Thursday, 23 April 2020

[#Blogged] - 5 Features I Love about Lightning Reports

Now that most Salesforce customers have converted their Salesforce organizations or are in the process of transitioning to Lightning, it’s important to highlight one of the gems of Lightning. Reporting in Lightning is a different and more streamlined experience than Classic, and has a better User Interface.  Not only is it more esthetically pleasing, but Salesforce continues to update features available with each release, making it more robust throughout the year. Lightning offers levels of analytics that even a beginner admin can not only set up, but maintain, and makes it easier for non-technical management to digest. Although this collection of features is definitely not an “end all, be all” list, here are a few things (including some just recently released) that I feel make Lightning Reports really stand out.

  • Ease of Summarizing

Now that you can group by both columns and rows, summarizing your reports has never been so easy! These groupings allow you to give your customers a specific cross-section of data they need to analyze and make critical decisions. I know while setting up reports, working through the requirements and asks from your teams can be a lot to process, but there are tiny features with a big impact baked in, such as the “Swap Rows and Columns” button. There is also the collapsible menu of fields on your object, with icons to indicate the field type beside the field label, so you can easily determine which are text or numerical fields. Also, the ability to remove columns with the click of a mouse instead of grabbing and dropping is a time saver as well. Lightning Reports really have been a game-changer!

  • Field to Field Filters 
This feature is huge!  Although this became generally available in the Spring ‘20 Release, this was a feature admins have been begging for over a decade.  In classic reporting, trying to do comparisons between fields can be a huge pain with a lot of logic involved, and usually does not work well. It can be very clunky and awkward, even requiring the creation of formula fields before in order to capture data before it can be pulled into the report. But now, in Lightning reporting, it can be done simply and in a matter of minutes. Also, this feature is automatically available, without need for the admins to go into setup to make this happen. It is important to note that this is not possible for every field but this does not make it any less valuable! You can use it to filter on fields like “Amount” and “Expected Revenue” on the Opportunity object, for example, and limit your report so that only records that meet the comparison will show in the report. This removes a lot of clutter, both in your org and in your report, and can help reduce the need for exporting reports to Excel in order to do further filtering.

  • Update Preview Automatically
 The “Update Preview Automatically” button may allow you to create your reports much faster by reducing the possibility of timing out with large amounts of data. It is still pertinent to use appropriate filters to reduce the massive amount of data when building and previewing a report, but this can help tremendously. Toggling this button to “off”, and using the refresh button in the report will allow you to make multiple changes quickly as you’re building or editing your report, but keep the preview from lagging as it may struggle to keep up.  However, you can keep the button “on” as well, and see your changes in real-time in the preview as you add or remove fields, filters, and logic. 

  • Count Unique Values in Report Results 

It’s not uncommon to create a report, like an Opportunities report for example, to find the same account listed numerous times in the results.  This can throw off your summary counts (such as Subtotals or Grand Total), and make general cleanup a nightmare. Now, you have the ability to count unique values in your columns, to see these values more clearly. This works great for instances when you’re helping departments like Sales or Services with summaries of Account information, and you have multiple related records such as Cases or Opportunities but you really just need to know how many specific accounts appear in your report.

  • “Got Feedback?” Button 

 Many times we have found ourselves in the middle of building a report, scratching our heads at how to make the data appear perfectly, but instead just staring at the screen after numerous attempts to grab that one snippet of data that seems out of reach. Now there’s the chance to make your voice heard, as you’re manipulating data but hit a roadblock: the “Got Feedback?” Button.  This takes you through a brief survey (start page pictured above), allowing you to rate features on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with a text box towards the end to leave a text response with suggestions to improve Lightning Reporting. They even request your information for further communication, if possible. That’s not only a great way to make customers like us feel “heard”, but it also streamlines suggestions for reporting improvements, without losing them in the ether of the Success Community.
Although there’s a lot to love about Lightning, it’s evident to see the appeal of features like the Field to Field Filters, and Unique values summaries that were made recently available, and some that have been around a little longer like the combination of row and column groupings. Hopefully, you agree in the general ease of use Lightning Reporting offers, and can make use of these awesome features in your next report!  
In case you missed it, don’t forget to check out our post from last week on "5 Standard Lightning Components You Can Use with Little Experience". We go into detail on the components to make an object page or app super useful and can be done with little time or previous knowledge.  See you next time!

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

[#Blogged] -5 Standard Lightning Components You can Use Today with little experience

The depth and breadth of Salesforce Tools you can use daily seems to grow with each scheduled release.  As Lightning has picked up more traction, transitioning from Classic to Lightning is a “Must-Do” to continue using the Salesforce platform. So what exactly is “Lightning”? The Lightning Component framework is a UI framework for developing single-page applications for mobile and desktop devices. Think of Lightning Components as squares of a quilt with different functionality, sewn together on a “blanket” of a page. 

For admins or developers starting in Salesforce or for users just transitioning to Lightning recently, this can seem like information overload.  How can you possibly get a handle on all that Lightning has to offer? The key is to master a few things at a time, and one of the best ways to do that is to start using bits and pieces of the Lightning component framework as soon as possible.  
Lightning Components can range from very basic, standard functionality, to customized and complex pieces that can fit a specific need, but may require development.  Whether you are just learning Lightning or are a seasoned developer, the following five standard Lightning components provide great functionality with little time or learning required. Let’s dive in!
  • Chatter Feed - The Chatter Feed can be a really useful tool on an object or team-based page to show chatter posts that person follows, posts that are directed to them, or posts they’ve bookmarked.  Chatter is great for documentation of activities and communications that occur on certain records, and keeping it all in line makes it easy for busy sales reps, for example, to stay on top of what’s going on that day without having to search through hundreds of records that they are associated with.  

  • Dashboard - Having a dashboard snippet is a great way to show data that is useful at a glance with a visual indicator, such as a bar graph, pie chart, or tabular list. Dashboard pages are great for collecting lots of information in a “one-stop-shop”, however, using the dashboard Lightning component on a page saves clicks and keeps the Salesforce user from navigating away to another tab. These small benefits have a big impact on time! When customizing your Dashboard Lightning component, you can choose the size based on pixels, and choose to hide an error message if something keeps the dashboard from loading on the page, such as a permissions error with your user and the dashboard folder.

  • List View - A list view is another Lightning component that saves time by reducing navigation and clicks by your users.  You can use this on a variety of objects, from Accounts to Opportunities, to Contacts. Another helpful piece of this component is the built-in filter (dependent on the object) that allows customization for what is more useful for your page. For example, in a ListView component for the Account object, you can choose to see “All Accounts”, “My Accounts”, or even accounts created during a certain time frame such as this week. You can also select how many records you would like for the Lightning component to filter to keep your page from being overwhelming for your users. This is a great way to show “Top Ten” Accounts, Contacts, or Opportunities that need attention from your users for the week.

  • Recent Items - This component can be a lifesaver for users who have a lot going on! As your Salesforce users navigate through the platform throughout their workday, they will probably touch hundreds of records across many objects. Having the Recent Items Lightning Component on a page can help them have a place of record where they know they can go to find the contact record they spoke to earlier in the day, or find the account page they needed to speak to their manager about.  On the component, you can also select which Objects you wish to display for your users as well. It may be more beneficial to only show Accounts, or it may work better for your organization to show a variety of objects, such as cases, contacts, leads and opportunities. Just like many other components, you can also select how many items you wish to list in your component, to keep the list from being too long and taking up too much space.

  • Rich Text - The Rich Text Lightning component is often undervalued but is a great way to communicate with your Salesforce users. It’s a very unassuming way to deliver messages to your users, such as reminders of important events, deadlines, meetings, or changes in procedure. This can help cut down on emails and messages exchanged and encourage everyone to be on the same page. You can also format this component to show as a card with a white background or transparent background, and can choose a variety of fonts, alignments and colours to make your messages stand out so they are not missed.  This component also allows you to embed a hyperlink, which can be useful for making sure your users can easily navigate to another area of Salesforce or see a company-specific page. This can be sized as well to fit the column shapes you have determined for your Lightning page and can range from a long rectangle across the top to a shorter bar above a component to be aesthetically pleasing while still getting the message across.
These 5 Lightning Components are easy enough to set up in an afternoon of work, but provide a great impact to your users by reducing navigation issues and providing efficient use of their time.  Most of these are customizable by filters to make sure your users are seeing what means the most to them and will keep them coming back to Lightning Components for more!

What is the Lightning Component Framework:
Further Reading Suggestion: