From SalesforceBen (a great source for SFDC info)
© Scott S. Nelson
From SalesforceBen (a great source for SFDC info)
Every month I check to see what’s new at https://trailhead.salesforce.com/quests (which doesn’t seem to update monthly anymore, but randomly following marketing events). Once in a while, I will complete all of the steps of a given quest and it still shows less than 100% complete.
In previous cases, it has been because some module that I had completed in the past had added a new step. So, while that module was complete on my profile, the current version of the module was incomplete. My guess is that the individual steps are reading from my profile and the aggregated score is based on current state. Anyway…I have learned that when the completion status doesn’t match to look at modules that are over a few months old and find the one with the new task.
Today, my tried and true method failed me. Everything was complete, but I still had only 88% complete on the summary. Hmmm. I got lucky and found Community thread with my first query that had the answer (fortunately near the top, as the thread continues with several more comments that are less helpful), which is to click Unfollow, then go through and click all of the “Mark as Complete” buttons again.
Noting this here so I remember for the next time.
I’ve written about the process I have gone through for all of my Salesforce certifications. The Certification Prep section of my blog currently starts with these, and I believe that many of those posts also have some helpful tips for the Service Cloud Consultant Certification. If you haven’t already passed the Administrator certification, I would suggest starting with my Tips to Pass the Salesforce.com Administrator Certification Exam post. Enough self-promotion, on with the sharing!
As mentioned earlier, this isn’t my first post on certification approaches and if you are preparing for Service Cloud Consultant certification it isn’t your first exam, so I’m going to minimize the elocution here and just drop my formatted notes by section headings for easier reference.
The proscribed place to prep, completing the Service Cloud Specialist Superbadge will have you well prepared for a passing grade if you work all of the prerequisites and then the Superbadge itself. I did complete the prerequisites but have not yet done the Superbadge project. This is much more a comment on my other time commitments than the approach as I highly recommend completing the Superbadge project, preferably right before taking the exam.
If you also have a reason to not be able to fit the Superbadge into your preparation plan, I recommend completing the Get Started with Service Cloud for Lightning Experience trail. Some of the trail modules are part of the Superbadge prerequisites, so it will take less time than you might think.
Quizlet is a great free resource for some exams, and the Service Cloud Consultant is one of them. https://quizlet.com/272794451/salesforce-service-cloud-consultant-flash-cards/
I’ve used Udemy to prepare for every Salesforce certification, and have already enrolled in the Salesforce Data Architect Course for my next planned exam because it was on sale. For those who haven’t used Udemy before, they have frequent sales where the prices are drastically below their regular price. By signing up for their marketing notifications you will eventually get a feel for how low particular courses can drop to, so if you have some planned, buying on sale is a great strategy.
Returning from that digression (my regular reader is used to this), I enrolled in the Salesforce Service Cloud Consultant Certification Course by Mike Wheeler because I had previously taken his Platform App Builder course (as mentioned in Become a Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder) and found it helpful in preparation. I will admit I was disappointed with the Service Cloud course. It was recorded in 2018, and while the Udemy listing says it was last updated 11/22, I couldn’t see where. He continually points out Lightning issues that have long since been addressed and spends a lot of time in Salesforce Classic, which is no longer referenced in the exam. And, while the functionality of Live Agent changed very little when being re-branded to Salesforce Chat, there are a couple of questions in the exam where the Live Agent option is the wrong answer.
And, for the record, I do not get a commission if you enroll in a Udemy course I recommend…and not for lack of trying. Their affiliate program has too much friction to bother dealing with (and it is reflected in my losses as a shareholder).
I won two vouchers this year (so far, fingers crossed) with Trailhead Quests. The first voucher was for a $200 exam and the second was for a $400 exam. My certification path is focused on Technical Architect and I had done all of the $200 exams, so I sat on that voucher for awhile. When I won the $400 voucher I was a bit surprised to find that it had a shorter expiration period. I immediately scheduled my exam for the expiration date and plowed into My Sharing and Visibility Architect Path.
I rested my brain for a couple of days and decided to use the first $200 voucher on the Service Cloud Consultant certification (sometimes called just Service Cloud Certification). For the Sharing and Visibility Architect exam I tried a few Udemy practice exams because they have served me well for previous exams. I requested refunds for all but one, and that is because I had been to busy to start on the first one and the guarantee period had expired. They were awful. I then went to the Trailhead Community and asked folks there for a recommendation and discovered Focus on Force. I will keep looking for study courses on Udemy, but for Salesforce practice exams, Focus on Force will be my go-to from now one.
My process was to first go through all of the Topic Exams and then start on the Question Bank. Then I had some issues with Question Bank on mobile, so I did practice exams on mobile and Question Bank on PC. Once completing the first 20 Question Bank exam, I found I needed to focus in these exam areas:
This is one of the reasons I don’t consider certifications a true test of consulting skill. I have delivered well-received proposals and solutions using Knowledge Management, and am regularly approached for my solution design expertise. The exam questions cover some narrow areas of very broad topics, and the questions I missed are are about activities that are generally one-and-done… then forgotten and looked up again when next needed. But, certification is important in the Salesforce landscape, so I spent time drilling on things that I would still have to look up again in a couple of years.
I went through the Udemy course in parallel, partly because I only had 55 days to prepare and a demanding day job, and partly to see if this approach was better than first doing the course and then using the practice exams.
Where previously I found the feature to check questions individually instead of at the end of the exam useful, this time I found that I did better if I waited until the end. I think this has a lot to do with my not knowing as many answers as the start as I had for the Sharing and Visibility exam (which I found surprising in itself) and that my expectations changed as I saw immediately that I was wrong. Unless you have an eidetic memory your frame of mind can impact your score more than the knowledge you have accumulated.
The Focus Review feature has the same issue as the Question Bank when used in Chrome on Android mobile devices. The score calculation at the end fails to complete. It then remembers the answer state the next time either is tried. Because both use random questions, some will have the answers from the previous session. I reported this twice for Question Bank and once for Focus Review and no fix has happened yet. If you run into the issue, please report it and then stick to using a PC for those test types. The answers from the failed mobile session will still be there the first time but subsequent attempts will work properly so long as you don’t try mobile again like I did (sometimes I’m optimistic when I shouldn’t be).
I use https://10015.io/tools/bionic-reading-converter to format my notes for Bionic Reading®. Below are the ones I made to review just before the exam. They are specific to reminders I thought would be useful as I created the notes and I recommend you create your own, or supplement these with your own.
For the Industry Knowledge questions, when not sure always go with the one with the highest cost savings followed by the one with the most potential income result. Again, this is only when unsure. There are some questions where cost is not the key factor of the question, for example when considering the benefits of an email channel, lower cost may not be the correct answer as there are other options that are a lower cost than email.
For processes, Case Stages are driven by the Case Status field
CTI allows telephony services in Salesforce. No desktop software or softphone required.
Customer SLA = Entitlement
List views are automatically created for queues
Customer Service site template for Questions to Case, not Customer Portal
Console History component shows recent primary and sub tabs. Recent items shows records
Email to case has a limit of 2500 per day
Knowledge does not return solutions only articles that are related to similar cases or questions
Messaging is what was called Live Messaging and not related to Social
Enable Case Comment Notification to Contacts is a support setting
There is no case field alert
Email approvals require Draft emails
Service Console requires Service Cloud User license
Knowledge Publication Teams and Publication States do not exist
In the routing model, you choose whether to push work to agents who are Least Active or Most Available. If you select Least Active, then Omni-Channel routes incoming work items to the agent with the least amount of open work. If you select Most Available, then Omni-Channel routes incoming work items to the agent with the greatest difference between work item capacity and open work items.
Internal metrics focus on what happens inside the contact center, and external metrics focus on what happens outside the contact center.
Case Sharing Rules by Record Owner:
Roles and Subordinates
Fair warning: This is more about not having written anything in a while than the value of the topic…and the subject matter is more about drawing your own conclusions than relying on what is easily available, so…
App is one of the most over-used and ill-defined terms in the IT lexicon. This is greatly due to it being used by people outside the IT domain. The domain itself has had some whoppers, like the DHMTL that was a must-have at the turn of the century even though the only honest definitions of the term were that it had no real definition. Microservices runs a close second simply because there is an invisible grey line between SOA and Microservices that is a mile wide and an inch short. But I digress, as is often the case.
What I’m really thinking about today is apps in the world of Salesforce.com. Specifically, apps that run inside the Salesforce CRM platform. I started thinking about this because I was looking into CPQ vendors over the weekend to refresh myself on the market to support a project proposal to select the best option for a particular business. It’s a large space, so it always helps to find someone else’s list to start with and someone had given me a list from a major analyst group as that starting point.
Other than analysts, no one likes long lists with lots of details, so I first wanted to narrow it by those that integrated with Salesforce. It didn’t take me long to remember that Salesforce is the gold standard for CRM and there were only two that didn’t. I didn’t go through the whole list to get to that count because I’ve done these kind of evaluations before and figured out after the first half dozen that this was not how I was going to narrow the list. The two were just what was noticed while skinning this cat another way.
The first trimming of the list was by industry focus. The potential client is a tech service, sort of SaaSy, and “High-tech products” was one of the categories, which was much closer to what they did than “Financial services” (though they have customers in that domain) or “Industrial products” (which the analyst seemed to think usually included high-tech, though not sure why).
To spare you the tedium of the several hours of wading through 1000’s of lines of marketing prose that could have been delivered in a table (ahem, yes, I know, kettle, black, etc.), from just the perspective of Salesforce CRM integration, I found it useful to divide them into three basic styles:
Native: An application that is built entirely in Salesforce
App: An app that runs inside Salesforce that depends on data and/or functionality managed outside of Salesforce.
Connector: An application that runs independently of Salesforce and has a way to share data with Salesforce.
The terms for these distinctions change often over time and between sources. These definitions are for clarification of the table below and are purposely simplified as deeper distinctions are less relevant about integration than other aspects.
In this particular exercise, the ask was to provide some pros and cons to these different styles. My style being one of adapting general terms to technical solutions, I responded with a non-exhaustive list of Benefits and Concerns:
Of course, the next question is usually “which is best”, and I must respond with the architect/consultant/writer-needing-higher-word-count with “it depends”. And it depends on lots of things, such as who will be maintaining the solution; how are capex and opex prioritized and managed; how do different stake holders actually need to interact with the solution; and is it clearly understood that this only one aspect of a vendor selection process and all known aspects must be documented and weighted before giving a recommendation?
The real reminder for me when I finished this brief analysis was that context is everything when doing any type evaluation. The list that I started with included products that were questionable as to whether they really belonged in the report and many of the products were listed as serving domains that there was no mention of on the vendor’s site and no compelling reason why the unmentioned-domain would want to use it. If I had direct access to the author(s) I may learn something by asking, but the important thing is that I used their input only as a starting point and applied my own analysis because when the recommendations are provided to a client, those author’s name will not be on the agenda and they will not be there to answer the questions that hadn’t yet been thought of.
Full disclosure: This is a quick draft from notes made during my prep journey and quickly edited after passing. Based on comments received, I may revise and elaborate further (hint, hint)
After completing the Administrator and Developer certifications, the App Builder certification seemed easy, and I had an expectation they would continue to get easier. I was right and wrong.
I struggled a bit with this certification, for a variety of reasons. First, the earlier certifications are very popular as the best of the entry-level exams. Popularity in this century leads to quantity, and there was lots of high-quality study material available for free and at a reasonable cost. I used to find the Salesforce sharing and visibility topics a bit confusing. They are highly flexible, and flexibility can lead to complexity. The thing about complexity is that when it is well-managed it has a simple core. Getting to that core is the challenge with understanding the subject areas of sharing and visibility and preparing for the certification exam.
For most of my earlier certifications I started with digging deep into the material and the using practice exams to help identify my weaknesses. There are not a lot of courses for sharing and visibility, and many that are out there are out of date. I think part of this has to do with the diminishing number of test takers for this one, coupled with the complexity of the material. Higher effort to address a smaller market reduces those interested in completing. I did find a decent subject matter course on Udemy, my usual go-to for learning anything quick at reasonable price (so long as I can wait for one of the frequent sales). I also found a good, exam-focused series on YouTube that I highly recommend for those like me who want multiple sources and frequently treat YouTube videos as pod casts, using audio-only.
Of course, I also did all of the related modules and trails on Trailhead. There were fewer of these for sharing and visibility compared to my previous certification, too. I also found them less effective in making the content stick in my head.
Where I struggled was finding practice exams. Most of the ones on Udemy for sharing and visibility are garbage (sorry, Udemy…and I’m a stock-holder, too). One is not too bad, though I think I give it some leniency because of the comparison to what else is available. I finally got frustrated and posted on Trailhead (where I am guilty of answering more questions than I ask, a poor learning strategy). The community did not let me down and came back with a solid recommendation for focusonforce. Their format is a bit different, in that they have practice exams, and they also have section-focused exams. I missed the section-focused being separate from the practice exams until the last minute. I would have felt much more prepared had I found them earlier. They also have a nice feature of 20 random questions that are mixed in proportion to the exam topic mix, which was great for when you don’t have a lot of time and still want to practice.
Oh, yeah, another cool feature from focusonforce is the ability to see the answer after each question instead of at the end. I know there are some free site on other topics that do this, but this is the first time I have seen it with a high-volume and high-quality set of practice exams. It made it easier to make notes on my weaker areas. With better notes, I then used Bionic Reading® forming to make it easier to read them over and over again.
No matter what exam you are preparing for or where you get the practice exams, I recommend taking the practice exams using multiple paces; fast, slow, checking each, checking at the end.
One of the reasons I was so dissatisfied with the Udemy practice exams is that the questions are so long and complex, yet it is still 60 questions each. Well, turns out most of the questions really are long and complex. Still, the Udemy ones missed the actual style of the real questions. Understandable, given the level of complexity, but still disappointing.
Take the practice exams using multiple paces; fast, slow, checking each, checking at the end. When doing the real thing, follow standard practice of speed through and mark for review, etc.. The value of practice exams is more than learning the answers to likely questions. The highest value is in adopting the mindset and thought processes in the context of how exam questions are stated and rated, which is more complex and more constrictive than a typical design session where one can review the problem repeatedly over time and adjust
Below is a list of resources I used. I hope they help you in your own pursuit.
The course I took was Salesforce Certified Sharing and Visibility Architect Course by Walid El Horr
The practice exam that was OK on Udemy is Salesforce Sharing and Visibility Practise Tests – 100% PASS (that is the title, not an endorsement by me).
Generated with https://10015.io/tools/bionic-reading-converter
runAs() is only for test classes
runAs() does not enforce user and system permissions
runAs() does not enforce FLS
Tagging rules have only three options:
1. Restrict users to pre-defined tags
2. Allow any tag
3. Suggest tags
There is no View Content permission
The Salesforce CRM Content User is a Feature License enabled at the User Level (not Profile)
Granular locking is default
Granular locking processes multiple operations simultaneously
Parallel recalculation runs asynchronously and in parallel thus speeding up the process. Creating sharing rules or updating OWD must wait until the recalculation is complete
Initialize test data and variables before the startTest method in a test class
There is NO Account Team Access
Team Member Access is how to view access.
While the permission is Edit, the Apex method is isUpdateble()
While the FLS column is View, the API method is isAccessible()
If want to see group access, look in group maintenance table, not sharing setting for object.
User above a role in the hierarchy can edit opportunity teams of users in subordinate roles
File types cannot be restricted by the library
Opportunities have a Transfer Record permission
Experience Cloud uses Sharing Sets
Sharing rules cannot set base object access
PK chunking to split bulk api queries for large data sets
Rapid access usually means a custom list view
A library with more than 5k files cannot have a folder added
Sharing set in Experience Cloud allows access only to account and contact records.
Share groups are only for HVP users
Schema.Describe.SObject/Field result for permissions
Session based permission set group is more efficient than multiple session based permission sets
There is no Partner Community Plus
Sharing sets can be assigned to profiles
Criteria based sharing rules are only for field value criterion. If no field value criteria, use ownership based sharing rules
Max file size for UI upload is 2GB
EPIM = Enhanced Personal Information Management
Delegated external administrators can’t see custom fields on user detail records
Sharing Hierarchy button is a thing that shows the hierarchy
Share Groups are not available for Partner Community Users
If the default OWD access is changed for an object, it is no longer controlled by parent
There is no Permission Object
Sharing Rules share to groups and profiles, not individuals
Enhance Transaction Security Policy can be triggered by request time length
If only one custom record type is assigned to a user that is the default type for that user.
Territories can belong to public groups
Activities are child objects of any of the following parents: Account, Opportunity, Case, Campaign, Asset and custom objects with Allow Activities.
the ‘with sharing’ and ‘without sharing’ keywords can be declared at the class level, but not at the method level.
The Group Maintenance tables store Inherited and Implicit grants, i.e., the extrapolated grants, which makes sense as extrapolation is more compute-intense than a query.
Partner Community can use Sharing Rules
External OWD must be equal or more restrictive than the Internal OWD