Flow is a highly useful feature on Salesforce that can help companies easily automate business processes. Automating business processes not only minimizes the “pain” and inefficiency of manual work but also has the added benefit of minimizing human error, all while enabling your business to scale exponentially. Manual work tends to scale linearly – the more work you have, the more resource expenditures you’ll eventually require. However, with automation you can scale to handle much larger volumes, helping your team focus on much more higher value-added activities than rote, manually intensive tasks.
Flow is particularly good for creation and movement of information – whether it’s creating the appropriate records in multiple systems when you are onboarding a customer, to sending a notification and kicking off certain processes when a customer has a return request to process. It’s also great for modifying multiple records in bulk. Flow can look up information, modify records, and handle multiple steps that might be performed on case escalation or automatic case closure after a set amount of time. The greater the complexity and steps required, the more that Flow can automate and deliver value to you. Of course automation has its dangers – if the automation steps don’t handle exception cases well, it can just as effectively automate undesired actions. In a world where requirements can change on a daily basis, it can continue to automate an outdated process unless you manage it properly.
Making Flow Work for You
From a feature perspective, Flow is a wonderful tool that enables you to set up simple to complex steps that can create, read, update and delete records on multiple data objects. They can be kicked off automatically as part of an automated process or be more “interactive”, for example be kicked off by a button press or require information input as part of the process. Conditional logic can be applied to easily control when and how the process operates. Flow is an example of a “low code” solution, which is that it provides the power of programmability without the need for a heavily trained and experienced developer. “Low code” is in between “clicks without code” and “code”. It is designed for most any administrator to become proficient at with enough practice.
Flow can be tricky, and in inexperienced hands you might accidentally automate your processes in unintended situations. This is why prioritizing good design and testing is critical. Mapping out all the states so that you can clearly and logically see the correct paths will help your Flows become more “bulletproof,” and prevent many of the issues that arise from haphazard additions. We’ve seen many customers express interest in Flow’s powerful functionality, but remain wary of the risks in implementing and maintaining it themselves. A common form of engagement is for one of our expert team-members to build a flow and then train the administrators on how it works so that they can make their own minor adjustments. Modifying an existing Flow is much easier than creating from scratch.
Putting in too many Flows can also create tech debt problems. Anything you build must in turn be managed, and so building a bunch of automated flows can unnecessarily complicate things in the future. Too many flows can result in too many automations flying around, some possibly even contradicting with each other. It’s important to keep things simple, particularly in the beginning. Think about running processes manually at first and then automating them as you get more experienced in a phase 2. In general it’s much easier organizationally and process-wise to make incremental improvements rather than all at once.