The Spring 15 release of Salesforce is scheduled to land in EMEA from February 6th and, as usual, Keir Bowden and Clive will be running one of our world famous release webinars to cover the changes in detail. Until then, here's a few of the key features that we think everyone should be aware of:

Duplicate Alerts and Blocking

This feature was in beta in the previous release but is now GA. This feature relies on Data.com technology, but does not require a data.com license. Custom objects are now supported by both the duplicate and matching rules, and cross object matching (allowing contacts and leads to be flagged as possible duplicates when a contact is saved, for example) has been introduced.

Lightning Process Builder

This is a feature that generated huge excitement when it was launched at Dreamforce 14. The Lightning Process Builder is the next generation of process automation, removing the need to fragment business processes across multiple workflow rules and providing actions that previously required Apex code.

Social Customer Service Starter Pack

If you are looking to dip your toe into the waters of Social Customer Service but don't want the complexity of Radian6 setup and integration, the starter pack allows you to connect up to two social accounts from Twitter or Facebook and start delivering social customer service.

Subscribe to Receive Report Notifications

There's no longer any need to pore over scheduled reports to see if a key metric has been achieved or a KPI has been breached - simply subscribe to the report and set the conditions to trigger a notification. You'll then be notified by Email, Chatter or Salesforce1 when the conditions occur.

Quick Deploy

One for the admins here - you can now validate a change set up to four days in advance of deploying them and as long as no other deployments take place in that time, Quick Deploy the change set without executing any unit tests. Note that this doesn't mean you can bypass unit tests, or deploy change sets which would cause unit tests to fail - the validation will execute all unit tests in the target organisation and the usual coverage rules apply. Where this feature is useful is when you have a small window for deployment and a large number of unit tests that take a significant amount of time to execute.

Allow Users to Add Records to Chatter Groups

Perhaps the least obvious of the key features, this allows teams of users to collaborate on Salesforce records in isolation. If you have discussions around customers that you don't want everyone in the company to be able to see, but you also don't want to lose the context and details of that customer, you can simply add the record to a group with restricted access. Note that this doesn't confer any special permissions on group members - they still need an appropriate license and sharing rule access to the record.

Clickjack Protection for Reports and Dashboard Tabs

A gotcha to finish with - the clickjack protection for Salesforce1 reporting is now always enabled, which means that the Reports and Dashboard tabs can no longer be embedded in iframes. This can be disabled by Salesforce support, but I'd imagine you'll have to provide them with a solid business reason.