The cold is getting a grip in London these days and you see people wearing thicker coats, hats, scarves and gloves. It is not yet Spring, unfortunately, but on Thursday the 21st of December we are at a turning point; the days start to get longer again. It’s something good to look forward to and speaking of something to look forward to Salesforce is almost ready with a new release which brings us lots of new features. I’ve had a chance to review what is coming up in the Spring18 release and here is my take on the top 8 Einstein Analytics features to look out for.
Converse with your Data
Salesforce is enabling a few things that will make it easier to explore your data. The one I am most keen on is the “Conversational Exploration” functionality – this is a beta feature that you will have to enable. Once enabled you can ask Einstein Analytics for simple questions and the platform will automatically expore data for you. As an example you can ask Einstein Analytics to show you the top 5 accounts by close year, and what is better you start typing and Einstein Analytics will suggest explorations to try. How cool is that?
What is even better is once you have explored your data and you are satisfied with what you see, you can save it as a lens or clip it to your dashboard reducing the clicks you normally would have to do to complete and add new data to your dashboard.
As this is a beta feature expect limitations, but hey this is a pretty awesome start to exploring your data, which I believe only will get better.
Limit your Results
If you are looking to show top 5 customers or top 10 best sales people then it hasn’t been possible in the UI. It was a quick JSON fix, but still you had to switch to JSON. Well, no more! Spring18 fixes this and you can now directly in the UI limit the result you get back, so you can easily show the top x or bottom x of your data.
Compare Table Enhancements
If you have read my other blogs you will know that I am a fan of compare tables, I find them very powerful and a feature any Einstein Analytics admin should know. I am pleased that Salesforce is expanding the functionality of compare tables in this release. Two key things are more SAQL functions can be used in the formula and the introduction of column settings. The latter allow you to set the type of the column, alignment etc. One fancy thing is that you can show an image url in the column and switch the type to image and the column now shows the actual image instead of the url.
Individual Dashboard Views
A lot of users want to see dashboard with their own individual filters. Some of that can be “fixed” with setting filters based on the logged in user [see this blog for more]. But some of it isn’t depended on the user object, some of it is just personal preferences. Well, with Spring18 users can save their own view of a dashboard, in fact they can save up to 10 views per dashboard. So instead of having to reset the prefered filters every time you view a dashboard, simply select the filters from a dropdown of saved views.
When chosing one of the more complex charts in Einstein Analytics such as the Scatter Plot chart (complex because it has multiple groupings and measures) it can be difficult to see the which grouping is the on which axis and what measure it the color of the dot and the size of the dot. Introducing a new view in the exploration it becomes easy to see which is the vertical axis, horizontal axis, size and color of the dots.
New Time Charts
Personally I have often used bar charts with a date grouping and to be honest it can be a little annoying looking at because it just shows the date in form of numbers and not the actual names (Jan, Feb, Mar etc.). Einstein Analytics will now include a new Time Bar chart and a new Time Combo chart, that both show the time neatly like we have in the timeline chart available prior to Spring18.
SAQL to Chart equals Read Only
Most of the times you will start creating your lenses by exploring as far as you can in the chart mode, once you need it to be a little more complex you switch to SAQL mode, do your changes and switch back to your chart. Simple right? Well, the annoying part was that the step now is “locked” by being in “read only” mode. Hence you can’t make further changes in chart mode. In Spring18 this is fixed! Yay – happy further customizing!
Propagate Field Changes
Adding and removing fields to your dataflow happens, and in my experience often! This is not always an easy step as nodes are depended on each other and removing a field might have to be updated further on in the dataflow. Well, this is now easy with the “Propagate Field Changes” feature in the data flow editor. Once you add or remove a field it will check if it needs to be updated other places and tell you. And better yet, you can confirm it’s okay to make the changes and Einstein Analytics does the work for you!
Th-th-th-th-that’s all, folks!
That is my top 8 features. Well, to be honest there are a lot of gems (big and small) in Spring18 but I can’t mention them all in this blog – that is why we have the release notes. But I do encourage you to dig into the release notes once they are available!