3 Tips to Fast-Track Creating Reports and Dashboards: Part 1
By Marissa Herencia-White
I’ve worked in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations for over 10 years. Whether assisting customers with technical support needs, working with sales teams to make sure customers are getting the right technology solutions, or simply working with remote communities so they can access quality education and medical care, being able to provide metrics on goals and outcomes is essential.
Every business and organization needs to be accountable in some capacity to their stakeholders — whether investors, employees, customers, or communities. Being able to report on your results can confirm whether you’re meeting your goals or not. Salesforce offers a powerful suite of ready-to-use reporting tools that work together to help you understand and act on your data. Along with the power of Lightning Experience, you can turn data into insight that your users can access from anywhere — with new features being released three times a year.
So what are some of the reporting tools out there to help save you time and get the metrics you and your team need? In my blog series this month, I’ll be sharing three tips on how you can fast-track your reporting and dashboard needs with Lightning Experience.
Tip #1: There’s a Template for That: Standard and Custom Report Types
In order to create a report, the first thing you have to do is decide which objects and fields you want to report on. That’s where report types come into play — your template that streamlines creating reports with the same collection of fields each time.
From the start, you have standard report types, which give you access to most of your out-of-the-box reporting questions like “which of my products are the top sellers?” But there are times when you might need a personalized view, or access to data from custom objects you created. Enter custom report types.
An admin I worked with recently during a reports and dashboards fast-start Accelerator was looking to get easy access to a report on which teaching applicants were applying to job openings at her academic Institution. But when it came time for reporting, she wasn’t sure where to start; she couldn’t get any standard report types to give her access to that data.
I shared a reporting rule of thumb: “If you create any custom objects, you will need to create a custom report type to report on the data.” After selecting which objects were primary and related, and then deciding which fields would be included on the custom object, she was in business.
Whether or not records can be displayed on the report depends on your primary and related object relationship, so pay close attention. You won’t be able to edit the primary object of a custom report type, but you can always create a new custom report type if you need to play around with the object relationships from previous ones. Also, don’t feel you need to include every single field the object has available on your report type; select those that are most useful and best suited to capture your everyday reporting needs.
Lastly, custom report types don’t stop there for streamlining your custom report needs. Custom report types aren’t just for custom objects — they are for all objects, even standard ones. Though you won’t be able to modify an existing standard report, a custom report type can bring those standard objects and specific fields together.
Looking to create your own custom report types? These resources can help: