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How to stay up to date with Salesforce

Trying to stay up to date on Salesforce can be a tall order.  The Salesforce ecosystem is a behemoth, and not only is it huge, but it also moves fast.  Amazingly fast, to the tune of 3 major releases per year and hundreds of new partner applications released every month.  It can all be a little overwhelming.  Below are a few methods that can help you stay on top of it all.

 Surf the AppExchange

AppExchangePart of staying up to date with Salesforce is not only knowing what’s going on with the core product, but also what’s going on in Salesforce’s vibrant ISV ecosystem (The AppExchange).  If you’re unfamiliar with the AppExchange, it features 2,000 applications built to work with Salesforce and ready for immediate install.  The AppExchange homepage is located here:  https://appexchange.salesforce.com/

Here’s two must-do’s for staying up to date with the AppExchange:

  1.  – Sign up for the AppExchange newsletter here:  https://www.salesforce.com/form/appexchange/news.jsp
  2.  – Give yourself a weekly calendar reminder to review the applications posted on this page:  https://appexchange.salesforce.com/new

Check out the “New Features” Page

The “New Features” page has a boatload of information to do exactly what we’re talking about here – staying up to date.  The new features page is located here:  http://www.salesforce.com/newfeatures/

Reading the release notes almost goes without saying, but there’s a catch –  release notes are a living document.  When reading release notes, always download a fresh copy to be sure you’re getting the latest and greatest. In addition to release notes, the New Features page also has resources for release related training, and legacy links in case you need to catch up with last release notes as well.

Check Out Ideas

Salesforce Ideas is a product which allows the community to discuss and “vote up” features that they would like to see in future Salesforce releases.  Often by browsing through ideas, you can get ideas on what’s coming soon, and what could make it to the roadmap.

Salesforce ideas

You can see ideas coming in the next release.  Sometimes, these are already documented in the release notes depending on timing, but other times, you might see a nugget here that’s worth getting excited out and has not yet made it to release notes.  Ideas coming in the next release are located here:  https://success.salesforce.com/ideaSearch?sort=2&filter=Coming+in+the+Next+Release

If you really want to get ahead, check out “Ideas Under Consideration”.  Ideas in this category are being reviewed by product team to determine if they have a place on the roadmap.  Sometimes, a few more votes are all they need to get pushed into development, so review these, vote heavy, and share with your friends!  Ideas Under Consideration located here:  https://success.salesforce.com/ideaSearch?sort=2&filter=Under+Consideration

Get Certified

There’s been a lot of talk of “Forcing Functions” in the Salesforce community of late.  What better way to force yourself to learn all the latest and greatest than a goal of getting Certified?  Not only will test prep expose you to many aspects of the core Salesforce platform, but each platform release will also have a re-test to assure you’re on top of things.  If you know that you need to learn, a Certification will quantify your knowledge and force you to stay on your A game.

Check out my blog post “So you want to be a Salesforce Admin” for some materials on how to do this.

Twitter

twitter-bird-light-bgsI might be a little biased since Twitter is my favorite social network, but regardless it is still a great way to get Salesforce related information and news.  On Twitter, you can find not only information on AppExchange applications and Salesforce platform features, but you can also find news about Salesforce and the ecosystem.

I could write an entire blog on how to maximize this, but for starters, follow @Salesforce, and run a search on “Salesforce” and follow the first 50 people you see.  Chances are, that’ll be a great way to start sculpting your own personal news feed on Salesforce updates!

Go to Dreamforce

dreamforce-2013You can’t write a blog about how to stay up to date with Salesforce without mentioning Dreamforce.  Dreamforce is the way to do ALL OF THE ABOVE AT THE SAME TIME.  Don’t just read about the AppExchange, meet the vendors that are on the AppExchange.  Instead of reading release notes, talk to Salesforce employees in the Campground about the new features.  You can also take a certification class & exam right at the conference.  Twitter is a great tool to stay up to date on Dreamforce information (Follow @Dreamforce) as well.  And on top of that, see Marc Benioff deliver a keynote which won’t disappoint, and finally, stay up to date on your musical education by seeing Green Day.

In Conclusion

Here’s a few ways that I stay up to date with Salesforce.  I hope they help you in the daunting challenge of staying up to speed.  If you have any thoughts or suggestions on other tips that are helpful to you, leave a comment, we’d love to hear about it!

 

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