Salesforce Reporting Snapshots is a little-known feature that is included in out-of-the-box Salesforce orgs and is easy to set up. Snapshots allow you to take a picture of a set of records and freeze the data on them for future reference.
The most common use case is Opportunity Pipeline Change over time, so that’s the example I’ll use today.
However, you can also use Snapshot to capture other data like:
- Case object volume-per-rep, change over time
- API Calls trending, longer than the last 7 days
- The number of Leads owned by users, over time
There are some drawbacks of using snapshots, mainly that you can only use a Snapshot to capture up to 2,000 records at once. But, if you have a small org, or you always have less than 2,000 records, they are a great option (especially if you do not have the budget for a heavy-duty data analytics tool!)
How to Set Up Opportunity Pipeline Reporting Snapshots
1. Create a Report Folder and Report. This report should be of the data you want to capture (no more, no less.) I always recommend including ID values as well, because any record with a text value for a name could potentially change and you need a unique reference to be able to watch a single record change over time. We also want to save the report in a special folder that nobody has access to.
For our Opportunity Snapshot, we want to see it trending in the pipeline over time. It’s possible in the future that we will get questions like, “Who owns this Opportunity? How did this specific rep’s pipeline change over time? What Account was this for?”, so we want to make sure to include any identifiable information in our snapshot. We also want to only report on the records that need a Snapshot – Opportunities that are already Won, or Lost probably aren’t going to change and don’t count towards our pipeline, so we’ll exclude those.
Once our report is prepared, we can save it in our Snapshot Folder. This is our pipeline as it stands today and we will use it to take a “picture” of the pipeline, going forward.
2. Create a Custom Object to hold the results of the Snapshot. The Custom Object is what will actually hold the data that we’ve frozen. This is the custom object that we will report on in the future, to see the change over time. Our new custom object needs to have a field for every column on our report above. When you create the custom object, make sure you check the “Allow Reports” box as well! Nobody but an admin should be looking at the Snapshot records themselves (only the reports) so I always leave “Allow Search” as FALSE and do not create a Custom Tab.
We’ll also need to add Custom Fields to hold the data from the report. I like to use Text Area fields for all the Names, Picklist and any other text values. The reason for that is that I don’t want to have to return here in the future and update any Picklist to match any future changes to Stage, or to Type. I also don’t want these snapshots connected to related objects, so I don’t use any Lookup fields here. I do use Date and Currency fields, though, because I still want to be able to group by Dates on my future reports and I also want to sum up any Amount values on the reports.
3. Set up the Snapshot. Navigate to Setup -> Reporting Snapshots and click “New Reporting Snapshot” Give your Snapshot an appropriate name and set the running user. Note: If the running user ever becomes inactive, you’ll want to update it, otherwise the Snapshot will stop running. Select the Source Report (the report you created) and the Target Object (the custom object you created.) Then click “Save & Edit Field Mappings”
Map the fields from the Source Report to the fields in the Custom Object. Click Save.
4. Schedule the Snapshot. Create a schedule that runs according to the frequency at which you want to see your data change. A more frequent schedule will give you more detail, but will create more records. A less frequent schedule gives you a broader view of change over time and creates less records. For this example, we’ll set our snapshot up to run on a weekly basis, because we want that level of granularity. In the Schedule Reporting Snapshot section, click “Edit” and set up your schedule. You can also opt to receive an email, when the snapshot runs. You’ll be required to choose an End Date – if you want to run this report indefinitely, just choose a date very far in the future.
5. Report on the results. You won’t actually have any data to report on until after the next scheduled run, so you can wait until then to set up a report or create an empty one now. In this example, I’ll have waited a few weeks so we can work with a report that has data. Generate a new report for the Custom Object you made.
Set up your report like you would set up any normal Salesforce report. For Opportunity Pipeline Snapshot, typically we’re grouping by the “Created Date” (the date the Snapshot was created) and we might also group by Stage under that.
If you have a single Opportunity (or Type) you are interested in (like, “New Business”) just set your report filters as needed. This report is showing a very small pipeline growth. However, if you filter it to just see “New Business”, you see a different picture with huge growth in the New Business pipeline!
Now that you have all this setup, you can let it run quietly in the background. The longer your Snapshot runs, the better picture you will have of data changing over time. It’s an easy (and free) way to give good analytics to your Sales team and see what your pipeline or records looked like on a given date in the past.
I hope you found this helpful. Do let us know in the comments, any other ideas that you may have on how to use Snapshots!