Collaborating with Communities – FAQ for ISVs

This FAQ answers many of the questions that you may have as you build your application and are exploring how customers can engage their external users.

Communities provide powerful tools that allow Salesforce users to create collaboration networks across different channels of business through personalized and branded UIs that maintain the benefits of the Salesforce1 platform. But how can ISVs that build commercial apps leverage this technology? This FAQ answers many of the questions that you may have as you build your application and are exploring how customers can engage their external users.

Introduction
Q: What types of community licenses are available for partners to resell?
A: Customer Community Licenses and Partner Community Licenses are available for partners to resell.

Q: Can both ISVForce and OEM partners resell communities?
A: No, only OEM partners can resell communities.

Q: What are the use cases for communities?
A: Anything that requires collaboration and the advantages offered by communities. The names “customer community” and “partner community” should be used for their functionality, not purpose suggested by name. In addition to having customer communities and partner communities, communities can be used for marketing purposes, specific product collaboration, recruiting, or any other purpose that seems fit. Do not let the names of the community types impact use cases.

For example, it might make sense for a large corporation to have different communities centered around different product lines. Note that the users must strictly be external users.

Q: What are the differences between Partner Communities and Customer Communities?
A: The main differences are:

  • User volume. Partner communities allow for up to 300k users and Customer communities allow up to 7M users without degradation of performance or additional charges. That being said, customer community licenses are better for larger user volumes
  • Sharing. Roles and sharing rules are only available in Partner communities. Note that sharing sets are available in both types of communities, but do not offer the flexibility of sharing rules. If complex sharing is required, Partner communities provide an advantage
  • Partner community licenses provide access to more standard objects such as leads and opportunities

Reference this for greater detail:  Community License Comparison

Q: Can community users (either logins per month or member based) be pooled across multiple communities? For example, a customer has 2 communities with 2,000 logins per month. Does that mean the customer can have 4,000 logins per month across both communities? (1,000 in Community A and 3,000 in Community B). If so, Is this a contractual or technical constraint?

A: Users and their logins are not tied to any particular community. A user on the monthly login model can log in (thus consuming 1 monthly login), and transit across multiple communities without consuming additional monthly logins. Additionally, Salesforce does not tie any bucket of monthly logins to any particular community.

Q: Are communities available in group and professional editions? 
A: No, they are not available in group and professional editions. They are available in Performance, Enterprise and Unlimited Editions.

Selling Communities & Licensing
Q: How are Community Licenses sold?

A: Community licenses can be sold in blocks of member or blocks of monthly logins. Customers should attempt to anticipate the usage volume in the community and buy accordingly.

Q How are the sizes of these blocks defined for ISVs?
A: ISVs can only resell community licenses in bundles. These bundle sizes are defined in the partner reseller agreement contract. In other words, arbitrarily sized blocks cannot be defined by the ISV.

Q: Can ISVs sell both login-based and user-based blocks simultaneously?
A: Yes, they can if it is defined in the contract. Mixing and matching is an acceptable reseller strategy.

Q: Which is better to use: login-based blocks or user-based blocks?
A: If users plan to log in 3x or more per month, it is generally better to use member-based logins. For example, a partner community might have 500 vendors that log in severaltimes per month, and 5,000 resellers that log in once per month. In that case, the customer should buy a 500 member-based block and a 5,000 login block.

Q: When ISVs sell their application, how are community licenses assigned?
A: The same as any other type of user. The user needs both a community license and an application license. For example, if the Warehouse Application wants 100 community users to use the application, 100 community licenses will need to be assigned to the users and 100 Warehouse Application licenses will need to be assigned to those users.

Q: The customer is currently a CRM customer. Can I resell community licenses with my application so they can access CRM content in addition to my application?
A: No. The community licenses that are resold can only be used to access the application, not CRM content.

Q How many communities do I get?
A: 1 community is provisioned for each block, whether it’s login-based or number-based. For example, if I buy 2 blocks of 100 members and 3 blocks of 1,000 logins/month, I will get 5 communities. Switching blocks can reduce the number. For example, if I change it to 1 block of 3,000 logins/month instead of 3 blocks of 1,000 logins/month, my communities will be reduced accordingly. Note that it is best practice to keep the number of communities to a minimum to avoid administration burden.

Q: Can multiple communities be used?
A: Yes, multiple communities can be used and license blocks can be distributed among them. For example, it might make sense to sell blocks of member-based logins for onecommunity and number-based blocks for another community to the same customer.

Q: How are overages charged?
A: Customers should target the average, not peak logins to buy community blocksbecause of the generous overage limits. Customers will be charged if they exceed 300% of their allotted logins in a month, or if they have 3 consecutive months of extra usage.

Q: Will Salesforce shutdown the site if limits are exceeded?
A: No, it won’t be shut down.

Q: Can OEM or ISVForce apps resell Customer Community Plus Licenses?
A: No, customer community plus licenses are not available to ISVs. Customer community plus licenses restrict access to CRM objects.

Login and Member-Based Communities
Q: At what point is a login considered to be a login?
A: At the point when a user with a monthly login license logs in. For example, logging in once, then logging out, then logging in again is considered 2 logins. The same is true on mobile devices: a login occurs every time a refresh token is requested. User session duration can be set at the org-level.

Q: Do logins expire?
A: Yes, logins that are not used at the end of each month expire.

Q: I have access to multiple communities and switched between them. Does this count as a login?
A: No.

Q: I unsuccessfully logged in. Does this attempt count as a login?
A: No, it does not.

Q: Do internal users with Salesforce or Platform licenses count as monthly logins?
A: No.

Q: How are users provisioned in login based communities?
A: The ratio is 1:20. Up to 20 users can be created for every log in. For example, if I purchased a block of 1,000 logins, I can create up to 20,000 users.

Q: What defines a member when using member-based logins?
A: A user assigned to a community constitutes a member. A single user may belong tomultiple communities. For each community he or she belongs to, he or she will requirea member license.

Q: How many times can a member login per month?
A: There is no limit.

Q: Can login-based and member-based licenses be swapped for a user?
A: Yes, assuming they stay within the same community type (partner vs customer).

Miscellaneous & Technical
Q: What is the limit for custom objects in communities? Can it be extended?
A: The limit is 10 custom objects for a community, but for applications in the partner  program that passed security review, the limit does not apply.

Q: I want to use communities on a mobile device. How can I do that?
A: Communities are available via the mobile Salesforce1 platform.

Q: Should legacy portal users migrate to communities?
A: This is recommended in the long run to benefit from features like mobile and anything new that is released. But portal licenses work with communities and there is no urgent reason to swap licenses if that’s the only concern. There is feature parity between portal and communities while gold partner licenses map to partner community licenses and HVPU licenses map to community licenses.

Legacy Portal to Community License Mapping
Portal License Community License
HVPU License Customer Community License
Gold Partner User License Partner Community License

* Note: Other portal license types retain capabilities when used in communities. 

Q: How do I get information on login statistics?
A: Logins are stored in the LoginHistory table for up to 3 months and are accessible via the API or through standard reports.

Q: Are community templates available to ISVs?
A: No, community templates are currently not packageable.

Q:How do I package my community?
A: Communities are not packageable themselves. However, some components like the profiles you might want to use are packageable.

Communities are an excellent way for Salesforce users to engage external users while increasing collaboration through a branded and custom-designed channel. ISVs can extend this technology to customers resulting in increased collaboration, which can ultimately ensure the success of their application. But it is essential to explore the different available options and understand the technology to extract maximum value.

As a Salesforce partner, if you would like to engage with Community Cloud, review the content on the Community Cloud for Partners Education page. This page includes Community Cloud product information and sales and implementation resources like the Community Cloud for Sales First Call Deck, Community Cloud data sheet, product demos, and more.

Additional Resources:
One-Stop Shop for all Community Information
Community Cloud for Partners
Getting Started With Communities
Communities User Licenses
ISVforce Guide
Salesforce Partner Community

Published
June 30, 2015

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Collaborating with Communities – FAQ for ISVs