In this podcast I am joined by my good friend Mike Lairson to address a topic requested by a listener (see, we care!). Mani wrote in a while back and asked that we talk about data access in Analytics. Well, we’ve covered data access in CRM On Demand from a few angles, why tackle Analytics as it’s own podcast?

Good question. It’s an interesting quirk of CRM On Demand that visibility rules in the user interface (UI) and visibility rules in Analytics are not always a 100% match. Frankly, they’ve gotten very close over the last several releases, but there are still a few key differences folks should be aware of.

And by UI, we’re really talking about everything BUT analytics. We’ll run down the main areas of difference here, keep these in mind when you are designing your data access scheme.

Analytics Visibility Settings
So right off the bat, we’ve got some specific settings at the Company and User level we should pay attention to. These are your aptly names Analytics Visibility Settings and you set these up in the Company Profile. You’ll see the same selections in the User profile.

Reporting Subject Areas
This is for your real-time reports. Options are Team or Manager Visibility in Real-time, keep in mind these are mutually exclusive. So if you choose Team, mgr vis won’t apply. If you choose mgr vis, teams won’t apply. In both cases, users will see data they own directly.

Historical
This is for your Historical Analytics subject areas. Same options as real-time plus “Full”, which combines the two. Nice!

Role-Based Can Read all records
This is a new option slipped into a recent innovation pack. And it’s very cool. This will honor the “Read All” Role setting in analytics. For example, if you checked the “Read All Records” option for Contacts on a Role, then anyone with that Role can see all Contacts in the UI. If you check this box in the company profile, they will also see all Contacts in Analytics. Very handy new feature.

What about Books?
Ah, our darling Books, how we love thee. Most of the time. When it comes to Analytics, Books may not behave as you expect. First, to use books at all in Analytics, your Historical visibility must be set to Full; real-time can be set to either option.

When using Books in Analytics, you’ll notice that you have a look-in selector available on the Reports Homepage. When running reports, the focus will be on data within the selected Book. But wait! Does your Role have “All access Analytics”? If so, then this won’t work – the data won’t be filtered to the selected Book – you’ll just see everything.

Books are also applied differently in Real-time vs Historical. In real-time, you are going to see data from the currently selected Book – not from any child Books. In Historical, you can see down the Book hierarchy. This can have an impact on your Book design – think about how you might use Custom Objects, which are only exposed in real-time reports.

So what about Groups & Delegation?
Yeah, so delegation doesn’t give you access to analytics. If you are a delegatee, you see what your manager has via teams and manager visibility in the UI, but Analytics don’t show up.

And please don’t use Groups. Just don’t do it. But as far as analytics are concerned, these are Teams and Team visibility applies.

How about some advice?
Mike’s advice to the companies he consults is to think early and often about how you want your data to appear in reports – and how users will see that data. Interestingly, it isn’t always the case that companies want a 100% match between UI visibility and Analytics. Perhaps we want the sales team to see overall pipeline numbers – but not the opportunities beneath them.

So how do we handle this? Report filters! Think about data access as just another report filter – one that is applied at a low level, before we even run the report.

But we can limit the data that appears using those normal column filters as well. And, as Mike details in this episode and in his book, we can get pretty sophisticated about it using protected report folders visible only to certain roles and by using session variables to tailor the information to the user.

So although you may set up those company and role based visibility settings to give broad access in Analytics, you can pare it back. Listen to the podcast for some other ideas on how Dashboard controls can be used to further control access.

Conclusion
We covered a lot of ground on this podcast and the conversation got a bit technical. If you’re looking for more detail, check out Mike’s great book “Oracle CRM On Demand Reporting” available on Amazon.com.

The net is, get to know how Analytics visibility works and don’t take it for granted that the system you design in the UI is going to apply 100% to reports. Define how you want reports to appear to users and then apply all the available tools – access controls, filters, dashboards – to achieve it.

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