In this blog post we are going to review (at a high level!) various components that the new Nonprofit Cloud solutions utilise. Salesforce calls these ‘Industry Components’ and they have actually been around for several years in various guises. Typically they have been utilised through different Salesforce products, for example Education Cloud, Health Cloud, Financial Services Cloud etc.
Now that the Nonprofit Cloud is part of the core Salesforce platform, we can make use of these industry components and utilise them to further enhance the platform’s capabilities.
There are lots of Industry Components, but since we are highlighting the ones utilised by nonprofits, we will be focusing our attention today on the following:
- Business Rules Engine
- Action Plans
- Document Checklists
- Data Processing Engine
- Discovery Framework (Assessments)
The intent behind Omnistudio is to provide an agile and flexible way for you to meet your needs around data visualisation, data processing and various transformations to ultimately increase your productivity and decrease development and maintenance costs.
Think of this as a new user interface that allows you to track relationships between records and visualise them via a drag-and-drop configuration.
Forming elements of the Omnistudio, there are several other areas that we will also turn our attention to:
- Omniscripts – These contain the logic of user interaction and alter the UI based on user input. These provide guided paths to complete a business process, and are similar to screen flows and again, react to the input to then drive the next step.
- Flexcards – Used to display data and launch actions, flexcards are very similar to lightning web components. These cards are added to page layouts and configured to show elements in the context of the page they are held on.
Business Rules Engine
As the name loosely implies, this industry component allows us to define logical steps and allow us to automate decision-making based on the information available – in a nutshell, it is another workflow tool similar to flows but with more depth to the resulting output.
The configuration of the Rules Engine can be a little confusing at first, but when you understand the different elements that formulate the overall engine, it becomes much clearer:
- Expression Sets – Elements that contain the rules you want to run in a series of steps
- Decisions Matrix – Match the input that has been received with a predefined output, allows us to define responses and values based on inputs we expect
- Decision Table – This takes the matrix a little further and allows us to match multiple outcomes from the same input
Combined, these three elements allow us to set the rules on any object in Salesforce, drive the outputs based on the expected input, and progress through a series of decisions and resultant record creations/updates.
Personally I’m looking forward to using the BRE for our nonprofit clients as this level of functionality has been asked for many times for various reasons such as defining requirements specific to a funding program for grant makers or helping us drive Safeguarding and Incident alert management processes.
Action plans allow us to capture repeatable tasks and then automate them in a predefined sequence. These are very similar to Engagement Plans which were part of the NPSP – define the series of tasks against a template, and apply that template automatically to any record that meets the criteria.
What’s really cool about this feature is that you can apply action plans to any object in Salesforce, so you could have the same template of tasks/activities linked to multiple records at the same time. We will typically use this for case management (intake tasks, onboarding processes and regular assessment reviews) or for programmes (reminders of upcoming benefits/sessions, tasks that need to be completed before a programme can become active etc.)
We can now specify the documents needed to progress to the next stage of a process, be that an onboarding process or any other type of prerequisite.
We configure document checklists via two simple steps:
- Navigate to the record you want a checklist to be present on and click New.
- Specify the types of documents needed.
These are now available to upload documents as received and can be surfaced to any other area of the platform, including the Experience Cloud!
This component allows us to easily track outstanding documents and we can use these records to trigger flows or omniscripts for further automation and collection of documents.
Data Processing Engine
This one is all about data. What to bring in, what to do with it and where to put it. Think of the DPE as the import wizard that you may be used to, but with data transformation capabilities included.
You configure the DPE via a series of definitions and then run those definitions to process the data. As an example, you may receive a list of attendees from one of your programmes and want to ensure you capture these attendees accurately against the correct benefit.
We would have a DPE definition that accepts a specific file format (a template previously created) and then you could upload the document, run the definition and have it parse the data through and into the relevant records (contacts, benefits, attendances etc)
There are a ton of things that we can use this process for, and a lot of them are already built into the new Programmes and Case Management functionality of the Nonprofit Cloud. As more and more features are added, this will become a much stronger core element of our clients’ Salesforce instance.
The discovery frameworks are essentially a layer that allows us to use omnistudio and omniscripts to generate forms.
This framework consists of two main elements: Questions and Forms. You create the questions using a simple user interface with the capability of adding parent and child questions.
You will then create a form that holds all of those questions – which can then be used anywhere on the platform including Experience Cloud sites, lightning web components or within the omnistudio itself.
This is also an excellent addition to the platform overall, and now that it is part of the core offering from Salesforce, it means we can generate on platform forms without needing to write any scripting or coding, and bringing all of the data directly into the underlying platform’s objects.
Currently, we would build out these forms using 3rd party products or visual flows but there are limitations. With the discovery framework we will be able to create forms all in one place and use them not only for external input of data, but for internal users alike.