Insight: Build Productivity into Your Apps

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Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast we’re talking to LeeAnne Rimel to get into the nitty-gritty of what makes a productive app.

More about this Insights session: we talk about how to think about productivity when you’re building an app, how to find new ways to reduce clicks, and taking full advantage of console.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with LeeAnne Rimel and Gillian Bruce.

Productivity by osmosis.

LeeAnne is a believer in what she calls “Productivity by Osmosis.” By that she means that she tries not only to be personally productive, but to also help everyone around her be more efficient and effective. When LeeAnne’s building an app, the number one question she asks herself is, “Is this something that more than one person is going to need to do more than one time?” If the answer is yes, then it’s time to get started.

Great candidates for an app include metrics that your team will need to revisit again and again (or that different people need to look at in different ways), or maybe a process that you’ll return to throughout the year. Anything that is repeatable or scalable. However, it’s important to realize that it’s not enough to just make something: “You can build apps all day,” LeeAnne says, “but training your users on how to use these features is the thing that will help them be most productive.”

Finding data flexibility.

“We can’t always anticipate how people need to work with our business processes,” LeeAnne says. If you’re building an app there’s some things that you’ll need to work out like data schema, but the main thing to realize is that building it into the platform gives you much more flexibility going forward.

Whenever LeeAnne gets sent a spreadsheet, she sends back a picture of a Salesforce Lightning dashboard. It’s a joke with an important point. For her, it’s important that the data is in a format that can be worked with and manipulated easily. “We don’t know the way we want to look at and work with information, so if we have a lot of options in front of us it can help us be more productive.” It doesn’t just help us do what we knew we needed to better, but also helps us find new ways to boost our productivity.

How to find and reduce friction.

According to LeeAnne, “What’s always front-of-mind for me is reducing clicks through building the app,” because at the end of the day it’s those “click calories” that determine how time-consuming a process is. If there’s information that your users need to access frequently, or report metrics for a certain account, you can put it into a dashboard component on the record page to make their life easier.

What’s key here is that you need to lean on Mike’s concept of SABWA. In LeeAnne’s experience, “they may not self-report all of those clicks,” but if you watch them and observe how they do what they do you can identify more places to save time. They might not even be aware of all of the friction in their processes, so smoothing things out can be a huge win.

The magic of macros.

If you haven’t gotten into macros, there’s a whole world of productivity that you’re missing out on. Macros can help automate a series of tasks that have to do repeatedly throughout the day, like log that you spoke to a customer, change the status on a case, and send an email confirmation. It’s an automated process within the app to help your users get things done quicker.

If you’re interested in learning more, there’s a Trailhead about them you should check out. It’s for classic, but the concept is still the same. There’s a bunch of ways that Lightning is changing the way that users interact with macros, including keyboard shortcuts, quick text, and more. As LeeAnne says, “it’s a great time to spend some time with macros.”

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