A Hidden Gem To Trigger Alerts

It wasn’t long ago that I mentioned spending quite a bit of time every day in the ‘Answers’ section of the Trailblazer Community. It really is a great place to get quick help, and to give back of course! It made a huge difference in my early Salesforce’cy’ days.

My teamy Chris promotes many other benefits for joining in on Answers, one of which is to learn about the problems others are facing and how you would solve it, which is a great way to extract yourself from a specific company Salesforce set up and get the wider view. Over time you start to see trends and patterns, which you’ll then already know about when the times comes for you need them. (Check out Chris’ Londons Calling session on this.)

One of the things I seem to advise on quite often for the type of questions there are, is a feature that somehow appears to be underused. The context generally is when users are trying to do some sort of convoluted automation solution for what is a pretty simple requirement: let X person know when X happens.

What is the first thing you think of there? Maybe a workflow with an email alert? A process to notify the user? Perhaps even an Apex trigger? Well, maybe, just maybe you’re over-thinking it.

There’s another, simpler solution, which seems to fit the bill most of the time, which users praise, and which is slightly hidden under the radar.  So it’s time to broadcast about it, as it may help you in the near future.

Alright, now that you have build up your intrigue levels… let me (re)introduce you to a hidden gem, the one and only (drum roll please)… Report Subscriptions!

Essentially, any user can subscribe to a report to receive report notifications when the metrics they are interested in meet certain conditions.

You can set the conditions that trigger a notification, and specify how you want to be notified: via the Salesforce mobile app, Chatter, email, or custom actions.

To give you some context on which situations you may use this, I give you here 3 real-life examples:

  • Example 1: Email alert when we reach a certain quantity of new product sales

Within the subscription conditions you can set to notify only the first time time those conditions are met, and can use the aggregate for the summary count on your report.

  • Example 2Automate an alert when we are behind schedule (or when there is X amount of open issues)

Within the Report Subscription you can use formulas from your report, as well as the summary lines, as the value for your conditions to trigger the alert.

  • Example 3: How can I run a report and send notification email only when a change is made in any data of the report?

You could set up your report with an extra filter on Last Modified Date of TODAY, and use the subscription element to send your a notification if the report contains 1 or more records.

…Plus: it’s not only emails, you can use notifications via the Salesforce mobile app, Chatter, and even custom actions. For a neat example about how to extend the subscriptions with a Custom Action, check out this great post from Andy Fawcett: Supercharging Salesforce Report Subscriptions with Apex and Flow.

Note that in Lightning Experience, users can subscribe to reports, but can’t set notification conditions and can only receive report results via email, but – stay put – this is coming up!

In Lightning Experience you can subscribe multiple people to the report and even choose to run the subscription as another user:

Thats all for now folks!  I hope this simple hidden gem of a feature has given you many ideas on where and how to use it next (when you might otherwise find yourself automatically reaching for a workflow rule or similar, so use this feature and reduce technical debt) – don’t forget to tell us all about them!  😉

2 thoughts on “A Hidden Gem To Trigger Alerts

  • You : Let me (re)introduce you to a hidden gem, the one and only (drum roll please)… Report Subscriptions!
    Me : LOL who do you think we are, of course we know a user can subscri-
    You : Any user can receive report notifications when the metrics they are interested in meet certain conditions
    Me : Wait what ?!

    Thank you for this reminder !
    And OMG it’s been here since Spring ’15 or so ! I should pay closer attention to release notes…

  • Thanks Ines!
    I work in lightning, no wonder I never saw the option to set conditions. Looking forward to be able to use it in lightning.

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