Tuesday, January 30, 2018

[Salesforce / AppExchange Series] Skyvia: easy way to load your Salesforce data into Amazon Redshift

Here we are in the next Salesforce app guest post.

Skivia is a great solution for Data warehouse in the cloud, with tens of integrations and connectors to integrate, back up, access, and manage your cloud data
with an all-in-one cloud service. With Skivia service you have to think less about where to put all your data (from all your data sources on the cloud) to concentrate on analysis.

Skyvia is not an AppExchange app but it's an amazing service that fully deserves to be mentioned in one of the best services out there to work with Salesforce data.


The guest blogger

Jacob Martin is crazy about all stuff connected with coding, particularly all Hi-tech ones, such as Cloud computing, Big-Data, BI tools and CRMs in the broader sense.
He is a cloud engineer at Skyvia - the universal cloud data platform for no coding data integration, backup, management, and access.




With the powerful data analysis features and low storage costs of cloud data warehouse services, loading data from cloud applications to data warehouses becomes a very common task. For example, you may want to get your cloud data to a database and then use some BI tool, such as Looker, Tableau, or chart.io, or just to store your historical cloud data in a database for archiving or compliance purposes.

In this article I will describe a way how to load data from Salesforce to Amazon Redshift with almost no efforts using Skyvia service. It is a cloud data platform for data integration, backup, management and access, which can perform this task with no coding and very little configuration.



Replication Configuration in Just a Few Steps


Skyvia is a completely cloud solution that requires no local software except a web browser, and all actions in it are performed via web browser, in a convenient web GUI.

To replicate your data via service, first, you need to register on it. Creating an account is free, and you can try Skyvia within its free pricing plan that allows you to load up to 5000 records per month between cloud applications and databases.

After you create an account, on the Integrations page, click Create Now under Replication. A replication package editor page is opened.



Setting up Connections


In our example, we will use Amazon Redshift as a target database for replication. Note that you may need to configure your AWS security settings to allow access to your Amazon Redshift cluster from Skyvia’s IP – 40.118.246.204. This is necessary for Skyvia to be able to load Salesforce data into your Redshift database.

First, we select connection types in the Source and Target headers, as we want to etl Salesforce data to Amazon Redshift, will choose them respectively. Note that Skyvia also supports other data warehouses and relational databases, including Google BigQuery, Asure SQL DWH, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, etc. The full list of supported data sources you can find here.


After this, we need to create the corresponding connections. For Salesforce, the service supports both Username/password and OAuth connections. With the latter option, your Salesforce credentials are not stored on the Skyvia server. You simply enter a connection name, log in to Salesforce and allow Skyvia access to your data.


For Redshift, you need to specify the corresponding connection parameters. Note that for replication you not only need to specify main parameters for connecting to Redshift itself.


You also need to click Advanced and specify parameters for connecting to Amazon S3 storage.


To improve the replication performance, Skyvia creates CSV files with Salesforce data, uploads them to Amazon S3, and uses Redshift COPY command to quickly import data.


Selecting Objects


After you connected to your Salesforce and database, everything is simple. You will see the list of your Salesforce objects and you just need to select check boxes for the objects that you need to copy. A convenient object search allows you to quickly find and select the necessary objects.


You can perform complete or partial replication. For each object you can edit task and exclude some fields or set up filters to copy only a part of the data.



Running Replication


For one-time data loading this is enough. Click Save, and then you may run your replication.


By default, Skyvia automatically creates tables with the corresponding structure in the database, and in some minutes (depending on the volume of your Salesforce data), you will have an exact copies of your Salesforce objects in your database.


Keeping Data Up-to-date


Simple copying of data is not the only feature of Skyvia’s replication. However, for business analysis tasks it’s better to have access to as fresh data as possible. This task can easily be solved using flexible scheduling settings and allows automatically keep your copy of the data always up-to-date.

You can schedule your replication to run automatically and keep your Redshift database always synced with Salesforce. To configure a schedule open the created replication package for editing, and under Schedule (at bottom left of the package editor) click Set schedule.


Skyvia allows flexible schedule configuration. You can configure your replication to run monthly, weekly, daily, on specific weekdays, etc. In non-free pricing plans you may run replication and update your database with a fresh data from Salesforce every hour or every few minutes and get real-time insights on your data. Thus, after you configure your replication, you can easily keep your database always up-to-date.

Skyvia uses incremental updates. This means that every time it loads only the records that were changed in Salesforce since the previous package run, and applies the corresponding changes to the database. It can significantly improve performance and decrease costs, as the latter depends on the number of replicated records.


Universal Cloud Data Platform for Integration


Skyvia is a universal cloud data platform, and replication is only one of the supported integration scenarios. In addition to replication, it supports other operation kinds: import, export, and synchronization.

The replication is used when you need to simply copy data from a cloud app to a database or cloud data warehouse and automatically keep this copy in a current state with minimal configuration efforts. Synchronization synchronizes data in two sources bi-directionally. Export allows you to export data from cloud applications, like Salesforce, and databases to CSV files. Import serves for unidirectional data loading.

Import has some more complex configuration than replication, but it is much more flexible. It allows importing data from CSV files or from cloud applications and databases directly to other cloud applications and databases. Unlike replication, it doesn’t create target tables automatically. Instead you configure mapping between source and target tables and columns.

Powerful mapping settings allow you to load data between the data sources with the different data structure and formats while preserving relations between data. You can provide constant values, use powerful expressions, lookups, etc.


Import can be configured to load only newly updated or inserted records from Salesforce. Thus, we can perform a replication once to create the necessary tables and import all the data, and then configure import to load new and updated records from Salesforce.

As an all in one cloud data platform, Skyvia also offers a cloud to cloud backup solution, an online SQL query tool, and OData REST API server that can make your data available over the web.


Pricing


Skyvia’s integration pricing depends mostly on the number of loaded records. Additionally, higher pricing plans allow scheduling packages to run more often and having more scheduled packages.

Skyvia has a free pricing plan for data integration, allowing you to load 5000 records per month for free. So you can register an account on Skyvia for free and test it whether it suits to your needs and then decide whether to upgrade your pricing plan.

You can see details on Skyvia pricing on their pricing page.


Here is a handy video showing live how Skyvia works.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

[Salesforce / Ecosystem] Salesforce Jobs: What’s Italian Salesforce really like?

I'm humbled and honored to present you the latest Mason Frank's salary survey results related to the italian market.

Few days before Dreamforce 17 I asked Maria Baranowska and Alan Ferrari (managers at Mason Frank) if they could send me the raw data about Italy's market of Mason Frank's annual salary survey and, surprise, they gave me a fantastic article with all the details and insights from the data.

Unfortunately at this time Italy market cannot compete with more developed ones, such as U.S.A, U.K, France or Germany, but the number of company that are adopting Salesforce and the number of Salesforce addicted nerds is rapidly incresing, and I really hope we'll see a lot of italian trailblazers coming out and invading the web!

Before leaving the proper space to this amazing article, I want to say again thank you to two great Mason Frank's trailblazers:
  • Alan Ferrari [Manager at Mason Frank INternational] who wrote the final version of this post and gave it a true italian market value!
  • Maria Baranowska [Outreach Executive at Mason Frank International] who I contacted first, granted me access to the draft italian data through a first draft of this post

Alan Ferrari

Focused on makes candidates’ lives better since 2009, I’ve started my career as an HR Assistant & Internal Recruiter Specialist. After a couple of experiences in our beautiful country as an HR&Talent Acquisition Manager I’ve decided to move out and try to expand my knowledge in UK moving deeper in the mysterious world (at that time) of Salesforce.com.
My adventure started with the opening of the Italian Market for the Frank Recruitment Group, and during my “years of service” I’ve contributed in the opening (and currently managing) of several foreign markets like Spain, Portugal, Central East Europe and Nordic Regions.
Passioned about IT and “Human Capital”, I’m trying to challenge myself everyday more and more in order to stand out from other recruiters bringing Mason Frank International to another level and keeping the standards as the world leader recruitment company in SFDC and Marketing Automation.




Salesforce is the leader of the CRM market and one of the most successful technologies available today. Unlike many other tech companies who may parallel in innovation within their own field, Salesforce has cultivated a unique ecosystem (including but not limited to the Ohana) which makes it stand out from the rest.


That being said, what’s it like to be part of the Ohana in different parts of the world? In which countries can Salesforce professionals earn most and expect the greatest growth in the coming years?

Let me present myself first...


My name is Alan Ferrari and I am a Manager at Mason Frank International, the world’s leading Salesforce recruiter company.

Over the last few years, I’ve been learning about what it’s like to work in Salesforce.

Today, I’m going to share some of the most relevant insights I’ve picked up and help you understand one Salesforce market where I specialise most, Italy.

As you might know, every year, Mason Frank release their salary survey, where people working with Salesforce can find information and salaries for different positions, both technical and functional.

For the first time this year, due to popular demand, we’ve decided to include Italy in our research. Releasing the data exclusively here on Enrico’s blog, we will explore salaries in this growing market and speculate what the future may hold for professionals living here.

Needless to say, demand and salaries are not close to that of other countries where the technology has been active for a decade. This is clearly evidenced in the Salesforce salary survey report.

The good news is that in the last three to four years, the average salary in Italy has increased by more than the 60% in functional positions and more than the 80% in the technical professionals.

This is likely the result of the investment in the South of Europe over 2016/2017, managing to substantially increase the demand of professionals in this technology.

Here you can find the average Italian Salesforce salaries for each of the main positions:
RolesJunior (0-3 years)Mid (4-7 years)Senior (8 years+)
Salesforce Manager55,27658,38762,443
Project Manager48,97649,24650,266
Technical Architect55,29857,14760,527
Solution Architect43,19444,62445,626
Technical Consultant33,22539,55645,886
Functional Consultant25,31332,73940,165
Developer30,28734,37638,464
Business Analyst28,77332,34935,924
Administrator22,37724,75826,575
Marketing Automation Manager40,17941,87843,967
Marketing Automation Specialist30,11232,45335,249


Oh, the good old times!


I can’t forget the moment I completed my first placement in Salesforce.

I was working with a man who studied and worked in Salesforce for three to four years in the UK and was dreaming of coming back in Italy, so badly in fact, that was ready to accept a big cut in his salary in order to return.

He was soon hired as a Senior Developer for the incredible salary of 24,000€. If you look at the table above, the average salary is now about 10,000€ more. Incredibly, this didn’t happen 10 years ago, but the market has shifted so quickly this increase has happened in a fraction of time.

If you take a look at the rest of Europe, you will find different ranges of salaries in different countries, most of them being higher than in Italy.

That being said, what I’m often explaining to the job seekers I work with is:

  1. The Italian ecosystem is fairly new.

    There are countries such as UK, Germany or France where Salesforce has been growing for more than seven or eight years and is established as one of the most important players in the CRM world.

    In Italy, only in the last 5 years (excluding our pioneer) has the technology been taken in the right consideration. This means the demand for people still isn’t the same as in other countries.

  2. Cost of living. I’ve heard so many times people asking me to help them go to other countries because of the ‘unbelievable salaries’. What people don’t often realise is that the cost of living in a different city could be higher and what you take home at the end of the day might be less than what you have elsewhere. This is very relevant in Italy in particular.


So, what can we expect in the upcoming years?


As a recruiter, I can tell that the demand for SFDC professionals will reach sky-high levels during 2018. We are constantly looking for an increasing number of people and over the last three years, this demand has increased by a huge 160%.

New companies are adopting Salesforce and creating jobs every month.

Typically, the average Manager or Senior Manager in Italy is aged around 45 to 48 years old. In Salesforce, people are excelling to these positions around aged 32 to 35 years old. This is largely due to the fast growth and understaffing in this geographical market.


Skills and education


Another great asset of working with Salesforce, in Italy and beyond, is the lack of demand for a strict IT or technical background.

Furthermore, there is a general belief that formal, higher education isn’t a must. This year’s Salesforce salary survey revealed two-thirds of respondents don’t believe a degree is important to pursue a career in Salesforce (has been confirmed by most companies as well).

This means professionals can start climbing the corporate ladder sooner, often straight out of school. This is likely to give a greater of people the platform to enter tech careers and breakdown any previously existent stigmas.

Throughout my career as a Salesforce recruiter, I’ve learned that the average duration of a career in this field is around 12 to 18 months for junior positions, increasing to a longer term – otherwise known as tenure – with more senior positions. This could be due to the project-driven style of working within Salesforce.

This is a trend we’re seeing across the world. In developing Salesforce markets like Italy, this can be a great asset to workers as it gives flexibility and can allow people in a range of positions, from Admins to Developers, to experience a wide range of projects and products. It makes the market more dynamic, interesting, and challenging.


Inclusivity and gender diversity


Finally, Salesforce sets an example for their inclusivity and gender diversity. Since the boom of Salesforce, the number of women in IT has increased from 2.8% to 12%. Their own internal encouragement of coding for women, and accommodation of parental rights, sets an example to other businesses, especially those in their own ecosystem.

This attitude is particularly refreshing in developing markets, like Italy.

It could pave the way for drastic change in the representation of women in technology across the country.


What does this mean for you?


If you are working in Salesforce, or considering a career in it, there has never been a better time to do so, particularly in a country where the technology’s growth is high.

If you’re unsure of what you should be earning, consult resources like Mason Frank’s salary survey and compare your earnings against others.

If you need any advice on your Salesforce career prospects, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly and I’d be happy to do what I can to help.

You can find me on LinkedIn.

Good luck!


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

[Salesforce / Translation Workbench] Import/Export translations betwen ORGs with different metadata configuration

This guest post is written by one of the most powerful coworkers I've been working with in the last years.

His name is Tommaso Bolis and I call him the Robo-Bolis because I believe he's a smart and super productive top coder, and sometimes make me fear he's not human!

Jokes aside, it's months I'm asking him to write as a guest blogger for my blog and finally he decided to put some of his knowledge inside this humble blog.

Tommaso Bolis is a Solution Architect and Salesforce Senior Developer at WebResults, a Salesforce platinum italian partner. His main interests span from backend development to DB administration, to Javascript frontend development and, ofcourse, Salesforce.

If you are the kind of guys belonging to the TL;DR party, here is an amazing GitHub repository with all the code to solve the challenge in the post's title.


Background: Multi region and content management


During one of my last projects I had to introduce on one of our customer’s site/community the multi region (EMEA, APAC, ...) content management and the multi language support.

This last requirement was particularly challenging (we are talking about 8 different languages including Japanese, Korean and Arabic...), but I don’t want to bother you with what have been done to accomplish the goal, I just want to tell you about one problem I have been facing trying to move translations among our different orgs.

If you have already played with translation workbench you know for sure how trying to export/import translations can be tricky.


The challenge: ORGs with different metadata configuration


The point is that if two orgs differ for some reason in terms of translatable metadata than the export/import process can fail and a manual adjustment of the exported data can be necessary in order to import the data inside the destination org without errors.

For example, if you have a custom label on the source org that has not been deployed on the destination org, when you try to export translations from the source org the resulting files will contain translation for this custom label and trying to import these files will result in errors.


Solution: Python app to rest easy


In order to solve this annoying problem I developed a Python script that takes files exported from the source org and process it removing all references to metadata that does not exist on the destination org.

In this way it is possible to import files without errors!

The idea is to use files exported from both orgs source and destination and simply remove everything is on source files but not on destination files.

This operation is enough to obtain a set of translation files that can be imported without errors.

Jump to this GitHub repository, fork it and follow the README.md file to run the magic!

Maybe around the web something similar already exist, but I can’t say no when I’ve to work on a good handcrafted script.

Monday, January 8, 2018

[AppExchange series] 10 best things you can do offline with Salesforce data (and Resco Mobile app)


Happy new year to everyone!


First post of 2018 celebrates the AppExchange: the call for guest AppExchange posts is getting a lot of answers and amazing ISVs want to share their app.

In this guest post I want to present you the Resco Mobile App, an amazing solution for Salesforce offline management, fully customizable with no coding skills, that leverages the power of Salesforce when the Salesforce app is not enough!

I'll leave the word to our guest blogger Barbora Piatrov√°, Content Strategist at Resco.net.

Barbora Piatrov√° takes her passion for digital marketing & mobile CRM everywhere she goes. Currently, she’s involved in creating & mastering content strategy at resco.net – one of the leading companies in the world for Mobile CRM. She is now actively also discovering and participating in new thriving communities for Salesforce enthusiasts.





Offline matters. Especially nowadays.


Even in Europe, where Internet connectivity is generally perceived as very good, there are areas and countries with poor 3G and 4G support. There is a pocketful of places with poor or no connectivity possible. What about the garages, planes, rural/uninhabited areas, or elevators?

Offline is now available for Salesforce users in the field, indeed. Including sales professionals and field service technicians. The question is, how much offline can we actually get? Is access to the last 5 recently viewed objects what a field technician truly need? The same guy whose mission is to complete all the planned tasks, inspections or sales visits needs permanent offline access to all Salesforce data. It doesn’t end here though. A motivated sales and field service rep wishes to fulfill the mission irrespective of internet connectivity. Continuous work is necessary even in areas where such limited offline would not help.


Consider true offline. Follow the leaders.


Resco is among the leaders in providing world-class offline mobile solutions for various back-end solutions, including Salesforce.

You might have noticed that offline capability is currently being added to mobile apps by most CRM vendors such as Salesforce, Microsoft, and others. In our opinion, offline is not a capability, which can be easily added to an online CRM app. Offline doesn’t only mean to add a local database support, providing the CRM data when the app is disconnected.

Offline means that ALL the features and functionalities of the mobile CRM app are available also when the app is disconnected – with no limitations. Thus, the logic of every feature must be developed and implemented to the mobile app independently from the server. Otherwise, a feature will simply not work when the app is disconnected. But a mobile CRM app is usually the main business tool of every mobile sales or service professional. So, if it doesn’t provide 100% of functionality anywhere and anytime, it can cause immediate damages for a company’s business.”

Radomir Vozar, CEO at Resco

The primary focal point of Resco Mobile CRM is its offline capability. It has been implemented since the very beginning of its development. A complete, robust mobile solution, ready to serve its users whenever and wherever they happen to be. A completely different story in comparison to online CRM apps with offline capabilities.

In every release, we launch approximately 40 new features and improvements to our mobile app, including offline features. 18 years of development and hard work brought over 700 mobile features to life! And so, believe me, it was no easy feat, but we did come up with a list of 10 most used & useful features that prove that (in this case) both quantity and quality matter.


How to work with Resco Mobile App in an offline mode?


The same as if you’ve never left the room with wi-fi, switched off your mobile internet data or lost connection!

What exactly do we get in Resco with full offline support?

  1. Business logic (not just data)

    Offline-first approach means, you can perform complex business processes and constraints allowing you to not only view – but create or edit business logic of the solution that works offline.

  2. Maps

    System admins can define which maps will be stored in the local memory, so users can use the map view even without wi-fi or cellular connection to the Internet.

  3. Document management (viewing and editing)

    Offline-capable solution knows no limitations. When working with documents (pdf, HTML, MS Office, MS Excel, HTML, SharePoint, Dropbox) offline, you can simply set up the filters that dictate which files should be downloaded to the offline database in your phone or tablet.

  4. Knowledge base articles

    You get to not only access, but to play around with the articles about products, parts, and more. Filter articles of any format (pdf, HTML, video, audio, image…), copy them, add to favorites, associate with case or edit its details.

  5. Reports

    Yes, that’s right! You can generate pdf reports on spot limitlessly. Generate and work with them even further. Want to store a report? Send it or print? It’s all up to you.

  6. Offline HTML

    Who wouldn’t want to create their own business logic to the app for Salesforce? You can expand the app with tailor-made forms to add product presentations or to replace the standard user interface – all with offline HTML. Create stunning pres¬entations, get the scoop on your prospects by quickly looking at their online presence. Iframes allow you to show any HTML content in the application.

  7. Lead conversion

    Did you know you can qualify/disqualify leads or convert them to a closed deal even offline? Yes, automated processes truly simplify the lives of sales guys on-the-go. Finally, you can nurture your leads properly.

  8. Multimedia

    Show product presentation or attach pictures to your notes or any Salesforce record at any time! You can upload, edit, and delete multimedia including images, audio & video files (JPEG, PNG, AVI, etc.) and other formats.

  9. Quotes

    Can’t create a quote while disconnected? That’s no longer a challenge. You can freely create a quote with respect to an actual corporate product catalog and its pricing policy.

  10. Faster performance

    App performance is not to be underestimated in the enterprise space. With offline this robust, you don’t ever have to worry about waiting for network transactions to take place. Database reads and writes are stored locally, so the tasks are being completed instantly.

    And there is plenty more you can do! Endless offline capabilities include task management, notes and business information editing, offline managements of all objects (standard, custom), product/parts management, offline calendar, favorites, and so much more.


*Note that:
In offline mode, the database is stored locally on the de¬vice (for offline capability and faster performance of Resco Mobile CRM) is encrypted by default. The data encryption is based on an application key. The appli¬cation key is randomly generated when the database is created and protected by the user’s password. The key is stored in an encrypted form in device’s file system and decrypted when needed.

Curious to see real offline mobile solution for sales and field service scenarios in action? Simply, drop Resco a line at mobilecrm@resco.net or request a demo at the website!