Just like Santa Clause, Salesforce Spring ’16 is on the way (Major Release January 15th – February 13th). The elves here at 7Summits are very excited by the game-changing goodies in the sleigh for this newest release of Community Cloud in particular. With a history of providing communities on legacy ESN tools, 7Summits has continued to grow along with the Salesforce Community Cloud Platform over the past several years in both depth and breadth in deploying powerful customer, partner, and employee communities on Salesforce. The Spring ’16 release is a breakthrough release for Salesforce Community Cloud with many exciting updates and new functionality that largely closes the gap against and other players in the market. Add to the mix the fundamental advantage that Salesforce Community brings to the market – that your system of engagement is also your system of record, and you have a true Breakthrough Solution. Check out the full and community-specific release notes here: Full Salesforce Spring’16 Release Notes Community-Specific Release Notes So, here are a few new features that I think are particularly noteworthy…and the “breakthrough factor” for each: Chatter and Groups are now available in Templates as Lighting Components: Chatter Lightning Components: Add full Salesforce Chatter capabilities to a community. With components such as Feed and Feed Compact as well as ability to attach multiple files to a single question post. Breakthrough Factor: Before now, you had discussions, but you could not bring the full power of Chatter to your community experience. This changes both the interactions possible in a Salesforce Community as well as where you can embed them in the community. Groups: You can now create a much richer collaboration experience. Allow community members and guest users to browse and join groups in your Napili community. Breakthrough Factor: Groups are a major construct of Communities. Salesforce’s Topics and Topic Pages were a solid start, but the addition of Groups and Enhanced Profiles brings Salesforce Communities fully in line with market expectations for community constructs of People/Places/Content to tackle most enterprise community use cases. Richer User Profiles: The User Profile component uses a new, two-column layout including more useful and customizable information your users need to know about other users: contact information, profile photo, Chatter statistics, topics about which the user is knowledgeable, who the user is following, and the user’s followers. Breakthrough Factor: Profiles are a strong driver of community activation and engagement. By providing broader information on users, your community is more apt to encourage the type of interaction and vitality that leading communities enjoy. Community Management (Lots of New Goodies Here!!!): Some of the most valuable Community features and functions on the Salesforce platform come for the enterprise to manage its communities. Breakthrough Factor: Your Community is only as good as it can be measured, managed, and improved. The growing set of features in Salesforce Community Management puts the power in your hands, and puts Salesforce in the league of the most powerful Communities products on the market today. Some of the new features in Spring ’16 include: Target Community Member Audiences for Your Recommendations Control Where Your Recommendations Appear Limit the Size and Types of Files Allowed in Your Community Display Blocked Keywords in Your User Messages for Moderation Rules Translate Your User Messages for Moderation Rules Keyword Lists Now Support Special Characters and Spaces Use the API to Set Up Moderation Rules Report Management for All Role-Based External Users New Custom Report Types and Fields for Moderation, Recommendations, and User Profile Share Wave Analytics with Your Community (Generally Available) Lightning Dashboards in Community Management New and Improved Insights for Community Management Files Connect: Files Connect for Box (Pilot) Now you can use Files Connect to access your Box files in Salesforce. Files Connect for Box is a pilot feature in this release. If you want to be part of the pilot, contact your Salesforce AE to enable it for you. Preview Files Connect External Google Docs in Lightning Experience Now playing in the Lightning file preview player: Google Docs! If you have Google Drive set up as one of your Files Connect external sources, your view just got better. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides display beautifully in the file preview player in Lightning Experience. This feature is available in Lightning Experience only. Breakthrough Factor: Content is one of the 3 legs on the stool for communities (People/Places/Content). By rapidly expanding the platforms with which it works for content storage and sharing, Salesforce is bringing flexible options to it’s customers to build content-rich communities sourced form wherever the customer desires. Other Enhanced Functionality: Improved Navigation for Community Users Topics, Subtopics, and the Topic Catalog Enhanced Leaderboard Drives More Engagement Enrich Your Community with Images and Videos Easily Change Email and Password in the Community Manage Pages More Easily with the Enhanced Page Manager Change Things Up with New and Custom Layouts So there you have it, a sneak peak at some upcoming toys and goodies for Community Cloud in the Salesforce Spring ’16 Release. From all of us at 7Summits – Happy Holidays!