Attention Trailblazer!

Salesforce has two different user interfaces: Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic. It’s easy to switch between the two. You can learn about switching between interfaces, enabling Lightning Experience, and more in the Lightning Experience Basics module here on Trailhead.

This module is designed for Salesforce Classic.

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you will be able to:
  • Describe and compare the different options for automating business processes in Salesforce
  • Determine which tool is right for a given use case

Salesforce Process Automation Suite

Salesforce provides multiple tools to automate your org’s repetitive business processes: Lightning Process Builder, Visual Workflow, Workflow, and Approvals. The automation tool that you need depends on the type of business process that you’re automating.

  • What to do when a record has certain values

    Example: Notify the account owner when a related case is escalated.

  • Collecting information from users or customers and then doing something with that information

    Example: Customer support uses a wizard to step through a call script, and cases are created based on the information that they enter.

  • How a record gets approved

    Example: Managers approve their direct reports’ requests for vacation.

What to Do When a Record Has Certain Values

Three of our tools can address this use case: Workflow, Process Builder, and Visual Workflow. Respectively, these tools create workflow rules, processes, and flows.

We recommend starting with Process Builder, especially for business processes that can be simplified to if/then statements. For example: if a case is escalated, then notify the account owner.

Process Builder includes almost all the functionality that’s available in workflow rules, and more. In fact, a single process can do what it would normally take multiple workflow rules to do. The only thing you can do with workflow that you can’t do with processes is send outbound messages without code. However, you can work around this limitation by calling Apex code from a process.

If the process is too complicated for the Process Builder or requires more advanced functionality, create a flow by using the Cloud Flow Designer. For example, create a flow to:
  • Use complex branching logic (if certain conditions are true, evaluate for further conditions)

    Example: First, check whether a case is escalated. If the case is escalated, check the account’s region and route the case accordingly.

  • Sort through, iterate over, and operate on several records

    Example: After an opportunity is closed and won, calculate the opportunity’s discount. Then apply that discount to all the related opportunity products.

Get Information from Users or Customers and Do Something with It

If you need to build a wizard to collect information, Visual Workflow is the tool for you. Create a flow that displays information to and requests information from a user. Then take the information that they enter and perform actions in Salesforce with it.

For example, create a flow that walks customer support representatives through a call script. The flow uses information that the representative entered, such as the caller’s name and account number, to create a case that’s assigned to the right person.

You can add more complexity to the flow to match your business process. For example:
  • Route the representative to different screens, depending on earlier choices. This prevents the representative from doing things like trying to upsell a product to a customer who already bought that product.
  • Check whether the reported problem is blocking the customer’s business and the account is high-value. If so, the flow notifies the region director.

How a Record Gets Approved

For example, when an employee requests time off, that time has to be approved by the employee’s manager. You need to ensure that when a time-off request is submitted for approval, the right person (the employee’s manager) receives the request.

To automate your organization’s processes for approving records, create approval processes.

Automation Tool Features

Here’s a breakdown of all the features and actions that are supported in each automation tool. Use it to determine which tool is best for your business needs.

Process Builder Visual Workflow Workflow Approvals
Complexity Multiple if/then statements Complex A single if/then statement A single if/then statement
Visual designer check icon indicating true check icon indicating true
Browser support All (Chrome recommended) All (Safari not recommended) All All
Starts when
  • Record is changed
  • Invoked by another process
  • User clicks button or link
  • User accesses custom tab
  • Process starts
  • Apex is called
Record is changed
  • User clicks button or link
  • Process or flow starts that includes a “Submit for Approval” action
  • Apex is called
Supports time-based actions check icon indicating true check icon indicating true check icon indicating true
Supports user interaction check icon indicating true
Supported Actions
Call Apex code check icon indicating true check icon indicating true
Create records check icon indicating true check icon indicating true Tasks only Tasks only
Invoke processes check icon indicating true
Delete records check icon indicating true
Launch a flow check icon indicating true check icon indicating true check icon indicating true (Pilot)1
Post to Chatter check icon indicating true check icon indicating true
Send email check icon indicating true(Email alerts only) check icon indicating true check icon indicating true(Email alerts only) check icon indicating true(Email alerts only)
Send outbound messages without code check icon indicating true check icon indicating true
Submit for approval check icon indicating true check icon indicating true
Update fields Any related record Any record The record or its parent The record or its parent

1The Process Builder has superseded flow trigger workflow actions, previously available in a pilot program. Orgs that are using flow trigger workflow actions can continue to create and edit them, but they aren’t available for new orgs.

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