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Einstein Analytics snapshotting: Find trends and patterns in your data


Snapshotting data can be a potent tool in Salesforce Einstein Analytics (EA). In this post, we look at standard and custom methods to set up snapshotting and create the datasets required for reporting.

But first, what is snapshotting? A snapshot, a full-volume copy of data at a particular point in time, allows users to capture periodic point-in-time summaries across various data types.

Snapshots deliver trend and point-in-time comparative analysis to every role of the Salesforce organization. For example, if you want to capture opportunities, there might be 100 records for a month. If you choose to snapshot every month, you will have 1200 records after a year. You can then filter the snapshot data to compare “now versus then” or look at growth calculations.

Setting up snapshotting is a one-time process, and it’s even quicker if you have existing datasets in EA.

Option One: The standard method

Salesforce EA provides a solution for us out of the box—the Snapshot Analytics application. To install this tool from EA, perform the following steps:

  1. Choose Create on the top right of the window.
  1. Choose Start From Template.
  1. Search for Snapshot Analytics.
  1. Select personalize using Salesforce objects and choose the object you want to capture in your snapshotting dataset.
  1. The next page prompts you to choose the fields to include in the snapshotting dataset. For Opportunity capturing, you could select:
    • Opportunity name
    • Stage
    • Forecast Category
    • Close Date
    • Amount
  1. The next prompt asks how often to run the snapshot. Thirty days is usually an excellent window to avoid storage limits.

Congratulations! At this point, the app should have created a new dataflow, dataset, and dashboard. The dataset is extremely powerful because you can create custom dashboards to compare the previous and current state of many data metrics and trends in your data. The app comes with a dashboard, Snapshot Trend, as shown in the following image:

This dashboard is dynamic, depending on which fields you opt to capture. For example, if you captured the Opportunity Stage, you can choose Stage as the grouping instead of Opportunity Type, as shown in the previous image.

Option Two: The custom method

Another option is to create snapshotting manually by using EA Dataflow. This option is more complex and requires some background experience with customizing EA dataflows, but it provides more customization options. Customizations include snapshotting compute expressions, augmented datasets, union datasets, and more.

The following image shows a mockup of how to build snapshotting in Dataflow:

Source 1 can be any node or source of data that you can bring into a dataflow. This source could be a direct digest from standard or custom objects, an augmented or union dataset, a CSV file created by using an Edgemart node, and so on.

The existing snapshot dataset holds historical snapshots or an empty container at creation. The idea is to join (union) or append these datasets together and register the result back to the container. You can think of that logic as taking something, adding to it, and then putting it back.

The following image shows this in the dataflow. You can replace Source 1 with anything, including another Edgemart or digest.

The only extra node required in Source 1, is the compute expression, which generates the current date, Compute_Snapshot_Date.

Commonly, you create another compute expression, which creates a text version of this same snapshot date used for a dropdown filter.

After you complete the dataflow work, you can hit save and schedule the dataflow to run as often as you’d like to snapshot the data, as shown in the following images:

Conclusion

Snapshotting data is a powerful tool in EA. With a one-time setup, you can see data in its historical state, which lets you find data trends.

Here are a few use cases:

  1. Track red opportunities or high-risk revenue weekly.

  2. Monitor forecast accuracy.

  3. Identify the number of cases opened period-over-period.

  4. Monitor active Salesforce users.

You can set up snapshotting quickly in EA. You can then use its vast functionality to create many useful dashboards, which can be a great help to all types of businesses in the Salesforce clouds and platforms.

Learn more about Salesforce Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

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post avatar
Mitchell McLaughlin

Mitchell is proficient in Salesforce CRM development, administration, and analysis with 5+ years of experience implementing and developing complex solutions for enterprise clients. Mitchell is an 8x Salesforce certified developer and Analytics Champions group member specifically focused on Sales Cloud and Einstein Analytics. His background in Full Stack and .NET development also makes him an ideal candidate to help with Salesforce Integrations.

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