Archive for the ‘Salesforce.com’ Category

Cross Object Reporting For Salesforce Users

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

We are very happy to see that our new offering on the AppExchange, Apsona Multi-Step Reporting (MSR), is attracting a good deal of interest. Users seem to enjoy the flexibility that the app offers. It imposes no restrictions on how to access objects, nor the number of objects you can access in a single report. It lets you traverse dependencies in either direction (parent-to-child or child-to-parent), and can handle multiple dependencies between the same pairs of objects. For example, you can create a report spanning the Campaign (parent) – Opportunity (child)-Opportunity Contact Role and back to up the chain to Contact (parent). Such structures are difficult to achieve with the native Salesforce reporting. Another plus with Apsona MSR is the ability to run reports without having to create report types.

To help you build a report in Apsona MSR, here are a few tips:

  • Reports are built in steps.
  • Each step retrieves data from one object.
  • Each step carries its own filter conditions, independent of the other steps, and these conditions can be cross-object.
  • Steps are linked to previous steps via lookup fields.
  • To see linkages, select the id field or the look up field you would like to link in each step.

You can build a powerful report incrementally in steps. You can have any number of steps in a single report. For example, let’s say you would like to invite to a Christmas luncheon all the contacts associated with the closed/won Opportunities or donations for the last 3 consecutive years, and you would like to retrieve the Contact records to set up the invitations. Here are the steps you can use to get the data with Apsona MSR.

    Step 1: Get the Contacts from the contact role object and filter by opportunities for the year 2010.
    Step 2:  Get the Contacts from the contact role object and filter by opportunities for the year 2011. Link the contacts to the Step 1.
    Step 3: Get the Contacts from the contact role object and filter by opportunities for the year 2012. Link the contacts to Step 1.
    Save and run.

    Another example use case is to find the person/user who created an opportunity and the person/user who closed the opportunity. Such a report can be obtained in just 2 steps with the Opportunity and Opportunity History objects. With Apsona’s cross object reporting, you can access the User object from the Opportunity and Opportunity History objects and pull in the users who have created and closed Opportunities. So here is an example of working from the Opportunity object down to the Opportunity History object and going up the chain to the User object. With an additional step you can also get the number of Opportunities (count) closed by a person/user by using the powerful metrics feature.

    Once the data for your report has been retrieved, you can visualize the data in charts, groups and matrices. Grouping can be single level or up to five levels. Pivoting or transposing data is a powerful visualization this app offers. Filtering, sorting, drilling-down and summarizing data can now be down in seconds.

    Such reports and pivot visualizations are not possible to build in native Salesforce and yet this information is invaluable to any organization. These are just a couple of examples of the kinds of reports you can build with Apsona MSR. You can now create reports to extract and display data instantly from your Salesforce org, without depending on others for coding or IT involvement.

    We offer a free trial of this app on the AppExchange and will be happy to help you if needed. We can be contacted at support@apsona.com.

    Apsona Multi-step Reporting

    Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

    Apsona.com is happy to announce their new app Apsona Multi-step Reporting on the Salesforce AppExchange. This is a powerful browser based tool for reporting across any number of Salesforce objects – native and custom. The only requirement is that you need to have installed Apsona For Salesforce before using this app. The key benefits include:
    – Cross object reports on any number of objects, native or custom, no matter how the objects are related
    – Fully browser-based, no plugins or add-ons needed
    – Works within your salesforce org
    – Simple, intuitive user interface
    – Your data stays in your org: it is not copied to an external store, unlike many other reporting tools
    – Reports reflect the most current state of your data, not a snapshot stored in some external store
    – No need to create or manage report types in Salesforce
    – You can export the report results instantly into an Excel spreadsheet or in CSV format
    – No Apex, VisualForce or other coding required

    Apsona Multi-step Reporting is a good fit for routine data management needs, where you need a quick report that you wish to export to a spreadsheet program (such as Excel) where you can perform further analysis, manipulation and import or update back into Salesforce.  It is built using the foundation layer provided by Apsona for Salesforce. A 30 day free trial is offered on the AppExchange.

    To try Multi-step Reporting, you will need Apsona for Salesforce if you do not already have it. Below are the links to our listings.

    AppExchange listing for Apsona for Salesforce
    AppExchange listing for Apsona Multi-step Reporting

      We welcome all feedback.

      Moving from Raiser’s Edge to salesforce.com

      Sunday, August 5th, 2012

      We are very happy to announce a partnership with the excellent folks at Cloud for Good, who specialize in helping non-profit organizations make effective use of cloud technologies.  The first fruit of this partnership is Over the Edge, a tool for for helping Raiser’s Edge users migrate to salesforce.com. Over the Edge is a step-by-step tool to extract, transform, and load Raiser’s Edge data into Salesforce’s Nonprofit Starter Pack. Over The Edge eliminates the most painful aspect of such migration, that of copying your data records while maintaining the relationships between them. It performs the entire migration from Raiser’s Edge to a Salesforce instance in just four easy steps: Set up connections, map objects and fields, set options and migrate data. In doing so, it retains the relationships between your Contact, Organization, Donation and Campaign records so that you can see them correctly linked in your Salesforce org.

      The current configuration of Over the Edge includes the ability to export the main Raiser’s Edge tables into a CSV file or directly map your Raiser’s Edge fields to any standard or custom fields in Salesforce. Fields from Raiser’s Edge have been mapping to the standard fields in Salesforce and data is directly imported into Contacts, Organizations (Accounts), Donations (Opportunities), Campaigns, Affiliations, and even automatically create Households for you.

      To know more about the tool and migration please join a webinar on Wednesday, August 22nd at 11am PDT.

      Campaign management with Apsona for Salesforce

      Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

      Apsona for Salesforce includes some features that make it much easier to manage campaigns and associated members. Two of the most common functions for campaign management are these:

      1. Find the leads or contacts that meet specific criteria;
      2. Create a new campaign, and add all the leads found in step 1 to that campaign.

      Performing these functions within salesforce takes a good bit of work, for two reasons:

      • Salesforce’s native tools for finding filtered sets of records are somewhat limiting. Pretty much the only way you can filter on arbitrary fields is to create a new Lead or Contact view. So you would have to iterate between the ‘create view’ and ‘see the view’ screens within salesforce. Moreover, the view does not let you search across multiple objects, so (for example) there is no way for you to exclude the contacts who were already contacted in an existing campaign.
      • Adding leads to a campaign can only be done in batches of 250, which is one pageful. If you have a large number of leads (say 5,000) that you want to add to a particular campaign, it takes a lot of clicking.

      Apsona for Salesforce makes this entire process a lot simpler. As an example, consider the realistic scenario where you already have a good number (say, 50) of campaign records in your system. Suppose now that you are focusing on three specific campaigns, named Spring 2011, Summer 2011 and Fall 2011,  and you want create a new campaign containing all the leads who were not contacted in those campaigns.

      1. In Apsona for Salesforce, run a filtered search for those contacts that do not belong in any of the specified campaigns:
      2. Click the Tools – Add to Campaign menu item.
      3. In the resulting popup, choose the campaign you want, and click Ok.

      This will add to the campaign all the contacts selected in your filter, not just those in the first visible page. This makes it a lot easier than having to click through multiple pages.

      Check out our website for more details on managing campaigns and campaign members with Apsona For Salesforce.

      Analytics in Salesforce’s Spring ’12 release

      Sunday, January 8th, 2012

      It is interesting to read users’ impressions about Salesforce’s upcoming Spring ’12 release. Users will now at last be able to create exception reports with outer joins, report on multiple children and other analytics features, satisfying a very common request on IdeaExchange. However, the word is that all these features will come with a price tag.

      The new analytics edition seems to include high-end features similar to those found in the more expensive BI tools such as BIRST or GoodData. These are a good fit for enterprises and large organizations which can afford the higher cost. But if you are a smaller company or a non-profit, or if your needs are more toward quick-and-easy reporting rather than full-fledged analytics, you might find these offerings less of a fit for you.

      In such a situation, Apsona for Salesforce might be a better fit. With Apsona for Salesforce, you can quickly create, edit and run reports with outer joins spanning multiple child objects, and export the data for further analysis. Apsona’s reports also include charting and graphing facilities for simple visualizations.

      We are constantly improving our product to fit your needs. Partners love Apsona and refer to it as a Swiss Army knife as it is so diverse in its offering – importing, exporting, updating, exception filtering and reporting. It supports all editions of Salesforce and comes in a snappy web 2.0 interface. We at Apsona routinely incorporate new features into that are suggested by you – our partners and end users. You are obviously the domain experts, and the enhancements benefit all of us. Many of the newer features that you see in Apsona for Salesforce today owe their existence to inputs from all of you. Should you need some Apsona customizations that is very specific to you we get involved in the development for a fee. We are able to create customizations that will appear in just the one specific installation.
      When someone wants Apsona for Salesforce in their non-profit org, we simply ask for a copy of their 501(c)3 letter (or their country’s equivalent that certifies that they are non-profit) to be e-mailed to us. Once we get the letter, we enable the 10 free licenses. All these licenses get the same functionality as our paid users do.

      In 2012 we hope to bring out many more features to suit your needs. Your feedback is very important to us so please keep it coming. The Apsona team wishes all its users A Happy New Year!

      Finding neglected contacts in your salesforce database

      Thursday, October 13th, 2011

      Keywords: salesforce.com, search, find, filter, contact filtering, lead filtering, exception search

      Would you like to know the people in your salesforce.com database who haven’t been contacted in a while? Particularly the ones who have given you repeat business? Sales managers know that it’s a lot easier to keep existing customers than to acquire new ones, so it’s critical to maintain and nurture customer relationships. One way to ensure this is to periodically find such “neglected” contacts, make sure to call or reach out to them and keep them aware of your product or service.

      From the technical perspective, finding such contact records amounts to retrieving those records for which there are no related tasks or events in the recent past, where “recent” might mean “the last two months” or “the last year” depending on your business. Unfortunately, with the search tools available within salesforce.com, it is not very easy to find such contact records. One of our clients asked us precisely this question: Can we use Apsona for Salesforce to find these contact records?

      Fortunately, the answer is yes, we can. Apsona includes the ability to filter your data records in many ways. In particular, you can create a filter (i.e., a set of search criteria) on an object, and then apply that filter to restrict the data on a related object. In this example, we can:

      Finding neglected contacts (3 min 50 sec)

      • create a filter on the Task object, one that retrieves recent tasks that have been completed; and
      • apply the negation of that filter on the Contact object, i.e., asking for Contacts that have no such related tasks.

      View the video on the right to get a more detailed perspective on how this is done.

      With Apsona, you can use this technique with any object that has associated tasks or events. For instance, you might want to find Opportunities, Leads or Accounts that have had no recent activities. You can also use this technique to find Contacts or Leads that have not been part of any of your campaigns, or those that have been excluded from specific campaigns that you choose.

      We think Apsona’s search and filtering is one if its most powerful features. And we’d love to get your feedback on it. Please try it out—visit our AppExchange listing, install it and use our free 30-day trial. Please let us know what you think.

      Easier searching and filtering of salesforce.com data

      Monday, October 3rd, 2011

      Keywords: salesforce.com, search, find, filter, cross-object search, exception search

      The feature set that salesforce.com provides is both rich and deep. It lets you maintain all kinds of data in your database, ranging from contacts and accounts to customers, invoices, projects, and any other custom data objects your business requires. It also lets you customize your application in  a myriad different directions.


      Searching: a short intro (2 m 30 s)

      Apsona for Salesforce adds a layer to salesforce.com to make it easy to search your data in multiple ways, and very quickly find the data records you want. It includes many searching and filtering functions that make salesforce.com much easier to use, but are not available within the native salesforce.com interface (view the video at right for a quick overview):

      • Cross-object search: You can filter the data records for one object based on records in a related object. For example, when searching for Account records, you can use fields from related objects such as Opportunities, Contacts, and Assets to refine your search results. In fact, you can combine fields from multiple related objects in the same search – for example, you can find Accounts that have both Contacts and Opportunities but no Assets.

      • Exception filtering
        (3 m 20 s)
        Exception search: As a special case of cross-object search, you can find records in one object that have no records in a related object. For example, you might want to find Accounts that have associated Contacts, or Leads that have no related Tasks – both examples of actionable information. This feature is one of the most widely-requested features on salesforce.com.
      • Sum and Count filtering: This feature enables you to filter by “aggregate” functions on related objects. For example, you can use this feature to find those Account records whose total Opportunity value is at least $100,000. Such a search is not currently possible within the native salesforce.com UI.
      • Respecting the field’s data type: When you choose a field on which to filter, Apsona for Salesforce automatically adjusts the allowed operations and values for the field. For example, if you choose a picklist field, Apsona for Salesforce shows the range of values allowed for the picklist, and lets you choose one. In contrast, within the salesforce.com UI, you have to remember and manually type in the picklist value you want too match. Similarly, if you choose a date field, Apsona for Salesforce shows you a menu containing filtering choices such as “today”, “tomorrow” and “yesterday”, as well as a date picker, making it much easier to specify dates.
      • Quantified searches: Suppose, for example, that you want to find those Account records which have related Contact records, but for which none of the related contacts have e-mail addresses. This is a fairly common use case – it arises, for example, when you want to quickly locate the Account records that have not been reached in any of your e-mail campaigns. This is an example of a quantified search, in which you impose a “none” or “all” quantifier on the data in the related (Contact) record. Apsona for Salesforce enables you to perform such a search, but the native salesforce.com does not.
      • Saved searches: Having performed a search, you can save its terms as a named filter, e.g., Accounts with total Opportunity value > 200k. Such a saved filter is available in all the views of the object: tabular view, console view and calendar views. You can even re-use saved filters in “nested” filters, so that you can carry searches across objects that are not directly related. More details are available here.
      • Searching in-place: The search terms are shown in a panel that remains in place when the search results are displayed below. This feature, combined with the rapid Ajax UI, lets you quickly revise your search terms to hone in on the data you want, without losing context. By contrast, if you wanted to make a change to a search term in your salesforce.com view, you’d have to click “Edit view” to navigate to a different page, edit the view, and redraw the screen, requiring four clicks and three page refreshes.

      Since Apsona for Salesforce is an AppExchange application, all of these features are available directly within your browser, viewing and filtering your salesforce.com data directly. And these features are available on all objects and fields, both native and custom.

      Technology-wise, Apsona for Salesforce runs as a JavaScript application within your browser. It dynamically generates the SOQL query for each search request, sends it over to salesforce.com, and displays the returned results in your browser.

      You can sign up for a free 30-day trial via our AppExchange listing. Our documentation area includes a lot more detail about the search capability.

      Your feedback is very welcome.

      Apsona’s Tabular View For Salesforce.com

      Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

      Apsona for Salesforce comes in a snappy Web 2.0 interface and delivers a user experience that is one of a kind. Users can see their data in several different views, including a tabular view, a list-and-detail view with child tabs, and calendar views.

      The tabular view offers many possibilities. To see data for an object in a tabular view, select the tabular view option from the object’s menu drop down. The tabular view comes up instantly. With this view, each user can choose his or her individual preferred field setting. Click the “Set columns” button at the top right of the table and drag and drop fields from the selected box to the available box. Click apply and your preferred view is now in place. You can re-size columns widths, sort on fields and edit field values inline. All updates happen instantly with no page refreshes. Similarly, you can update values for up to 5 fields all in a single click in this view. Other possibilities include quick searches, invoking saved filters and even exporting data to a csv file. A whole new record can also be added manually with the Add button while working in the tabular view.

      The tabular view which has an excel feel to it also had the ability to have a nested grid. For example, this view can be modified such that you can see all your product line items to an opportunity. See image below.


      Apsona for Salesforce being a pure Web-2.0 Ajax application, most of the screen updates happen in-place, with no jarring screen refreshes. This lets you retain your work context and you can focus on being more productive instead of waiting for the screen to refresh.

      One of our users summed up the tabular as follows: “Having a view of all relevant data in one screen is important to many users who work with Excel frequently, and the tabular view is an alternative view of Salesforce data to those who enjoy working with Excel. ”

      Apsona for saleforce has a lot to offer. Check out our exception reports and filters as well Get a free sign from the appexchange http://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N30000003JejzEAC

      Mass Adding Contacts or Leads to a Campaign in Salesforce

      Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

      With Salesforce.com’s powerful Campaign Management you can you reach a large number of contacts, customers and leads (leads), track campaign budgets and effectiveness. Salesforce also includes standard campaign reports such as ROI analysis, Member analysis, Revenue, Influenced opportunities, and many more such reports. Whilst all this functionality exists in Salesforce the task of identifying the Leads to a Campaign can be very time consuming. Additionally, there is a batch size restriction of only 250 leads in a given time.

      Here is where Apsona for Salesforce comes in. You can identify the Leads or Contacts to a Campaign and add them as Campaign members with just a few clicks. Let us take a use case where you would like to find all your Leads with phone numbers from 5 different area codes and then add them to a campaign. With Apsona’s powerful filter logic such data can be got in seconds. The snappy web 2.0 interface with no page refreshes gives you a great user experience without losing context. You can choose any number of fields to use as search terms, and save your searches as filters so that they can be reused. Once you have got all the required data to to be added, just click the Add to Campaign button found under the Tools menu. Here, choose the Campaign name from the drop down(all the Campaign names will show up). You will also see the number of records that will be added, for example, All 2500 Contact records will be added to the campaign you choose. Click Ok and the records are immediately added to the Campaign. With Apsona there is no batch size restriction and you can add any number of records in a given time.

      The Add to Campaign feature with Apsona saves users time and effort. The attached video shows the Add to Campaign feature.

      Apsona for Salesforce offers a 30 day free trial and is available on the appexchange http://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N30000003JejzEAC.

      Apsona For Salesforce – Nonprofits

      Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

      Apsona for salesforce now supports Salesforce for Nonprofits. When you sign up for your account, Apsona auto-detects the Non-Profit Starter Pack and reconfigures itself to display the NPSP objects.

      Apsona supports all the objects in the NPSP: Donations, Households, Contacts, Organizations, Affiliations, etc., in addition to the salesforce-native CRM objects such as Lead and Campaign.

      With Apsona for Salesforce(NPSF) you can do:

      – Easy imports (upload) of data records into multiple related objects with just a single CSV file. So for example, households and contacts to the household can be imported with one csv file.
      – Easy export of the fields you choose, from any filtered set of records from any object.
      – Sophisticated searching, filtering and cross-object searches (searching one object based on fields from a related object, e.g., finding all Organizations that have at least $x in donations).
      – Run exception reports. For example, you can instantly get a report of all your Organizations which have no donations.

      Apsona for salesforce(NPSF) offers a 30 day free trial and is available on the Salesforce.com appexchange.http://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N30000003JejzEAC