Reports. Nearly every Salesforce customer uses this feature extensively. However, it’s easy for reports, dashboards, and folders to get out of hand. If your whole team is running different reports while trying to accomplish the same goal, some of your users may be looking at data the wrong way. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone! Read on to find out how you can start cleaning up your reports today.
Why It’s Important
Consistent Reporting: A reporting strategy and structure will help your team see the same data. If multiple people are running the same report while trying to accomplish the same goal, one filter may throw the whole thing off — so consistency is key. Let’s say you’re running a report on tasks, and your team would like to see all activity due on a certain account over the last month. In order to see this, you should filter the dates using the ‘Due Date’ field. If one person runs a report using the ‘Created Date’ field instead, it won’t show the right data and your team could get confused. If you have a reporting folder structure that allows reps to see and run base reports, then this isn’t an issue.
Increased Adoption: If your company puts an effort into clean reports and makes it important for all team members, it can help increase adoption overall. Cleaner reports allow you to confidently pull up reports and dashboards in meetings and have important discussions about goals and trends. Bonus: Running your meetings using Salesforce reports and dashboards allows users to see what is (and what isn’t) in the system — and if it’s not in Salesforce, then it’s not real! This will help ensure your users are entering pertinent data, like sales activities, to the system.
Folders Can Make or Break Your Structure: Do you have too many report folders? Too few? A large number of folders can overwhelm users and drive them to create a new report each time, while a minimal amount means you aren’t truly taking advantage of report folders. The ideal report folder will depend on your business, but it usually allows each major role within your organization to run the base reports and dashboards that they need while saving customization for special circumstances. And remember: You can control who sees what with your folders.
How to Start Report Clean Up
Report on Your Reports: This report hasn’t been run in 4 years! The user who owns this report hasn’t worked here in 5 years! How can you find this information out? It’s simple, run a report on your reports. When you create a report, there is an option to choose the type ‘report’ — you’ll be able to report on last run date, who the report was created by, and find out other helpful information.
Report on Your Dashboards: Let’s not forget about dashboards! These can quickly become obsolete as well. To create a report on dashboards, you’ll need to create a custom report type (see screenshot below). You’ll be able to then pull fields about that dashboard. Thanks to the Salesforce community, you can check out this dialogue that describes how to report on dashboards with inactive running users. Want even more information on this front? Check out this Salesforce Knowledge Article.
Custom Report Type Clean Up: Custom report types are great because they allow you to look at data in different objects, and add fields from lookups. However, report choices can get messy when your users do not know what to choose. There are two things you can do to mitigate that risk.
1. Hide Unused Report Types: Do your users complain about too many report types to choose from? Perhaps you don’t even use all of the objects Salesforce has to offer. No fear, you can hide unused report types by doing the following:
2. Keep In Progress Types ‘In Development’: As an admin, you may be working on some custom report types for your users in the background. It’s best to keep these ‘in development’ so it doesn’t show in your user’s list as an option until you’re ready to go live.
Archive Strategy: Once you’ve done some analysis on your reports, you can begin to draft an archive strategy. What threshold would you like to keep reports for? Last run dates are key in helping - if a report hasn’t been run in the past year, you can move it to an archive folder. Once it’s lived in that folder for a bit, it may be a good time to delete it. This is just one example you can follow, your company’s tolerance for archiving and what time frame is appropriate will vary business to business.
Communication Strategy: Getting management and users involved will help get people excited about keeping reports clean. What does management want to see? When to do they want reports archived? This will help you draft your archive strategy. What pain do users experience? What’s most frustrating? This will help you focus your efforts. For example, if users are frustrated with report choices (and not which folder to look in), hiding report types may be a priority for your business.
Mass Delete: You’ve got management buy in. Users are ready and aware that cleanup is happening. You know what the archive time frame is, and if you’ll be moving to an archive folder. Here is the fun part: it’s time to delete! Salesforce standard mass delete supports deletion of reports, so you can use this to get rid of your reports once they’ve reached your threshold in the archive folder.
Remember: Records stay in the recycle bin for 15 days. You can reach out to Salesforce support to extend this to 30 days if necessary. Depending on how many records you’re deleting, some may be gone forever — the recycle bin can only hold a certain amount of records (this varies based on your org’s data storage capacity; you can read more on the Salesforce help site here.)
How to Keep it Clean
Run Clean Up Report Often: Develop a cadence, or schedule reports for yourself, to ensure that you are looking at the state of reports often. Once they’ve met your threshold, continue to move to an archive folder and delete. This will keep it clean for years to come.
Document Your Strategy: We know you are an awesome admin, but what about those that come after you? Document your journey and the steps you took to make this repeatable for anyone in the future.
I hope this blog post helps you get started on your report and dashboard clean up. If you need more reporting help or have more questions contact us to get started on a governance strategy or register to join our Mastering Reports and Dashboards course held in partnership with Momentum Learning in downtown Durham and get in-person guidance from a Salesforce expert.
Alex has been with Cloud Giants since practically day one. She first started as an intern while a student at nearby NC State University and has flourished at Cloud Giants as the company has grown too. An essential part of the team, Alex now runs the intern program helping others along their own Salesforce journeys. She’s recently moved into her first home at the end of August and generously lets her sweet dog named Simba live rent-free. You can get in touch with Alex by email or reach out to her on LinkedIn.