Simplifying business automation processes without coding has been one of the many remarkable features of the Salesforce platform. Coming from a .Net background, I was amazed to see the capabilities that Salesforce’s Workflow Rule brought in. Then came the Process Builder in 2015, enabling us to not just update parent records but also create new records and update related records. Process Builder became a tool for system administrators that could reasonably compete with Apex.
When Salesforce introduced Flow, I considered it an over-complicated and heavy version of Process Builder and Workflow Rules. I saw no compelling reason to adopt it as my business automation tool. If the work gets done through Process Builder, that is what I would do.
Why then did I board the Flow-train?
Initially, Flow was built on the Cloud Flow Designer. In its spring 2019 release, Salesforce introduced Flow Builder, a declarative interface that provides faster and more intuitive front-end for creating individual flows. I started experimenting with Flow about years ago to explore the new features and my perception about it changed for good. I boarded the Flow-train and decided to not look back, and here is why:
- Records are created and updated quickly using Flow as compared to Process Builder and Workflow Rules.
- Salesforce expanded the Flow’s capabilities to include both record-triggered and schedule-triggered Flow.
- Salesforce announced that Process Builder and Workflow Rules would no longer receive product updates. Salesforce Flow will be the new tool for declarative process automation.
What else did Salesforce say?
In June 2020, Salesforce published a blog on what will be considered the best practices for any business process automation. The blog had three main takeaways:
- Use a ‘BeforeSave’ Flow to update a Salesforce record as it’s faster than Process Builder (it could possibly outperform Process Builder by 10x).
- Use an ‘AfterSave’ Flow to create records or send emails. This will increase the performance for end users as compared to Process Builder.
- If the logic of a Flow gets very complex then it’s probably best to use Apex coding.
Salesforce is planning to invest and enhance heavily on Flow. Therefore, it’s only advisable to start
leveraging Flow and considerably reduce the dependency on Process Builder or Workflow Rules.
But is Flow the only tool? I have asked this question myself every time I read Salesforce release notes. Undeniably, Flow is evolving at an incredible pace. With the Winter 21 release, it can be scheduled, triggered on record updates, called by platform events and even be visible or invisible to the users. With Flow, you can reuse without rebuilding; you can build incredible complex business logic and reuse across multiple Flows. It can do what Workflow Rules, Process builder and Approval process can do.
Therefore, to answer the question, I think Flow will soon become the most go-to tool for administrators to automate all business process in a declarative way.
Adios, Process Builder and Workflow Rules?
Well, not yet.
Salesforce will continue to allow system administrators to maintain the existing, as well as create new Workflow Rules and Process Builders, but it’s not going to be enhanced any more for sure.
Salesforce, in Dreamforce 21 announced the retirement of Workflow and Process Builder. Patrick Stokes, the product manager responsible for the retirement, has reassured that there will be a formal roadmap that is governed by an end-of-life council. In the spirit of transparency, here are the stages they have planned:
- Spring’ 22 release: Launch migration tool for Workflow Rules
- Summer’ 22 release: Launch migration tool for Process Builder
- Winter’ 23 release: Will no longer be able to create new Process Builders or Workflow Rules
- Don’t create new Process Builders or Work Flow Rules in your organization. Instead,
transition to Flow and get comfortable with it.
- Never forget the complexities: if the existing Process Builder or Workflow Rules are causing
problems, then move to Flow instead.
- If the existing Process Builder or Workflow are working fine, then let them be.