Navigating Salesforce Flows: A Proactive Approach to Boosting Efficiency
Salesforce Flows are a powerful tool that can automate complex business processes and user experiences. It empowers users to design and streamline complex business processes with ease. Navigating Salesforce Flows requires a proactive approach, leveraging its capabilities to their fullest potential.
And, it's important to follow certain best practices when building Flows to ensure they are efficient, scalable, and easy to maintain.
In this blog post, we'll provide best practices and some expert tips on Salesforce Flows. But first, let's understand Salesforce Flows.
What is Salesforce Flows?
At its core, Salesforce Flows is a powerful tool designed to automate intricate business processes. It works by gathering data and executing predefined actions based on that data. Developed within the user-friendly Flow Builder, with a declarative interface, Salesforce Flows enables the building of sophisticated logic akin to programming but without the need for actual coding.
Types of Salesforce Flows
Salesforce Flows are broadly categorized into five types, each serving unique purposes:
- Screen Flows: These user-interactive flows require user input and can be launched as an action or embedded on a Lightning page.
- Schedule-Triggered Flows: Operating in the background, these flows are triggered at specific times and frequencies, handling batch records.
- Auto-launched Flows: Ideal for automated tasks, these can be triggered through various means, including other flows, Apex classes, schedules, record changes, and platform events.
- Record-Triggered Flows: These are background flows activated before or after a record is saved, catering to the creation, updates, or deletion of records.
- Platform Event-Triggered Flows: Triggered upon receiving a platform event message, these flows also operate in the background.
Use Cases of Salesforce Flows
If you need to automate a moderately complex but frequently repeated business process, Salesforce Lightning Flow is an excellent fit. They are particularly useful when modifying existing processes built with Process Builder or workflow, allowing for creating, editing, deleting records, sending emails, displaying data, and more.
It can create, read, update, and delete records, send emails, display UIs to gather input, integrate external systems, and more.
Flows may be less suitable when:
- Business logic is very complex, it is better managed in Apex code.
- Strict limits on the number of flows in your Salesforce edition.
The Advantages of Efficient Salesforce Flows
Implementing Salesforce Flows can bring a plethora of benefits, including:
- Significant Reduction in Administrative Time: One of the most impactful benefits Salesforce Lightning Flows offers is the drastic reduction in administrative time. By automating mundane, repetitive tasks and more complex, time-intensive processes, Flows free up valuable staff time and boosts overall productivity.
- Decreased Dependency on Coding and Development Resources: Salesforce Lightning Flows' declarative nature reduces dependence on specialized coding and development resources. This puts more control in the hands of your team members, allowing for greater flexibility and responsiveness in process management.
- Increased Return on Investment (ROI): By automating tasks that would otherwise consume staff hours, your organization can realize significant savings. Furthermore, as a no-code solution, the costs of maintaining and owning the application are comparatively lower.
- Simplification of Problem-Solving and Maintenance: Salesforce Flows provides an excellent tool for addressing problems more straightforwardly. The ease of maintenance and growth of Flows, coupled with user-friendly features like drag-and-drop customization, makes processes more accessible to all team members.
- Capability to Build Complex Systems with APEX Integration: Finally, Salesforce Flows enables the creation of complex systems by seamlessly integrating with APEX. The compatibility and integration between Salesforce Flows and APEX provide a robust framework, allowing you to mix and match these tools to suit your business needs.
Salesforce Flows Best Practices And Tips
When it comes to Salesforce Flows, following best practices not only ensures efficiency but also safeguards against potential errors. Below are key practices to optimize your Salesforce Flow experience:
- Thorough Planning: Before building a flow, it's crucial to plan it out meticulously. Map out every detail of your business process, understanding the data you need, its sources, and the logic and actions required. This clarity simplifies the building process, making it more streamlined and effective.
- Testing in a Safe Environment: Always build your flows in a test environment, such as a sandbox or Developer Edition org. This approach prevents accidental changes to your company's production org and allows you to experiment with various permutations using mock data without impacting real user data.
- Avoiding Hard-Coded IDs: Salesforce IDs are organization-specific. It's advisable not to hard-code these IDs. Instead, let Salesforce generate them and pass them into your flow as variables. To do this, use merge fields in URL parameters or the 'Get Records' element, ensuring greater flexibility and adaptability.
- Database Edits at the End: Consider Salesforce's Apex governor limits. To avoid hitting these limits, consolidate all database changes towards the end of your flow. This includes creating, updating, or deleting records. Also, avoid making edits within a loop and creating records before the first screen to ensure a smooth flow execution.
- Controlling Backward Navigation: If your flow changes the database or performs actions between screens, restrict users from navigating backward from a later screen to a previous one. This precaution prevents duplicate changes to the database.
- Implementing Error Handling: Even the best-planned flows can encounter issues. Incorporate robust error handling to manage scenarios where the flow might miss crucial information or the user lacks the necessary permissions. Customize your error-handling approach for better user experience and issue resolution.
- Frequent Saving: With the possibility of unexpected issues like internet connectivity loss, it's important to save your work frequently. Regular saving ensures you don't lose significant progress in your flow development.
- Restricting Data Access: Control who can access your flow data and when using profiles and permission sets. Edit access settings from the Flows list view to ensure data security and compliance.
- Using the Subflow Element for Permission Management: To handle actions differently based on user permissions, use the Subflow element. Create one flow to run in the user context and another in the system context, using the Subflow element to bridge them. This approach allows you to respect user permissions for specific actions while bypassing them for others.
- Exhaustive Testing: Test your flow extensively, especially if it involves complex logic or branching. Explore as many scenarios as possible to ensure the flow operates correctly under various conditions before releasing it to users.
- Managing Transactions with External Objects: Be cautious with transactions involving external objects. After DML operations (create, update, delete), use a separate transaction for accessing external data to avoid errors. Do this by adding a screen or a 'Wait' element in your flow.
- Separating DML Operations: Avoid mixing DML operations on different types of objects (like standard objects, setup objects, and external objects) in a single transaction. Use separate transactions for these operations to prevent errors and maintain flow integrity.
Additional best practices and tips on building Salesforce Lightning Flows:
- Use formula resources to store and reuse complex formulas.
- Use variables to store and pass data between elements in the flow.
- Use decision elements to control the flow of execution in the flow.
- Use assignment elements to update variables and records.
- Use loops to process collections of records.
- Use wait elements to delay the execution of the flow for a specified period.
- Use subqueries to retrieve data from multiple objects in a single step.
- Use action elements to call Apex classes and other flows.
- Use platform events to trigger flows based on events that occur in other systems.
- Use the Salesforce Lightning Flow Assistant to help you build flows quickly and easily.
- Use the Salesforce Lightning Flow Debugger to identify and fix errors in your flows.
- Use the Salesforce Lightning Flow Sharing features to share your flows with other users.
- Use the Salesforce Lightning Flow Monitoring features to track the performance and usage of your flows.
Salesforce Flows for Higher Efficiency and Productivity
Salesforce Flows enables versatile no-code automation to streamline processes—drastically reducing administrative hours, lowering costs, boosting productivity, and adapting easily over time.
However, following best practices around planning, permissions, error handling, testing, and change management is imperative to realize the full quality and capability benefits. Well-designed flows don't just accelerate delivery but also future-proof business logic for easier extensibility.
Want to Navigate Salesforce Flows With Precision? Let’s Talk!
To explore how Salesforce Flows can transform your organization through increased automation, talk to our Salesforce-certified experts. Just write to us at email@example.com and we’ll get back to you.