Analytics / Admins / Consultants

Increasing Dashboard Adoption with a Launchpad Lightning Page

By Ryan Goodman

To manage reporting, business intelligence, and analytics for an organization requires the same level of attention to user experience as any other software application. Salesforce has added analytics features over the years including the acquisition of Tableau. So the age-old question is: how do you curate and deliver analytics to your users that they will adopt and use? 

Salesforce lightning page layouts have evolved into a fantastic delivery vehicle for analytics, and this article shares a lightning analytics launchpad approach that can blend Salesforce, Tableau, and other third-party reporting lightning components together. This is a technique that I have evolved with the help of a Salesforce admin, Jared Scott, when we started our journey of embedding Tableau into Salesforce several years ago.

Common Barriers to Dashboard Adoption

If you ask “why” someone would want 50 widgets in one Salesforce dashboard, there are two reasons: 

  1. Most information consumers want everything organized in one place – no one wants to hunt for information buried within lists and bookmarks. This is where classifying and aligning metrics to distinct phases, lines of business or KPIs is very important.
  2. Business leaders want universal understanding from one consistent dashboard. Serving many people under one dashboard works well for organizational goals and objectives, but falls flat when trying to serve the interests of different roles and responsibilities. Separating an executive view of your organization from managerial and front-line metrics is important to boost adoption.

When I ask business stakeholders if they would like dashboard content based on their business function, KPI, and line of business, the answer is always yes! To do that, you can think of a lightning dashboard launchpad a continuation of one dashboard solution that reports metrics for the entire business as it relates to your Salesforce org.

Anatomy of an Analytics Lightning Dashboard Launchpad

Let’s explore the anatomy of a lightning dashboard launchpad as shown below:

Lighting Tabs Containers

Lightning tab containers are an amazing solution to quickly organize reports and dashboards in a way that aligns with business goals and operations. I typically have an “Executive” section that breaks down the business into the key phases of the business that exist, related and sometimes unrelated to Salesforce. 

Each line of business is then broken down according to the business leader’s needs. If you choose to place this user experience on your home page, I start with “Organizational Goals” where we have only the top 3-5 KPIs that every employee should know. The following is a breakout of my org, which is a SaaS software business.

Salesforce Metrics Tiles

There is no shortage of methods and frameworks for designing KPIs and metrics. When it comes to executive reporting, you should try to keep 1-5 KPIs per page if possible. Then, you can supply any number of supporting metrics and trends to better understand the drivers for the KPI. In my own org, I try to limit each dashboard to a single topic or KPI.

Supporting Trends and Analytics

Supporting trends and timelines help explain the historical context and time sensitivity to what is driving the current values. A Salesforce dashboard will generally not explain “why” something has occurred but can provide the common metrics, analytics, and reports to take the next step to research. 

If I find myself needing more advanced analysis and slicing and dicing, I will create a Tableau dashboard. You can mix and match Salesforce content and Tableau content within one tab which gives you the best of both worlds, showing high-level metrics alongside detailed visualization and analysis.

Date Filters and Dashboards

Within a Salesforce dashboard, keeping all widgets aligned to a single point in time is helpful. For example, close-won date or lead creation date are points in time within your funnel that you can relate to multiple metrics. However, I would not put lead creation and close-won metrics together in one dashboard. The reason to do this is to enable dashboard filters to slice the dashboard for different time periods.

Dimension Filters

Dashboard dimension filters provide a simple ad-hoc analysis function for Salesforce dashboards. I typically only use filters when they apply to all widgets on the page. When I need sophisticated slicing and dicing or drilling, I turn to Tableau.

Dashboard Text Areas

This brand-new feature allows you to place formatted text within a dashboard. I use this for custom URL navigation links which allows me to manage related reports within a dashboard. This manual curation process is worth the effort to ensure users are not poking around the Reports tab looking for more information. Additionally, you can link to other documentation and information assets like a metrics glossary.

Example Dashboard

Here is a snapshot of a dashboard for a new SaaS app that I created from my PBO org. Here you can see how I brought all of these concepts together and how I am tracking my executive view of the business.

Seamless Experience With Salesforce and Tableau Dashboards

Originally, Tableau lightning component was listed in the app exchange, but was recently added as a native feature. Tableau cloud and Salesforce single sign-on create a truly seamless experience for onboarding and deploying more advanced data exploration inside of Salesforce that is unmatched by anything I have experienced.

Here are three tips to provide a good experience for users with embedded Tableau in your dashboard launchpad.

  1. Include data “as of date” in your Tableau reports. Typically, Tableau dashboards are not used for real-time reporting of Salesforce data. As such, metric values may differ from a standard Salesforce dashboard or report. To help set expectations, I include an “As of Date” in my tableau reports.
  1. To ensure Tableau fills the space naturally within your lightning page, you should set the dashboard size to “automatic”.
  1. When you import your tableau report you also want to give enough height to your dashboard so it does not get squeezed. I typically size my tableau dashboard height to 800px as a starting point.

Adapting to Change for Accurate Results

A big part of your dashboard success is your ability to update analytics as your business programs, processes, and people change. To be successful, you should regularly check in with users, and view the Salesforce dashboard’s “last refresh date”. That is the only window into the usage and adoption of Salesforce dashboards out of the box. 

If you see dashboards that have not been refreshed in a month, you should not be shy to remove them from the dashboard launchpad. My recommendation is to set ground rules with business leaders that you are watching adoption and utilization. Tableau on the other hand provides detailed usage statistics, so you can really measure the overall success of your dashboard initiatives. The same curation and adoption rules should apply to ensure your launchpad is the trusted source of curated analytics content.

Plotting a Course for Building a Better Experience

Salesforce Analytics provides an enhanced experience to classify and organize content, but it still requires a lot of work for admins and business stakeholders to align on organizing principles and processes to prevent report and dashboard deluge. 

The only missing feature I would love is the ability to pass anchor tags or use URL parameters to specify the URL of individual tabs within this lightning page. If there is anyone who wants to collaborate on building a custom lightning tab component, I am available to help.

Until then, good luck building your own Analytics Launchpad Lightning Page!

The Author

Ryan Goodman

Ryan has managed data and analytics at Reliant Funding for the last 4 years, and recently, he founded as a free resource to share tools and techniques and tools that helped his team succeed.

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