Archive for the ‘Salesforce Reporting’ Category

Apsona Multi-Step Reporting: Learn the Basics

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

This is the first in a series of posts about Multi-Step Reporting

Introduction

The sky’s the limit with Apsona’s multi-step reporting (MSR) tool for what kind of reports you can generate. Need a report that spans multiple objects, including sibling objects as well as parent/child? No problem, MSR can do it. What about applying a different filter to each object? Yes, got that covered. Can I output calculated fields? Check, and check. Are you excited yet? You should be! However–if you’ve never worked with MSR before, it can be intimidating to start. In the MSR interface you’ll see “steps”, filters, “linkages”, and more. How do you know which objects to pick, how to configure steps, and what to do with linkages? Description: confusion 2.jpg Don’t worry, we’re going to break it all down. In this first in a series of posts about MSR, you’ll learn:

  • a strategy for designing your report
  • what steps are, and how to configure them
  • how to link your steps, and what that means
  • how to filter results to get only the records you want

Let’s work through each of these points using a typical, fairly complex reporting scenario. Imagine your boss has asked for this: I want to see the top three opportunities for all of our accounts, along with the name and email of the contact in the role of business user for each of those opportunities.

Design Your Report

A little upfront planning will save you time (and frustration) in the long run. (As an aside, this is true regardless of the reporting tool you’re using.) Consider these questions:

  • What are you reporting on?
  • What do you want the report output to be?
  • Which records and how many do you want?

Let’s look at our report requirements again: I want to see the top three opportunities for all of our accounts, along with the name and email of the contact in the role of business user for each of those opportunities.

  1. What are you reporting on?This question gets at the objects you’ll need for your report.(Don’t worry about the fields yet–that comes in the next step.) In our example, it would be: Opportunities, Accounts, Contacts. At this point, it can be helpful to do a quick sketch of these objects so you can see how they’re related: Description: IMG_0009.JPG Even though we don’t need any data from the Opportunity Contact Role object, we include it in our sketch because it’s the link between the Opportunity, and the Contact for that Opportunity,
  2. What do you want the report output to be?What fields do you want to see from which objects? In what order? Another quick sketch comes in handy: Description: rpt_output_sketch.JPG
  3. And finally, which records and how many do you want? In other words, are there any restrictions on the records you want returned?

From our report example:

  • Accounts: all of them, no restrictions
  • Opportunities: the top three opportunities
  • Contacts: only business users for the opportunities

Fleshing Out Requirements You might wonder– what does “top three” mean? And can the opportunities be in any stage, or just the closed/won opportunities? And how do I identify business users? Great questions! This is when you’d go back to your boss and ask for clarification. This is also a good chance to review your sketch with her and make sure you’re on the same page in terms of the report output. Let’s say you had that meeting (where your boss was very impressed with your sketches and well-thought out questions.) Now you know that “top three” means the opportunities with the highest value in the amount field, regardless of stage. But speaking of stage, your boss realized she’d also like to see that information in the report output. Oh, and the opportunity amount. You also found out that “business user” means someone with the opportunity contact role of “business user.” Here’s our revised sketch: Description: revised_sketch.JPG

What Are Steps and How Do I Configure Them?

Ok, now that we know where we’re headed, let’s start building!

  • Go to the Multi-step Reports tab and click New:Description: msr_tab.jpg
  • Give your report a name and description, and select a folder to store it in. Then click the Add Step link on the left:Description: start_new_report.jpg The Step interface opens up: Description: new_step_blank.jpg

A “step” is the big cheese of Multi-step reports. Think of a step as a container that holds all the information about one of the objects you want in your report. The step holds information about:

  • which object you want to report on (Step Info tab)
  • which fields you want from that object (Retrieved fields tab)
  • how you want to limit the report results (Filter terms tab)
  • how many records, and what sort order (Range and sort tab)
  • how this step (or object) is related to another step in the report (Linkages tab)

Remember–one step relates to one object. Let’s revisit the sketch we made when designing our report: Description: schema_sketch_steps.jpg As we can see from the sketch, our report spans four objects. So we’ll plan to configure four steps. Let’s get started!

Configure the First Step

In general, you start configuring steps with the top-level object, which in our case, is the Account.

  • On the Step Info tab, add a Step Name, and choose Account as the Database Object to get data from.

Description: step_info.jpg

  • Next click on the Retrieved fields tab and choose Account Name from the Add Field picklist.Description: retrieve_acct_name.jpg
  • Add the Account ID field. (No, we don’t need this field in the report output, but we’ll need it for something else a little later. For now, take it on faith, and hang tight.)

Your Retrieved fields tab looks like this: Description: retrieved_fields_acct.jpg

  • Click the Filter terms tab.

Description: filter_terms_tab_blank.jpg This is where we can restrict which records are returned. Since we decided we want all Accounts with no restrictions, we’ll move on to the next tab.

  • Click the Range and sort tab. Description: range_sort_tab.jpgThis page allows you to choose one of three ways to limit the number of records returned:
    • Limit by number range (1)
    • Limit to one record based on the criteria you pick (2)
    • Limit to the top x number of records (3)

    Again, the report requirements didn’t specify how many Account records or in what order, so we’ll move on.

  • Finally, click the Linkages tab.Description: linkages_tab.jpg Linkages are about relating steps to each other, Since we only have one step configured so far, there’s nothing to link yet.
  • Click Save.Description: click_save.jpg

Congratulations! You’ve configured your first step!

Create the Opportunity Step

Now let’s quickly create a step to get our Opportunity data:

  • Click Add Step.
  • Give the step a name, such as Top 3 Opportunities, and choose Opportunities as the database object.
  • On the Retrieved fields tab:
  • Select the Opportunity Name, Amount, and Stage fields.
  • Also add the Account field, and the Opportunity ID field. (Yes, these are more fields we don’t need in the report output … the mystery will be revealed soon!)
  • Now click the Range and sort tab. Remember, we want only the top three Opportunities (determined by Amount.)
  • Select the bottom option: The first … records when ranked by …
  • Enter 3 for the number, Amount for the field, and descending for sort order:

Description: range_and_sort_top_3_opps.jpg

  • Click the Linkages tab.

This is where we connect our two steps–Accounts and Opportunities. Remember when we added those fields on the Retrieved fields tab that we didn’t need in the report output (Account ID in the first step, Account in this step)? Well … (drum roll please) … this is why: On the Retrieved fields tab of each step, include lookup or picklist fields that relate to objects on another step. These are used on the Linkages tab to create connections between steps. In Salesforce, Opportunities and Accounts have a relationship: the Opportunity’s Account lookup field holds the related Account’s Account ID. By adding the Account field in this Opportunity step, and the Account ID field in the previous Account step, we created a way to link the two steps. (We also included the Opportunity ID field in this step. This will come in handy when we link this step to the next one in the chain.)

  • Choose the first option: Accounts Account ID matches Account.

Description: link_step1_and_2.jpg NOTE: If you forgot (or didn’t realize) you needed to include these linking fields, you would see this message when you clicked on the Linkages tab: Description: no_available_linkages.jpg If that happens, no worries — you can always edit any step to add more fields on the Retrieved fields tab.

Create the Last Two Steps

Follow the procedures above to create the last two steps for Opportunity Contact Role, and for Contact. For the Opportunity Contact Role step:

  • In the Retrieved fields tab, add the Opportunity field (to relate to the Opportunity step), and Contact field (to relate to the Contact step.)
  • On the Filter terms tab, add a filter to select Contact Role records where the Role is Business User. The Filter terms tab will look like this:

Description: filter_terms.jpg

  • Remember to save each step.

Run the Report

Now it’s time to see how all of your hard work has paid off!

  • Click Save and Run to run your report: Description: report_results1.jpgLooks great! But we can make it look even better. Those ID fields are there because we needed them to link steps, but we don’t have to include them in the report output.
  • Simply click Set Columns, and uncheck any fields you don’t want to see: Description: set_columns.jpg

Our final report looks like this: Description: report_results2.jpg

Points to Remember

  • Design your report before you start building, to understand what objects are needed and how they’re related–and save yourself time in the long run.
  • Configure one step for each object. (There is a shortcut for this … stay tuned for details in further posts!)
  • Include lookup and ID fields in the Retrieved fields tab so you can link steps.

Do you have MSR questions? Have a tip or trick to share? Let us know!

Using Logic and Conditionals When Generating Documents

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Sending a well crafted thank you letter to your donors is an essential part of your non-profit’s fundraising efforts. Acknowledging a donor in a timely manner increases giving and also improves donor retention. And when you need to send large numbers of such letters, you would want to automate the process so that members of your staff can send them off with a couple of clicks. This is when you need Apsona’s Document Generator to set up the process seamlessly.

A use case – Consider a scenario where you need to send your donors a thank you letter after a successful campaign. In this case, the content or the body of the letter is the same for all donors, but the signatures on the letters are determined by the donation amount. Donors who have donated $500 or more get a thank-you letter signed by the President of the organization. Those who have donated between $250 and $500 get letters signed by the Executive Director, and donors who have given under $250 get a letter signed by the Philanthropy Officer.

Setup – Setting up the merge with Apsona’s Document generator is a four-step process: Create a template, creating the data sources for the template, map your data, and generate documents. As the body of the letter is the same for all the donors, the template will only need to have the required merge fields or place-holders for the relevant data to be filled in. With Apsona’s support for conditional directives (i.e., if-then-else), you can selectively include or exclude content in your document based on data conditions. In the use case we are looking at, it is the different signatures on the letters determined by the donation amount.

template1

In the above template, we have just four merge fields as place-holders: First name (Donor name), Donation amount, date the payment was received and the Household name. The data for the merge fields are available in the Contact object, and the data for the merge fields in the body are available in the Opportunity object, and the two are linked via the Primary Contact lookup in the Opportunity object. So you can create a simple Opportunity report that extracts all the necessary data fields to generate this document.

The signature area contains conditional directives to drive the logic outlined above:

«IF Opportunity_Amount>=500»John Doe
President«ELSE IF Opportunity_Amount>=250»Jane Doe
Executive Director«ELSE IF Opportunity_Amount>=100»Jill Doe
Philanthropic Officer
«ELSE»John Doe
President «ENDIF»

In the above example, we use four directives, IF, ELSE IF, ELSE and ENDIF, to provide the logic. Each directive is created as a standard Word merge field. The code in the above example looks for the template field Opportunity_Amount. The text of the signature is interspersed with the directives so that the required logic is implemented.

It is important to ensure that each IF directive must be followed at some later point by a corresponding ENDIF directive so that the text segments that produce the signatures are clearly differentiated from the main body of the document. The document generator checks for this condition, and if a violation is detected, it might produce an error message like the one below.

IF

The example here shows the If – Then – Else conditionals in the signature are of the letter but you can get really creative and use it from the address and body of the letter as well. Detailed documentation on the If -then- Else conditionals is available on the Apsona website. Here is the link.

Apsona Charts and dashboards

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Segment, slice and dice your data at will with Apsona’s Charting and dashboard add-on. This new add-on is the latest entrant to the Apsona suite of products. The question we were frequently asked was, “As Apsona reporting is so powerful, why can we not see the report data as charts and in dashboards?” Now, with Apsona’s Charting and dashboards, you can visualize and analyze your data in real time, right within your Salesforce org in your browser – there is no exchange of data with an external data warehouse.

Apsona charting supports several types of charts – horizontal and vertical bar charts, pie and line charts, KPI’s and Pivot tables. More chart types are on the way. You can create powerful charts with it – charts that cannot be constructed with native Salesforce. One example that comes to mind is a chart with multiple “layers”.  A multi-layer chart is one that contains two or more charts overlaid on each other.  For example, you can create a two-layer chart with one layer containing Campaign and expenditure information, overlaid with a second layer containing Campaign and Opportunity revenue information.  This way, you can get a side-by-side view of two related metrics (expenditure and revenue) in the same chart – even if those metrics are not available from the same report or object. You can also apply filter conditions to each layer if required. Layers can be added to vertical and horizontal bar charts.

Another powerful visualization available is the pivot table. With this device, you can use multiple dimensions in the rows and columns and metrics in the cells. You can also use multiple metrics in the cells, and essentially get all of the benefits of an Excel pivot table right in your browser.

Most organizations set goals and use metrics to measure performance towards those goals. This is where dashboards come in handy. You can now present the storyboard of your data as an Apsona dashboard. An Apsona dashboard is basically a collection of Apsona charts. It can include a combination of charts, and can easily be edited and previewed, and its charts resized and repositioned. You can add an Apsona dashboard to a Salesforce Home page and also as a related list in a Salesforce object.

demodashboard

To try out Apsona Charting and dashboards, please click the Feedback link in Apsona for Salesforce and send us a request. We look forward to feedback and suggestions on this add-on.

 

 

Fundraising Reporting with Apsona Multi-step Reporting

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Constituent reporting on individual donors and their giving histories is invaluable information for a non-profit organization. One such report requirement was posted on the Power Of Us Hub where the user wanted to find the increase or decrease in donation amounts by their donors. Here is the question:

  • My fundraising team wants to know how many donors increased their donation size from the last donation to the current one. I told them I could do Total Gifts This Year vs Total Gifts Last Year, but not Current Gift vs Previous Gift. Can you all think of a way to measure an increase (or decrease) in donation amount from one to the next?

Reading the responses it became obvious that this report is not possible to create with the native Salesforce reporting. However, with Apsona Multi-step Reporting, this report can be built in a few minutes. This report will require two query steps and one calculated step. Let’s take a look at how to build out such a report.

For the query steps, you first get the donors and filter them by campaign name or opportunity close date depending on the required criteria. Next, retrieve the opportunities to the donors, filter by close date and Role. Multi-step has the ability to get ranked data, which will need to be applied when querying for the opportunities. Limiting the 2 donations in descending order will give you the last two donation amounts to each donor. The steps will be woven together with the contact ID.

As there is no direct link between the Contacts (donors) and Opportunities (Donations), data for the two query steps will come from the Opportunity Contact Role (OCR) object. This object is best suited for this task, since it is treated as a stand-alone object in Apsona, and is also the junction between Donors and Donations. Therefore, you retrieve fields from the Donor (Contacts) as well as Donation objects (Opportunities) as they are both have lookup relationships from the OCR. Thus, you can retrieve the contact ID in both the steps and weave them together. Unlike in Salesforce reporting, you can use the same object more than once in Apsona Multi-step with different filter criteria and is ideal for this use case.

Now that you have the donors and their last two donations, you will need to find the difference between the amounts. For this you use a calculated step and add a formula as follows – {!Last 2 Donations 1.Amount} – {!Last 2 Donations 2.Amount}. Once you save and run the report will see the donor information, the last 2 donations amounts to the donor and the difference between the donation amounts.

When you run the report, you will also want to see the two donation amounts to each donor in a single row to make the comparison.

In a multi-step report, you have the option to display the output of a step as a sequence of blocks of columns instead of the usual row layout. Below is an image of the final report.

2amts

Donor Adam Dunn has donated $250,000 and $ 300, 000. You also see the difference in the Amount column as $50,000. The reason the amount is showing in parentheses is because the formula in the calculated steps is set to subtract Donation 1 from donation 2.

This shows how you can combine two important operations – transposing rows to columns, and using calculated values – to produce the result you want.

We hope you found this blog useful and try out Apsona Multi-step Reporting.

Updating data without VLOOKUP with Apsona

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Apsona for Salesforce has built-in tools that can highlight data quality issues, which you can find and replace when ever the need arises. Most businesses are aware that bad data quality can be a huge drain on their productivity and profitability. If you have an active Salesforce org you will always need to update data on a regular basis. Phone numbers, email addresses or mailing addresses of contacts and leads might need updating from time to time. Such mass updating cannot be done natively in Salesforce, but can be done with Apsona.

Here is a real use case. After running a mailing campaign, a user obtains a list of mail recipients who have unsubscribed. So she needs to remove the email address from the corresponding a set of contact records and replace the field value to null. She also wants to update the “Email Opt Out” checkbox for all the mail recipients. The recipient list is a CSV file with just the email addresses that have to be removed. Contact ID’s or even a First and Last name are not available.

With Apsona, you can match such a set of data records in a CSV format against your Salesforce data, and obtain the record ID for each record, if one is available. In this case, you use the email addresses CSV file as the data source and take advantage of Apsona’s import tool. You will be able to match the CSV data records against Salesforce data in steps 1 and 2 of the import/update process. In step 3, instead of clicking the Import button, you will need to click the ‘Download match results’ link. The resulting download will contain your data (the email addresses) with an additional first (leftmost) column containing the unique record IDs of the matched records. So we already not have the ID’s with just a few clicks. Half way there already.

Now for the replace part. In the downloaded file add another column called Email (Null values) and leave the cell values blank. Use the import tool again and choose the update action. Use the Contact ID as the look up field in step 1 and map the Email (null values) columns to Email in step 2. Complete the update in step 3 and you are done.

In the example, we saw how to find the unique ID’s and replace the field data values with a few clicks without having to go though the tedious VLOOKUP function in Excel. http://apsona.com/blog/updating-data-without-vlook-up-with-apsona/ http://apsona.com/blog/updating-data-without-vlook-up-with-apsona/ http://apsona.com/blog/updating-data-without-vlook-up-with-apsona/ http://apsona.com/blog/updating-data-without-vlook-up-with-apsona/ http://apsona.com/blog/updating-data-without-vlook-up-with-apsona/

Download Apsona for Salesforce from the AppExchange and try out your use cases. The app had a 30 day free trial.

Happy New Year from the Apsona Team

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, we thought you’d be happy to hear from the two Apsona elves that are hard at work creating new features to serve you better. So here are some features you might like.

  • The field selector for creating filters and for adding fields to reports is now easier to use as well as searchable for both objects and fields. You might look at the screen shots in our documentation, and better yet, try it out!
  • Administrators can now manage their Document and Mail merge licenses from within the Apsona application.
  • Document and Excel merge actions can now be invoked directly from either a detail page button or a Salesforce sidebar component, e.g., from the left side of your Salesforce home page. Visit our website for more information about this.
  • You can now generate address labels from the document merge tool.
  • As always, if you see bugs or glitches, or have questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

    Thank you for supporting the Apsona apps. Wish you the very best for 2015 and beyond.

    The Apsona team
    http://apsona.com/salesforcehttp://apsona.com/blog/happy-new-year-from-the-apsona-team/http://apsona.com/blog/happy-new-year-from-the-apsona-team/http://apsona.com/blog/happy-new-year-from-the-apsona-team/http://apsona.com/blog/happy-new-year-from-the-apsona-team/http://apsona.com/blog/happy-new-year-from-the-apsona-team/

    Searching across a chain of objects in Salesforce

    Saturday, December 28th, 2013

    Salesforce users often need to search for data records in one object that depend on conditions in a related object. Frequently, the dependency carries over to multiple related objects, or to chains of such relationships. For example, suppose you need to find all the Campaigns that have targeted the contacts from your Partner accounts. To retrieve those Campaign records, your primary search condition is imposed on the Account object (looking for Partner accounts). Having found those accounts, you must find the Contacts in those accounts, and then the Campaign Member records of those Contacts, and finally the Campaigns to which those member records refer. Thus we have a four-object chain of dependencies that must be traversed to produce the results you need.

    Such a query is not very easily constructed in native Salesforce. But Apsona for Salesforce provides the tools you need to solve problems like this. The way Apsona solves the problem is by repeatedly applying the idea of a filter, to produce what is called a nested filter, as follows. A filter is simply a name given to a specific search condition, associated with a specific object. For example, you can create a filter on the Account object, that asks for Account Type matching Partner, and name it Partner Accounts. You can then apply this filter in the Contact object, since the Contact is related to (actually, a child of) the Account object. When doing so, you would retrieve the Contacts of your Partner accounts, and you would use the Partner Accounts filter as a nested filter. You have thus carried a search condition on the Account object over to the related Contact object. You can then repeat this step over the entire chain of objects, thus producing the result you want. See the diagram below, showing the relationships among these objects.

    Here is the series of steps to produce your results:

    1. Start with the “primary” object that drives the filter condition. In this case, it is the Account object, since we start with the condition derived from partner accounts. Create a filter on the Account object, identifying your Partner Accounts. You can do this either in the console view (list-and-detail) or in the tabular views in Apsona. Save it with the name “Partner Accounts.”
    2. Create a filter on the Contact object. In doing so, if you open the Account panel of the filter builder, and select the record id field of the Account object, you will see the “in filter” option available. Select that option, and then select the “Partner Accounts” filter. Save this filter with the name “Contacts from Partner Accounts.”
    3. Create a filter on the Campaign Member object, using the Contact filter created in step 2, in the same way.
    4. Finally, create a filter on the Campaign object using the Campaign member filter from step 3.

    What we did here was make a filter on the primary object, namely Account, and applied the filter to the related object namely Contact. You can repeat this process as many times as you want, thus carrying filter conditions across a chain of relationships. We use the term nested filter to refer to a filter that uses another filter within it, in this manner.

    Searches, filters and reports in Apsona work across the board whether it is retrieve data for campaign management, sales management or case management. Apsona for Salesforce can be downloaded from our AppExchange listing for a 30 day free trial, and works with all editions of Salesforce.

    Filters in Apsona – Part 1

    Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

    Searching or querying of data is a very common need for Salesforce users. The required data that drives the filtering frequently does not reside in just one object, but rather in several related objects. For example, you might want to find Contact records whose Accounts are in a particular city, so that even though the data sought is Contact data, the filtering condition is on the related Account. And once you have figured out all the filtering conditions you want to apply, and retrieved the data you want, you would want to save the search, so that you can reuse it later.  Apsona for Salesforce offers powerful search and filter capabilities for all Salesforce objects, both native and custom, out of the box. All searches can be “cross-object” in the sense that you can look for records of one type based on conditions enforced by records of a related type.

    A query/filter can be built in two ways from the Apsona user interface.

    The first one is by clicking Search and More options, and the second is by clicking the filter dropdown and selecting New filter as seen in the screen shot above.

    The same filter editor opens up with both options, and here is where you will specify the search terms. When you click the drop-down to specify search terms, you will see a list of panels, one for each object. Each panel is labeled with the object name, and contains the fields for that object. The object at the top of the list is the one from which you are running the filter, with all its fields. Below that panel will appear all its related objects (and all their fields) which are one step away – basically the children and parents of that object. Note that one panel appears not just for each related object, but rather for each relationship. For instance, in the screen shot above, the Account object contains two lookup fields, Master Record and Parent Account, both referring to the Account object, so you see a panel corresponding to each.

    If the current object is the parent in the relationship, you will see an asterisk next to the name. In the above screen shot, the Contact or Lead panels both have asterisks shown, since the Account object is a parent of each of those objects. But if the current object is a child in the relationship (as in the case of the Master Record and Parent  Account relationships), no asterisk is shown.

    When running a filter in a one to many relationship, you can run a Quantified search. In this search, you look for records of one type such that all related records of a related type meet a certain condition, e.g., contact records for which all related tasks have a “completed” status. This search is called quantified because it uses the quantifiers all or none for related records. Let’s take an example where we want to find Accounts whose contacts have the salutation of Dr. (Doctor). We run a search from the Accounts object. For the search terms, we select the field “Salutation” from the Contacts table. Since the field is a picklist we get the option of choosing is among as one of the field operators. For the quantifier, let us choose the option for all records. Click search. We now get all the Accounts whose contacts have the salutation Dr. Notice that the returned list might include Accounts which have NO contacts in them. This is because an Account with no contacts satisfies – albeit vacuously – the requirement that all its contacts have a salutation of Dr.  Since we selected the quantifier as “all records”, Accounts with no contacts are also entitled to qualify.

    This is just one option of the 3 options available in the quantified search. The” no records” and the “atleast for one record” are equally powerful and will be touched upon in the coming blogs.

    You can try out these searches and more by downloading Apsona for Salesforce from the AppExchange.

    Batch Gift Entry – A new add-on to Apsona for Salesforce

    Saturday, June 29th, 2013

    If you are a non-profit organization that receives periodic gift checks that you need to enter into your Salesforce database, you know that the process can be a bit tedious. With each gift check, you will need  to navigate through quite a number of pages to search, to create or update data. Each gift in turn needs to be linked to the right Opportunity, Account, Contact, Contact Role and Payment objects. If the Opportunity and Contact records do not exist in the Salesforce database, they will need to be created and the corresponding gifts need to be linked to them.

    To help with this situation, we at Apsona have created a new add-on, Batch Gift Entry (BGE), intended for non-profit organizations who use the Salesforce Foundation’s Non-profit Starter Pack (NPSP).  This add-on takes care of the both the scenarios – creating new records as well as updating existing ones. You can enter gifts in batches, where each batch contains a list of gift items to be committed, Once you have entered a batch and committed it, all the items in the batch are copied into the appropriate fields in the Payment and Donation records. New Donation, Payment, or Donation Contact Role records are created as necessary and are automatically linked together to maintain consistency with the NPSP data model. The user interface is designed to offer a keyboard-friendly process for the batch gift entry user and to make the entire data entry sequence as quick and painless as possible.

    The Batch Entry interface works just like most other aspects of Apsona, showing a searchable list of batches you have created. You can create a batch whose items contain any subset of fields from your Opportunity and Payment objects. You can also clone existing batches, so that you don’t have to recreate any of the logic from previous batches. The batch entry screen includes the usual search, sort and in-place edit features for manipulating the batch items in uncommitted batches.

    When you have finished entering all the gifts and click the Commit button, a cross check is made to ensure that the number of items and amount match the numbers when the batch template was created. Any mismatches will keep the batch from being committed.

    You can also run filters and reports on the batches needed for reconciliation with Apsona’s Multi-step Reports. For example, you can run a report for Batch Name, Commitment Date, First Name, Last Name, Donation Name, Amount, Payment Type, Check Number and Check Date.

    Most of our enhancements to the Apsona apps are user requests and feedback. So we look forward to all your valuable feedback and comments. Do keep them coming! Please visit our website page for more details. You might also enjoy reading Judi Sohn’s blog where she comprehensively covers Apsona’s Batch Gift Entry.

    And grateful thanks to our friends at KELL Partners for initiating this project and for all their input and support. Please make sure to read our product page for Batch Gift Entry, watch a video, and try it out!

    Document and Mail merge for Salesforce

    Thursday, April 25th, 2013

    Apsona is happy to announce a new add-on Mail and Document merge. Version 1.0 of the merging tool caters to three common situations:

    • Email merge: Produce a batch of email messages from an email template, and send off the email messages.
    • Document merge: Produce a batch of .docx document files from a .docx template, and download the results as a .zip file.
    • Email and document merge: Use a specified email template and a specified document template to produce a batch of email messages and documents, attach each resulting document to the corresponding email, and send off the emails.

    In all of these cases, the data to be merged into the template can be obtained either from an Apsona report, including cross-object reports, or from the records in any of the Salesforce objects via Apsona’s console or tabular views.
    For email templates, the merging tool can use any of the templates stored in your salesforce org, i.e., the ones accessible via Setup – Communication Templates – Email Templates. For document templates, the merging tool can use any .docx files available in your Salesforce Documents object.
    Below is a brief comparison of Apsona’s Merge/mail with other competing products:

    • You don’t need special names for merge fields. This is unlike many other products. When creating a template, you can make up any field names you want, and the merge tool discovers and matches those names with your data fields on-the-fly.
    • You can mix-and-match templates used with reports. Since merge field names are not linked to (i.e., don’t have to be the same as) either data field names or report field names, you can use the same report with multiple templates. For example, you can create an Apsona report of your top opportunities from last month, filter it once for the gold partners and send using the “gold” template, and then filter it for the “bronze” partners to send using the bronze template. The two templates to not have to use the same field names.
    • It can use any of your existing document and email templates — no need to rewrite any of them.
    • It works with cross-object reports. So you can (for example) create a report including contact fields and total value of opportunities/donations, and send the results via email.

    In the coming versions Apsona’s Mail and Document merge will support merging of lists, PDF and Excel options. If you would like to try out this feature, please click the Feedback link in the Apsona app and send us a License request.