Data Designer Use Case: Combine CTAs and Timeline Data

  • 16 January 2020
  • 8 replies

Userlevel 5

Have you started exploring Data Designer yet? If not, I’d love to share a recent design I built that’s produced a ton of value across our Gainsight org. If you have, I’d love to learn more about your use cases and what’s working really well for you (so I can use it in my own org :wink: )


Here’s a short video (7 minutes) or feel free to keep reading as I break down the data design below.


There are many use cases for this single dataset, here’s a few that might help you get started:

  • Risk Management:
    • When was the most recent update on this risk?
    • Which escalated (flagged) risks haven’t been updated in the past week?
  • All CTAs:
    • How many timeline entries have been created for this specific CTA?
    • Pull a list of timeline updates for a specific CTA type

Okay, this looks complicated but I promise it’s pretty straight-forward. I’ll break out each dataset and merge below to give you ideas on how you can replicate this design in your own org.

In the design, I’ve pulled an initial dataset of Timeline Activities and CTAs, so I can first merge all Timeline Activities to the associated CTA data. Next, there is a data set and merge that find the most recent timeline activity date and flag that record for each CTA. Lastly, I merged in company data (ARR, Renewal Date, CSM, etc) to be included in my reporting. For a more detailed breakdown of each section - continue reading!

The data space combines Timeline Entries, CTAs & Company details.


  • Step 1: Dataset: Activity Timeline (MDA)

    • In this dataset, you’ll want to pull the most relevant fields for your organization from Timeline data. In addition to these fields, you need to also include the following 2 fields - which will be used for merges in a later step.
      1. Context ID: Stores the ID of the associated CTA
      2. SFDC Account ID & Company GSID: We need this to merge in company details & it will create a clickable link in our reports to the account.



To ensure you’re only including timeline entries associated with a CTA - filter the dataset where Context Name (remember, context ID stores which CTA it’s associated with):

  • Context Name = CTA


  • Step 2: Call To Action (CTAs)

    • The next step is to pull your relevant CTA data (CTA Name, Status, etc). For this step, you need to only pull the “Record ID” or CTA ID to ensure you can connect it to the correct timeline entries.


From here, you’ll merge the two datasets. Note, I’m doing a left join (timeline activities) because I’m only interested in Timeline Entries with a CTA. If you wanted all CTAs regardless if they had a timeline entry, you could do an outer join.


  • Step 3: Most Recent Timeline Activity

    • To find the most recent timeline activity - you can again pull timeline activity data and setup a “grouping” where Context ID (CTA ID) is grouped and Activity Date is aggregated to MAX.


Now, when you merge the most recently timeline activity back to the timeline + CTA dataset, it will look something like this. I’m matching on CTA ID & the date of the activity.

  • Step 4: Company

    • Last step, and the easiest in my option. Select all of the relevant company data (ARR, Stage, etc) and merge it based on Account ID back to your main dataset. You’re done! Now click Analyze and you can start to explore your new dataset.
    • Pro tip: Use the Analyze tab to build sample reports to ensure you’re dataset is properly configured before moving on and actually scheduling the run. This will ensure you can easily make adjustments to filtering or fields before the data space gets created.

Reminder: Data designs only run once/day - so ensure you’re team is aware of this as you start to build out reports.


Thanks for reading to the end - let me know what feedback you have!

8 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@kendra_mcclanahan This is really helpful!  Thank you for sharing!!



Userlevel 7
Badge +2

Just used DD for the first time - it’s pretty cool but so slow.


Hope that is going to be resolved soon.

Userlevel 5

@heather_hansen thank you! Looking forward to hearing any feedback you have!


@darkknight glad to hear you’ve started using it! It’s definitely slow on Salesforce objects (especially when they have many lookups) but I know there are many enhancements planned to address this issue. 


@rakesh FYI on feedback

Userlevel 7

Just used DD for the first time - it’s pretty cool but so slow.


Hope that is going to be resolved soon.

SFDC field load & search is one thing we are improving the performance for. Let me know if you have any other slow areas! 

Userlevel 7
Badge +2

@All, please leave your feedback here on the Data Designer module. 

Userlevel 7

Hi everyone,

The Data Designer field and search selection process will be much faster with the 6.11 release this month!


Userlevel 6

Hello Everyone!

Happy to announce that your request has been considered and included as part of the v6.11 release (Feb). While adding a field to a dataset, you can now search and find the required field much faster than before. When users type in the Field name, the search functionality now fetches the fields from the base object. To further extend your search on lookup objects, be sure to expand the lookup object before you search.

You can find the relevant information in our v6.11 Release Notes.

This feature is implemented in both SFDC & NXT versions.

Thanks for posting!

Userlevel 7
Badge +1

Hi Kendra.

Prepared a Nice use case using the DD. Thanks for sharing this.