Introduction

Salesforce is the number one CRM system available in the market today. It has built its reputation over the years, building on its ability to completely customize the CRM system to your own unique business requirements. The Salesforce automation tools available in Salesforce allow the admins to automate mundane tasks within the CRM system, thereby reducing the overall time taken for various processes. Admins can use Salesforce automation tools like Process Builder, Workflow Rules, Flow, and Apex, which come with their own characteristic features that set them apart and make them useful. Here is a brief about each of these tools, along with their advantages and a few disadvantages.

  1. Workflow Rules
  2. Process Builder
  3. Flow
  4. Apex

1. Workflow Rules

Workflow Rules is a container or an engine that works with business logic to automate activities based on some business criteria. When the conditions are true, the automated activity gets executed. Workflows are relatively limited in functionality when comparing against other Salesforce automation tools, yet is one of the most widely used in the Salesforce world, given their simple and easy user interface.

  • Features

Workflow allows you to set various actions based on events or conditions. The actions that can be set include updating a field, creating a task, triggering an email and more. Actions can be triggered based on time of day even.

  • Advantages

Workflows are the easiest of the lot, with simple steps to create an action based on a set of events or conditions as per business. Workflows are also built to scale; no matter the size of the organization, Workflow works just fine.

  • Disadvantages

Workflow executes actions based on a binary outcome of a condition. Workflow is too simple an automation tool for advanced requirements.

2. Process Builder

Process Builder is a GUI based, point and clicks tool to automate business processes within the CRM domain quite easily with a simple graphical representation of your business processes. With Process Builder, unlike Workflow, you can have a complex criteria node and multiple actions based on values of a given condition. Process Builder allows you to draw up multiple actions and lets you schedule those actions instead of performing them immediately. Process Builder has a more intuitive Lightning user interface, allowing complex decision-based actions. Process builder allows a string of actions which include,

Record creation

Update of records, including the one that started the process.

Submit for approval

Sending email based on multiple templates.

Chatter Feed post.

  • Features

The most striking feature of Process Builder is the interactive changes that you can do to a process builder representation in a graphical flowchart-based tool. The tool allows you to represent complex decisions with multiple outcomes.

  • Advantages

The advantages of Process Builder over Workflow are easily the ability to take multiple actions based on a complex condition, but the one that stands out is the ability to take scheduled actions along with immediate ones. Scheduled actions can be left for the future.

Immediate or scheduled action is possible in Process Builder.

Using multiple decision points, it is possible to replicate any business scenario.

Process Builder is easy on the learning curve too.

  • Disadvantages

Process Builder has its own weaknesses too. Although it is very versatile and can mimic almost all business scenarios using multiple outcomes for any given condition, it falls short of expectations when it comes to enterprise scale. For example, there are limitations to the number of concurrent SQL queries that can be run, making it hard to run automated processes while a big load of SQL queries is being executed.

3. Flow

Flow is a powerful salesforce automation tool, using a step-by-step wizard style script generation process that is both intuitive and easy. Flow is capable of working with complex business processes to create a fast and reliable automated system. Flow also allows code like script building environment for granular control of data and business processes.

Flow can be used to build various types of flows. Namely, screen flows, schedule-triggered flows, auto launched flows, and record triggered flows, platform event-driven flows.

Screen flows are simple and intuitive flows created by application users or admins, much like recording macros in Excel. Schedule or triggered flows are auto launched at a specific time of day or well-defined intervals. Auto launch flows are again automatically launched based on platform events. Record triggered flows are auto launched based on record change events like an update, delete or create. Platform or event-driven flows are those that wait for a system or platform event to start before launching the script.

  • Features

Flow boasts of a wizard-style automation tool that helps create multiple types of automation. It can also trigger changes to records that are unrelated even.

  • Advantages

Flow is preferred over Process Builder for complex flows on an enterprise scale. Flow gives admins the power to edit the code generated to get more granular control over the automation.

  • Disadvantages

Flow isn’t as easy as Process Builder, and newbies stare at a steep learning curve if you intend to do complex enterprise-level Salesforce automation.

4. Apex

Apex, Salesforces only programming language that is for those who are well versed with coding. Apex can virtually do anything on the Salesforce CRM platform. As you might have guessed, most of the complex and large-scale automation is developed in Apex.

  • Features

Apex is an object-oriented programming language that allows developers to execute transaction control and flow statements along with API calls. Apex uses a Java-like syntax to build database-style stored procedures.

  • Advantages 

Based completely on coding, Apex has the most granular control among any of the Salesforce automation tools.  Its Java-like language is easy to pick up for developers, and its object-oriented programming support allows for modular build and reusability. Apex is the go-to tool for any admin who is not able to automate satisfactorily using other interactive Salesforce tools.

  • Disadvantages

Apex presents a steep learning curve, and those programming in apex should have prior experience with coding. Apex can also be time-consuming, given that a test class has to be written for every piece of code.

Conclusion

Being proficient in a CRM tool that is in use in most businesses presents a world of opportunities. You can start at the beginner level of Workflows and gradually progress to Apex if you are already proficient in coding. That way, you will pick up a few nuances in automation before hitting the coding part in Apex. But once again, you don’t have to be a developer to perform automation in Salesforce. Logon to Jigsaw to find out more about our courses on Salesforce and its battery of tools for an effortless CRM. 

If you are interested in making it big in the world of data and evolve as a Future Leader, you may consider our Integrated Program in Business Analytics, a 10-month online program, in collaboration with IIM Indore!

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