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Process Builder: The Swiss Army Knife of Salesforce

By January 29, 2016

By: Joanna Iturbe, Sr. Software Applications & Project Manager, Leeds Technology Services, University of Colorado Boulder

If you haven’t heard about Process Builder (one of Salesforce’s newest free, out-of-the-box tools), or if you’re not quite sure what you can do with it on your campus, sit down and hold on tight because you’re about to have your mind blown!

Simply put, Process Builder is the Swiss army knife of Salesforce. Why? Because it encompasses the ability to automatically capture data, clean it and keep it clean without any code.

Process Builder is the next generation of workflow rules. It does everything workflow rules do plus more actions, more flexibility to operate across objects and the ability to combine rules into one single process! The powerful new actions Process Builder allows are:

  • Create a Record
  • Chatter Posts (including field references, topics and @mentions)
  • Fire Quick Actions
  • Submit Approvals
  • Trigger Flows
  • Trigger Apex

The interface is point and click which allows you to picture the process. Sticking with Salesforce’s mission of empowering the admin who doesn’t know how to (or doesn’t want to) write code, Process Builder is meant for the administrator but can be used by developers, too.

How did I stumble upon Process Builder?

I’m glad you asked. I was introduced to Process Builder when it was still in Beta by our implementation partner. We have been lucky enough, or perhaps stubborn enough, that we’ve done our entire implementation (with more to come) across the business school (95 users touching 24 functional areas) without a single line of code.

However, we had an on-going issue for placement reporting where we were unable to accurately report a student’s most up-to-date employment status because nearly every student has more than one employment record (i.e. general interest, internship and/or full-time).

We needed to know, bottom line, do our graduating students have a job or not? We hoped to take it one step further with targeted email marketing for specific job postings to those who don’t have jobs, based on their industry and/or geographic area(s) of interest.

Prior to Process Builder, we were looking at spending significant time and money to have a custom trigger built, not to mention, we’d cross into the world of custom code! The reason we weren’t able to use workflow rules, formula fields, rollup fields and/or validation rules to solve our problem was because we needed to hierarchically evaluate all of one student’s employment records to place them in the correct ‘bucket’, in real-time.

I’d estimate that my first process, which happens to be one of the most complex processes we’ve implemented, took a total of about 8 hours and 8 versions before it went live successfully. Not too shabby, huh?

Since then, we’ve implemented 17 processes that run over 70,000,000 (that’s 6 zeros) per month. We estimate that we’ve saved at least 250 human resource hours, internally, on building reports, exporting data, updating data, etc. We also estimate we’ve saved at least $75,000 in consulting fees for building triggers…And, we’ve avoided using code!

Now that your mind is blown, I’ll leave you with a few examples of how we have used Process Builder to get your wheels spinning on how you can use Process Builder on your campus:

  • When a student’s enrollment status changes to ‘graduated’, if they have a full-time, accepted employment (custom object) record then their primary account is automatically changed to that company’s account. If they do not, then they are moved to our alumni bucket account. (Spoiler alert: We use the bucketed account model.)
  • When a student declares their major, alert their advisor via Chatter and automatically send a personalized email to the student congratulating them on declaring their major and offering academic and career resources.
  • When a student goes on probation or suspension, automatically email their advisor with key information about the student’s academic status and the student’s contact information.
  • Upon graduation, automatically change the status of any student organizations (NPSP Affiliations) the student was a member of to ‘former’ with an end date.

If you’d like to learn more about Process Builder and many other cool Salesforce features and how they specifically relate to the higher education community, please register to attend the 2016 Higher Ed Summit, hosted by Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana. See you there!

Register for the Higher Ed Summit

About the Author
Joanna IturbeSince 2011, Joanna Iturbe has served as the Senior Software Applications and Project Manager for Leeds Technology Services where she is the senior technical expert and manager in leading the development, configuration, installation, upgrade, delivery and day-to-day management and maintenance of a suite of 15 applications at the Leeds School of Business on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. She supervises a team responsible for deploying and supporting Salesforce which is central to the key functions of student success and retention, communication and outreach. Her certifications include Salesforce Administrator, Salesforce Developer, Database Management and Project Management.

Before coming to CU, Joanna received her bachelors degree from Baylor University in public relations and business administration and worked in marketing and recruitment in the private sector and at Baylor.

Joanna serves on the Salesforce Higher Education Advisory Council and on the Girlforce leadership team. Additionally, she is co-leader of the Salesforce Denver user group. At CU, she serves as Co-Chair on the Boulder Campus Staff Council (BCSC) and is a representative on the University of Colorado (System) Staff Council (UCSC).