Demystifying PLC, Salesforce Days & Salesforce Accredited Professional Credentials (Plus Swag Hunt) – Part 2

Please see Part 1 post if you want an introduction to what is Partner Learning Camp and what are Accredited Professional exams. In this post, I will focus a bit more on what’s changed in the world of PLC and APs and of course, the ongoing “Salesforce Days” campaign.

As in the earlier post, I will ONLY mention things which are publicly accessible to maintain and respect confidentiality as applicable. And of course, this post is written in my personal capacity and does not represent the views of my employer or any of my other affiliations.

First up, Salesforce Days – a whole new world of learning opportunities (and who doesn’t love swag!)

What is Salesforce Days?

Simply put, Salesforce Days (aka SF Days) is a campaign put together by the Salesforce Alliances team focused on helping Salesforce Partners ramp up their teams in a number of areas in the Salesforce ecosystem. The AMER SF Days campaign started in early September and runs through to October 31 so there’s still plenty of time to jump in and make the most of out of this fantastic learning opportunity.

Let’s demystify a few myths on SF Days!

SF Days – Is it AMER vs India? Or other regions?

SF Days is run in a region-wise manner. The campaign for ‘Salesforce Days India’ got over last month and now the AMER SF Days campaign is in full swing. Essentially, the difference is that the sessions are run based on the timings for the region. E.g. Currently, sessions are happening in EST/ CST/ PST business hours.

Is it specific to Partners?

SF Days is technically open to all partners. For some of the bigger GSI partners, Salesforce does a few exclusive sessions like kickoff, closing party etc. but otherwise they get access to all the same sessions as all other partners.

How do I sign up?

If you work for a Salesforce Partner, you can sign up for the sessions here

What kind of sessions are there?

Personally, for me – the best part about SF Days is that they have been kept with all audiences in mind. Regardless of whether you are new to the Salesforce ecosystem, you want to cross-skill or want to deep-skill, there are opportunities for everyone. These are broadly split into 3 categories

Switch2Salesforce

These are great for anyone new to the Salesforce ecosystem. For example, you came from the SAP Hybris world and you want to learn B2C Commerce Cloud (I can’t help it, it’s my favourite Salesforce product line) – there are sessions which are aimed at helping with that learning curve.

Similarly, there are opportunities to learn other Salesforce technologies such as Mulesoft, Tableau etc. I have strongly encouraged my team to attend these. If you are from a .NET/ Java background and want to learn Salesforce, this is your sweet spot!

Credential Prep

This is exactly what it sounds like – crisp and to the point sessions aimed at helping you learn key concepts and get you prepare for specific credentials.

These are the same format as the earlier “Fast Path Certification Workshops” that the Partner team used to run. If you are preparing for any exam and if you see a session scheduled for it, take my word and attend it – that’s the best exam prep you can get directly from the experts.

The best part – these are not limited just to Trailhead Certification exams but there are sessions also happening for Accredited Professional exams.

Tech Sessions

If you are simply interested in a product deep dive or learning more about a specific offering, these are a great way to do so. These are not necessarily tied to an exam or a credential but they often tackle some really popular use cases so I definitely recommend checking them out.

What if I missed a session?

No problem, several of the sessions (probably all but not sure) are recorded and you can click ‘ON-DEMAND’ to view them as per your schedule.

Did you say swag?

Salesforce is offering free gift vouchers and PLC gift box. Details below.

These are strictly for Salesforce Partners and issued directly by Salesforce. Do not ping me for any questions/ shipment updates 🙂

All in all, Salesforce Days is a campaign which is once-in-a-year learning opportunity and I’m hoping that if you are reading this, you make good use of it.

What’s changed in PLC (For Good)!

I covered PLC at length in my first post so I won’t repeat what I’ve already covered. Overall, I see several improvements in PLC in the last month or so including the following

Trailhead Sync

This is by far the biggest improvement. Earlier, the Trailhead sync to PLC was unreliable and often took 3-4 days based on my experience. Now, it’s much better and it usually happens overnight. Every morning, I wake up and I see emails for the courses that have been marked completed for me based on the Trailhead badges I completed. This is great and much needed!

Expanded Course Catalog

The PLC Content team is doing a great job adding new courses all the time to PLC. I’ve been taking up some of the new Slack courses and those are absolutely fantastic

Demo Orgs

You can directly spin up Demo Orgs for PLC – no need to go to Environment Hub and look for templates followed by raising a case. The process has been made much simpler – great job!

New Exams

I see 3 new exams – Advanced Cross Channel, Pardot Business Units and Salesforce CDP. I have some experience in these areas so these will definitely be on my radar in the next few months.

What’s still not fixed in PLC?

As I said in my earlier post, I am firmly putting my weight behind PLC and APs but it’s not going to be cheer leading or one-way traffic. As an early adopter, I’ve faced several issues which I’ve flagged to their team and I will continue to do so. Here are a list of issues which are still NOT fixed in PLC and need to be on the team’s roadmap

  • I have at least 3 courses where I have completed everything but for whatever reasons, they are not marked complete. I will be raising a case for them
  • Language Filter – I see a lot more non-English courses in PLC so a filter based on language is most needed. Stop showing me courses in German or Russian – I won’t understand a thing there
  • Performance Issues – As you do more courses and register for more courses, you will see that it will load slow. I had raised this to the PLC team and while they have made it better, I still feel there’s massive scope for improvement here. Here’s a gif of how long it takes for me to load the dashboard.
  • Also, I was certainly miffed that when I reported this issue initially, I was told to reduce the number of courses I registered for. That’s now you build a product for scale and I’m sure the PLC team is actively working on scale testing the platform

Accredited Professional (AP) Exams

I took a number of beta AP exams and I passed 9 of them. I also took 2 more exams just before the public launch of APs and passed those. Of course, I failed a number of beta exams and that’s a separate story. This Linkedin post summarises my AP journey till date.

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It was a great learning journey and I felt that APs added a new dimension to Salesforce Trailhead credentials.

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Accredited Professional Exams & Examity – Houston, we have a problem!

I’ve tried taking a couple of APs in the last few weeks and unfortunately, the experience hasn’t been what I expected. The Examity platform has all sorts of issues –

  • Exams not getting launched
  • Payments failing
  • Users being charged twice
  • Exams being suspended in between and not resuming from where a user left off
  • Poor Customer Support

While I don’t want to sound harsh to Examity, the problem is that neither their platform nor their support seems mature enough like a Webassessor, Pearson Vue or PSI. I had a forgettable time with their support team for one of the exams which I was trying to launch.

I do want to give credit to the PLC Support team and Partner Managers who are trying to salvage the situation by helping with refunds and trying to expedite Examity issues BUT if APs are to be successful, either Examity needs to get their act together or Salesforce should try and find a new platform for APs.

Again, the sole purpose of highlighting this is that if you face an issue in your exam – you know you are not alone. Raise a PLC case and help will be on your way!

That’s it for this post, make the most of Salesforce Days!

Godspeed & Keep Learning!

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