Salesforce Dashboard Filters in Action

A few releases ago, Salesforce introduced Dashboard Filters. This allowed users to use one dashboard and dynamically change it using a drop down filter. This is an awesome feature because it means you need to maintain less reports and dashboards to deliver desired functionality. I hadn’t moved my reports over to this functionality yet, but I’m now glad I waited until the Spring ’12 release. With this release, they’ve made dashboard filters even more powerful.

First let me try to explain my data model and why I had a zillion reports to accomplish my dashboard requirements. We have reps who might cover a set of territories. The rep owns all the accounts, and we want to be able to report by territory (which is a custom field on the account) on the dashboards. Before filtering was introduced, I couldn’t do dynamic dashboards in this case and just have the dashboard display as the running user. It wouldn’t show the breakout by territory. As a result, for each territory, I had to create a separate set of reports to be used on a dashboard for each territory. Each dashboard had 13 components on it, so let’s do some quick math: 20  territories with 13 components each = 260 reports to maintain!

Enter dashboard filtering. Now with dashboard filtering, I can have 13 reports that are used by the dashboards. I can also reduce the number of dashboards to the number of reps we have. If a rep covers 4 territories, now I just need a single dashboard for that rep. The dashboard then has a filter so when you first pull up the dashboard, you see a roll up of the all territories covered by the rep. You can then drill in using the filter to see individual territories. Now I could get greedy here and switch to one dashboard that is a dynamic one based on the logged-in user. I chose not to go this route because I find it easier for all users to understand and they can also take advantage of the Chatter Feed for the dashboard to discuss a specific rep’s performance without everyone seeing it.

Creating a Dashboard Filter
Dashboard Filters Example

The Spring ’12 release gave us many more features that I’m sure I’ll use soon:

  • You can now create three filters per dashboard.
  • You can now add filters to dynamic dashboards.
  • You can post snapshots of filtered dashboard components to Chatter.
  • You can now filter by the usual operators (starts with, contains, etc)

Some caveats regarding dashboard filters:

  • You can’t filter dashboards with s-controls or Visualforce components.
  • You can only have 10 options for each filter, but according to the release notes, you can increase it to 50 by contacting Salesforce.
  • You can’t filter on bucketed fields.
  • The iPad Dashboard App doesn’t support filters yet so users will only see the first view of data.

Take a good hard look at the new dashboard filters features. They could save you a lot of headaches!

13 thoughts on “Salesforce Dashboard Filters in Action”

  1. Another problem or lacking feature, rather : I would like to be able to define a filtered dashboard such as in your example, and then provide that dashboard prefiltered to different users (eg dashboard filtered for “country = France” to the French Area Manager, etc.) with rights to display only one filter value.

    This would make dashboard maintenance so much easier … Sorry, always asking for more 🙂

    Rup

    1. You might be able to do something with the underlying reports. Have you looked at using the report filters such as “My Accounts” or “My Team’s Accounts”? If you have your teams setup, you might be able to have the dashboard run as the logged in user and not have to use filters at all. You also can allow some users to change the running user – for example you could have a Global Sales Manager who wants to see France, so he changes the running user to the French Area Manager.

      If that doesn’t work quite right for you, then you can still use one set of reports but then set up a bunch of dashboards where you modify the running user and also edit the filters available on that dashboard and put them in folders for each area manager. This is the approach I ended up taking.

      1. Daniel,
        Thanks for your answer.
        We have already implemented the approach which you suggest. We manage the following dashboards :
        – only 1 for all Sales Reps (dynamic, with ‘my sales’)
        – only 1 for all Sales Managers (dynamic, with ‘my sales’)
        – only 1 for Management (static, run with user = top mgr – visible also by Sales Managers)

        For Sales Reps who need to see the dashboard of their district, i.e. the equivalent of their Sales Manager’s dashboard, we have had to create :
        – 1 ‘My District’ dashboard per district (static, run as the Sales Manager managing the district) : dozens of these dashboards, the same one cloned over and over again

        If the solution mentioned above was available, I would create only :
        – 1 ‘My District’ dashboard (static, run with user = top mgr, each filter value being available only for a certain group of users)
        I would then only have 1 dashboard to maintain !

        Have a good day.

        1. Sounds like you’ve thought through it pretty well.

          There are a few ideas on Idea Exchange that might help. Vote them up if you think they would be good additions!
          Support for dependent picklists: https://sites.secure.force.com/success/ideaView?id=08730000000gPoKAAU
          Default values for filters: https://sites.secure.force.com/success/ideaView?id=08730000000bMNjAAM
          Pass running user through to report drill down: https://sites.secure.force.com/success/ideaView?id=08730000000Ir2RAAS

    1. Daniel, thanks for the great post, this is exactly what I am trying to do with Dashboard filters, use a ‘region’ code. For me, that is a text field, and I have it on the report, but it does not show up as a choice in ‘Add Filter’ (in dashboard). I have been able to use filters on Name fields such as owner, or account name, but for some reason my ‘region’ is not an option to choose in dashboard filter, even though it is on the report. I mostly only see date and name fields as choices, not custom text fields as options. What type of field is your custom ‘region’? Thanks again!!

      1. Hi Bill,

        It is a picklist field. To be able to use a field in a dashboard filter, it must affect all of the underlying reports. Maybe one of the reports on your dashboard doesn’t have a relation to the region so you can’t use it as a filter?

  2. Lets say…. I have 10 components on my Dashboard & there ia a filter of “Open Date” in Dashboard. But I want that 5th component shoult not get filter while filtering the dashboard.

    Is there any trick to do this??
    tx

  3. Hi Daniel,
    great summary! So you see a possibility to apply the filters to “Scheduled Dashboard Refreshs” which are sent by E-Mail to a certain group or user? I work on an Org where many scheduled dashboards are emailed to people (who don’t look into SF on a frequent basis). By default a dashboard filter cannot be applied to the dashboard when scheduled and emailed. Actually it would be great to apply dashboard filters to particular users or groups which receive scheduled dashboards by email. Any idea on how to solve this (code or customize)?

    Mario

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