Ability to Add Notes in "Group By" Fields in Reporting

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  • Updated 4 months ago
The ability to add notes to timeline reporting is a great, new feature- thanks! However, we really need to be able to drop it into the "group by" section of the report builder. One particular use case is as follows:

We regularly report on timeline activities, especially the last entered activity for each customer. However, a handful of clever CSMs have noticed that adding "placeholder notes" keep them from being flagged as not updated (for example, I see notes like, "updates coming soon!"). I'd love to be able to make a report that shows the last entered activity (e.g., the MAX date for the activity on the account) with the associated note so I can confirm it's a valid update.

Work-arounds are welcome, but I think this should be an easy functionality to introduce (I can do it in SFDC... ;)  ). Thanks!
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Allison Elmer

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Posted 4 months ago

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Dan Ahrens, Official Rep

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Hi Allison,

We're really excited to see how many companies are getting value from Timeline! If I understand your use case correctly, you want to have a report that will show you a single record for each of your customer Accounts that has the details on the last Timeline entry, right?

One way to accomplish this is to use a custom MDA table and a rule. Basically in that table you'd have the Account Name, CSM, Date of Timeline entry, Subject, Notes and any other details you'd like for reporting. Then in the rule, just pull the MAX date on the activity (like you indicated) and use the rule to write that info to the MDA table. 

You could even use the rules string function LEFT to truncate the notes to just 50 characters (or some other reasonable value) - this would quickly show you the notes that were just "placeholders" vs. ones that had legitimate content. 
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Allison Elmer

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Thanks, Dan! That's a good idea, but I really dislike having to reinvent the Gainsight wheel every time I need to pull a report on something seemingly simple (like a note field). I'll use this as a work around (and thanks a ton for it), but do you think Notes will ever get functionality similar to other fields in reports?
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Allison Elmer

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Hey Dan,

I gave your MDA/rule suggestion a go, but I get a very similar error in rules engine; I can't have the "notes" field (rich text, specifically, per the error) on the "Show" section of the rule setup if date is aggregated in any way, such as MAX, which brings me back to square one.

Am I doing something incorrectly, or can we not include rich text where we need to aggregate dates anywhere (rules engine and reports, so far)?

Thanks again. 

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Dan Ahrens, Official Rep

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Hey Allison, you're right, this requires one extra step in the rule setup to merge the data sets. Both data fetches are on the Activity Timeline object. 

Data fetch 1: Pull max of activity date


Data fetch 2: Pull subject and notes (and other data you might want)


Merge: retaining common records from both data fetches merging on SFDC Account ID and Activity date (which is a date time, so you get the most recent). 


The merged data will have the notes and will be one record per SFDC Account ID - the most recent record. 

One other error in my suggestion above - you can't trim the text unless you have a delimiting character, but you can use the length string function to show the number of characters in the notes field. Here the assumption is that a placeholder message would be just a few characters (maybe less than 50) whereas an actual activity would be longer in length. 

Hope this helps!
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Allison Elmer

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A-ha- perfect! Thanks for the hint, it worked perfectly.