Salesforce Platform Overview

There are a number of features and functionality that are part of the Salesforce platform and are available to all Salesforce solutions. They offer the technology or functionality that can be used either standalone (e.g. content management) or used to build upon (e.g. force.com code). As they are common across the different Salesforce applications (e.g. Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and custom applications) they are part of the Salesforce platform. The diagram below and summary of each of the components provides a convenient overview to understand what it available. Note that the features that are included vary according to edition and may also be an extra cost.

Salesforce Platform Overview

 

Functionality Description
Mobile Apps Provides access to standard and custom Salesforce data as well as collaboration with Chatter in a mobile application on iphone or ipads. Salesforce has offerred a number of different mobile apps (Salesforce Classic, Salesforce Touch and Chatter mobile) which could be confusing as to which one to use. In 2013 Salesforce1 was released which has replaced Chatter mobile and offers new features such as access to new and existing Salesforce APIs.
Chatter Collaboration Allows collaboration and discussion across the company in real time in groups, related to Salesforce objects such as accounts or opportunities or general discussion across the organisation. Also allows external parties to collaborate in groups or general discussion.
Content Management Organisation and storage of all file types into libraries that can be searched, subscribed to, previewed and collaborated on.
Email Integration Integration of inbound and outbound email such as Outlook or Gmail with Salesforce.
Reports and Analytics Generation of filtered, grouped and summarised data in a structured or graphical format. Dashboards represent data in a visual component such as a chart, gauge, table or metric.
Google Apps Integration Integrates certain Google applications with Salesforce. Google Docs integration allows Google docs to be related to Salesforce records. After integration is enabled, notes and attachments related lists will be renamed and allow Google docs also to be added. Google doc links will also be availabe within CRM Content. Gmail integration allows automatically logging of emails sent from a gmail account to Salesforce records (e.g. leads, contacts, opportunities). It also will add gmail buttons and links within the application, which will populate email address and log sent emails as activity history.
Salesforce Identity Provides single sign-on capability and active directory integration.
Offline Access A client application that allows offline access to a subset of Salesforce records. When online changes and updates are synchronised.
Web Services API Provides the ability to call external web services or to expose logic written in APEX code as a web service api that an external application can invoke.
Force.com code The Salesforce mantra is ‘clicks not code’ and more features are added every release to increase what you can do without programming, but sometimes code is required. The Salesforce programming language is called APEX and is a java like object orientated language.
Workflow and Approvals Workflow enables automation of business processes by the definition of workflow rules and criteria that will generate automated actions such as creation of tasks, emails, field updates and outbound messages.Approval processes enable a sign-off process by the definition of a structured set of steps to facilitate approval by defined roles of certain records.
Visual Workflow Visual workflow allows a wizard like sequence of screens (called flows) to be built with logic and database read and update ability. It can be used to guide users through different scenarios or simplify the process of creating records, by gathering the information required one one screen and configuring visual workflow to create a number of related records (e.g create a contact, household, reminder task, customer object records and even parent child relationships)

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