Image: Conner Forrest/TechRepublic

Salesforce recently announced an overhaul of its entire UX called Lightning that is slated to go live in October. And, although Lightning hasn’t even been released yet, the company is already thinking of what’s next.

At its annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco, Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris took the stage with a handful of employees on the product team for a session titled “True to the Core” to explain what was on the roadmap for the core products.

The company’s release cycles are typically 3-4 months, or once a quarter. Many of the new features come from the IdeaExchange, where Salesforce customers can propose new features or tools, and other users can vote for the ideas they want to see implemented. Each vote counts for a certain number of idea “points.”

The session opened with an overview of what has been delivered on in terms of the IdeaExchange. So far, three million ideas points have been delivered since 2007, which accounts for one third of the total idea points currently on the IdeaExchange. One million of those points have been delivered since Dreamforce 2014. Additionally, 90% of the top 10 ideas have been delivered and 58% of the top 100 ideas delivered.

The real fun, however, came when the product team went over updates and new features we will see in the next release of Salesforce. They started with general app updates.

First off, to assuage any fears users may have, one of the presenters was overly clear that Person accounts are not dead. In fact, the team is introducing encryption and the ability to disable the feature without admin support. Also, the UX setup will updated and streamlined.

Currently, users can only link a contact to a single account in Salesforce, but multiple accounts on contacts is currently in pilot and we’ll likely see it as a feature soon.

If you are a sales rep, you likely live and die by your ability to properly forecast. According to the presenters, forecasting is getting an update with custom fiscal year forecasting abilities and lightning support in the Spring 2016 release, as well as rich charting and visualizations, and the ability to review and adjust your forecast as needed.

In the Winter 2016 release we’ll see reporting on notes and customer lookups on activities. But, on the roadmap ahead, users will also see workflow and approvals for tasks, calendar sync with Google Calendar, and saving attachments when sending an email – little things but useful nonetheless.

The company was quick to admit that Lightning has gaps that need to be filled. And some audience members pointed out that it felt like production was a test bed for new features. However, Salesforce did say that it was working on filling gaps in Lightning over the next year. These are the six areas that the presenter identified for gaps to be filled:

  1. Account and opportunity teams
  2. Opportunity products
  3. Campaigns
  4. Case feed works orders, assters
  5. Communities
  6. File folders

The team did go over some of the proposed updates for individual products as well. Chatter received the ability to edit feed posts and comments and reporting on record feeds in the Summer 2015 release. In the Winter 2016 release, users will have rich text formatting for Chatter feed posts and the ability to run reports on any file.

For Service Cloud users, you’ll be able to enter new contacts on the fly when building a new case. Also the company is increasing the number of characters in the subject field for email, and adding reporting on Knowledge for users.

Looking ahead for Service Cloud, the company will be focusing on asset hierarchy, adding shortcuts for email inserts, redesigning Knowledge, and updating workflow rules and email alerts for Knowledge.

For you analytics junkies out there, the Winter 2016 release will see a host of new updates for reports and dashboards. New charting capabilities, a new dashboard view page and builder, an interactive report run page, new report and dashboard home tabs, and charts on list views will all be making an appearance.

In terms of updates to the platform, Salesforce is adding bulkification to its process builder. When something is “bulkified” that just means that it is “structured to handle processing of multiple records,” according to the Salesforce website.

On top of that users will now be able to add multiple scheduled actions per criteria, meaning you can schedule something, for example, for both Monday and Friday for an individual criteria.

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