Unpacking Winter 24 for Power of Ten License Holders

My purpose in writing is to provide support to small organizations who primarily rely on Power of Ten license grants, which is ten free licenses to qualified organizations of Enterprise Edition. There are now two options for new organizations. Almost all existing organizations are NPSP packaged based. I have that one since 2019. But there is now the viable option for new organizations to start with NPC Industry Cloud based solutions. I’ll try to split my supp;rot between these for small organizations but I am learning NPC like everyone else. Anyone claiming deep experience in NPC is exaggerating, but we’re all on a journey together. I will begin using NPC in my org this month in whatever ways I can manage. I hope to be able to share the journey and help others. Thus far, I don’t have access to a NPC org so I can’t do much in this publication.

Back to Winter ’24. I’m on the last release group now so everyone has this now. It has taken me a couple of weeks to write this because there are lots of features implications to deal with and because flow is so broken very badly. More on that later. I hope by reading this your experience goes more smoothly.

If you’re new to Salesforce, there is no choice to upgrading. You’re now upgraded, but there is a lot an admin must do to keep from creating degradation. It’s best done every release. My intention is to guide largely solo admins at small nonprofits with Power of Ten licenses. I don’t cover add-on features or features not part of Power of Ten.

First, here is the documentation. https://help.salesforce.com/s/articleView?id=release-notes.rn_change_log.htm&release=246&type=5 It’s overwhelming. The HTML version is very good with a food interactive filter and outline section on the left — I couldn’t navigate the release notes without the collapsing sections on the outline. You can download the 659 page PDF. Release notes are living documents and there is a brand new section that shows changes by date! There have been lots of changes since the initial note release back in August. Nice feature folks! 

Second, there is a section that is a must read for most admins. It’s How and When Do Features Become Available? It is a matrix of features and checkboxes. The left-most checkbox shows features that are enabled for users NOW! It’s very important to check over all of these for P10 products. User’s don’t like unannounced changes so you may want to create a list of things to communicate to them. I usually add in-app guidance for the most important items. 

Here’s what I found that might require some user notification or help

1. Account logos, account news, and auto-fill of account info from national-level organizations are gone. We used this feature and will miss it. 

2. The Analytics app now opens reports as if it were a console implementation. You can have multiple reports open on different in-window tabs also. Seems nice but it’s pretty different. If you haven’t introduced the Analytics App to your power users, it’s nice but they may prefer the old ways. I do recommend that you introduce new users only to the combined Analytics App rather than separate reports and dashboard tabs. Collections is a very nice feature, for example. As is the browsing feature. Do note that Analytics is also available as a tab, like Reports and Dashboard tabs. The Analytics tab does not perform like the app (likely because it is linked to being a console App).

3. The activity tab inside a lightning page, typically on your contact, gets updated and looks different for all users immediately. It’s pretty complicated. If you have users who use a lot of tasks, you may want to check in with them and provide additional training or information. It’s a very busy little pane now. Unsure if I like it, personally.

4. If you have users that pause screen flows, you need to be aware that screen elements will behave differently now. Screen flows previously forgot any user input when paused and the user had to reënter any input when revisiting screens. It now remembers the user’s prior input. It’s more intuitive so not likely to cause problems. But if you make heavy use of this in some business process, best to check in with users.

Note: If you are already using NPC based on industry cloud, there are a slew of changes that just happen according to the release notes. But I’m not going to cover that since so few are likely to be leveraging NPC yet. If you are an early adopter, look through the Industry Cloud section carefully. Lots of change is enabled for the user and may cause issues with new or experienced users. The biggest thing is the first version of the Fundraising Module arrived. This actually completes the arrival of the first product. NPC now in theory has the potential functional equivalence with NPSP and its companion managed packages WITH THE SAD EXCEPTION OF VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT, which isn’t on the roadmap at all.

That’s all I found. Sometimes there are ugly surprises lurking in the “enabled for user” checkboxes but nothing concerned me this time.

Here are some changes that you’ll have to configure and set up to keep up with my top highlights in Winter 24. 

1. Dynamic forms on (mostly) all objects and mobile! I know editing dynamic forms can be a pain but managing one lightning record page per object saves a lot of money over time for P10 folks. And I think the death of classic “page layouts” is coming sooner than we think. Campaigns and Tasks are the two objects that are not yet supported (along with a few others)  

Dynamic forms on desktop supports in-line editing AND modal editing. I revised our third most used record page to use dynamic forms instead of the add-on Lightning Page component I have recommended for some time (called App Record Details). The goal of dynamic form design is to give a great UX by showing only fields that are relevant and only as needed. This form shows urgent need instructions, stocking up instructions, and a simple notice that supply is OK based on calculated status. One can also update the amount on hand to match periodic counts. By adopting dynamic forms, I can make the pre-approved budget information disappear if no active sources have been entered and the budget is empty. This ability to control visibility down to the field is one advantage of dynamic form page design. 

I tried to make the units read only whenever there is quantity on hand not zero by having two copies of units and conditional visibility based on quantity on hand value being more than zero (the only time you should change the inventory units). It’s a sound concept but it didn’t work. I assume it’s an issue. 

Inline Edit works intuitively on the desktop;

Modal editing also works via the edit button. Do note that modal editing shows all sections in order of their appearance in the page including from tabs. The model even does conditional visibility correctly! I’ve written about this more on mightyforceL https://mighyforce.dreamhosters.com/2023/02/what-i-learned-making-parallel-mobile-and-desktop-ux/ The New button is also changed.

I believe mobile is a must these days… if you aren’t using it, you’re folks have to wait to enter or use data rather than use mobile wherever the data encounter is needed. The same third-most used record page is shown below on mobile. It’s quite nice to make fields disappear on mobile since space is such a premium! Here is the whole view presented as a full scrolled screen capture:

There is no in-line edit on mobile dynamic forms but the modal edit function seems to be identical to the desktop and very nice. 

[insert image of dynamic form image edit]

To enable mobile dynamic forms you do have to flip a single modal switch in settings on the Salesforce Mobile App page. If you’ve not set up mobile, there are a bunch of wizards on the same setup page to get you going quickly.

Note: This example is from our inventory system. I’ve written on mightyforce about it. https://mighyforce.dreamhosters.com/2022/08/inventory-app/. The images are using an approach we call “visual Salesforce”. I’ve written about that at https://mighyforce.dreamhosters.com/2023/06/image-based-salesforce/. And finally, all these needs are exposed on our experience cloud site to constituents have access. This capability is free to all P10 users if you conquer how to build guest content pages. I’ll be writing about that after Winter 24 soon! See connect.SYMin.org. The need for men’s pants is real. Feel free to do a closet collection drive and ship us hundreds of pairs.

I can’t wait to rebuild our mobile only pages for our two most frequently used pages. We can save a lot of real-estate on those mobile pages now and keep everything in sync better! And the edit experience will be much better for mobile users. This will be huge for contacts and our recurrent program events (a custom object since we implemented long before there was a PMM).

2. Change Dashboard owner. If you have anyone who is a power user creating dashboards, this is great. Previously when they left, you had to recreate their dashboards to keep using them. Now you can just enable this new feature on the Reports and Dashboards Settings and a new option appears to Change Owner on Dashboards! This is really good if you use interns or contractors, too, who come and go. 

I encountered the dreaded error even while writing and was able to transfer ownership and fixed it! Yay! 

You do have to enable this feature in setup. If you haven’t visited the reports and dashboard settings page in setup lately, this is what mine looks like. Lots of good stuff behind most of these checkboxes.

3. Mass Quick Actions on Related Lists on Lightning Record Pages on desktop. Near as I can tell this is a desktop feature only. This isn’t really new this release but is going GA. I don’t think anything changes in this version. You are able to define a Create Record or Edit Record quick action and then place it on a related list. It can get onto the user’s screen through a bunch of pathways. 

  • Add to the classic page using the wrench on the related list. This is more general purpose because the checkbox lists appear on all these now::
    • Einstein global search bar results when you hover on an object, however on a related list. 
    • Quick related list on record page when you hover on desktop
    • Related list page when you click into via quick related lists
    • Single related list when you place on page provided you use “enhanced” formats
  • You have to separately add to Dynamic Related List component on the record page and add the quick actions to the component configuration.

A set of check boxes appear on the left side of your related list in any of the above locations. You click one or many records and then click the quick action button just above the related list and a modal appears to allow creating new records or updating the records in mass.

We use cases to control certain non-transactional client services. One of them includes a bonus for multiple self-service interactions in a 7 day period, each of which are represented as a case. After 7 days, the case escalates and we close the case by inspection with or without bonus award. If awarding a bonus, we can close a full week worth of cases. So I added a case update button that allows closing a selected set of cases with a new status and internal comment. A modal pops-up, and you get clarification of which fields are being updated and how many records. This saves going through each case and is pretty intuitive.

I can’t currently think of a use for creating records related to multiple related list records case in my org although it could be a quick way to create cases or even service deliveries on a scheduled program object that has a list view of contact. That’s not the case for the out-of-the-box Program Management so I won’t go into it.

4.  Permission sets. When you go to a permission set, there is now a generated summary. This is quite nice. It shows you the metadata associated with a permission set, what permission set groups it’s part of, and what makes it up in collapsible groups: system/app permissions with explanation, object access, and field permissions by object. 

You can directly see which permission set groups a permission set is added to. And when you look more deeply into object settings, you see API and label names now. All improvements. 

And you can expand other sections to learn about object access and even field access:

It does *NOT* show what users have been directly assigned a permission set. I hope this is an oversight given all the interest there will be in the coming future to migrate from profiles to permission sets. 

Not left out, we also get some improved features for permission set groups. We get similar summaries. However, I found inexplicable behavior for permission set groups. This Beta feature may not yet be trustworthy. It reported some things wrong and seemed to leave others out. Definitely a step in the right direction when it becomes consistent with permission set summary.

Additionally we get reporting capabilities from the analytics side, although not enough to recreate the summaries you can obtain by clicking. By implementing additional custom reports types, you can report on permission sets and permission set groups. I don’t think the benefits are enough to recommend doing so at this time.

We also get a nice time-saver when editing field permissions on objects in permission sets and (presumably) profiles. When you open the permissions for configuration, you now have a “check all” box. I’m not sure this is a great idea given the importance of minimum rights permissioning these days. However, I have a project to break up an experience cloud site into two sites. This new feature will come in handy when I have to set up two profiles with access to lots of fields. Here I am deep (too many clicks SF!) in the site’s guest profile setup. You can see the option to toggle add fields to read or edit access. I suspect it will be handy (although dangerous without checking) to toggle all on and then turn off unwanted ones. 

I am not yet ready to recommend the User Access Policies (Beta) but I think it will be a great tool eventually when permission sets are finally adopted by partners and packages produced by Salesforce. It’s too early for now and just extra work for P10 holders IMO.

Features I’ve checked into or mentioned in the preview but don’t recommend yet for P10 orgs after release checkout:

  1. I regret to say that my dearest friend, Lightning Flow, is on this list this time as a huge disappointment and severe problem. There are a ton of advertised new features but almost all are severely broken by a bug that was introduced. It’s a known issue since Sep 11 so a fix should be coming. This bug makes it impossible in my org to revise almost all flows that are already existing or to deploy new flows that get records. I tried to find workarounds so I could tell you about cool new features, but honestly… it’s time to send your flow admin on vacation and hope the fix comes soon (it’s been known since September 11). It’s a complete development stop at my org. So my recommendation is don’t try these new flow features yet. You’ll only cause yourself unneeded grief. When I can test out the fix, I’ll post a new Winter 24 Flow Patch Update:
  • Flow builder has some new call-outs to support Post but I suspect that automatic variables bug above will interfere with enjoying this feature. Just wait.
  • There are lots of cool things you can do with reactive flows. I would show but we can’t even edit existing deployed flows to add reactivity with this above bug. I made a pretty cool video using a brand new flow on reactivity but I had to do things to get around another bugs (I hope they are also fixed but we’ll see) that are such poor practice that I’m not sharing the video. I’ve had to postpone user requested upgrade projects that rely on flow over the sad state of flow at this point. I sadly recommend you do so also until this is addressed.
  • Screen Error message. This is a new type of validation capability. I think it’s pretty confusing but the best use cases are going to be complex logic that can’t easily be contained with existing validation rules. But those will be blocked by the bug.
  • Transform: It’s going to be very cool to have a new collection operator that allows mapping from record collections. But… guess what, the bug will block automatic variables from get record, so we’ll check it out when the bug is fixed.
  • Waiting is more natural but since I can’t edit existing flows with the bug, it doesn’t matter much yet.
  1. Intelligence View for Contacts and Leads. When you enable this under Sales -> Contact Intelligent View Setup (can be disabled) and add a button to your contact object (guidance provided on the setup page), your users can choose a new button on the contact home tab called “Intelligent View”. Out of the box it shows you contacts created this quarter in some categories: those with no activity, those with no upcoming tasks, those with tasks today, those with tasks overdue. You can quickly get to a list of activities without leaving the page. You can mark them as important, email them, edit or change ownership to someone else. You can add filters and change columns displayed. It’s sort of a super-list view although I’m not sure what utility my users will find with it. You can do the same thing for leads. 
  2. I had mentioned that Sales Enablement became available to Enterprise Editions in my preview. It’s true. I enabled it, set it all up, but there is no need to get excited as far as I can tell. The feature is limited to “Quick Cadences” which means it’s a single step and no automation. I can’t figure out a use case for it. It seems to be freemium bait only. 

I am not covering NPC because I just don’t have access to credible orgs or experience to share yet. I hope to change that in the coming releases but there just is no way for me to do that yet. I don’t cover paid products that aren’t P10. I don’t cover Slack because they continue to not give free licenses to religious nonprofits. When we limit diversity, we limit everyone.

I do want to add that I believe a new small P10 organization should strongly consider adopting NPC now unless there are severe functional roadblocks to doing so. Adopting Saelsforce is not a quick process anyway and you’ll need to focus on small functional steps in adoption and I think NPC is ready for that (no experience to back that up, however). Adopting NPSP now and then needing to change will be a lot of pain that I suspect many can’t afford. I also want to reiterate that existing orgs need not (and indeed cannot) migrate now. That said, NPC have features that we all need to be small but mighty, and we need to get everyone back into one boat as soon as possible so rising tides lift all boats. You will note very few new features in NPSP and I believe it will stay that way forever.

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