Report Sanity

The good news: Salesforce.com makes it really easy for users to create or customize reports.

The bad news: Salesforce.com makes it really easy for users to create or customize reports.

If you don’t have a strategy for managing and organizing reports, then over time your reports area will resemble that junk drawer in your kitchen.

Junk Drawer

Junk Drawer!

It’s a good idea to think about how reports will be organized and who can create “official” or “standard” reports. A bit of planning on your part will save you lots of time and grief down the road.  Here are some recommendations for keeping your reports and dashboards organized:

  • Create a naming standard for public folders.   The folder structures in Salesforce are limited and you can’t re-order folders.  Folders are ordered automatically using this structure:
    • Unfiled Public Reports
    • My Personal Custom Reports
    • My Personal Custom Dashboards
    • [your public folders, sorted alphabetically]
    • [Salesforce.com standard folders]

Consider using either numbers or labels to name your folders so you can control the sort order (i.e. 1-N. American Sales, 2-EMEA Sales, 3-Asia Sales or Sales- Asia, Sales- EMEA, Sales-N. America ).

Create a naming standard for “official” reports and dashboards.  Pick a convention that makes sense for your organization and include a numbering scheme so your users can refer to the number when reviewing reports via conference calls.  “RPT100-10 Campaign Member” is unambiguous while “Campaign Member Report” can easily be confused with “Campaign Member Analysis Report”.  Apply the naming standard when moving reports into public folders.

Define a process for publishing “official” reports.  Some users will become very adept at creating reports and will want these reports to become the standard for a group or department.  How you will manage the publication of “official” reports depends on whether or not you centralize or de-centralize the administration of reports and dashboards.

  • Centralized Admin.   Set up a process for your users to nominate reports for publication.  One way would be to have users save a report in the “Unfiled Public Reports” folder and notify the administrator via a task or email that a report is ready for review and publication.  The administrator would review the report, rename it to meet the naming standard and move it to the appropriate public folder.  Centralized administration will work for small organizations or organizations where report creation volume is low.  But for larger organizations, you’ll probably want to de-centralize report administration.
  • De-centralized Admin.  Identify your report admins and assign them the appropriate permissions.  See table 1 below to determine what permissions to assign.  Remember the old adage “too many cooks spoil the broth” so restrict who can create new folders and make sure they stick to the naming standard!  And remember, you can create  a permission sets with these additional report permissions and assign the permission sets to your report admins instead of creating new profiles.

Enhanced Sharing.  With the Summer ’13 release, Salesforce.com introduced enhanced report and dashboard folder sharing.  With enhanced sharing, you can now assign “viewer”, “editor” and “manager” sharing rights to users, roles, roles and subordinates and public groups.  Prior to this enhancement, you could only set read or read/write permission at the folder level which meant everyone who had access to a folder had the same access rights.  Now with enhanced sharing, you can control who can do what inside any particular folder and minimize the number of folders needed in your org.  SevenPoints strongly recommend that you turn this feature on.

To enable enhanced report sharing:

  1. From Setup, click Reports & Dashboards > Folder Sharing.
  2. Select Enable Analytics Sharing.
  3. Click Report and Dashboard Folder Sharing.

With enhanced sharing enabled, you’ll now see the “share” option next to a public folder as shown here:

ReportShare2

Clicking on Share will open up the screen below so you can set folder sharing permissions on the folder.  It’s a good idea to hide extraneous folders so your users aren’t overwhelmed with a bunch of folders they don’t need.  With enhanced sharing enabled, the old “this folder is hidden from all users” checkbox is gone.  To hide a folder, simply adjust the sharing rule to remove access for the user, role or group.

Reporting Sharing

 

So a little bit of time spent planning and organizing your report and dashboard folders will help your users find and utilize the information they need to run the business.  And after all, isn’t that why your company bought Salesforce.com in the first place?

Share your ideas!

Do you have tips and tricks for managing reports and dashboards?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

Table 1: Report and Dashboard Permissions

User Permission Description
Create and Customize Dashboards Create, edit, and delete dashboards in My Personal Dashboards folder. Create dashboards and save into any shared folder if sharing rights allow.
Create and Customize Reports Create, edit, and delete reports in My Personal Custom Reports folder. Create reports and save into any shared folder if sharing rights allow.
Create Dashboard Folders Create dashboard folders and manage them if sharing rights allow.
Create Report Folders Create report folders and manage them if sharing rights allow.
Edit My Dashboards Edit, move, save, and delete dashboards you created in shared folders.
Edit My Reports Edit, move, save, and delete reports you created in shared folders.
Manage Dashboards in Public Folders Create, edit, delete dashboards, and manage their sharing in all public dashboard folders, which does not include others’ personal folders. This permission allows users to edit and share dashboards in all folders, including hidden folders. They also get these permissions:

  • Create and Customize Dashboards
  • Create Dashboard Folders
  • Edit My Dashboards
  • View Dashboards in Public Folders(1 To edit a dynamic dashboard, users also need Manage Dynamic Dashboards and View My Team’s Dashboards.)
Manage Reports in Public Folders Create, edit, delete reports, and manage their sharing in all public report folders, which does not include others’ personal folders. This permission allows users to edit and share reports in all folders, including hidden folders. They also get these permissions:

  • Create and Customize Reports
  • Create Report Folders
  • Edit My Reports
  • View Reports in Public Folders
View Dashboards in Public Folders View dashboards in public dashboard folders, which does not include others’ personal folders.
View Reports in Public Folders View reports in public report folders, which does not include others’ personal folders.

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