Creating a Home Page Link for Conga Composer

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Happy Thursday everyone, I hope you all had fantastic Halloweens.  We bore witness to a few awesome costumes around the office, including:

TandTMW_PT

 

Let’s take a look at what’s required to make this happen.  There are a few key differences between a Composer home page link and a traditional Composer button on an object:@CongaPete’s costume was downright hilarious, but let’s get down to business.  Conga Composer is great for org-wide reporting, but those use cases typically only leverage data from Salesforce Reports or SOQL queries.  Using Composer to create a sales pipeline summary report in Excel makes a lot of sense, but it doesn’t make much sense to launch that solution from a specific Salesforce record.  Instead of creating a Composer button on a standard or custom object, a great alternative is to whip up a custom link on the Home page.

URLScreenshot

1) Because we’re not putting this Composer link on an object, the master object ID is set to be the current User’s ID.  Effectively, the User IS the master object – the ‘Master’ dataset that is provided in your ViewDataWorkbook or Template Builder from a custom home page link will contain fields from the running user’s detail page.  However, the goal here is to reference Reports or queries in your template, so having a dataset for the running user is usually just a bonus.  Note – you can use the {$!User.Id} or {!User.Id} merge field, Composer is provided a valid User ID in either case.

2) See those sneaky little ?pv0= strings at the end of each Report and query ID?  The default behavior of Composer is to pass the master object ID to the first filter on a Report or query, and we can always override that to pass a different value.  However, including nothing after the ?pv0= string tells Composer not to pass any filter values, effectively leaving the filters on your Reports or queries untouched.

3) Another default behavior of Conga Composer is to automatically refresh the master record upon closing the Composer dialog window.  This is super convenient when you’ve logged activities or attached your output file to your master record and need to see the results immediately upon completion of your merge, but not so convenient when launching Composer from a home page link and you’re redirected to your own (refreshed) user detail page.  The &OCNR parameter overrides that behavior.  If your master object is the User, you’ll want to use the &OCNR parameter in pretty much all scenarios.

Although the home page seems like a very general place to put Composer links, you can create custom home page components and different home page layouts for some personalization.

Those are the general rules of thumb when creating a home page link for Conga Composer, but let’s dig into some ways this can actually be applied:

Org-Wide Reports Separated by Time Frame

Excel templates are often the weapon of choice for home page links.  Using multiple Salesforce Reports or SOQL queries to retrieve data for different time periods allows you to conveniently merge each dataset onto a different worksheet in your Excel template.  Separating the data gives you the ability to evaluate the merged output results on a worksheet-by-worksheet basis or run summary formulas that reference data from each time frame.  I’ve used this to break down sales revenue by fiscal year in the following example, but you could take this approach in quite a few directions depending on what you need to track.

ExcelWorksheets

Dynamic User Performance Snapshots

I’ll admit that’s an overly sexy name for what this does, but the basic concept of a dynamic user-based home page link is that you pass the name of the running user to specific Reports or queries so they return data specific to the person who clicks the link.  This is pretty darn efficient, considering a single Composer link can provide a dynamic reporting solution for every user in your org.  For example, three different Salesforce Reports could be set up to display a user’s closed lost Opportunities, escalated Cases and open Activities.

ReportFilters_1

You could then reference these in a Composer link on the home page and pass the {!User.Name} field to the first filter on each Report:

UserNames

Making the Most of Aggregated SOQL Queries

I’m sure I’ve made it abundantly clear that home page links are a great option when it doesn’t make sense to launch Composer from a specific record, and this also applies to aggregated SOQL queries that SUM, COUNT, or return MAX/MIN data points from across the org.  Some of the most efficient solutions I’ve seen with home page links are just designed to wrangle data from a smattering of aggregated queries.  This is especially good for reporting on historical trends by grouping with SOQL date functions.

There you have it – a synopsis of how and why to use a home page link to launch Conga Composer.  I hope this gives you some food for thought, and that everyone enjoys the heck out of their respective weekends.

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