The Need to Automate
In this day in age, everyone on the internet expects the thing to work fast and smoothly without any issues. As businesses integrate their processes more and more into the digital world, there is a growing impatience for more time-consuming processes. In the past, automating processes within systems have been complicated, expensive, and requiring a lot of code to be written. But with Salesforce Lightning Flow, the automation game is changing rapidly.
What is Lightning Flow?
Lightning Flow is a product built-in to Salesforce Lightning Experience designed to help its users automate their more manual business practices. With Lightning Flow, businesses have the potential to free up time and use that saved time on something more valuable to the company.
For example, let’s say your company closes on an Opportunity, the next steps would be:
- Create a new Contract record
- Create a Task record for another member on your team to take over for fulfillment
- Send an email to that team member notifying of the new contract, and another email to the customer notifying that fulfillment has begun.
These are a lot of steps to take which will require a lot of time to complete. With Lightning Flow, all of this can be automated as soon as the Opportunity changes to the Closed Won status.
Lightning Flow Tools
Lightning Flow has a user-friendly interface which makes creating complex automated processes a breeze. Lightning Flow consists of two different tools, Process Builder and Flow Builder, which can each be used interchangeably or combined.
The Process Builder is a point and click tool that allows users to create simple automation out of if/then business processes. Every process consists of three components: The trigger that makes the process run; the criteria that determine if the process will execute actions; and the actions that the process runs.
Processes can be set to trigger when:
- a record is created or changes
- invoked by another process
- a Platform Event message is received
Once the process has been triggered it runs through every criteria node set up for that process. A process can have many criteria nodes. If the process doesn’t pass the first set of criteria, it will move on the next, and so-on until it reaches a criteria node that it passes. A criteria node can be made ‘passable’ using filter conditions, a custom formula that must result in true or false, or can be set to always run actions for that node.
Once the process passes a criteria node it moves on to the associated actions of that node. An action can be set to run immediately, or at a future date of the users choosing. Available process actions include:
- Creation of a new Record
- Update the record that triggered the process or any record related to that record.
- Bulk Update related records
- Send emails using templates created in Salesforce
- Post to Chatter
- Run another process
- Run a Flow
- Execute Apex Code
Once actions have completed running for the designated node, the Process Builder can be set to stop there or move on to the next criteria node.
Typically, flow is used for more complex automation functionality that a process builder is not capable of. Flows can also be used to create guided visual experiences for the user, similar to a wizard, or can be set to trigger from the click of a button. This differs from a process since it is typically only triggered by the change or creation of a record.
Flows consist of three components: Elements, Connectors, and Resources.
Elements in flows are similar to actions in the Process Builder. The elements are what gets run with each step of the flow. There are three types of elements that can be used in a flow:
- Interactive Elements – consists of elements used to interact with the flow. These could be screens, calls of lightning actions, or calls of other flows.
- Logic Elements – Consists of elements used to control the flow. These can be if/then decisions, Loops, or data assignments.
- Data Elements – Consists of elements used to work with data within the Salesforce org. These elements can create or update records, delete records, or query data to assign to resources for later use.
Connectors define the path that the flow takes in order to complete. Users set connectors in their flow to determine when each element runs.
Resources are stored values that can be used at any time within the scope of the flow. Once the flow completes, these resources are wiped so that the flow will have a clean slate for the next time it is run. Typically, a resource will be either a variable, a formula, or a constant value. Variables can be either any primitive data type, an object record, or a collection of object records.
Here to Help
While Salesforce has provided this Lightning Flow product so that automation is easily achievable, it is recommended to find a professional Salesforce Administrator to get these automation set up. Administrators have been trained by Salesforce to use best practices, so as to avoid future potential issues that may catch up with the environment as more and more processes become automated. We at CloudFirst Labs have built countless Processes/Flows for multiple customers and would be more than happy to help you in achieving efficient business processes.
To learn more or talk to one of our experienced consultants, contact us today!