Salesforce Tip: The Outer Limits of Salesforce Reporting

Getting to know your data in Salesforce can give you new insights about your business and help you make better decisions. This month we’re wrapping up our series of tips about how to tackle common reporting challenges in Salesforce.

Two Great Things Together

Remember the basic definition of a Report Type: it controls what Objects and Fields will be included in the report. With Custom Report Types, we have a ton of flexibility in bringing together disparate data… as long as the Objects are in a hierarchical relationship with each other. But what happens if you want to report on one parent and two child objects?

We solved this last time by creating a roll-up summary field instead of using a report, because the data structure and the question we were trying to answer both supported that approach; there’s another option, joined reports!

Joined reports can be helpful when you want to view details about multiple child objects. An example is when we need to view both Donations and Support Requests -- we want to know about people’s total giving history along with the number of times they reached out to resolve an issue with our organization.

You can switch the report format to a “Joined Report” by clicking above the name of the report in the report builder.

This lets you add “Blocks”, which allow you to add a whole additional report type. By adding multiple blocks into the report, you can add multiple report types.

To make a successful joined report, you’ll need something to group by -- an object that all your different report type blocks have in common.  (Specifically, your report types should all include a common parent record lookup field.) In this case, Opportunities and Cases both have a lookup field to Account, so we can use that Account field to “Group Across Blocks.”

Here, in the final result, we’ve “joined” these two separate reports together and can see the number of Donations and Support Requests by Account -- and by expanding the “Detail Rows,” we can see the record level data.

Joined reports are part of the standard Salesforce platform, and can be really powerful additions to dashboards.  If you want to dive deeper into this area, check out these walkthroughs:
Creating Joined Reports in Lightning
Creating Salesforce Joined Reports

Beyond Report Builder

As we’ve seen in this blog series, Salesforce reporting can accomplish many things. However, it does have its limits.

Two common situations are the need to report on information that includes in additional data from outside of Salesforce, and the need to generate reports as Word documents or PDFs. There are different apps and add-on products can solve these problems!

Tableau and Tableau CRM offer the ability to report on data from external data sources, and also provide much richer data visualization options. These are both products provided directly by Salesforce for additional cost (though Tableau provides five free licenses to qualifying non profits!).

Apsona, Conga, and Formstack (among other apps) can all generate documents directly from your Salesforce data, in a variety of formats. All three are AppExchange products, available at an additional cost.

Mastering reports can take some time, and if you get stuck, just remember -- you’re not alone! If you find that you don’t have the time to figure out why your report does not have the formatting or the results you require, please submit a support request.  We are here to help!

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