While many companies look to hire developers to handle the heavy lifting of coding with Apex Classes and Triggers, oftentimes, automation can be done without the expense of that particular position. Salesforce Administrators are handling automation in Salesforce frequently without the use of developers.
Even though there are still situations in which a developer or architect would be better suited for a job, Administrators are using native Salesforce functionality that is considered low-code or no-code, or declarative options.
You can automate processes in Salesforce with Workflows, Process Builders, and Flows, but it is important to know which tool is the best and what to consider before implementing those solutions. Salesforce is actively moving away from supporting two of those options in the future.
Let’s jump in to learn about different ways to automate processes in Salesforce without a developer.
Using Workflow for Automation in Salesforce
Workflow in Salesforce was one of the original automation tools, and many companies still rely on workflow for quick and simple solutions. Workflow can assign tasks, send email alerts, update field values, and send outbound messages.
This Email Alert is used to send a notice when the Amount field on an Opportunity is $50k or greater.
Workflow rules can be built in minutes and are simple enough for even novice Administrators.
However, as you can see in the Workflow Rule image, these are being phased out by Salesforce. Salesforce Flow Builder is encouraged, as it can do all that workflow rules can do and more.
Future support for workflow is being degraded, and Salesforce is discouraging new workflow rules from being created, but it is helpful to understand what Workflow your company uses so that you can start to transition to Salesforce flow.
Automation with Process Builders in Salesforce
Process Builders were the next step up from Workflow Rules in Salesforce recently. Including most of the functions of Workflow Rules, Process Builder can also:
- submit records for approval
- create records
- send custom notifications
- call Apex Classes and Flows
- Update fields on related records
- House multiple if-then statements
The visual aid used with Process Builder also was a step up from Workflow Rules in that you could better see the relationships between criteria and the actions. Plus, it’s just easier to use.
An Email Alert for a big deal looks a bit better in Process Builder than in Workflow Rules.
Salesforce is also driving traffic away from Process Builders and into Flows, just as they have with Workflow Rules. While it has been a great tool, it is also best if future automation moves away from Process Builders.
With Workflow and Process Builder being degraded over time, it’s worth taking a closer look at Salesforce Flows and what it offers.
Why Salesforce Flows are the Better Automation Option
When Salesforce Flow Builder first came out, it seemed to lean more toward the logical mind of a developer and was a bit clunky. Now, it is one of the easiest automation tools to use in Salesforce and can handle everything from a simple email alert to a complex series of changes.
Salesforce Flows come with Standard Templates like this one, or you can create your Flow based on your custom needs.
Flows are the superior option when creating automation in Salesforce, both for the user experience and features for customization. Not only is Flow faster than Process Builder, but it is more efficient in the system.
There are also options for triggering the flow, such as a Screen Flow that captures data from the end user and feeds it into the process or auto-launched flows that run based on criteria without needing direct input from the user.
Salesforce Flows can also lean on Apex, as well if needed, and are even encouraged by Salesforce as an option to consider before using Apex. Flows are more declarative and are not as difficult to assemble as building code would be.
Not relying on Apex knowledge is a huge plus for companies looking to keep operations teams smaller or on a tighter budget and may be unable to pay a developer or architect’s salary. An Administrator can be just as successful with implementing solutions for process and automation needs.
It is important to also consider best practices when using Salesforce Flow, such as:
- Consider Flow and Apex governor limits and aim to update records at the end of the flow
- Always build in a test environment first, such as a partial sandbox
- Restrict access to the flow via permission sets
- Test the flow heavily
- Save the flow often while building to avoid losing your progress
With Workflow and Process Builder being retired in the future, planning how to migrate processes into Flow will take some time and effort.
Tips for Migrating Processes into Flow
A few tips may be useful when it comes time to retire workflow rules and process builders officially. However, transitioning those processes directly to flow will likely not be quick.
Here are some tips to consider before migrating to Salesforce Flow:
- Look for Notifications. Watch for Release Updates and Email alerts from Salesforce regarding the schedule for retiring those tools. They usually give ample notice, but looking for notifications and marking the calendar will help you stay on top.
- Make a Plan. Evaluate your processes and plan which ones need to be moved sooner rather than later. Understand the implications of the transition and what may need to be rebuilt differently to fit nicely into Flow.
- Combine Processes if Possible. Just like combining processes into Process Builder was recommended, it is also a consideration for Flow. The fewer calls made to an object, the better your org’s limits and processing times.
Migrating processes away from Workflow and Process Builders may take some time, but to have it in a more efficient tool with an easier UI is well worth it.
The Best Salesforce Automation Tool
While each need is different, when it comes to the best, Flow ranks pretty high. Remember, coding has a specific need and can be your best option in some circumstances, but try Salesforce Flow first – it just may surprise you.