I’ve talked about the fun side of this year’s Dreamforce – the parties, the people, the fedoras… but what really makes the whole week worthwhile to me is the learning experience. There were some incredible sessions this year! The Dreamforce organizers really listened to feedback from previous years – the session schedule and content were much improved, in my opinion.

Over the past week, I’ve been watching many of the recorded sessions that I missed, and re-watching some of my favorites that I attended. Here is the breakdown of my favorite administrator track sessions – enjoy!

  • REPORTING – Definitely my favorite category this year! I’m an advanced admin, and reports are one of my specialties, but I still learned lots of new tricks from some of the sessions on reporting. Analytics Ninjas offers interesting insight into what might be slowing down your reports, and the part on Google charts really intrigues me. Cross Filters, Joined Reports, and Bucketing gives great examples of how to use the newer reporting features. And my personal favorite – Compare Report Summaries with PREVGROUPVAL and PARENTGROUPVAL – was a well-instructed hands-on training session in which I learned about two formula functions that I’d never used before.
  • SECURITY – I thought I’d learned enough about permissions when I recently re-configured our roles, profiles, and sharing settings. But these sessions offered a lot more insight, and made me look more closely at some of the decisions I had made. Security and Sharing Overview: You Hold the Keys is a session for those who are new-ish to SFDC security and just looking for the basics. Optimizing Your Security Model is more of a deep dive into the topic, for those of us who are dealing with a huge mess of roles/profiles/sharing settings and need to reevaluate our entire security model. Too Many Profiles, So Little Time offers some really good tips for cleaning up your user profiles – the enhanced profile list view made me so happy! (This session is particularly useful because if your security model was set up prior to the Permission Set feature, you most likely suffer from profile overload.)
  • USABILITY – There are always plenty of sessions on user adoption and usability, and I must admit that I usually ignore them, assuming that I am such a great admin that I’ve just naturally made our database as user-friendly as possible. This year, I got a wake up call! The Usability Ninja Series sessions showed me that functionality does not equal usability, and that we often decrease usability when implementing new customizations, from custom fields to workflow rules. The Building a Foundation for Success session really makes you look at things from a user’s point of view. The Delivering Success session gives great advice for optimizing page layouts, custom fields, etc.
  • ADMIN TIPS – I noticed a larger variety of sessions along the lines of administrator self-improvement this year, and I really enjoyed them. No matter how advanced an admin you may think you are, you can always be better! Check out Becoming a Better Admin, and 7 Habits of a Highly Successful Admin.
  • HANDS-ON TRAINING – I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until it sticks in your head: when you go to Dreamforce, attend as many hands-on sessions as possible. There’s no better way to learn something than to be walked through it step by step. Unfortunately, there were not a lot of recordings available from those sessions. You will just have to take my word for it – they are interactive and awesome!

If you were not able to attend this year’s conference, I hope these recordings give you an idea of how much we all can learn – and these are only a fraction of the available sessions! Search Dreamforce on YouTube for other ones that interest you. I promise, you will end up smarter.

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