A Before Save Flow or an After Save Flow: When to choose what in Salesforce

Salesforce provides powerful automation tools, like Flow, to streamline business processes and enhance user experience. Flow can be executed at different stages of record processing, such as before or after the record is saved.

A Before Save Flow or an After Save Flow: When to choose what in Salesforce
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But choosing between a Before Save Flow and an After Save Flow requires careful consideration of your specific requirements and the desired outcome.

In this article, we will explore the key differences between the two and the scenarios in which each option is most suitable.

Understanding a Before Save Flow

A Before Save Flow, as the name suggests, is executed before the record is saved to the database. It allows you to:

  • Modify field values
  • Validate data
  • Perform calculations
  • Enforce business rules before committing the record.
A Before Save Flow is primarily used for data validation and enrichment purposes.

When to choose a Before Save Flow

Data validation

A Before Save Flow is ideal when you need to validate data entered by users against specific criteria or rules. For example, you can ensure that mandatory fields are populated, check for data consistency, or perform complex data validation logic.

Data enrichment

If you want to enhance the data in a record by populating additional fields or performing calculations based on existing data, a Before Save Flow can help achieve this objective.

Pre-save actions

A Before Save Flow can be used to execute actions necessary for the record to be saved successfully. For instance, you can check for duplicate records, assign record owners, or perform complex business calculations that impact the final values to be saved.

Understanding an After Save Flow

An After Save Flow is executed after the record is successfully saved to the database. It is used to perform additional actions that may depend on the final state of the record or its related data.

An After Save Flow can be triggered by record creation, record updates, or a combination.

When to choose an After Save Flow

Post-save actions

An After Save Flow is practical when you perform actions that rely on the saved record. For example, sending email notifications, creating related records, updating related data, or triggering external integrations.

Calculations with final data

If you have complex calculations that involve the final values of the record or its related data, an After Save Flow provides access to this updated information.

Async processing

An After Save Flow is also suitable when performing time-consuming or resource-intensive operations that can be deferred asynchronously. This approach ensures that the record is saved promptly while the additional actions are handled in the background.

Considerations when choosing between the two

Performance impact

A Before Save Flow directly impacts the saving process as any errors or issues encountered during their execution can prevent the record from being saved. An After Save Flow, on the other hand, has less impact on the immediate saving process.

Data availability

A Before Save Flow operates on the data provided by the user before saving, while an After Save Flow has access to the final saved record and its related data. Consider the stage at which you require the data for your automation logic.

Order of execution

When utilizing both, it is crucial to consider the order of execution. A Before Save Flow is executed before triggers and workflows, while an After Save Flow is executed after them. This order can influence specific data's availability or subsequent automation behavior.

Make your choice

Choosing between a Before Save Flow and an After Save Flow in Salesforce depends on the specific requirements of your business process.
A Before Save Flow is ideal for data validation, enrichment, and pre-save actions, whereas an After Save Flow is suitable for post-save actions, calculations with final data, and asynchronous processing.

By understanding the key differences and considering the impact on performance and data availability, you can make an informed decision to effectively leverage the appropriate Flow type to achieve your desired automation goals.