVP Summit in 2013, so you were the “welcome wagon” of sorts.  (EFD – A fellow user group leader and an MVP class mate…or is that glass mate?  Either way, it’s been great knowing you since 2013!)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? While raised in San Diego, I wasn’t born here. I’m actually from a small farming community in central California. My family is still there. We have a massive ranch there where I learned to farm, shoot, raise bees, you name it! My Dad taught me to live off the land if need be, so he keeps me grounded. I love the beaches and sun in San Diego, but nothing beats a campfire in the middle of nowhere underneath a million stars. (EFD – I live out in a rural part of Southern Indiana, after growing up and living most of my life in suburban areas near large cities. I really like being able to go outside at night, look up and see millions of stars! I totally agree with that!)

You can find Launa on Twitter.