Salesforce Feature Releases: Best Practices for Seamless Integration

A strategic roadmap, guiding businesses on how to navigate the complex terrain of Salesforce releases

In the ever-evolving world of business, staying ahead of the game is key. Salesforce releases provide businesses with the ammunition they need to keep pace with changing trends and remain at the forefront of their industry.

According to a report, businesses that implemented Salesforce saw an average return on investment (ROI) of 478% over a five-year period.

This blog post serves as a strategic roadmap, guiding businesses on how to navigate the complex terrain of Salesforce releases. It aims to provide insights into what to expect from releases, how they can impact customizations, and best practices for staying up-to-date and prepared.

Understanding the Need for Salesforce Release 

Salesforce releases are significant events in the Salesforce ecosystem that provide new updates and improvements to the platform. From user interface enhancements to performance optimizations, each release introduces new capabilities and features that businesses can use to provide a frictionless experience to their end users.

Salesforce releases offer several benefits, including

Salesforce Release Overview

Salesforce releases can include various types of updates, such as


These updates can affect different areas of the Salesforce platform, including the user interface, the backend logic, and the performance of the system.

It’s important to note that Salesforce releases can impact existing customizations, which can cause issues for businesses that rely heavily on Salesforce. These issues can range from minor inconveniences to significant disruptions to business operations. Therefore, it’s important to stay informed about upcoming releases and how they might affect your business.

In order to do so, businesses should make a concerted effort to regularly check the Release Updates section, review release notes, and test updates in a sandbox environment. By implementing best practices and staying engaged with the Salesforce community, businesses can ensure that they are ready for any changes or updates that come their way.

It’s worth noting that Salesforce releases updates three times a year. Before releasing the updates, Salesforce first deploys them on Sandbox environments. This allows for comprehensive testing of the new features, which is crucial to ensuring the update is stable and will not cause issues on Production.

This is a two-step process

  1. Updates are initially deployed to Preview Sandbox instances, followed by Non-Preview Sandbox instances. 
  2. The former is used to test the updates and verify that everything is working as expected.
  3. Once the update is thoroughly tested and confirmed, it is then released to Non-Preview Sandbox, and finally to Production. 

This rigorous testing process enables businesses to test the updates in their own environments before rolling them out to their end-users, minimizing any potential risks of disruption to their business operations.

How Salesforce Releases Impact Organizational Outcomes 

After a Salesforce release, organizations can experience a range of impacts depending on the nature of the changes made in the release. Some updates may be relatively minor or some can have a huge impact on an organization’s processes and workflows. 

For example, an update that modifies an existing feature or adds a new one may require updates to customizations or integrations that rely on that feature. This can result in additional development work, testing, and deployment efforts, which may require additional resources and time.

That’s why it’s essential for organizations to carefully assess the potential impact of the new release and plan accordingly. Let’s check out some of the major impacts

User Experience

When Salesforce releases updates, changes to the visual layout and design of the UI can be expected to be modified such as changes to “Page Layouts,” “Record Detail Pages,” “List Views,” or “Dashboard Layouts”. This can affect the way users interact with the platform and require them to adapt to new navigation patterns and visual elements. 

As a result, the overall user experience of the platform can be impacted, including factors such as usability, accessibility, and responsiveness. Therefore,  It’s crucial to provide users with clear communication about changes to the platform and provide appropriate training to ensure a smooth transition.

System Functionality

Salesforce releases may introduce new features or bug fixes that can affect the functionality of the platform. These changes can impact standard objects, fields, automation, or integrations, requiring adjustments to existing processes or configurations. To mitigate any potential disruptions, organizations should assess the impact of these changes and plan accordingly.

Customization and Integrations

Salesforce releases can introduce changes to the Salesforce API used for integration. Custom integrations that rely on specific API functionality may need to be updated to align with the changes made in the release. Therefore, organizations must thoroughly test integrations to ensure their continued proper functioning after updates.

Licensing and Pricing

Salesforce releases may also impact licensing and pricing of the platform. This can include changes to the features and functionality included in different license types, as well as changes in the pricing structure. Organizations may need to reassess their Salesforce licensing and pricing to ensure it still meets their needs and budget.

Reporting and Analytics

Reporting functionality, such as adding new report types, modifying existing reports, or changing filters and conditions can be modified due to the release. These changes can impact the structure and functionality of reports and may require users to adjust how they filter and segment data. To ensure smooth adoption, organizations should communicate any changes to reporting functionality and provide training and support to users.

Data Management

Salesforce Data Loader may be impacted by modifications introduced in Salesforce releases, which can influence the way data is extracted, transformed, and loaded into the Salesforce platform. This can also impact the organization’s security posture and may require changes in the security settings or configurations to ensure data protection and compliance.

User Adoption

Changes to the Salesforce platform can also impact user adoption and engagement. Users may struggle to adjust to new features, functionalities, or user interfaces, leading to lower adoption rates and productivity. It’s essential to provide sufficient training to help users adapt to any changes and encourage user feedback to identify any areas where further support may be necessary.

Salesforce Spring `23 Crucial Update for Outlook Users

Salesforce for Outlook, a popular integration tool used by organizations to sync contacts, messages, events, and tasks between Salesforce and Microsoft Outlook, is set to retire in June 2024. This means that after the retirement date, Salesforce will no longer be syncing any data with Outlook.

For admin users, this also means losing access to Salesforce for Outlook features, which could impact their day-to-day workflows and productivity. It can result in duplicate efforts and inconsistencies in data, causing confusion and inefficiencies.

Without a reliable tool for syncing data between Salesforce and Outlook, organizations may face challenges in keeping their customer data up to date and maintaining a unified view of customer interactions. 

To address this issue, organizations can start using the Outlook Integration and Einstein Activity Capture tools. These tools offer more advanced solutions than Salesforce for Outlook and can help bridge the gap in areas where Salesforce for Outlook falls short.

However, migrating to new tools can also come with its own set of challenges, including data migration, staff training, and potential disruptions to workflows. It’s essential for organizations to plan and prepare for the transition well in advance to ensure a smooth migration process and minimize any potential negative impacts on their operations.

Best Practices to Follow When Adopting a New Release

  1. Review the release notes: It’s important to carefully review the release notes to understand what new features are being introduced in the update and what bug fixes have been made. This will give you a good understanding of what areas of the application you need to focus on when testing.
  2. Review the documentation: Make sure to review the documentation for the update to ensure that you are aware of any required setup that needs to be done before enabling the new features. This will help you avoid any issues that might arise due to missed setup steps.
  3. Test features using Sandbox Preview: It’s essential to test out the new features in a non-production environment before enabling them in your production org. Use the Sandbox Preview to test out the new features and make sure they are working as expected.
  4. Bring in key users: Involve key users in the testing process to identify how your organization can take advantage of new features. Their feedback can be invaluable in determining how the new features can be used to improve productivity and efficiency.
  5. Evaluate feature conflicts with customizations: New features may conflict with existing customizations, so it’s critical to evaluate this and determine if any modifications need to be made. This will help you avoid any issues that may emerge from the conflict.
  6. Evaluate security model updates: Some new features may require updates to the security model, so it’s crucial to evaluate this and make any necessary updates to ensure the security of your data.
  7. Develop a communication plan: It’s pivotal to have a communication plan in place to ensure that all staff members are aware of the new features and how they can be used to improve productivity. This will help ensure everyone is on the same page and can take advantage of the new features.
  8. Build a training plan: In addition to a communication plan, it’s important to develop a training plan to ensure that staff members are able to use the new features effectively. This will help to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the new features and can use them to improve productivity.

Our Solution

How Unthinkable Can Help You Implement New Salesforce Updates?

There are certain key steps that our dedicated teams adhere to ensure the successful implementation of the new Salesforce release in your organization. So let’s dive into it

A. Feature list

When a new Salesforce release is on the horizon, it’s essential for organizations to start planning ahead. So, after receiving the release notes, the first step we do is to generate a feature list  Here’s how we proceed:

  1. Review the official Salesforce documentation: Before anything else, we take the time to read through the release notes provided by Salesforce. This gives us a general overview of the new features and changes that will be implemented in the upcoming release.
  2. Identify the relevant features: Once we have a general understanding of the new features and changes, we identify the ones that are relevant to your organization. We achieve this by reviewing your current Salesforce implementation and identifying areas that could benefit from the new features or changes.
  3. Create a comprehensive list of the features: Next, create a comprehensive list of the features that we have identified. This list should include the feature name, description, purpose, and any relevant specifications or requirements. We do this by prioritizing the features that are most important to your organization and identifying any dependencies between features.
  4. Share and communicate the feature list: Finally, it’s important to share and communicate the feature list with all relevant stakeholders. This includes product managers, developers, administrators, and end-users. By doing so, everyone will have a clear understanding of what changes are coming and how they will impact the organization.

B. Impact Analysis

With every new Salesforce release, it’s important to assess the impact it could have on your organization’s existing customizations and integrations. Here are the key steps that we follow:

  1. Evaluate the impact on customizations and integrations: Take a close look at the customizations and integrations that your organization currently has in place. Then, we identify areas of the Salesforce org and related processes that could potentially be impacted by the new release.
  2. Analyze potential impacts and risks: Once we’ve identified the areas that could be impacted, it’s important to analyze the potential impacts of the new release on those areas. Factors such as functionalities, behaviors, user experience, configuration, customization, and overall system performance get considered during this analysis. Our dedicated teams then identify any potential risks and issues that may surface due to the new release. This could include challenges related to adoption or compatibility with existing systems.
  3. Monitor impact after deployment: Once the new release is deployed to the Salesforce org, we monitor its actual impact on the system and workflows. Moreover, we collect feedback from users and assess the system’s performance. Based on this feedback and performance monitoring, we coordinate with relevant teams to implement any necessary updates to mitigate potential impacts. This could involve making adjustments to customizations or integrations or updating processes to ensure that everything is functioning optimally.

C. Feasibility

When preparing for a new Salesforce release, it’s pivotal to check the feasibility of the release to ensure that it’s compatible with your organization’s systems and processes. This involves several steps:

  1. Checking compatibility with third-party apps: We take the time to verify that the third-party apps or integrations in your Salesforce org are compatible with the update. This step helps us to avoid any potential setbacks or complications that could arise from incompatibility.
  2. Examine system requirements: To ensure a smooth transition to the new release, our teams check that your system meets the requirements of the new release. This includes analyzing if the new release is supported by the current browsers, operating systems, and other technical requirements.
  3. Testing in a Sandbox environment: Before deploying the new release to your production environment, We first test it in a Sandbox environment. This helps identify any potential issues or conflicts that may occur due to the new release and give us an opportunity to fix them before deploying to production.
  4. Thorough testing: We rigorously perform thorough testing of your customizations, integrations, data migration, and other relevant functionalities. This helps us ensure that your Salesforce org is working as expected after the new release.
  5. Evaluating the impact on user adoption and training: After testing, we evaluate the impact of the new release on user adoption and training. This help identifies any areas where your users may need additional training or support to use the new features effectively.

Enhancing Your Business Potential with Salesforce

With each new Salesforce release, comes a plethora of new features and functionalities that can help take your organization to the next level. However, implementing these updates can be a daunting task. That’s why it’s crucial to follow a systematic approach to ensure a smooth transition.

So, don’t let the latest Salesforce release catch you off guard. Trust our experienced team to ensure a seamless upgrade for your org. Book a free consultation with us now!

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