Apps to Boost Productivity: Apps for Admins

Shutterstock_221585608Most Salesforce Administrators I know can do just about anything, whether it’s supporting users, delivering critical projects, creating reports and dashboards, and even conducting training. But more than that, they are often responsible for managing Salesforce for their entire company. They are the first phone call if something goes wrong, and the “fixer” who ultimately puts things right.

As a Salesforce Administrator, your time is a precious commodity. With the Salesforce AppExchange on your side, your next project could be delivered as easily as download and install. And with 44% of the apps being available for free, that’s instant value both you and your executive sponsor will love.

This is part three of a five-part blog series where we’re highlighting Apps for Admins. In this series, we’re digging into some of the key challenges admins face and the AppExchange apps, mostly free (and a few paid), that have made some of my customers more successful.

I Will Not Do Things Manually … I Will Not Do Things Manually …

In the opening sequence of one of my favorite TV shows, “The Simpsons,” Bart is shown writing a sentence on the chalkboard over and over again as a punishment doled out for his constant bad behavior in the classroom. The sentence he writes changes (hilariously) with every episode, but the punishment is the same repetitive action.

There’s a reason why doing repetitive, manual actions is a punishment — no one likes to do things manually, and Salesforce is no different. Who wants to make the same update to 100 records, one at a time? You might as well have your user write, “I will not adopt Salesforce” 100 times on the nearest whiteboard. Especially when you learn there’s an app for that (Mass Update Wizard) and it also happens to be free (I’m just sayin’).

Whether your business owners want an automatic Chatter post when a big opportunity closes, an email sent when a service case is escalated, or a sales team added when an account is created, thanks to automation in Salesforce, you can answer, “No problem,” to each of these requests, and become your company’s hero (or wizard, whichever you prefer).

Now, as soon as your company realizes they have a hero/wizard on staff, the requests for projects will start pouring in, and you’ll have to carefully prioritize. In my experience, some of the most impactful projects fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • Cha-Ching: A productivity enhancement that significantly improves revenue
  • Morale-Booster: Eliminating or reducing repetitive actions that impact a large number of users
  • The Quick Win: A simple use case that is easy to solve
  • The Wow Factor: Taking advantage of a cutting-edge feature or enhancement
  • The SteveMo: A great report that provides much-needed visibility and enhances productivity
  • Did I Mention It’s Free?: A problem that can be solved with a free app from the AppExchange 

The trick is knowing all of your options and being able to find the right tool for the job, whether it’s standard functionality or an app from the AppExchange. Check out the apps below and watch your users’ productivity (and your own) go through the roof.

Automation and Productivity

  • Visual Workflow Getting Started Pack. Mystified by how to get started with Visual Workflow? Take advantage of this free starter pack! Access sample flows and powerful plug-ins. This app is a must for admins new to Visual Workflow.
  • Rollup Helper. Free app allowing you to roll up any Salesforce data with clicks not code. Supported functions include count, summary, maximum, minimum, concatenate (text), and average. There are limits on the amount of rollups available for free; check the AppExchange listing for more details.
  • If you’re interested in rollups, I also highly recommend checking out the Declarative Lookup Rollup tool created by MVP Andrew Fawcett. It’s free and powerful, and can support lookup fields, picklists, child records, and even Lightning Process Builder.
  • ChattoMate. Workflow actions for Chatter, allowing you to automatically follow users and records based on the criteria you set. Paid app.

Document Generation Made Easy (and Gorgeous)

  • Conga Composer. Merge data from any Salesforce object into beautiful documents, including quotes, proposals, account plans, and contracts. Supported formats include Word, PowerPoint, Excel, HTML email, and PDFs. Deliver via email, download, or store in Salesforce, Google Drive, or other locations; see full listing for details. Paid app.
  • Loop Document Services. Merge your Salesforce data into custom document packages. Supported formats include Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and PDF. Integrated with Salesforce Files, Salesforce1, DocuSign, Content, and more. Paid app.
  • Mail Merge is native functionality in Salesforce for basic document merge use cases.

User Experience

  • Folderize. Love Salesforce Content, but wish you could have a folder hierarchy? Look no further than this free app, which allows you to create a folder structure for Salesforce Content and Libraries. Easily organize documents for training, sales, marketing, and more.
  • Apttus X-Author for Excel. For your users who love Excel, let them work in Excel, but the data (and the file, if needed) will live in Salesforce. Paid app.
  • GridBuddy Free. Visualize Salesforce data in a report-like view. Allows inline editing, creating, and deleting, all from a single page. There are limits on the amount of users and grids available for free; check the AppExchange listing for more details. Paid version also available.
  • Skuid. Drag and drop to create custom pages and list views, allowing inline editing, multiple columns, and multiple object data to be displayed on a single page. Paid app.


Who says your users should be the only ones who get a productivity boost? There are a number of apps designed to boost your productivity, too. Many admins I know swear by paid app Panaya ChangeGuru as an incredible timesaver, allowing you to visualize the downstream impact of a change before you make it.

Check out the following free apps as well:

  • Field Trip. See how many fields are actually in use; wonderful for assessing data completeness and for cleanup projects.
  • The Permissioner. Assign and remove users to and from permission sets en masse.
  • Schema Surfer. View all objects and metadata information at a glance. Includes the ability to filter and drill down.
  • Mass Update and Mass Edit from List View. Mass update and edit records easily from any filter view or related list. Awesome for admins and users.
  • Draggin' Role. Drag and drop role hierarchy modifications.


Take advantage of free apps to boost user productivity and consider spending wisely to provide powerful automation and an enhanced user experience.

Stay turned for the next installment in our series as we continue with Apps for Admins. Up next, Mobile!

Check out the AppExchange and all the apps mentioned here: Apps for Admins


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