2022 is almost over, which means some important Salesforce updates are fast approaching, and one of the big ones is the retirement of Process Builder. As was announced previously, Salesforce is retiring Workflow Rules and Process Builder automation and replacing them with Flows automation by the end of 2022. To make this happen, Salesforce has been enhancing Flow’s functionality and features to make the transition better.
However, there are still many questions people have about these upcoming changes. Some Salesforce users still don’t know what to expect, how it will affect their businesses, or what steps to take next.
In this article, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this topic and provide some recommendations on what to do next and how to get started with Salesforce Flows.
Why Are Flows Replacing Process Builder?
Salesforce knows the importance of automation and how the value of a CRM lies in its ability to automate manual, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks. So, they have provided multiple tools over the years to create even more complex process automation by using clicks, not code. And these tools are Workflow Rules, Process Builder, and Flow.
However, having your automations spread across multiple tools, with an overlapping set of features and functionalities, is not the best practice as it brings many challenges, like:
- Hindering upkeep and innovation.
- Maintenance and optimization of multiple tools can be costly and time-consuming.
- Difficulty providing a complete view of your automation health.
- Difficulty meeting business automation requirements as they become more complex and need more sophisticated tools.
For these reasons, Salesforce saw the importance of unifying process automation and focusing on developing one of these three tools – Flow.
But let’s answer one important question.
Process Builder and Workflow Rules have been around for years and were the preferred tools for admins to automate business processes. However, they also have limitations and performance issues and create a lot of technical debt. So, Flow became the better option for building out your workflow rules and processes. It offers better performance, has more options available, and can nurture your processes as your business requirements change. Other benefits we can mention are:
- By investing your triggered automation in Flow, you can get a more robust and sustainable tool.
- It offers the ability to refine and streamline high-volume automation with features like Fast Field Updates and Entry Conditions.
- It allows the processing of large numbers of records and is less likely to reach the system limits.
- Flow is more efficient, runs faster, and performs more complex sets of actions on multiple objects.
- Handles errors, troubleshoots, and debugs better and can delete records.
- By learning Flow now, it’ll be easier to take on new products and innovations.
Besides these benefits, Salesforce has also been adding more features to Flow in every release that were only available in Process Builder, bringing Flow closer to completely replacing Workflow Rules and Process Builder and becoming the one declarative automation tool in Salesforce. You can check some of the new features included in Flow in the section below.
New Flows Features
To make Salesforce Flow the one declarative automation tool, Salesforce added new features during each release, and some of these features existed in Process Builder but never in Flow. We will show you a quick review of the most noticeable.
Native Flow Data Table Component
This is an out-of-the-box feature for screen flows. It allows businesses to display a data table on a flow screen without installing a 3rd party component.
Flow Builder Canvas
Now you can see your incoming connections to your Flow elements listed off to the side and not spread throughout the Flow canvas. Additionally, the Flow Builder Toolbox is now collapsible, providing a larger canvas, and you have a new ‘Select Elements’ button to manipulate several elements at the same time.
Flow Trigger Explorer
Now you have the ability to specify the execution order of a record-triggered flow. It allows simple drag-and-drop to efficiently manage the execution order for all triggered flows bound to the object.
Enhanced Formula Builder
With the enhanced Formula Builder, you can select functions and operators from dropdown lists and identify any issues in your formula faster than before.
Embed Screen Flows in Lightning Web Components
By embedding your screen flows within Lightning Web Components, you can set custom styling or actions when the Flow ends.
Assign Flow Orchestration Work Items to Credentialed Site Visitors
Now you can extend your orchestrated functionality to all your Salesforce users and assign Flow Orchestration Work Items to your external Partners or Customer users.
One of the new updates allows Flow to support calling Outbound Messages and Email Alerts from Workflow Actions.
Even though there is no plan to retire email alerts from workflow, a new ‘Send Email’ option in Flow allows you to draft and send emails directly from the builder.
What This Means for Your Business
At a high level, what this means for your business is that now you won’t be able to create new workflow rules or process builders after the end of the year. Your existing workflows and processes will continue to run as they are for some time while they are migrated to Flow. However, if your org is old and complex, you could have thousands of automations that need to be migrated, so you may need extra time to design and implement a strategy, and your current Salesforce projects could be delayed.
But not all is bad news. By moving your automations to Flow, you’ll have:
- A much more powerful tool than Process Builder and Workflow Rules.
- Better performance all around.
- Better error handling and debugging, which will allow you to see how your governor limits will be impacted.
- You’ll get reusable functionality like Sub-Flows to create building blocks to standardize common interactions.
- You’ll have the ability to run a record-triggered flow ‘before save,’ which means you can update a field before the opportunity is saved, so you can keep both the Stage change and your field update.
- You’ll have the ability to design and automate sophisticated business processes that require collecting information from multiple sources.
- Better tracking of changes made during a record update.
- You’ll be able to update your processes as the demands of your business change.
What to Do Now?
Even though Workflow Rules and Process Builder will continue to work as is, it is best practice to migrate and move your automation to Flow. This can be a difficult task, but Salesforce has been providing the tools to facilitate this transition. But, before you start migrating, you can take this opportunity to review your existing workflow rules, processes, and old automations and decide whether you still need them or if they can be improved.
Other actions you can take for a more seamless transition are:
- Learn how to use Flow. New admins may need help adopting this tool as the learning curve is steep, but Salesforce offers trailheads and content to help you learn whatever you need.
- Create an optimal Flow strategy to rebuild and enhance your existing automation, mapping them and deciding how to combine them.
- Get comfortable with governor limits, testing, and unexpected errors.
- Build all new automation requests and rebuild any existing automation in Flow to get hands-on experience and become more comfortable with the tool.
- If your organization doesn’t have the bandwidth to develop internal expertise or internal resources, you can work with experienced Salesforce consultants, like Cloudsquare, to assist you in migrating the automations.
How Can We Help You?
Flow brings many benefits to our Orgs; however, it is a much more complex tool that requires more time, intensive training, trial and error, and greater care to implement. Small businesses with non-IT admins can have a difficult time getting a grasp of this tool and mastering it.
So, if you don’t have the time or the resources, Cloudsquare has a team of experienced Salesforce Solution Architects, Business Analysts, and Developers with the expertise to help you plan, design, and execute a Flow strategy and seamlessly take your org to this new level.
Additionally, we can help you rebuild, test, and deploy old automations as new Flows, review which automations are likely repeating, conflicting, or not useful anymore and be the long-term partners you need to keep your automation up-to-date as your business grows.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to help your organization be on top of this change, and Salesforce is providing the tools to make this transition as seamless as possible. Still, if you haven’t taken action to migrate your Workflow Rules and Process Builder to Flow, you need to consider the time and resources it will take before doing it. Even though Flow is the right platform for the future because it is more powerful and efficient, it is still a complex and more technical tool that requires many Salesforce professionals to upskill their Flow knowledge, so they can master and feel comfortable using it.
If you are looking for a Salesforce professional team to assist you in migrating your existing processes to Flow or creating new Flows, get in touch with our Salesforce subject matter experts and leave your optimizations in our hands.