Salesforce Analytics – Summer ’17 Release review

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Salesforce Wave continues to evolve as a product and has just released a new set of features as part of its Summer ’17 release that will immediately benefit customers and partners with their analytics initiatives and business user cases. This article highlights some of the new features included in the Summer ‘17 release.

 Lens explorer –  New Lens Explorer Designer Organization Layout

 One thing that users will notice right away in the Summer ’17 release of Wave is the updated organization of the lens explorer used to create queries and explore data.  The new layout has more of an outline format look and feel making better use of its white space and improving query design and data exploration for users and developers.  Under this new layout users and developers will be able to add/remove/order measures, dimensions and filters on the left and see results of the query on the right side.  A nice improvement for users and developers wanting to quickly dive and get more insight into their data and allowing to quickly add additional measures, dimensions or filters.

Lens explorer –  More charts available on the new lens explorer and design consistency with Dashboard designer

As part of the new and updated lens explorer layout, the new Summer ‘17 release also adds a total of 16 more charts that will allow developers and users to design and explore data in different ways and create lenses that can be dropped into a dashboard without much tweaking afterwards.  Big improvement as it creates parity and consistency between the lens explorer and the new dashboard designer chart selection.

Lens explorer –  Update chart properties directly on the new lens explorer.

 Another nice feature added as part of this Summer ’17 release of Wave and again under the same line to keep consistency between lens explorer and the dashboard designer is the option for users and developers to update chart properties directly on the lens. Anything that is needed for the chart such as labels, legends, reference bindings for example can be added on the new and updated lens explorer with one exception. The only exception and property that cannot be set up directly on the lens is the chart style setup which needs to be configured on the dashboard itself.  The default theme on the lens explorer will be the light theme.   Again these features added to the lens explorer targeted to get users and developers  to create lenses more in a final state without much manipulation and fixing after these are dropped on the dashboard.

 

 

Lens explorer –  Sorting by additional Measures

 The new Summer ’17 release of Wave also incorporates the option of sorting on additional measures.  In previous releases of wave, the sort on a measure was limited to the first measure.  This is definitely a nice enhancement.

Lens explorer –  Filtering on Additional Columns

Similar to the new feature of sorting on different measures, this new Summer ’17 release of Wave brings the option to filter on different filters.  Users will now have the ability to filter on the additional measures.

Lens explorer – Consistency of lens explorer’s new json format with Designer’s json

Something that was also updated as part of this new release is the Json that is generated from the new lens explorer.  This new lens json is more in line with the one used on the dashboard designer and can easily be copied and pasted into a dashboard.  Important to note, the widget style is not present and something that will only be accessible from the dashboard designer.

 

Lens explorer – Drill Down Selection

 Another nice feature part of the Summer ’17 release of Wave and that will empower users to drill deep into their data is the new feature to multi select a record on the lens and drill down for better data insights.  In order to use this option users will need to select/click on  the desired record(s)  on the lens.  A new option on the upper right will then get displayed to allow users to drill down into the record detail for the selected record.

 

After the user selects the desired dimension to drill into, a new lens will display the results as shown on the following screenshot.

 

Dashboard Designer – Charts keep their settings after they are detached from a step

 When a step is detached from a widget on the dashboard designer, the chart will retain its options. This is a quite handy feature as users creating dashboards tend to remove and add back these steps to experiment with different look and feel of their dashboards  during design stage. The chart will remember your default settings.

 

 

Dashboard Designer –  Ability to explore SAQL statements from dashboard

 One of the highly anticipated features with this release is the ability to explore data from a SAQL generated charts.   The Summer ’17 release of Wave allows some exploring of charts that contain a SAQL statement.  When users select a SAQL generated chart, they will see the explorer option to allow them to dive and explore data into a lens as shown below.  Users will be able to view measures, dimensions used in the SAQL step as well as the chart being used.  Users will have the option if desired to change order of dimensions or measures, select a different chart or view data in a compare or pivot table if desired.

 As part of this the ability to explore SAQL statement in this new Summer ‘17 release it is important to note that the only options available for measures and groups by dimensions are the ability to change the order (move up/down) or hide these measures or dimension.  Also SAQL filters are hidden and not visible.  In addition, this SAQL explorer option is NOT available for SAQL generated charts that contain more than ONE dataset.

 

Dashboard – Dynamic Personalization for User Dashboards

 A new feature that is part of this Summer ’17 wave release is the ability to personalize wave dashboards by using dynamic initial selections of info pulled from the user profiles and user SF objects.  This is achieved by using the SF SOQL language which was released in previous wave versions.  For example the dashboard can have an initial selection and filtered based on the logged in user.

 

Important to highlight that the way of achieving this is by using the SOQL feature to create a query to pull user data information as shown on the following example.

 

 

Then once the info from the user object is pulled into wave strings, we need use these queried values in the binding reference to set an initial start value or desired filter.  An example is shown below:

 

Dashboard – New Options for Table Widget

 The new Summer ’17 release of Wave also adds some nice features to the table widget to improve the ability to better fit your data on your widget.  The options include fit to data with a minimum and maximum width for each column, fixed width with a predefined width for each column or a dynamic fit to widget that will dynamically fit the table to the widget your user is using to view the table on a browser. 

Dashboard – Dashboard Inspector

 The new feature allows lists a comprehensive list of all the steps used in your dashboard and allows advanced users to visualize some interesting and valuable performance statistics.  This new dashboard inspector includes a  list  of performance details for all steps of the dashboard and the number of times the query has been executed (run), time it took for each step on initial run as well as the average time for processing these.   More important as you select each widget the dashboard inspector allows you to view the actual dashboard SAQL for immediate debugging making this a quite powerful new feature.

 

 Dashboard – Nested Bindings are now possible

 A very powerful feature is the ability to use nest bindings on dashboard.  This is basically the concept of flittering a widget based on the selected slice of another chart.

 

As we know the first part it is achieved by a static step to define the set of groupings.

 

 

 Then a step to power the bar-chart that is using the static step and that creates the grouping of that chart.

 

 

and then we use the new Summer ’17 release of Wave option to do nested bindings to itself  and giving power to create more dynamics queries.

 

 

Dashboard/Dataset – Action Framework configured from the dataset

 I guess one of favorite new features packed with this new Summer ’17 release of Wave is the ability to configure the action framework from the dataset.   This was possible before and achieved by editing the dashboard xmd. The enhancement introduced with this new release of achieving this from the dataset quite simplifies this configuration.  To me taking action on data users are exploring is something quite powerful  and something I evangelize to our customers, and this feature is right on and making this configuration quite easy to wave developers and admins.

 

Wave admin and managers do have the option to configure the action framework from the dataset itself.  A super nice improvement.

 

 To summarize, quite a nice packed, useful and highly expected new set of features with this new Summer ’17 Wave release.   From our initial review a lot of lens explorer enhancements came as a result of wanting to align the user and developer experience of consistency across the lens explorer and the dashboard designer as well as adding efficiencies and functionality to improve exploration of data and performance. We truly appreciate all the engineering efforts from the Salesforce team to reduce the JSON edits, improve the overall user experience and add the much needed features for enterprise adoption.

References links

Tech Presentation for Sales Wave “Deep Insight” by Wave tech development team.

Summer ‘17 Release Notes