Salesforce Formula Fields- Best Practices

Like I pointed out not long ago, some Salesforce features can seem mystifying and dubious outside the standard CRM features and so forth. It’s known for having all manner of additional, advanced functions for sophisticated data processing, tracking and reporting. It may seem like Salesforce formula fields are something complex and mysterious and probably not relevant to any but the most “nerdy”.

The truth may shock you as these are incredibly useful tools, and once you know how to use them, you’ll wonder how you got on without them. The convenience, control and expanded power that this puts in your hands is surprising, for how simple the concept is.

What are Salesforce Formula Fields:

These are record entry fields, which register like any other fields. But, they do something a little different, pulling values from other fields, and running calculative operations on them to produce other outputs based on raw metrics.

Simple Example:

A simple example of this working is if you have a base monthly price for your customers of twenty dollars. But, you offer discounts to certain customers for loyalty, or lock in subscriptions or other such things. It’s a percentage of their fee.

In stead of this discount having to be processed by a PHP tie in or some lengthy piece of Apex code, it can just be fed through a percentage calculation, and printed automatically.

Yeah So:

You’re wondering how simple things like that could be so important. I don’t’ blame you. But, think about the extended implications of this sort of thing. If you can set up complex calculation formulae in order to produce special new measurements or logistics based on raw data, it can easily be done now.

It’s like giving regular users a little bit of programming capacity, without making them learn programming in order to accomplish it.

Is It Hard:

Not at all. It’s just a point and click interface where you select sources of data, and lay out the formula to operate on the data selected. You can map across objects and across records, with some limitations.

There are several object types they can’t link to, such as long text fields, and some rollover calculations won’t permit them either. Also, really long formulas may not work, so don’t go overboard, as the just in time compiler for these will have a major freakout.

Is It Worth My Time:

Absolutely, this is worth your time to master and become comfortable with using. It allows the reports generated by Salesforce to be complete and detailed, with all the measurements and logistics that usually take manual math to deduce and add to a redundant “refined” report.

No longer will you need to redraft reports for the higher ups after Salesforce makes them for you. That’s so much time saved and so much tedium removed, you’ll wonder how you stood your job before you had this.

There’s not much else to say about Salesforce formula fields, other than to look at some sample formulae for these on the Salesforce website. They’re fast and easy, and you’ll be on your way to really mastering this in no time at all. Learn how to add fields in salesforce for best practices.

Amanda McDonnald
Amanda is the Lead Author & Editor of Rainforce Blog. Amanda established the Rainforce blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Salesforce usage.
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