Salesforce Analytic Snapshot Best Practices and Utilization

First thing’s first. Let me point out that I’m not here to discuss the technical how-to for using the Salesforce analytic snapshot component. That’s already more than documented on their website and a myriad of other places, so there’s no need for me to parrot that information here. So, if you’re not sure as to the technical aspects of how to use these, or what they are, then I suggest you take a look at that first, then come back. So, assuming that by now you’re familiar with the Salesforce analytic snapshot concept as of this sentence, then we can talk about some ways to use this wisely, and different purposes this can actually serve. So we know it’s a report that gives you historical records of various data and tabular statistics from within Salesforce. It can track all the data, and rates and ratios thereto. The thing here, though, is that these analytical snapshot reports are just that – reports. This means that you have one of two preventative tactics you must undertake to make this work particularly well. Without the aid of extra technology, the first thing to consider is compartmentalizing the data sources in how they are organized and labeled in the report that renders the snapshot. Use color coding, labeling and good, strong tabular categorization to show this, and use well-labeled columns with space for numbers. But, this doesn’t tell a complete and comfortable story, does it? This tabular report is just more stacks of data overloading the eyes and being “too long, didn’t read”. So, what are we to do with that? How can we make this look better? I suggest finding a way to integrate graphic extensions into the snapshots, so that various visualization models can be used to represent the snapshot in an instant and very perceptible form. I’ve never seen this actually put into action before, but I know for a fact that it could be done. Perhaps an extension exists that can do this. If so, I plan to find out, and review it when I find it. But, until we can be sure a service exists to do this, I call out to app developers for Salesforce to work out a new filter for this snapshot system to better and more clearly represent the data put out in new and effective ways. On a final note, remember that when you map the sources of your snapshots, that you avoid redundancies which can come about from mapping to complex data interfaces where some of the duality of feeds could cause messier, nosier data within the snapshot. Beyond that, there’s not much else to say about this as per best practices. As for practical applications, well. You can track churn, customer values, total cost of customer acquisition, and so many more metrics in a dynamic and powerful way through this. Until better ways to display this are standardized, you’ll have to settle for the standard report style of Salesforce analytic snapshot system. It’s still very useful, but I call out to developers to find ways to make this much cooler than it is right now.
Amanda is the Lead Author & Editor of Rainforce Blog. Amanda established the Rainforce blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Salesforce usage.