“Can I please have an email alert every time X field/record is created/modified?”
This request!!! Ah! Once users begin to fully understand the wonders of workflow rules and email alerts (which is awesome), they may start to make some superspecialsnowflake individualized requests for email alerts (rut roh). Alerts for everyone! On everything!
Wait, no. That’s actually a terrible idea. If you start flooding your system with special workflow rules requested for each individual user, you’ll choke up your system in no time. And you’ll have to devote time to testing and tweaking those workflows. If you’re a larger org, it’s probably already general policy that your support team simply turns down these types of requests.
Report Subscriptions came out in Spring ’15, and I spoke at Dreamforce about administrators using them to monitor data quality. Since then, I’ve also begun directing our non-admin users to this handy new feature in place of workflow email alerts, and it’s been a big hit. Why do I love this feature?
Self-service: Users can set subscriptions up on their own, which means they can edit them to their heart’s delight, set up new ones when they feel like it, and unsubscribe when they’re done. Without ever involving an administrator! High five, fellow admins! It also means that when they leave the organization and their user account is deactivated, those alerts simply go away instead of needing to be manually changed to another user (as is the case with workflows).
Self-service also = administrator time saved: Time saved for me and my co-admins that we’d otherwise need to dedicate to setting up and testing the alert, and then time later on for modifying it, and then even more time when that user leaves the organization and needs to be deactivated, but first they need to be removed from the alert and then we need to find out from their manager if someone should replace them as the recipient. Etc. You’ve been there. Maintaining workflow rules is not simple, and maintaining personalized email alerts for every user is just not a sustainable business practice.
The key to using Report Subscriptions for these types of daily or weekly alerts is to use Dynamic Date Criteria in your filters. Say a user wants to know every time an Opportunity associated to a specific Contact or Account closes. You’ll want to set your Close Date filter to the dynamic ‘Yesterday’ and your alert schedule to ‘Daily.’ That way, on January 29th, they will receive an alert of donations that met their criteria on January 28th, and so on. If donations come in over the weekend, they may need to modify the criteria slightly when they re-run the report on Monday morning. But otherwise, this comes pretty close to perfect! You can similarly use ‘Last Week’ and set your schedule to run weekly.
Of course, the criteria in a report won’t necessarily be as granular or detailed as workflow criteria, and you can’t set Report Subscriptions to notify you immediately, the most often you can have it notify you is 1x a day. They cannot replace workflow email alerts for everything, obviously. But they can certainly meet a lot of notification needs for individual users.