Meta-reports were launched in 2015. They expand the capabilities in report creation considerably, but they are not as often used by our Enterprise customers as one would expect. Hopefully with this blog-entry we can clarify better the potential behind the meta-reports concept and increase your appetite for it.
Standard reports have been designed to have access to one main module and other modules that are linked to the main one. You can e.g. define “account” as main module, and through the corresponding links, you can retrieve data of opportunities, sales people, etc. AlineaSol Reports allows you also to create additional links between modules (virtual relationships; created through the admin panel), to facilitate report navigation through the DB. However, if you want to show multiple tables showing different data, or combining graphics from with different filters, this you cannot do with a standard report. That´s where meta-reports swing.
When you create a “meta-report”, note that this is a dedicated menu-option, you will gain access to the “html definition” tab. In here you have the full capabilities of a WYSIWYG editor, which we have extended with various reports options. The add report button ( ) is the place to start. The figure above shows a table with 4 report elements. The icons give you some information about the type of report element you have added. In the example above, going from left to right and top to bottom you can see: a table with three columns and filters; a graph; another graph, and a table (with more than 3 columns).
So, this is the basis to create a report out of various reports, but let´s put some refinement into it.
Selecting colums from an existing report
Meta-reports allows you to be selective. So, let´s assume that you have created a (base) report with all kinds of KPI data (Key Performance Indicators), but you want to show the various number in different places with different styles. With Meta-reports you can refer multiple times to the same report, pick only the field that you want to show, put into e.g. one specific cell of a table, and with the WYSIWYG editor you can give a specific style to the cell (bold, size, colour…), and add whatever text you want to make it more readable.
In the same way that you can select a specific column, you can also select specific charts. This means that you can now spread around all the graphics on screen in any way to satisfy your artistic appetite.
Push-filters: orchestrating reports
Now that we can put reports together, make some cuts and sort them around, what you miss is the possibility to make them dance together. For this, we have introduced the concept of push-filters. The basic idea is that if you have filters in one report, you can connect them to similar filters in other reports, so that you only have to make one input but affect multiple reports. Thus the idea to “Push” filters from one report to another. Of course you can make these filters of type “user input”, which allows you to interact dynamically with the meta report.
And of course, with meta-reports you can do most of the things that you can do with a normal report: put them in a dashlet, distribute through email, export to html, …
Hopefully this article has given you some additional ideas to experiment with this powerful option!