In the fourth chapter of this series, let’s cover some tips for transitioning to a simpler report type landscape that utilizes deluxe report types. Check out the other posts leading up to this:
- Part 1: How Do Report Types Work?
- Part 2: Deluxe Report Types
- Part 3: 7 Query Scenarios
- Part 5: Advanced Considerations
Educate Your Organization
Find the power users in your organization that are building and running reports. These users can be immensely helpful throughout a transition. Educate them on the practices covered in this series and show them how much easier it can be to run reports in Salesforce. Even understanding the concepts surrounding the primary object can be huge. Host a training session if you can. Or contribute your knowledge to a team meeting. Or see if there’s already a training process in place you can contribute to. Getting your organization on board with this new paradigm will allow them to see the goal you are setting, the benefits of this simpler process, and ultimately be enlightened to what is possible with Salesforce reports. This process will also help you identify the most important reports that will need to be updated. Once you have collected this important feedback, you can take the first steps toward utilizing the deluxe report type framework.
Hide Old Report Types
Salesforce comes with dozens of report types out of the box. Then many installed packages tend to include their own report types. Then anytime you create a relationship field, some more report types pop up. If you are planning to focus on deluxe report types being utilized over other report types, you will want to highlight those options and remove some of the clutter. Luckily you can hide report types on the report type selection screen. Currently, this must be done in Classic, but after you make your selections and switch to Lightning, you will see only the report types you’ve chosen to show. Switch into Classic (if you use Lightning), go to the Reports tab, and click “New Report”. As long as you have the “Manage Custom Report Types” permission, you will see a checkbox at the top called “Hide Report Types”. Enable this mode, and all of the report types will show a checkmark or an X next to them. You can go through the list and toggle any report type to the X in order to hide it. If you change your mind, you can always come back to this screen and make a report type visible again by following these same steps and toggling the report type to the checkmark.
This doesn’t disrupt any existing reports as long as the report type is “Deployed”. You could easily use this tactic to prevent users from creating reports using any other report type except the ones you allow – maybe the deluxe report type for each object and a few others that are useful or common. With a tidy list of options presented on the report type selection screen, all users will be encouraged to utilize the proper report type for their report.
One note: this doesn’t completely stop someone from creating a new report using an old report type – there’s always the possibility of clicking “Save As” on an existing report and creating a new one using the same report type. This loophole comes in handy as an admin if you need to create a report using a specific report type that you generally don’t want to show your users.
Start Living in the New Model
While it may take some time to clean up existing reports, you can start enjoying the benefits of deluxe report types right away. Only create new reports with deluxe report types (or other styles with a better understanding of how object relationships work). You may have solved reporting requests with formula fields to reference a value from another object in the past. These formula fields may no longer be necessary since you can reference the field directly right in the custom report type layout. Freeing up those fields might help with any limits you are running up against. You also may have realized how to reference a value from an object that you didn’t think was possible. With your new custom report types, bringing together disparate information has never been easier. These small wins may help you justify this transition for anyone still holding on to old habits. Show them how much power and control you have over visualizing data with a deluxe report type.
Prioritize Important Reports
There are likely dozens, hundreds, maybe even thousands of reports in your organization. Where do you even begin? Luckily you can create a custom report type to analyze your reports. Choose “Reports” as the primary object and you will have access to fields like Last Run and Created By and more. Sort these results to see which reports are being run most recently. This might also be a good time to archive some really old reports that are clearly not being used anymore. Simply create a report folder called “Archive” or “Recycle Bin” and ensure that no users have visibility into this folder. You can move any report into this folder instead of deleting it. If there comes a time when somebody asks to see that report again, you can easily move it back into a folder where users can access it.
Once the old reports are out of the way and your most important reports are identified, work with your power users (if possible) to rebuild reports using the deluxe report type model. If you’re a solo admin and your users aren’t able to help, tackle this in small pieces when you can. A couple reports a day might be feasible, or set aside a larger chunk of time when you can. Be sure to communicate with your organization as you rebuild a report – some users might have marked a report as a favorite or bookmarked it within their browser.
This is also a good time to evaluate those existing reports and see if they are still delivering value. Maybe there’s a better way to address the questions being asked in that report. Maybe this is a good time to provide thoughtful descriptions for reports. Knowing what you know now, how would you build a report to answer the original question?
The deluxe report type paradigm has already helped many organizations take control of their reporting landscape and provide clarity to report creators, power users, and reporting enthusiasts. You can now start taking advantage of these benefits. Remember that these are guidelines, not strict rules. There are absolutely some scenarios that will require the use of other report types. Future posts will be covering these topics and many more. The final post in this series covers some advanced considerations.
Share your success story
If you implement deluxe report types in your organization, we’d love to hear your success story. Use #DeluxeReportType or #DeluxeReportTypes and mention @ReportForce on Twitter. Here’s a tweet template.
Evan Ponter is a Salesforce Admin Hero from Baltimore, MD who has been focusing on declarative development since 2012. His desire to keep an org simple, streamlined, and maintainable by future admins has led him to being an expert on the declarative features of the platform. A deep understanding of reports, the importance of proper data modeling, and the utilization of declarative automation tools have propelled Evan along a blossoming Salesforce journey where he solves complex problems using clever solutions that provide the ultimate flexibility. When he's not logged into Salesforce, Evan enjoys playing bass guitar in a local rock band.