Mapquest for Salesforce.com – Free Integrated Mapping
When I first saw Arrowpointe’s Google Maps Mashup for Salesforce.com, I was drooling over the functionality but I lack the technical skills to pull this kind of implementation off. When I met the folks from Mapquest at Dreamforce 2006, they promised a free and easy to install application that would give me the ability to map a contact or account and see others that are nearby.
While I don’t really “need” this functionality it sounded cool and I knew I wanted to give it a try. The application launched a couple of days ago so I sat down today to install it and see what it had to offer. After downloading the app from the exchange I didn’t see any of the buttons or functionality – what I didn’t realize is that there is a customization document with some instructions that you need to follow before this will work. At first the 37 page PDF was a little intimidating, but its filled with tons of easy to follow screen-shots (trust me – if I can do it anyone can). The only hiccup I had was when the instructions stated to copy and paste the code for the custom formula but the formula had some extra spaces in it that need to be removed first. When it wasn’t working for me I emailed their support and got an immediate response with how to correct it. Once you’ve created your custom formulas you’re pretty much ready to go. I think this would take most folks less than 15 minutes to get up and running.
Once you install the functionality you can let the fun begin. Go to any account or contact and you now have a Mapquest button that you can click to pull up a map of their area. Hover over the “dot” that represents your account and a callout flag pops up with the account information and links to show the details of that record, nearby accounts and contacts for that account. Click on the “nearby accounts” link and other “dots show up that you view by hovering over them. At this point you can see all of your accounts within the specified radius along with quick links to view their information.
For a non-techie like me, this is cool functionality that I never would have been able to develop on my own. Some suggestions to make a good idea even better:
- Extend the mapping ability to leads
- Give users the ability to type in an address or zipcode and pull up accounts / contacts within the proximity rather than having to find the account first
- Let users set a default address and add a link to directions to or from the specified account.