Summary Functions Grew My Brain

Aha, here’s just what I need! Hands on Training: Compare Report Groupings with Summary Functions. Explaining the PrevGroupVal is for comparisons across time and ParentGroupVal is for Comparison of contribution(s) to the whole. I’m feeling smarter already!

What got me into the rabbit-hole

I wanted to compare percentage change between our members dues payment last year and their dues payment this year. In many cases, this amount stays pretty flat. But in cases where the percentage change is greater than 7% that’s of interest.  Double digit percentage increase is super interesting. It says that an organization’s grant-making maybe trending upwards. My big dream is to be able to report member dues percentage change as a table of member metrics on a membership dashboard. My Lightning Experience Dream (TM) is to use this as on viewing each member account. While I’m not yet there, I see the road ahead.

What I’ve learned falling into the rabbit hole

  1. PrevGroupVal is for comparisons across time and ParentGroupVal is for Comparison of contribution(s) to the whole.
  2. Using Summary Functions is really powerful but pretty nuanced. You’ll want to set aside ample time for the journey.
  3. Summary Functions perform groupings “on the fly,” so in someways they can be limited for those of us whose reporting is not really standard sales reporting
  4. Point 3 notwithstanding, they are a great way for you to validate whether a certain flavor of data is worth investing time and rollup fields to have more granular filtering available and more visualization flexibility.
  5. It’s super important to check your math. No really, check it again. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes here. And a lot of ways to screw up your calculations, so take the time to show yourself that those formulas are actually working as intended.
  6. Aha, one late breaking bit of info. While I couldn’t get what I wanted in a dashboard metric component, I did get using a table component with conditional highlighting. I think I’m getting to where I may understand the metric dashboard component and how I might deploy it. But I find the Salesforce documentation and discussions of the component too terse and over-simplified to the point of being misleading.

So what formula did I spend all this time and energy on?percent change

And here’s where I ended up after creating some rolup fields and moving the calculation to a custom formula field.

formulaAnd here’s the table in a dashboard with conditional formatting applied.%change