Spring Cleaning – Decluttering the Reports Tab in Salesforce.com

With Spring having returned to the Northern Hemisphere, many have endured the annual ritual of a thorough house cleaning. Now is a great time to apply the same discipline to an area of most Salesforce.com systems that is cluttered and disorganized- the Reports tab.

A common sight in systems is a confusing pile of tens or hundreds of ad-hoc reports stored in the Unfiled Public Reports folder, combined with a mish-mash of one-off, out-of-the-box, and mission critical Report folders below that.

Clutter on the Reports tab hurts users in two significant ways: it makes it less likely that someone can find and use the great reports created to help run the business, and it makes the system feel less user-friendly. As with bad or messy data in the system, a disorganized Reports tab leaves users feeling depressed about the system. The following tips can help you do some Spring Cleaning on your Reports tab.

Leverage Report Folder Permissions
Not all users need to see all folders. As a sys admin (or user with Manage Public Reports permission in EE/UE), you can click Edit next to the pulldown where you can select the folder name to reveal properties about the folder including its permissions. Hide Out-of -the-Box Report Folders related to features you do not use. Folder permissions are explicit, not inherited, meaning that if you don’t include the CEO in the permissions for a Folder, he/she won’t see a folder intended for the mail room guy. Do your users a favor and spare them the sight of unnecessary Report folders.

Create a Report on Older Reports
Archive reports that have not been run in more than 90 or 180 days. You can create a Report on Reports- listing who created each report and when, and who last ran each report and when. Before touching ANY of the reports, we suggest creating this custom Report on Reports and then Exporting the results to Excel. We suggest doing this first because as soon as you look at a Report, you immediately override the last Run date, making it impossible to know the true last run date. One significant caveat to note is that the Last Run Date is NOT updated when a Report is run by a Dashboard or by a Report that is emailed via schedule.

Create a Hidden “Old Report Archive” Folder
Rather than out-right deleting old Reports, create a hidden “Old Report Archive” Folder, in which to store old reports. The benefit to this is that you can store old Reports in case someone decided they really need that old report and want it back.

Effective Naming Protocol
Write good, clear and consistent Report Names, Folder Names and Report Descriptions. An example:

o Report Name: 2 Qtr Rolling Forecast by Owner
o Report Description: Dashboard Summary Report showing Opportunities with a Close Date in the current and next quarter by Owner.

Create Dashboard Report Folders
Put all Reports supporting a single Dashboard in the same, clearly named Report Folder. This makes the reports easier to find and maintain, and also, by setting the Report Folder permissions to Read-Only, prevents unexpected adjustments to your Dashboards.

By applying these techniques, you can clean up your Reports tab and make your system easier to use.

David Carnes - Founder & CEO

about the author

David Carnes

David’s role as Chairman & Chief Digital Evangelist is centered around driving meaningful client engagement and business development. The key to this is serving as an advisor to OpFocus’ SaaS clients as they scale their revenue operations and embrace digital transformation.

In his early career, David worked in IT and operations for software companies, developing an interest in CRM, marketing automation, and analytics while building out systems, processes, data, and reporting for the business teams he supported. He earned a Masters in Software Engineering and credits a Harvard summer class in database management for opening his eyes to what systems could do to support operations. In founding OpFocus in 2006 David took another step toward focusing on business operations, seizing on Salesforce’s vision and never looking back.

David is a frequent speaker at Salesforce and Salesforce community events around the world, mentors through the Trailblazer Mentorship Program hosts Dashboard Dōjō, and serves as a Platform Champion and a Pi-TaP board member. Due to his involvement in the trailblazer community, David’s recently been awarded the position of Salesforce MVP!