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New Spring 21 Feature: In-App Learning with Grace Li

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For this episode of the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Grace Li, Product Manager for Admin Home, In-App Learning, and Guidance Center at Salesforce. She’ll fill us in on everything new in Spring 21 for Guidance Center and In-App Learning, and be sure to check out January’s Release Readiness broadcast for even more info.

Join us as we talk about the powerful new features you can use in Spring ‘21, and what’s in store for the future.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Grace Li.

The keys to a successful project

“We’ve been hearing from admins that they really want to know more from Salesforce, they want guidance, they want to know best practices and they just really want to know how to set their org up for success,” Grace says. In-App Guidance takes all of the knowledge we’ve gathered talking to customers all over the world and puts it right in front of you.

If you’re spinning up a new org and you want to follow best practices, you’re going to see a new thing called Guidance Center. It’ll give you a checklist of all the things Salesforce thinks will be helpful for you as you’re setting up your new org. It’ll tailor itself according to your level of experience, so whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran, you’ll get some timely advice and a spotlight on features you’ll want to play around with as you get everything configured.

Coming up in the future, Grace and her team are looking to broaden the scenarios where In-App Guidance can play a role. For example, to help you prepare for an upcoming release and get a handle on new features.

Learning has always been an important part of being a Salesforce admin, and In-App Learning kicks it up a notch. “We’re bringing that fun Trailhead experience right inside the application where you’re doing your work,” Grace says, and this can also help you train your users by putting the right training in the right place.

You can also assign Trailhead modules to specific users in your org, so if you have someone who needs to review something they can simply open their panel to see what you’ve put in there for them. You can also give business leaders the opportunity to customize what shows up for their team without needing admin privileges, so they can take the lead on training and coordinating their team.

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Full Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to The Salesforce Admins podcast where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. This week, we are talking with Grace Li, product manager for Admin Home, In-App Learning and Guidance Center. In this episode, you’ll hear from Grace about what is new in spring ’21 for admins with Guidance Center and In-App Learning. Both of these are super cool features that you will want to hear more about in the Release Readiness broadcast for admins, which will be coming out later in January. And of course, we wrap this pot up by having a fun discussion about Grace’s hobby. My only hint is it will leave you in pieces. So with that, let’s get Grace on the podcast.
So Grace, welcome to the podcast.

Grace Li: Thanks, Mike. I’m super excited to be here again with our admins.

Mike Gerholdt: I know. You are all over the place for admins. I’m so excited because back in October, we had Trailblazers Innovate where you were onscreen with us and showing the mindblowing Admin Home, and I promise you will be back on the pod to talk about Admin Home when it comes back. And now we’re here in January and we have more fun stuff coming out in spring ’21.

Grace Li: Yeah. I just got to say I love our admin community and so I’m really excited to talk about all these new features that we’re bringing out and making available for our admins.

Mike Gerholdt: If there was an admin parade, you would get your own float at this point.

Grace Li: That’s really kind of you to say.

Mike Gerholdt: So let’s kick off spring ’21, which, I know this pod’s coming out a little bit early before our Release Readiness Live, which everyone should tune in and watch for the admins that dug into some of the release notes. Let’s talk about the really cool stuff like In-App Learning and Guidance Center. Which one would you like to start off with because I can’t choose between my favorite child here.

Grace Li: Let’s start with Guidance Center.

Mike Gerholdt: Okay, good. I like Guidance Center. And it’s a good way to start off, right? What is Guidance Center?

Grace Li: So Guidance Center, we’ve been hearing from admins that they really want to know more from Salesforce. They want Salesforce guidance. They want to know best practices and they just really want to know how to set their org up for success. And coming from Salesforce, we have teams that have a lot of information. We’re talking to a of customers and we really do want to help you. So Guidance Center takes all of that smarts and it puts it into the app for our admins. So what’s coming in spring ’21 is for new orgs that are being spun up. So think about that scenario where you’re starting up a new org, you’re trying to set up and make sure that you’re setting it up properly with all this best practices. You’re going to see this new thing called Guidance Center. And it’s only for admins, so you don’t have to worry about your end user is running into this.
But when you see Guidance Center and you click into it, you’re going to have the opportunity to see a list, kind of like a checklist of here’s all the things that we think is going to be helpful for you as you set up maybe your new sales org or your new service org. And the really cool thing about it is at the top it’s personalized, it’s going to know your name, it’s going to say, “Hey, Maria, let’s help you set up your org,” and you can then tell us what is your level of experience with Salesforce? If you’re someone who has been in the ecosystem for a long time, you’re an old pro, you can tell us that. If you’re someone who is brand new, you can tell us that too.
And after you do that, what you see in Guidance Center is going to retailer itself based on what you’ve told us. So there’s a level of the smarts that Salesforce already has about what you’re trying to do because you’re coming to us from a new org, how we might want to guide you through that. But then there’s that level of communication with you where you can tell us a little bit more and we’re going to give you a better approximation of what you want to start with and to play around with. And we’re starting in the spring ’21 release, we’re really focusing on our admins and our new orgs and helping them get set up. But what’s coming down the pipeline is not just focusing only on that initial scenario, but broadening that to more use cases. So all of that to say, “We’re really excited about bringing Guidance Center out for our new admins in this release. We really want to hear your feedback about how it’s working for you and we’re definitely thinking about taking it further in upcoming releases.”

Mike Gerholdt: I wish I would have had that when I’ve set up some orgs. The amount of documentation and random notes and stuff that I had everywhere. This is so cool. And a sneak peek, I’ve seen the demo that you have for release readiness and I was just like, I have to watch this again. This is so neat. So I’m very excited for Guidance Center.

Grace Li: Yeah. This was an awesome collaboration between multiple teams in Salesforce that were just like, “How do we really help our admins and take all the smarts of different pieces and put it together in a way that makes sense to them?” So we really hope that you like the product and that you use it and that you continue to use it.

Mike Gerholdt: There’s going to be so many ways for you to iterate on it. I’m excited. I’m guessing it’s probably on the roadmap that you don’t have to be a new org to get Guidance Center.

Grace Li: Absolutely. That is one of our next top priorities. And you can imagine as we’re thinking about rolling this out to all of our orgs, we’re thinking about how to broaden the types of scenarios that we help you with. So say for example, there’s a release coming up and we’re trying to help you prepare for that release and we know that your sandbox is going to get that release on a certain date, we’re thinking about how do we then give you more guidance to prepare for the specifics of the upcoming release? So lots of cool things coming down.

Mike Gerholdt: Aye. That’s so cool. Holy cow. I didn’t even think about that. Okay. If you’re listening to the podcast now and you need to take a moment and just sit down, I understand. I’m glad I’m seated. So in addition to that, I just love that when you’re logged into Salesforce now, the tool is there to help you and to call me out, but boy, I’ve been doing Salesforce now for 15 years. I remember going to different websites and the help menu used to open up in this little 400 by 400 pixel screen and I used to kind of comb through stuff and now it feels like we have an intelligent friend helping us, and I bring that up because for a long time and up until now, we’ll say spring ’21, you kind of had to go over to Trailhead and bounce between your org and Trailhead and now we’re bringing that experience in with In-App Learning.

Grace Li: Yeah. I can’t say I’ve experienced the 400 by 400 help, but we are definitely far beyond that now in this release.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. It kind of looks like a steam powered car at this point. I’d be happy to recreate it for you. It was probably as helpful as a steam powered car.

Grace Li: Yeah, no need to worry about recreating that for me.

Mike Gerholdt: So in app learning, I looked at it and I saw your demo. Help me explain, and for the admins that maybe saw it in the release notes or are starting to get excited about it, what’s In-App Learning going to be?

Grace Li: So we know that admins are trying to learn on Trailhead, like you said, trying to figure out what’s going on in the app. With In-App Learning, we’re bringing that fun Trailhead experience right inside the application where you’re doing your work. So you can picture as an admin what we’re going to show you is we’re going to give you some curated content that makes sense for you as an admin, you’ll see it in the same In-App Learning panel, which is where you’re going to see your Guidance Center. But one of the really cool things and the powerful things that I think really ties back to something that we’ve heard from our admins is related to how our admins help their business stakeholders and help their end users.
So what we heard from admins a lot is they do all this hard work in Salesforce, they configure it, but then there’s a lot of work that they have to do to train their users to help them use the product better, and there’s various ways that they’re doing it right now. Maybe they’re doing it offline through training sessions, they’re putting things in the help menu, but with In-App Learning we’re trying to help you put the right training in the right place so that you can help your users. And I think that’s one of the really cool things about In-App Learning. I definitely encourage that you tune into the demo so that you can see all of this live, but you’re going to have the opportunity to take Trailhead … so either Trailhead, or my Trailhead, you take that and you put it in the application on the pages or the apps or whatever that you feel like that is going to be most impactful, you can tailor that to a specific audience.
And then what’s going to happen is that your end users, say you have a user that’s always having trouble with a particular object and you always send them this particular piece of learning, you can now take that and assign it to that user so that when they’re having trouble on that object, they can just pop open their panel and they see exactly what you’ve put in there for them. So we’re really hoping that our admins get into this and they start putting training and they think about this as a tool to help them train and support their users. And even more than that, what’s really cool is that let’s say you have someone, a key business stakeholder, like a, I don’t know, like a service leader or a sales leader, a sales coach, and they want to do something special for their team and they want to use that same space just to train their team, well, you can do that. You can give them the power to customize what shows up there for their team and you don’t have to give them admin privileges or anything like that.
There will a new permission that you can assign to them and give them the same power to customize the training for their users. So all of that to say, it’s really powerful and we’re really excited about how our admins are going to start using this feature.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I think the one thing for sure that I’ve always looked to harness is Trailhead is such a powerful tool for me, the Salesforce admin, the developer, the architect, the business user to use and I know even when I was an admin, getting my users to read the help text is tough. They kind of would always turn to me, “Well, Mike, can you help me explain opportunities?” Or, “Can you help me explain contacts and what goes here?” And I think of all of the time that I spent which was valuable to get the user up to speed, but really all that knowledge is so well formatted and put together in Trailhead that if I can just serve those modules up and they can self-service, then I can continue on working with the business and looking forward and they’re getting that pain right when they need it contextually so that they can understand, “Oh, I can just read right within this little window pane exactly what a contact is and I don’t need to bug Mike.”

Grace Li: Absolutely. My goal is to save our admins time, to make them more productive and I think In-App Learning is going to help with that.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, tremendous. Are you kidding? Tremendous.

Grace Li: Yeah. I think that contextual piece is key too, and it’s something that we’ve heard from admins that do customize the help menu is that they wish they could do it in a more contextual way. So that’s why we’ve been thinking so deeply about making this a contextual experience and making it a fun experience too, so that your user as they’re using and interacting with the Trailhead module they can go in and they can earn a badge right within the application. You can earn a badge. Anyone can earn a badge.

Mike Gerholdt: Everybody can earn a badge.

Grace Li: Badges to everyone.

Mike Gerholdt: I love that you’re using a permission set so that if I have an in … I know admins have this, some diligent stakeholders that are like, “I want to control this from my team,” then it’s also, how do you spread those requests so that it all doesn’t … In-App Learning’s cool and then the admin gets 500 requests for it. Well, here, I can give you the permission set and now the stakeholders in those different divisions can empower their users because they’re the ones that are even more knowledgeable about what they want their individuals to consume for knowledge. I just think that’s a really powerful, yet subtle feature that you added to In-App Learning.

Grace Li: Absolutely. And it was very important for us that this permission set is different from modify all or any of the other admin God-like permissions that are out there.

Mike Gerholdt: Yes. It’s very important. Very important. Grace, Guidance Center, you got Admin Home, In-App Learning. Holy cow, this is so much cool stuff that you have coming down the pipe for admins. I’d love to know, in previous podcasts, I’ve talked about He-Man and masters of the universe with Jason Teller. I found out that [inaudible] is huge into board games. And I love learning about some of the hobbies and things that our Salesforce colleagues go into outside of just nerding out on our platform all the time. Is there something really fun or interesting that you would like to share with our admins?

Grace Li: Yeah. I guess one of my, it’s super interesting to me, but I really like working on puzzles. It’s something that I used to do as a kid with my grandfather. We would sit together and I remember this one puzzle that we worked on. It was an orca in the ocean and it was 1,000 pieces. And this has stuck with me because I remember trying to figure out which blue goes where, took a long time but puzzles is something that I’ve loved for a while and so a couple years ago, I bought, I think at the time it was the largest puzzle that existed. It’s a Ravensburger puzzle. It’s actually a Disney mosaic and it’s 10 Disney puzzles that come together and it’s 40,320 pieces. I’m not sure if it’s still the largest one.

Mike Gerholdt: Holy cow.

Grace Li: Yeah. So-

Mike Gerholdt: Did you get it together?

Grace Li: It’s so large. It’s actually, I think 26 by 10 feet, and so there’s no place to put it all together, unfortunately. I recently moved to North Carolina and I was like, “Oh, the houses will be bigger there, so maybe I’ll have space.” But you don’t quite have a house that’s that long. So I’ve been doing it in pieces. I think I’m maybe 60% of the way there, but it’s a little slow because I don’t have a good place to put it, but my vision one day is that I’ll be able to buy a house and we’ll have a long walkway and we’ll actually be able to take out the floor and just put the puzzle on the floor and put glass over it.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, that’d be so cool. I love that idea. I have a friend over, we have many, many inches of snow in Iowa right now, and so everybody and I was inside when we’re not shoveling and I had a friend get into puzzling and I was going to ask you, isn’t there different types of puzzle pieces? There’s a traditional cut, and I’ve seen puzzle pieces that look, I don’t know, I’ll just call it non-traditional but they don’t look like the jigsaw style.

Grace Li: Yeah. I have seen a couple of really weirdly shaped pieces. I think with the traditional ones, at least in the giant one that I have, I do notice there’s a pattern that it tends to repeat because it’s so large. I actually find a few repetitions. So there’ve been a few cases where I’m working on it and I’m like, “Hey, this piece fits, but it looks completely off.” But yeah, I tend to like a few brands the most just because they click together much better than some of the other ones, and funny story, a couple of years ago, I actually got a puzzle subscription where every month they send you a new puzzle and so it kind of got me more into the ecosystem to understand what other brands are out there and I don’t know, found out some cool stuff there.

Mike Gerholdt: It’s like a puzzle of the month club.

Grace Li: Exactly. I think by now there’s an everything of the month where they ship it to you.

Mike Gerholdt: Oh, sure, sure, sure. Yeah. This is fun. I didn’t know you were into puzzles. So is it good or bad to glue the thing together? Because when I was a little kid, my grandpa and I used to put puzzles together, but then we would glue it down to a piece of cardboard. Is that okay? Or once you have it together, do you put it back in the box?

Grace Li: I used to do that when I was growing up doing puzzles, my grandfather and I would glue it together and we still have some framed at home, but now I’m like, if I glue it, I can’t work on it anymore. And the thing is, I really like my big puzzles, but it takes a while and it takes space, and so a lot of times I just like to pull out my thousand piece puzzles, but those usually take less than a day. So I don’t want to glue it and then lose the opportunity to work on it again in the future.

Mike Gerholdt: I could see that. I wasn’t sure if it was good or bad. That’s neat.

Grace Li: I guess, to each their own.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep, absolutely. Well, Grace, thank you for helping admins put the puzzle pieces together even better with Guidance Center and In-App Learning. I think now it even makes more sense while you’re working on some of this stuff, and for sharing your passion of puzzles, I think that’s really neat. We’ll have to figure out something puzzley to do the rest of the year for our admins because I could foresee a lot of fun puzzle ideas out of this.

Grace Li: Yeah, absolutely.

Mike Gerholdt: Well, Grace, thanks so much for being on the podcast.

Grace Li: Thanks for having me, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: I’m so glad we had Grace on the podcast. For those of you who were tuned into the Trailblazers Innovate series, you saw Grace do the amazing Admin Home demo that we had in that broadcast. That was fun. I am so excited to see In-App Learning and Guidance Center, especially Guidance Center for new admins getting their org set up and of course forward-looking statement all of the fun stuff that Grace has in mind for what’s coming with Guidance Center later this year. And what a neat hobby putting puzzles together. I have friends that are getting into puzzles. I’ve done some puzzles myself. I can honestly tell you I have never attempted to do a puzzle that is larger than the room. I am housing it in. So kudos to you, Grace. That sounds like a lot of fun to do. So if you’re into puzzles, shoot Grace a link. I am sure she would appreciate it. Grace has a really cool Twitter handle. It’s glacier4ce. So I’ll put the link to her Twitter in the show notes. I’m sure she would appreciate any good puzzle hints or puzzle recommendations.
Now of course, if you want to learn more about all things Salesforce Admin, go to admin.salesforce.com to find more resources. You can stay up to date with us on social for all things admins. We are @SalesforceAdmns. No I on Twitter. And of course, as I mentioned, you can find Grace on Twitter. She has the really cool name glacier4ce, G-L-A-C-I-E-R, the number four, C-E. glacier4ce. I love it when people use numbers to make their Twitter handle even cooler. My Twitter handle, if you want to follow me, please do. I am @MikeGerholdt. And of course, Jillian who also hosts the podcast with me. She is @JillianKBruce.
So with that, please stay safe, but I know you’re going to stay awesome and stay tuned for the next episode of The Salesforce Admins podcast. We will see you in the cloud.
Yeah, I can understand that. Could have my name and then you get a whole [inaudible] of consonants at the end of it. It’s German. Germans and vowels don’t go well together.

Grace Li: And you have to say it with that oomph too.

Mike Gerholdt: I always tell people it’s like clearing your throat. By the time you get to the end of my name, you’ve thoroughly cleared your throat.

Grace Li: Yeah, I think I’m just going to stick with calling you Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Yep. I would too.

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