What’s the Process Builder?

Q: What’s the Process Builder? What would I use it to do?

Let me start by saying unequivocally that Salesforce’s Process Builder is still relatively new, and still fully awesome.

Great, we got that out of the way. The Process Builder and Flow Builder make up Lightning Flow, an offering from Salesforce that’s ultimately designed to help automate business processes and take additional work and complexity out of the lives of both customers and employees. Today, however, we’re just focusing on Process Builder. We’ll touch on Flow Builder in the next post, to round out the picture.

What Process Builder Is

So, what exactly does it do? As we just mentioned, we can automate processes and make people’s lives easier. The Process Builder specifically is geared towards automating processes which do not require user input. This is really key — process builder operates entirely behind the scenes, it will never surface screens asking for user input, but it can still be immensely powerful. Here are some examples of use cases that are apt for the Process Builder:

  • Updating a related record when a record changes
  • Changing a field value after a certain amount of time
  • Automatically creating a task or activity
  • Sending an email alert

We can accomplish this functionality by building a process, which starts with by selecting an object, then creating a logic tree that will execute actions based on criteria. For example, we can create a process which will execute when an Opportunity is marked Closed Won and is over $1M in value which will automatically send an email to the VP of Sales.

I usually try to avoid using images in these Conversations posts, since during a real-life conversation I wouldn’t pause to pull up Salesforce and navigate to the Process Builder just to show you, but if it helps you put a face to a name, here’s what that process might look like:

What Process Builder Is Not

As mentioned, the Process Builder lives behind the scenes, helping to facilitate the flow of work, keep users or customers informed, and keep things tidy and organized. However, the process builder does not create or manage approval processes, though it can invoke them. Additionally, the Process Builder works only behind the scenes, therefore if you want to execute a process which requires a user’s input to complete, you’ll need to create a Flow instead. Again, the process builder can invoke a Flow, but that flow will be created in the Flow Builder.

Learning More

If you’re going to be an administrator or developer on the Salesforce platform, you’ll need to get familiar with the Process Builder. Aside from the myriad functionality it provides declaratively (point-and-click), it can also be extended with invocable Apex classes. To learn more, check out my post A quick look at Process Builder and learn about invocable Apex methods.

That’s all, cheers! Check out the other Conversations here.

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