Salesforce recently announced that Salesforce Communities will be replace Customer Portal and Partner Portal. This would be great for the customers who currently can't get all the juice out of portals. For some-time now (4 months), I have been playing around and using communities during the pilot and think that Salesforce finally found a way to make Portals as a true "social" platform for Salesforce's users to communicate with its customers and partners. I believe there are several advantages for Salesforce communities to switch to the communities if they are already using Customer or Partner Portals. The current customers can readily take advantages for
- Chatter: I have seen most of the times when customers hear about Customer or Partner portals, they ask if Chatter can be used. With Customer/Partner Communities, this feature is available OOTB
- Use of Permission Sets: If you have used Permission Sets in Salesforce, you would love this features. You can use profiles and permission sets to configure access to Salesforce objects and resources
- Better Branding: The branding of communities goes all the way from look and feel to email templates and also chatter. Currently branding of portals (unless some serious customizations) is awful and needs some serious TLC. With communities, the look is somewhat similar to internal uses see and als the branding can really customized easily. This will make the interface consistant with rest of Salesforce
- Better Login & forgot password functionality: No need to configure Sites which will make the login more simpler. The forgot password functionality will be similar to how currently Salesforce.com sends out an email to uses to reset password. In the customer portal, the email was sent out temporary password. With Communities, this security hole is fixed, which means also reduces the need to write custom password reset functionality if you are too serious about sending user name and temp. password in the same email.
I'll add more features and "how-to" in future blogs.