Meet Lightning Process Builder

Posted on 2015-06-22 15:24:51

A bright spotlight shined on Lightning Process Builder this year at the Salesforce World Tour in NYC. Appropriately so, as the automation tool was just released in Spring ’15. While the tool has received a lot of accolades and attention, there are still many users out there that could benefit from it but haven’t yet had the time or training to explore.

Last week at the world tour in NYC, I gave a presentation demo about Lightning Process Builder. You can see the full deck of slides here.

Let’s explore a little more about the tool, and how it can specifically help you.

What is Lightning Process Builder?

The official definition from Salesforce Trailhead is: “The Process Builder is a tool that allows you to easily automate business processes using a convenient graphical representation of your process as you build it.”

Lightning Process Builder is part of the automation suite of tools in Salesforce. But it has capabilities and flexibility that the previous tools lacked.

Key features:

  • Graphical User Interface
  • Point-and-click
  • Condense multiple workflow rules into one process
  • No Apex necessary
  • Allows you to specify ‘no-criteria’ as an option (just trigger an action)

Process Automation in Salesforce

I like to think about process automation in Salesforce as a continuum from simple to complex. On one end we have Approval Processes; meant for a single, specific purpose with very little flexibility. On the other end we have Apex Code where the sky is the limit.

Lightning Process Builder sits in the middle of the spectrum. There is a lot you can do with it but it still has some limitations, for which you can use Visual Workflow or Apex. Below is a table outlining the capabilities and limitations of each process automation tool in Salesforce.

Use Cases for Lightning Process Builder

It’s easier to understand a tool with real-life scenarios. There are so many ways you can use Lightning Process Builder, rather than the other tools, for your specific business needs. Here are a few examples:

  • Creating records
    When a opportunity is set to closed-won, a contract record can be immediately created
  • Submit for approval
    When a campaign’s Budgeted Cost is greater than $250,000 (or any other amount), the campaign can automatically be submitted for approval.

    Previously this would have to be done with an approval process, whereby a user hits the “submit for approval” button


  • Update child records
    When an Account’s address is changed, the mailing addresses of all associated contacts can be automatically updated as well


  • Post to Chatter
    Automatically post a reminder message to a user group when a calendar event is created


  • Merge multiple workflows into one process
    Send different internal email alerts for each case status.
    This was previously done by creating several, individual workflow rules

Questions Asked During the Presentation

Q: Can I create a task using Lightning Process Builder?

A: Yes, but in Lightning Process Builder this is done through creating a record. As you create your actions, choose “Create a Record” and simply create a task record. Read more information about creating records here.

Q: Can I trigger Apex code?

A: Yes. Similar to creating a task, this is done by choosing “Apex” as the corresponding action to the criteria. The Apex code must be completed separately prior to creating the process flow. Read more about calling Apex code here.

Q: Create I create multiple new records?

A: Yes. Simply set up multiple actions to “Create a Record.” Just as you would create one, repeat the process until you have as many record creation actions that you need. Read more information about creating records here.

Q: Can I dynamically pass variables (merge fields) through an email template?

A: No. Lightning Process Builder only executes an email alert using a previously built email template. You will need to set up all necessary email templates (where you can use your variable terms). Then set up your actions as normal in the process builder. If you have multiple email templates, each email template will need to be part of a separate action. An action can only trigger one email alert. Read more about merge fields in email templates here, or read more about creating an email alert in Process Builder here.

Additional Resources

People You Should Follow

Lightning Process Builder has certainly been a boon to our clients and us. I hope you find it helpful as well!