With the release of Salesforce Spring ’11, we now have the ability in Salesforce to create criteria based sharing rules. Let’s take a look at how this new Salesforce functionality can help us and how we can put it to use.
Before the criteria based sharing, you could only create Salesforce sharing rules that looked at the roles or groups that owned a record in an object and share it with other roles or groups. In other words, all Salesforce accounts owned by the Sales role are shared with the Support role.
But what if you do not need (or want) to share competitor or internal accounts? You only want to share customer accounts. Sorry, all accounts will be shared. The only option is manual sharing on a record by record basis. This is unworkable for any large number of records and to top it off, you cannot run a report to see what records are manually shared.
Salesforce criteria based sharing to the rescue! Now, you can share by record type and the following fields: Auto Number, Checkbox, Date or Date/Time, Email, Number, Percent, Phone, Picklist, Text or Text Area, URL, and Lookup (to user ID or Queue ID) like an owner field.
This opens a world of possibilities! Now, support will only see accounts that have a picklist value of “Customer”. Finance can only view (not edit) opportunities that are closed/won. Call center agents only see the contacts that start with the area codes that they are assigned to. The ability to improve productivity using Salesforce is staggering!
As with any new functionality that is added to Salesforce, there are limits you should be aware of. First off, at this time, you can only use criteria based sharing on Accounts, Cases, Contacts, Custom Objects, and Opportunities. Also, you can only create up to 50 criteria based sharing rules per object.
Role and territory hierarchies still apply so people above the person that has access to the record will have access as well. This works the same in the normal sharing rules as well but you should be aware of it when creating your rules.
Be careful with text and text area sharing in Salesforce as they are case sensitive. This means that if you want to share contacts where the standard Department text field contains “Marketing” and someone enters “marketing” in the field, that record will not be shared. You can get around this by entering each value, separated by a comma, in the Value field of your rule.
You still have to pick Salesforce groups or Salesforce roles to share the record with as well as the level of access but you are no longer forced to pick all records owned by groups or roles. The new Saleforce criteria based sharing also allows you to report on what records are being shared just by filtering on the sharing criteria.
To see who the records are shared to, you would need to run a user report with roles and export the two reports so you can merge them in a spreadsheet. This will only work for roles as Salesforce does not support reporting on groups at this time. Of course, you could create your own spreadsheet of group members manually…you just need to keep it updated.
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