Communication Compliance: The Benefits of Salesforce Chatter

Even though the concept of compliance was born in the financial field, it is now a consideration across numerous industries and has impacted many aspects of our lives. Communication is, of course, a common need across the board. The way we communicate in our companies impacts our ability to meet compliance standards. We apply this mindset when working with all of our customers, like this spirits distributor that needed to create a platform to break barriers and enable their 18,000 employees to collaborate more effectively. 

Managing conversations properly (and the data those conversations produce), is as important as the compliance standards involved in those processes. If you are a Salesforce partner or use Salesforce in your company, you are one step ahead. With a secure platform, you can enhance your internal and external communication strategy and then, meet your compliance standards. Marc Benioff, CEO, and Chairman of Salesforce says: 

“Customers trust us to make them successful, deliver unwavering security, reliability, performance and compliance.” 

Compliance and trust through messaging

Notice that Marc Benioff includes Compliance in his perspective on how to conduct business and approach customers. Trust is Salesforce’s number one value. This vision ensures two crucial benefits for any business. First, every product designed by Salesforce is intended to create reliable relations with customers. It’s not only about sales, it’s about relationships. And second, all of your data is stored and archived safely, so you can access it any time for compliance purposes. 

Chatter, the Salesforce messaging platform for business, also follows compliance regulations to ensure your data and activity are safe. According to Bloomberg Vault, Chatter is also a social media platform, so “it is subject to the same set of regulatory requirements as any other form of social media”. We have helped many customers enhance their communication platforms; these experiences have taught us many good practices to communicate and comply efficiently. 

1. Keep all your data archived in Salesforce

First, what is the golden rule we need to take into consideration? Archive everything! Make sure you archive all your conversations or posts in your org. It is recommended you preserve this data for e-discovery purposes for a period of time defined by various retention requirements. Some day, you may be required to hand over this information for corporate internal audits or even legal or governmental requests. For more information about this, you may want to go over our other article as a starting point: Financial Compliance: Which Agencies?.

2. Make Chatter part of everything

Also remember, as you are using Chatter, you are creating or linking many items related to confidential information such as records, accounts, cases, and more. This information already lives in your Salesforce org, so you’re not moving data to external systems. With everything connected, Chatter and Salesforce remain the center of your workflow, helping you manage compliance more consistently.

3. Involve every employee

Compliance in communication involves employees. Why? Hackers are targeting them. Make sure you train your employees to move all important conversations to Chatter. Email opens the possibility that an employee may respond to a phishing attack, exposing protected data. If you maintain all-important internal conversations in Chatter, you are better able to ensure their safety. You can see in this article why you should be interested in maintaining your employees as security allies.

4. Choose the best team messaging tool

At Oktana, we are committed to compliance and we took it seriously when we built Tok. Tok is a real-time messaging app that boosts Chatter capabilities while also encouraging a great company culture with casual conversation. Because Tok leverages Chatter as its base, it takes advantage of the Salesforce platform to better enable your company to meet compliance standards. While collaborating, you can be confident any data shared on Tok is stored safely according to the compliance standards you’ve set for your Salesforce org. 

So, let trust lead the path to better compliance practices and communication management across your company. Remember, the online world brings many resources to make businesses go faster. However, it has also become a common target for cyber attacks. Take the time to set a strong compliance strategy and keep updated on the regulations that impact your business.

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Communication Compliance - Tok

Financial Compliance: which agencies?

As we mentioned in our previous article, Financial Compliance: Which Regulations must be considered? compliance was born in the financial sector to minimize risk related to crime, cybersecurity, and data safety. Then, what compliance agencies relate to your business? There are several organizations that regulate standards based on the types of data and procedures your business has in place. Because we frequently help companies in the financial industry integrate with Salesforce, we are familiar with many of the considerations under which they must operate.

US Financial Compliance Agencies

US law is very clear on financial regulations. Companies and entrepreneurs need to understand these standards and ensure their business meets any relevant requirements. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a task that must be done. Here are four of the more important agencies you will need to collaborate with to meet some of your compliance requirements:  

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC):

Firstly, the SEC was created in 1934 as an answer to the financial crisis of 1929. Its main duty is to regulate the stock market. The SEC requires public corporations to register their stock sales so they can identify stockholders. This procedure increases trust in investors in an environment where transparency is the bedrock. 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC):

In 1933, the Glass-Steagall Act created the FDIC to insure consumer deposits and to increase trust in the financial sector in the aftermath of the Great Depression. Deposits from banks that are insured by the FDIC are covered in case of bankruptcy, protecting consumer cash. The FDIC also closely examines bank activities to ensure they are behaving as federal norms require.

Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC):

The FFIEC is an agency that establishes guidelines and norms for financial institutions that directly impact their compliance policies. Where can any company review these guidelines? The FFIEC IT Examination Handbook is your bible. Divided into 11 booklets, it has all that you need for compliance-driven management.

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN):

This organization is an important network to investigate individuals related to financial crimes like money laundering or financing of terrorism. Its regulations require financial institutions to provide information for any investigated individual. As you might imagine, these procedures are confidential so demand careful collaboration and expertise from the financial institutions when managing this highly sensitive data.

Other useful resources

Selecting and implementing the correct set of standards can be difficult but ignoring compliance altogether will create issues you can avoid. If you are now aware of it, you may want to delegate someone in your company to manage the compliance requirements. This worker will have to collaborate with the necessary public agencies directly or a private auditing agency to help bring you into compliance. 

Here are some websites that may help you think about the considerations impacting your company: 

  • SecurIT: This portal groups regulations according to each industry. This is very helpful information since you will be able to know which compliance standards you should, at a minimum, consider for your business. 
  • TCDI: This blog emphasizes the importance of compliance and cybersecurity. There is also an extensive list of organizations that regulate compliance. All of these might be enough for a general overview.  

All of these standards demand good data storage strategies. There is no way to succeed at complying with the agencies if your company is not able to store and report data. If you are a Salesforce customer, congratulations! You are on a great platform to keep your customer data safe. If not, we’ve helped financial services and fintech customers integrate with Salesforce, always mindful of their compliance requirements. In fact, while many of our resources are nearshore, we opened an onshore office in 2020 to help us meet the compliance needs of these customers.

Finally, your internal communications are just as important as your customer data, and subject to compliance regulations. If you need to keep all your employee messages archived in a trusted platform, like your Salesforce org, Tok can be a good choice for you and your team.

Tok 30 day trial Financial Compliance
Communication Compliance - Tok
Communication Compliance – Tok

Financial Compliance: Which regulations must be considered?

Why is compliance so important? It minimizes risks and creates trust among industries, governments, and people. This sounds like a no brainer, but the challenge is figuring out which compliance standards fit your business. One mistake could cause huge debts and lawsuits. This issue is particularly serious for the financial sector, which has legal and operational standards that are the bedrock of compliance management. Since banking is a pioneer in compliance management, we are going to take a deeper look at the regulations they must follow. 

Financial Compliance and law framework

Over the years, the world has become more connected and tons of data is processed, shared, and stored through the digital ecosystem. The internet has become a necessary resource, but a good threat opportunity for theft and hackers. In an attempt to minimize risk, public and private institutions have created norms and regulations to ensure data safety. So, which are the main compliance regulations that businesses located in the financial field must consider? We have highlighted the most important laws that impact the financial market. 

  • The Dodd-Frank Act [2]: Was passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010. It aims to enhance the way the financial market is deploying accountability, transparency, and consumer protection procedures. This act enforces the need of storing records for every transaction. The thing organizations sometimes miss is that any activity related to trade must be stored as well. This includes electronic communication such as emails, chats, voice messages, and so on. 
  • Bank Secrecy Act (BSA AML) [2]: Also known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act, this act was created in 1970 and requires every company to cooperate with the US government in the aim of detecting money laundering. Thanks to the BSA-AML act, we all need to provide data under request. Since this regulation has been in the market for more than 50 years, you might be familiar with it. If not, you should know it emphasizes the importance of keeping your data storage. What else do you need to do? This act requires companies to delegate compliance responsibilities to an individual and also create a training program for appropriate personnel regarding compliance standards. 
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Signed into law in 2002 to strengthen financial regulations. In the beginning, businesses didn’t take it well, but eventually, it contributed to counteract the effect of the economic crisis in 2008. This act raised the standards given for audit reports, but this is something we all can expect with a new act. What is new? SOX also gave legal protection to whistleblowers to testify in court about any illegal practices they are aware of without any retaliation. Be sure to train your employees to identify any practice that infringes on compliance in your business. You have a good opportunity to make them allies.

Consumers in the centre of compliance

As consumers are becoming more important, they are also protected by compliance regulations that companies need to follow. Data privacy and accessibility are just one of the areas you need to nurture. 

  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA): Requires financial institutions to explain to customers their information-sharing practices and to safeguard consumer information. To ensure the correct execution of this, companies must establish a security program that protects consumers’ nonpublic personal information (NPI). NPI includes name, address, income, Social Security number, account numbers, payment history, loan or deposit balances, credit or debit card purchases, court records, and consumer reports.
  • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act: FACTA, signed into law in 2003, enforces consumer power by enhancing procedures to ensure the accuracy of their credit records. With FACTA, consumers have the right to ask for a credit report each year. This act also provides resources to prevent crimes such as identity theft. 

Data is important for compliance purposes. As we recommended to one of our financial customers: If you are using Salesforce, integrate your system and take advantage of all the resources you have (Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Analytics, Einstein AI, and more). You will build close relationships with your customers while meeting your compliance standards. Also, don’t forget your employees. Make sure your chat software makes them more efficient while keeping your data safe. 

Tok 30 day trial Financial Compliance
Financial Compliance

Five tips to make feedback your ally at work

Feedback is something people are often afraid of because it tends to only expose weak points that may make you feel intimidated and vulnerable. However, that’s a very old-fashioned point of view. Effective feedback is not only about providing a list of things that are wrong. Constructive and empathetic feedback brings new perspectives and a positive intent to highlight proven skills.  “What Good Feedback Really Looks Like” on the Harvard Business Review says: 

“Feedback — both positive and negative — is essential to helping managers enhance their best qualities and address their worst so they can excel at leading.”

Craig Chappelow and Cindy McCauley

We consider feedback to be a huge source of knowledge and an opportunity to improve. If you are having trouble giving or receiving feedback, here are 5 valuable recommendations we apply at Oktana

1. Consider feedback at every stage. 

Whether you are a senior manager or just beginning your career, requesting feedback should be always part of your planning. Why? Sometimes you are so in love with your projects that you tend to believe everything is going well. So you keep working with that perspective and when you finally realize something is wrong it’s usually too late or too expensive to fix it. You can be sure you are moving in the right direction by asking your teammates, boss, or partner for their perspectives on your progress. We do it all the time and trust us, the results are great. Plus, it creates a sense of ownership for the whole team. 

“Feedback is so important when we execute every single task. It measures the quality of your work. Besides, it helps me identify possible mistakes and improvements that will enhance our project.”

Zayli RodrÍguez, QA Analyst at Oktana Uruguay

2. Distinguish what is worth your attention 

Ok, let’s say you are following our previous recommendation and you are considering feedback as your projects progress. You are excited because your co-workers are giving you cool new inputs. Congratulations. That’s awesome! But what happens when you start noticing that some of the feedback you’re getting contradicts other feedback you’ve received? We know, it’s challenging. Everyone is bringing their own perspective to it and they aren’t always going to agree. You know yourself and your projects. That means you have the job of figuring out which feedback is the most relevant. Just make sure you’re not letting your bias guide which feedback you’re listening to.

3. Be truly positive

We love it when people are positive and enthusiastic, but if you lose your sense of reality it may not be easy to deliver value. When you are required to provide feedback for a project or a teammate, you have a huge chance in your hands to help them perform better. Don’t miss that opportunity by hiding your real thoughts because you’re afraid of a misunderstanding or you’re just trying to be polite. This is what constructive feedback is all about. Find the best way to convey your ideas in a way your partner truly feels that you actually want to improve things. Use your voice, regulate your tone, and use any resource you have so you help others focus on the solution, not the weakness. 

4. Actively listen to every client.

And by the client, we are not exclusively talking about your customers. We are also talking about internal co-workers. When you create a solution, you think about your final users, don’t you? So whatever you are doing, you make sure it makes sense for them. But you also collaborate with other teams within the company. Wouldn’t it be efficient to have a good idea of what they think of your project and your performance? Indeed, it is!  At Oktana, we use Tok, the leading Chatter real-time messaging app, for staying always connected. We use channels to collaborate but when we need to get feedback, we know private conversations are the best place to do it. Activate every approach you have to get the feedback you need. Bruno Venturini, tells us how Tok helps him collaborate: 

“Tok allows us to communicate in an intuitive way with your team or co-workers. Besides, it’s also relevant for sharing ideas between developers and QAs to make our projects improve”

Bruno Venturini, Developer at Oktana Uruguay

5. Encourage others to give feedback

Create the conditions for an environment where feedback becomes one of the engines that drives excellence. Most visionary companies, either multinationals or startups, track feedback consistently. If you are part of one, get onboard and treasure that asset. If you feel your company doesn’t understand the value of constructive feedback, teach by example. Create simple spaces where people feel their opinion is taken into account. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated. Chats or phone calls also work. As soon as your co-workers notice you are performing better, they will want to copy your strategy and it will be easier for you to give/request feedback. 

So, these are our recommendations for any employee to make feedback their ally. We live it every day at Oktana, even more during the new environment this pandemic has brought (we have previously written an article about Communication and Remote Work that you may also want to read). Apply them in your daily routine and you will notice the difference in your performance. Also, If you want to see Salesforce’s approach, we encourage you to read the modules about the Culture of feedback and the importance of One-on-one Meetings. Have a good one! 


Leadership: The best way to manage your team

Team leadership may be a long and challenging path. The good thing is that leaders are made, not born. Every successful leader you see on TV, in your company, at your university, or even in your neighborhood developed their skills over time. If they were able to become strong leaders, so can you. Kevin Kruse, a Forbes contributor, and CEO of LEADx, define leadership as: 

“Leadership is a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”

We like his approach because it emphasizes the importance of the “others” – our team! Leadership is not about you as the leader, it’s about the people you’re leading and what they will be able to achieve. If this seems overwhelming, relax, it just means you’re facing a new challenge. It may take a little extra effort, but in the end, you’ll gain new skills to help your team (and you) succeed. Here are five recommendations that help us lead our teams here at Oktana and turn our people into high-performers.

1. Leadership is not about you.

We’ve already said it, but it’s important enough to repeat. If you expect to get all the credit as the leader, you’re probably not in the right job. Assuming a leadership role requires a certain amount of expertise in specific areas. You weren’t promoted to leadership with the expectation that you’ll be doing the exact same work you’ve always done. There wouldn’t be any challenge in that. Your role is now to inspire your team and develop their capabilities so they can accomplish more. They might even be working on the same types of achievements you did before you moved into leadership. It’s their time to shine now. Your excellent leadership will shine through their accomplishments.

2. Great leaders connect.

Great leaders connect their teams. And it’s not just about having regular conversations. When we say “connect your team”, we mean “become a real support for them.” They’re challenged by you to become better professionals, but they’re also looking to you for help or instruction. If they don’t have your support, it may become an awful experience for everyone. It’s important to let them be independent in their work, just be sure your other responsibilities don’t take your attention away from their progress and needs.

Mauricio Villamayor, product designer at Oktana Paraguay shares his perspective: 

“I always think of giving more independence to team members, but this pandemic makes me more aware of the need to be supportive and stay connected in a deeper way.”

Mauricio Villamayor – Product designer at Oktana Paraguay

3. The challenges are real.

Are you the kind of person who is always looking for a bigger challenge as soon as you finished the last one? That’s the sign of a great professional. If you see this pattern in your team, congratulations, you’re leading a high-performing team. The challenge for leaders is creating work experiences that take your teams to the next level. Map your expectations for the team and think of innovative and interesting projects to help them experience the professional growth they need. Challenges nourish your team. Feed them.

4. Learning goes both ways in team leadership.

Some people think employees learn from their leaders, but that leaders don’t learn from employees. Leaders provide knowledge and team members execute the tasks. We feel that’s not taking advantage of the full potential of the team. Our team brings expertise from design, development, marketing, administration, sales, and operations, from many countries. It’s taught us that leaders who don’t see their team members as potential sources of knowledge are missing an opportunity to see their business and markets from another perspective. That knowledge is pure gold in a world where everything is constantly changing.

5. Communicate efficiently.

Time is money, whether we’re talking about business or our daily lives. As you decide how to manage your team conversations, make sure those moments are as efficient as possible. Every team meeting needs an agenda so team members can easily understand the focus of the meeting and what they need to bring to the table. Use your channels well and try not to overwhelm your team. Stay strategic. Deliver the right message, through the right channel, at the right time. 

“I believe Tok helps me a lot because it gets fast communication with my team members in real-time. Either I need to have 1:1 conversations or group arrangements, Tok is the platform where I can trust.” 

Mauricio Villamayor – Product designer at Oktana Paraguay

Remember, becoming a great leader is a learning process that never ends. So whether you’re leading your first team or you’re an experienced leader, keep this advice in mind. Also, if you want to go deeper into leadership and team management, take a look at this trail about Empathetic Leadership and Managing the Salesforce Way.

Hope you have enjoyed it so far. We’re constantly striving to improve our leadership, join us. Our team knows what good leadership entails and we do our best to keep growing. We are a great place to work so if you’re interested in joining our team, go over to our available positions. Also, if you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.


5 ways to master remote work and improve communication

Remote work is here to stay. Period. The new normal is here and it demands a brand new perspective on communication. In this pandemic, one of the cornerstones that we must consider is social distance. That’s the reason why well working remotely is a skill we currently need to stay profitable and grow our businesses. This might be confusing for many, but it’s actually quite simple (and fun). There are companies that have been working with teams abroad and are working remotely with ease.

In other words, take some time to learn from the experts. Integrating teams in different countries to create IT solutions for our customers is something we at Oktana are very used to. Nara, from our Human Resources department in Paraguay, tells us more about her experience:

“[I believe] things haven’t changed a lot since I have always reported and worked remotely with co-workers from other countries even before the pandemic showed up. [Morover,] I think remote work has improved my performance because I save time in the traffic and even money that I used for transportation and food. Now I feel I have more energy and resources.”

Nara G. – Human Resources at Oktana Paraguay

We even created Tok, the leading real-time chat app for Salesforce users that helps companies to squeeze the best of communication within the new normal (Can you tell we’re proud of it?). Let us help you work remotely more wisely to increase your efficiency, improve work culture, and grow revenues.

Distance has nothing to do with meters or feet

This is our first and most important recommendation. Why? Because it’s not about distance. It’s about having the right state of mind. If you want to master remote work and enhance your communication skills, you have to let go of that idea of physical distance. Talented remote workers know their partners are always just a click away:

“[The new normal] impacted the way we communicate with our teammates. Now we need to find new ways to facilitate communication. However, Tok is that space where we can stay always connected and work more fluently”. 

Nery C. – Web developer at Oktana Paraguay

That’s the key. We know where to find our teammates, and especially, how to reach out to them in the most effective way. Here is a tip that you may want to consider in your routine: identify your partners and get to know them. If you didn’t have a chance before, schedule a 10-minute chat to introduce yourself now. Don’t talk about work, get to know the human behind the “co-worker.”

Be direct and clear

No one owns a crystal ball to see into your mind, so try to express yourself clearly. We understand, having a work conversation through a screen may feel weird in the very beginning. That feeling will vanish as long as you decide to take the leap and connect with your co-workers. Also, you will notice in every conversation that you will develop more concise messages.

Our recommendation? Remember, less is more! When having 1:1 chats related to work and professional arrangements, try to pull everything together in a way that is as simple as possible and provides what your co-worker needs.

In remote work, communication is key

You are safe working at home but still need to reach your co-workers. Before the pandemic you could just walk over and have a conversation. Not anymore. Now you have to leverage technology to manage your communication and collaboration. Make sure your team agrees on which channels to use. With Tok, our teams use Channels and Groups to adjust their conversations according to their needs. For example, Channels are great spaces for teamwork and let members message each other around a common matter, like a real-time group chat. On the other hand, Groups were designed to share posts and let people interact with them, like social media.

Tip: Remote work is not only about efficiency. It has to do with culture and collaboration. When managing your conversations always make sure everyone knows where to go, is able to participate, and every voice is heard.

Stay 100% tuned in

Ok, this is important and we would like to highlight it because most of us tend to take it for granted: notifications are crucial. We get it.  Your phone was full of notifications even before the pandemic. However, if you want to track your projects, having the right notifications is the best way to do it.  Remember, your team is not physically together; so an important matter or message will come to you in a push notification or desktop alert.

We use Tok notifications in our office to make sure we keep track and guess what? We never miss any details! Here is our tip: Be aware of which notifications you have turned on. Make sure they’re the right ones. Then, get used to answering them as soon as possible. It might sound obvious but trust us: it only takes seconds for a pending message notification to be forgotten.

Have fun!

Yes, productivity and hard work bring great results. We believe fun is also a crucial element to consider when it comes to business success. No team member or leader will reach peak efficiency if they are not working in a comfortable and pleasant environment. How can you contribute to creating a better culture while working remotely? Through communication, of course. Don’t let screens make your conversations boring.

Most messaging solutions include many features to make collaboration as much fun as possible. Use them! With Tok, we use emojis, gifs, snippets, polls, and other resources to express ourselves in every message.

If you have read this far, you now have a better understanding of what efficient communication means in remote work scenarios. Remember, the sense of distance is in your mind and you can adapt: always use efficient and clear communication, stay 100% connected, and make it a better place to work. Follow these recommendations and you will be all set!

For more information about how we strive to improve communication for our customers, please visit us here. Also, if you need a general overview of Salesforce’s perspective, visit this trail. Now go back to your daily assignments and enhance your communication level across your company. Your teammates will notice the difference.

Our team is doing their best while working remotely. We have worked with different organizations and their projects. We are Salesforce platform experts and offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.

Salesforce Direct Message API: the new way to communicate

APIs (application programming interfaces) make our professional life, as developers, much simpler. This feeling is more remarkable when it comes to IT messaging apps. As we built Tok to boost Chatter’s capabilities, we can say APIs were always good allies. Today, we will share how the Salesforce Direct message API is helping us improve communication for our customers.

APIs: What are they for? 

Firstly, we want you to picture this: developers are normally running huge projects and need to create brilliant solutions in a short period of time. Therefore, we need to build bridges between different systems that, often, have never been related. In these situations, we need to be strategic and creative to meet our customer’s expectations and enhance the user experience. 

This is when APIs become our best friends. They are able to make two or more systems interact with one another. Oxford defines an API as: 

“A set of functions and procedures allowing the creation of applications that access the features or data of an operating system, application, or other services.”

This might sound difficult but the fact is, APIs are everywhere. Every time you use your phone, check your social media apps, share data within your company, or chat with your teammates, there are APIs working behind the scenes. 

Direct Message API, a whole new messaging experience in Salesforce

Chatter, the Salesforce enterprise collaboration tool, is no exception. Since Chatter is part of Salesforce, there are several Message APIs that make it possible to integrate this product with other solutions. 

For those who are not familiar with Chatter, we are talking about the product Salesforce built to provide a collaborative communication platform. All Salesforce employees, partners, and most customers interact, collaborate, and share information from within Salesforce using Chatter. Everything is available to your teammates and securely archived.

At Oktana we are obsessed with Chatter and that’s why we created Tok, our messaging app to boost Chatter capabilities. Tok is 100% integrated with Salesforce and enables real-time conversations in your company. You can maintain your company culture in a secure way, archiving everything in Salesforce to meet compliance requirements.

As Salesforce has improved Chatter, we’ve been able to refactor Tok several times to take advantage of the new APIs. Previously, we used the Private Message API. However, we started testing the new Direct Message API, and let us tell you, the experience is becoming way more flexible and enjoyable.

New improvements for the next Tok version

First, let us talk about Tok Channels. With the Direct Message API, you will be free to add or remove members whenever you need to. In other words, this is surely a better way to manage real-time communication across projects and assignments. If you are a user and you finish your arrangements on a Channel, you can now leave it and focus on your next project. 

What about big, long-term projects? They usually require big teams working together. Direct Message API allows us to host up to 16 members in every channel. In addition, Salesforce created the Direct message API to take care of private conversations:

“Imagine a scenario where a customer brings up an issue they have with a product in the community feed. A support agent can share that post and address the customer’s concerns privately in a direct message. Similarly, a channel manager can discuss sensitive sales data with one or more partner users in a partner community.” 

Our team of developers is always working to take advantage of most of the Message APIs available within Salesforce. What is more, we are currently working to support 100% of the Direct Message API. We are committed to real-time communication and this drives us to constantly incorporate new resources. We want to provide you with a solution that increases productivity and develops your company culture. So, stay tuned because we are close to releasing an updated version of Tok with these functionalities. If you haven’t tried Tok, stop overthinking and download it now in this link

Tok 30 day trial
Salesforce Direct Message API

How do we leverage the Salesforce ConnectApi to build Tok?

To understand the use of the Salesforce ConnectApi, first we need to talk about programming languages. Whether we are experts developers, tech geeks, or an average human being who owns a computer, most of us are, at some level, aware of programs. But, what exactly are they? Well, to keep it simple we will say they are a system of vocabulary and commands that allow humans to communicate with computers. For those who are not familiar with this environment, remember that computers think in binary. They speak in 1s and 0s, so programming languages help us translate our instructions into a language that computers will understand. 

Apex: Salesforce’s programming language.

At some point, you may hear about Java, JavaScript, Python. If you are more experienced, you may also know Ruby, C#, C++ or Swift. All of them are programming languages. Now, what is the scenario when it comes to Salesforce? Well, there is a specific and powerful programming language just for us named Apex. Salesforce created this language to allow developers to run and customize on-demand apps within Salesforce. Salesforce describes it as: 

“Apex is a strongly typed, object-oriented programming language that allows developers to execute flow and transaction control statements on the Lightning Platform server, in conjunction with calls to the API”.

So, how is Apex directly related to us? Well, we build our solutions inside Salesforce, therefore we use Apex as a programming language. Every time we create a product to enhance your experience in the Salesforce environment, we use Apex. That’s what we did for Tok, our app that boosts Chatter capabilities to the next level to ensure real-time communication to our customers. 

What is Chatter REST API?

Let us go a little bit deeper. Shortly after the release of Chatter, the Salesforce enterprise collaboration tool, Salesforce launched Chatter REST API with plenty of messaging features and better integration between third-parties apps and Salesforce through HTTP requests. This way, it would be easier for a group of users to be notified about events. Salesforce designed Chatter API to enhance data delivery and treatment, especially across mobile apps. This API is powerful enough to display a feed on an external system, such as an intranet site after users are authenticated. Salesforce also recommends other uses: 

“Use Chatter REST API to display Chatter feeds, users, groups, and followers, especially in mobile applications. Chatter REST API also provides programmatic access to files, recommendations, topics, notifications, purchasing, and more. Chatter REST API is similar to APIs offered by other companies with feeds, such as Facebook and Twitter, but it also exposes Salesforce features beyond Chatter.”

With the Summer ‘20 release, the company launched a new version under the name of Connect REST API (Connect REST API Developer Guide – version 49.0). If you explore the Salesforce’s Guide, you will also notice that there is a preview of the next release (winter ‘21 version 50.0). 

ConnectApi: How does Tok leverage Chatter REST API methods and classes?

As you can see, Salesforce built Chatter REST API to establish bridges between Chatter and other independent platforms. But what happens with applications or other solutions that were built on the Salesforce platform like Tok? How does Tok take advantage of all the methods and classes Chatter REST API provides? Well, even though Chatter REST API is a powerful tool, we don’t use it directly. Instead, we use ConnectApi. 

Since Tok uses APEX, Salesforce’s programming language, ConnectApi (also, Connect in APEX) is the best way to access Chatter REST API data and capabilities. It allows our developers to work with feeds, users, groups, messages, and other classes or methods. Salesforce summarizes the power of ConectApi: 

“[Use ConectApi to] create Apex pages that display feeds, post feed items with mentions and topics, and update user and group photos. Create triggers that update Chatter feeds. Many Connect REST API resource actions are exposed as static methods on Apex classes in the ConnectApi namespace. These methods use other ConnectApi classes to input and return information. We refer to the ConnectApi namespace as Connect in Apex.”

Now that you understand how ConnectApi helps us to build Tok, all you need to do is relax. So, take a seat in front of your computer, grab a cup of coffee and experience the way ConnectApi empowers your communications through Tok. If you like this information but you also feel you need to dive deeper, we recommend this article: How Our New App, Tok, Can Improve Business Communication.

Our developers are constantly working to take full advantage of any new version. Haven’t tried Tok yet? Install it here.

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Take a Look at Tok

Are you a Salesforce user looking for a way to securely and efficiently stay in contact with everyone within your organization? Then it might be time to take a look at Tok. Tok is Oktana’s flagship Salesforce app designed to help keep everyone at your organization in close contact at all times. If your team’s been begging you to adopt Slack or another tool, but you’re concerned about security and safety, then Tok is what you need.

Built on Salesforce Chatter, Tok allows for instant messaging, team messaging, and groups to connect all within Salesforce. That way, you know your conversations are safe, secure, and archived within your Salesforce instance. Your team never has to leave Salesforce to talk and collaborate. To highlight how Tok can help your organization, we’re producing a series of videos to demonstrate Tok.

First, let’s take a look at some of the basic features of Tok. In this video, we walk through all the different chat options available to you in Tok and how they’re different from each other.

Next, notifications are essential to making sure everyone within your team stays on the same page. You need to know when new messages arrive so they can act on them immediately. That’s why we’re walking through how notifications work in Tok, so you know the team will always be ready.

And that’s it for the first in our series walking through all you can do with Tok. If you’re interested in learning more feel free to contact us here or you can get a 30 day free trial of Tok right now on the AppExchange.

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