Reports and dashboards allow your firm to visualize specific records that meet specified criteria. Unlike many of our other features, the reports and dashboards functionality within Practifi is an entirely standard Salesforce tool. This means that options available for customizations or configurations from its main capabilities are limited. This article covers the general features of both reports and dashboards, while also outlining considerations around using this functionality. For more information on generating these kinds of records, please consult our Creating Reports and Creating Dashboards articles.
What is a report?
In its simplest form, a report is a list of records that meet the criteria you define. The list of records returned by the report can be filtered or grouped for organization and ease of viewing.
Every report is stored in a folder that is set to be either public, hidden or shared. These report folders determine how reports are accessed and who can access them to view, edit, or manage. Access to the folder's contents can be based on roles, permissions, public groups, divisions and license types.
A report type is like a template that makes reporting easier. The report type determines which fields and records are automatically available for use when generating the reports. The information generated within the report is based on the relationships between the specified primary object and any additional potentially related object. For example, with the report type of 'Contacts & Entities', the primary object is the Contact object, and Entities is then the related object. Therefore, records pulled into this report will be related to both the Contact and Entity object.
Reports will only display records that meet the criteria defined in the report type. Practifi provides a set of predefined standard report types that also include Salesforce standard report types. If you cannot view a field within the report types provided by Practifi, you may require a custom report type. Regarding custom report types, they may have additional complex layers than new mixes of data objects and including additional fields for use. Due to this complexity, if your team encounters a situation where a custom report type may be needed, we recommend reaching out to your CSM to review if there may be an easier option to achieve the functionality. If there is no easier method, your CSM can help set the process in motion to work on a custom project with our Professional Services team.
When creating a report the main functionality available is filtering, narrowing the results to a specific set of records. Once the correct set of records are returned, the option to present this information visually within the report is available by adding a chart element to the report. In addition, reports support editing functionality after initial creation to change the filtering criteria or change the fields displaying within the report body.
Many teams find that they have a few team members who will either prefer to review their data within Excel, add filters or chart their data in ways that are not available within the standard Salesforce reporting feature. To help provide more freedom for these users, reports support the functionality to export the results into a file to be opened within Excel.
For users who would like to reference a report frequently, the functionality to subscribe to a report is also supported. Subscribing to a report means that the subscriber will get regular updates to review the report sent directly to their email based on established subscription criteria. For users to subscribe to a report, the report must be saved within a public folder.
What is a dashboard?
A dashboard is a visual display of key metrics and trends for records in your Practifi instance. Dashboards are made up of multiple dashboard components, or charts, displayed within the dashboard page. The relationship between a dashboard component and a report is predicated on the idea that every report can operate without a dashboard, but every dashboard will require a report. Therefore, the dashboard component runs by pulling information from the related report.
The same report can be used to display multiple dashboard components on a single dashboard page. For example, using the same report to display within a component as a bar chart and in a separate component as a pie chart. In addition, multiple dashboard components from separate reports can be viewed within the same dashboard. This creates a powerful visual display and a way to consume multiple reports that often have a common theme, such as sales performance or customer support.
Dashboard viewing functionality is very similar to report viewing functionality in that dashboards are stored in folders that control who has visibility to the dashboard. If users have access to the dashboard folder, they can view any dashboards stored within the folder. However, to view all dashboard components within a dashboard, the user would also need access to the underlying reports that generate the component.
Each dashboard has a running user whose security settings determine which data to display in a dashboard. If the running user is a specific user, all dashboard viewers see data based on the security settings of that user regardless of their own personal security settings. For this reason, the dashboard's running user should be chosen carefully to not open up too much visibility for other users. For example, if the dashboard's running user is a team manager, it allows her team members to view the dashboard for their individual team but not for other teams.
Dynamic dashboards are dashboards where the running user is always the logged-in user. This way, each user sees the dashboard following their own access level. If record visibility is a concern, dynamic dashboards may be the best method for your firm, as this style can prevent users from seeing information they would not normally have access to in your organization.
Similar to reports, dashboards support editing post initial creation to add new dashboard components, remove no longer needed components or update the layout. Dashboards also support user subscriptions. To subscribe to a user, the dashboard will need to be saved to a public folder. If the dashboard is not saved to a public folder, this subscription feature will not appear.