There are three concepts you should be familiar with in order to successfully visualize your Salesforce data on Geckoboard:
Before we start, let’s clarify that out of these three concepts, the first two (report types and reports) are part of Salesforce and the third (widgets) is a dashboard component on Geckoboard. In other words, you put together the data for your widget in a Salesforce report and you build the visualization from that report in Geckoboard.
We’ll look at the three concepts in more detail now. If you already know how to build reports in Salesforce, you can skip to the widgets section where we explain how to make use of those reports to create visualizations in Geckoboard.
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A report type is like a template which makes reporting in Salesforce easier. The report type determines which fields and records are available for use when creating a report. This is based on the relationships between a primary object and its related objects. For example, with the 'Contacts and Accounts' report type, 'Accounts' is the primary object and 'Contacts' is the related object.
Reports only display records that meet the criteria defined in the report type. Out of the box, Salesforce provides a set of predefined standard report types. You rarely need to create custom reports, but if you can't find a report that you can customize for your needs, you can create a new custom report to return the right information. Click here for a list of standard report types with their intended purpose. Pre designed custom reports are also available here.
For example, an administrator can create a report type that only shows job applications that have an associated resume; applications without resumes won't show up in reports using that particular type. An administrator can also show records that may have related records—for example, applications with or without resumes. In this case, all applications, whether or not they have resumes, are available to reports using that particular type. An administrator can also add fields from a related object by creating a lookup relationship to that object, allowing for even more reporting possibilities.
A report type defines the set of records and fields available to a report based on the relationships between a primary object and its related objects. Salesforce reports display only records that meet the criteria defined in the report type.
A report returns a set of records that meets the criteria you define and displays it in organized rows and columns. Report data can be filtered, grouped, and displayed graphically as a chart.
Every report is stored in a folder. Folders can be public, hidden, or shared, and can be set to read-only or read/write. You control who has access to the contents of the folder based on roles, permissions, public groups, and license types. You can make a folder available to your entire organization, or make it private so that only the owner has access.
Widgets are the building blocks of your Geckoboard dashboard. Through widgets you can create and make use of connections to external services (Salesforce in this particular case) and display visualizations such as line charts, column charts or Geck-o-meters which illustrate the data you pull in from that service.
To create a Salesforce widget on your dashboard:
- Create or make use of a connection to your instance of Salesforce
- Choose the Salesforce report you wish to visualize
- Choose the visualization that best suits your needs
- Fine tune the visualization
- Choose a title, a size and add the widget to your dashboard
Creating/using a connection to Salesforce
When you create a Salesforce widget for the first time, you’ll be asked to create a connection so that Geckoboard is able to reach your reports.
NOTE: To successfully connect Salesforce and Geckoboard:
- Your Salesforce account must be on a plan that includes API access
- Your Salesforce user must have also been granted the “API Enabled” permission. If you need this enabled, please read our "How do I enable API Access in Salesforce" article to find out how or contact whoever administers your Salesforce account.
Choosing your Salesforce report
Once a connection between Geckoboard and Salesforce is established, you’ll be able to retrieve any Summary or Matrix reports from your Salesforce account to visualize on Geckoboard.
NOTE: Tabular and Joined reports are not supported.
To choose a report, you can directly search for it by name or browse through your folders to find it.
If you go in a folder, you can go back using the breadcrumbs.
Choosing a visualization
From the setup page you can choose a visualization for your widget (top-right menu). Line chart, column chart, bar chart, number, leaderboard and Geck-o-meter are currently available.
The widget setup page will show you the options that are available to fine tune the visualization. These options are given in the form of radio buttons. There is one radio-button for each grouping field in your report, except in the number and Geck-o-meter visualizations which don't support segregating your data by group and instead allow you to pick the grand total or latest value for the report.
Use the radio buttons to customize the layout of your visualization. For example, choose whether you want the columns on your column chart to be the opportunity owner or another of your grouping values.
Finally, you can set a goal to adjust the visualization and highlight whether or not the values on your widget are accomplishing that goal. This is particularly relevant if you use Geckoboard for monitoring or motivating.
Choosing the title, size and adding the widget to your dashboard.
Your widget is very nearly ready. You are already visualizing the report that you need but before you add the widget to your dashboard, we recommend choosing a name for it so everyone knows what the visualization is about. This can be done by entering any text of your choice in the “Add a widget title” field. We also recommend that you choose the right size for your widget (The default is 2x1 or 1x1, depending on the visualization) to make sure that your widget fits well on your dashboard and more importantly, that it is visible and readable to your dashboard’s audience.
Once your widget has a title and size, it’s time to add it to your dashboard!
Hopefully you’ve seen how easy it is visualizing your Salesforce reports on Geckoboard.
An in depth review of our Salesforce integration with examples, is available on our Salesforce reporting article.