Picture this scene – I’m in a hotel room, with my trusty Mac. My favorite PC – bought solely for data-upload related work (some programs still don’t work on Macs, alas) is miles away. I need to upload some data into a client’s Salesforce instance, and I need to do it tonight.
Sheer panic and necessity = Megan learns a new tool.
In the world of Salesforce consulting, you can teach an old dog new tricks. And that’s actually the key in this work, I am always learning – from my clients, from my peers, from my own hotel room moments.
A client once asked me what data tool she should use for working with data in Salesforce. My answer, as a consultant for more than ten years, is the same I give my clients when they ask about any integrated tool. The right tool for the job.
Here are my current favorites, by task:
Mass-Editing Data Within Salesforce: Apsona
Apsona is like mass-editing within lists, amplified. My absolute favorite is to filter a certain subset of records on one object (like Opportunities) and then update another field – either by setting a static value, or by using a dynamic value to include a formula. My favorite dynamic value update is using a field value to update yet another value – like Opportunity Name, for example – by combining Account Name, Amount, and Close Date. Apsona saves us so much time, we usually require new clients to purchase it for the course of the project – simply because whatever cost they pay they would double or triple that in consulting fees for the download/edit/re-upload data cleansing process.
- Mass Editing Data within Salesforce (quick!)
- Mass Deleting Data within Salesforce
- Mass Updating Records from Inactive Users (gives you hints which ones are inactive)
- Mass Replacing select Field Values when importing from CSV (helpful when you haven’t scrubbed all picklist values)
Importing Data or Updating Data from a File: Dataloader.io
Dataloader is the tool I learned under duress in the middle of the night, and it became a new favorite. I still have my trusty tools for complex data loads – but this is my new favorite web-based tool. It works on both PC and Mac, authorizes quickly, and allows users to setup new tasks to import or update records fairly quickly. It also allows you to lookup the Salesforce ID within the task itself – which is great – like via an external ID you have in the file. Finally you can schedule tasks, and have the task pull from a file in a certain location – for example, a weekly download file from an external system.
- Data Import & Update Files from Excel
- Scheduling a Regular Task from a Downloaded File Location (like Dropbox)
- Both Macs & PCs!
Data Deduplication & Finding IDs: DemandTools
Demandtools is the powerhouse of Data Cleansing and manipulation tools, and one I rely on regularly. I recommend an orientation from someone who knows the tool before you dive in – not the most intuitive, but a 30 minute overview will save you lots of time. There’s so many features that only Demandtools can do, and if another tool can’t do it, Demandtools likely can. Demandtools, like many tools, lets you save mappings – but also lets you save full scenarios with multiple steps. Demandtools is the one and only tool for data deduplication – you can run scenarios for potential duplicates (exact and fuzzy) and merge (setting the winner via another set of customizable, complex logic).
- Data Deduplication
- Find IDs (without having to pretend to mass edit)
- Anything other tools can’t do!
Salesforce has spent some time improving its own Data Loader native tool, but honestly each time I’ve tried to get it to work I’ve encountered difficulties, perhaps because I’m (mostly) on a Mac.
What tools are in your toolkit? Can’t wait for your comments on tools you’ve learned and loved in the dark night.