Implementing Salesforce Visual Flow

Salesforce visual flow is one of the most powerful tools contained in Salesforce package. This feature is available in the two versions of Salesforce namely Enterprise, and Unlimited Edition. It is a business logic that evaluates records as they are being created and also determines if there is an automated action that is to be taken on the records. The feature allows for actions such as updating data and notifying people or external systems. This therefore eliminates the need for the traditional constant monitoring that was used in various businesses. Through the elimination of the monitoring processes and reduction of time lag required for people to review information, this feature accelerates business processes.

Implementing Salesforce Visual Flow

Use Cases

As a business grows from time to time, the amount of data and record handled also increase. The increase in the amount of data handled that require monitoring may be exponential. This therefore means that a company will have to reevaluate its data monitoring systems and procedures. In such cases, this Salesforce feature becomes handy with its application resulting in maximization of efficiency of business processes.

The use cases of this Salesforce feature are unlimited. One of the areas where it is used is when there is need to automatically change field values when two other records values are restructured. The feature is also used when one requires sending emails to external vendors or non Salesforce users after a certain time span has elapsed following the updating of a record. Thirdly, this feature can be used in a business or an organization to assign tasks to a Salesforce user. These are just examples of the many areas where it can be used to streamline the operations of a business or an organization. salesforce trigger tutorial visual flow

Operation of Salesforce Workflow

Salesforce workflow operates efficiently with standardized internal procedures together with automated processes. Some of the standard processes in a business or an organization include assigning of tasks, regular sending of emails, and updating records. These tasks are in some cases done manually in an organization and can be cumbersome, time consuming and expensive. This is where the operation of salesforce workflow comes in. Configuring workflow and approvals can help carry out these tasks automatically. The procedure begins with the designing of the workflow rules and approval processes. It is then followed by associating them with regular actions such as filed updates, email alerts, tasks and outbound messages.

Composition of Workflow Rules

Each workflow rule consists of three components. The first one is the criteria that determine when Salesforce executes a workflow rule. A change that results in the record matching these criteria triggers the workflow rule. This is inclusive of changes that occur in hidden fields.

The second composition of a workflow rule is the immediate action to be taken when a workflow rule executes. An example is in the case where a new high value opportunity is created. The immediate action to be taken in such a case can be sending an email to the Opportunity team.

The final composition of a rule is the time dependent actions that are queued by Salesforce in cases where a workflow rule executes. A good example is when high value opportunity is still open five days before the specified date of closure, Salesforce can automatically send an alert email to the involved team or department. Workflow queue can be used to monitor and cancel pending actions when Salesforce triggers a workflow which has a time dependent action. Follow triggers in salesforce tutorial page to read more about Salesforce  triggers.

Types of Actions That Are Automated By Salesforce Workflow

Salesforce workflow automates four basic types of actions when a rule executes. The first action that is automated is the email alerts. This involves sending of emails to one or many recipients. The email alerts are sent whenever the set criteria for action to be taken are met. Tasks are also automated by this feature. The assigning of a task can be to a user or a recorder owner. An example where this can happen is when records have been updated on a given filed. Salesforce can automatically assign a task to a particular representative to carry a given related task such as doing a follow up. Field updates are also automated whereby the value of a field on a record is changed or updated when necessary.

Workflow also enables salesforce to automatically launch a trigger ready flow. The final action that is automated by this feature is outbound messages. It involves automatic sending of a secure configurable API message to a given or designated listener. The messages are usually in XML format. For example, when there is an approved expense in an organization, Salesforce can automatically initiate reimbursement process by triggering outbound API message to an outside HR system.  

Steps for Automating and Streamlining Business Processes Using Workflow

The workflow feature in Salesforce is arguably one of the most underused and least understood features. However, understanding the three basic steps for its application and use in a business can hugely impact positively on the business processes. The three steps are definition of the workflow, configuration and finally automation.


It is the most important process of automating Salesforce. It begins by creation of a process flow chart that helps understand the steps needed and information required in a process. This flow can be done on paper and later created directly on Salesforce. Every user needs to get this first step right because any mistake in this step hugely impacts on the outcome of the whole process.

Configuration The process of configuring your workflow entails creating unique identifiers for each variable, element and filed options. This makes the intended use clear throughout the workflow.

Enabling the Workflow When enabling the workflow, it is important to make sure you enable the correct version since only one version can be active at any given time.

Conclusion Salesforce visual flow provides the benefits of productivity, reliability and flexibility and therefore business administrators should familiarize with it and finding suitable projects for its use. This will help in streamlining the operations and facilitating proper handling of data and information. Read more about Salesforce trigger best practices.
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.