Have you ever created a SiteCatalyst report or an ExcelClient Dashboard only to find out that you need to make several different versions of the report/dashboard for different audiences of people?  Perhaps you have different geographies/countries in your business and they need the same exact report, but the data needs to come from a different SiteCatalyst report suite (i.e. show Germany its data and France its data).  Or, it may be the case that executives can see more data than managers.  Regardless of the situation, duplicating the same dashboard over and over again, only to tie the different versions to different report suites is no fun!  To solve this problem, Omniture created a Publishing List function which can save you hours of work and make you look like a dashboard machine!

What Are Publishing Lists?
A Publishing List is deceptively simple, yet very powerful.  It is nothing more than a grouping of e-mail addresses broken down by report suite, which can be used to distribute different data sets to different people.  When you create a SiteCatalyst Publishing List, you do the following:

  1. Give the Publishing List a name
  2. Select a Report Suite (cluster of data)
  3. Assign one or more e-mail addresses who should receive data for the selected report suite

Therefore, if I intend to create a sales report, but want to send it with different data to different country sales people, I would create a “Sales” Publishing List and define it with the different people by country report suite as shown below:

After doing this, you can create a report to be delivered on a regular basis and then associate it with the Publishing List.  This will cause SiteCatalyst to do the following:

  1. Open the report
  2. Select the first report suite
  3. Refresh the data (or data blocks if it is an Excel Dashboard)
  4. Send the report with the refreshed data to the recipients associated with that report suite
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 above for each subsequent report suite in the Publishing List

Using Publishing Lists
So how do you use a Publishing List?  Before you can use a Publishing List, you need to create a SiteCatalyst report.  Simply open any report in any report suite and customize it the way you would like.  I tend to start with a report I have already bookmarked.  Once you are in the report, click the “mail” icon which will bring up the delivery configuration screen where you can click the Publishing List link to see the following:

Keep in mind that what you have just done in the example above is told SiteCatalyst that you want this report sent out periodically to all of the people in the “Sales” Publishing List, but that each person on that list should get the same report layout, but with different data depending upon what report suite they are associated with.  Therefore, the report structure/format will be the same, but the Germany sales folks will see data from the Germany report suite and the US sales folks will see data from the US report suite, etc…

So how do you associate an ExcelClient Dashboard with a Publishing List?  There are a few key differences when you apply the preceding concept to an Excel Dashboard.  First, when you create data blocks for your Excel Dashboard, there is a check-box that you must check off to indicate that you want the report suite associated with the data block to be variable based upon a Publishing List.  This is what you will see on the report suite selection screen of the ExcelClient data block wizard:

Once you have created an Excel Dashboard with data blocks assigned as variable, save your Excel workbook and click the “Publish” button in the ExcelClient toolbar.  From there you will be able to upload your workbook and indicate which Publishing List(s) should receive it:

After you have scheduled both SiteCatalyst reports and Excel Dashboards, you can see them in the Scheduled Reports Manager and SiteCatalyst will show you the format, schedule and let you edit the Publishing Lists or timing, etc…

Important Things To Know About Publishing Lists
The following are some important things to know about Publishing Lists:

  1. With the release of 14.5, you can now make web-based SiteCatalyst Dashboards variable by report suite using Publishing Lists.  If you do not want a particular reportlet to be variable, you must edit the reportlet and check the “do not override” checkbox.
  2. A person can be associated with two different report suites in the same Publishing List such that they will receive multiple copies of the same dashboard, each containing different data
  3. When creating Publishing Lists with ExcelClient Dashboards, you are required to have Excel 2007 or the free Excel 2007 converter and all required updates.  Those receiving Excel Dashboards should be fine with Excel 2003 or Excel 2007.
  4. When using Publishing Lists with ExcelClient Dashboards, it is important to note that upon publishing, Excel formulas will not be refreshed since the refreshing is done server-side.  This means that if you use formulas to specify date ranges for data blocks, they will not work.  Therefore it is recommended that you stick to relative or hard-coded date ranges when creating data blocks to be used with Publishing Lists.  There is an art form in creating relative date ranges that applies here which I hope to cover in a future post.

Have a question about anything related to Omniture SiteCatalyst?  Is there something on your website that you would like to report on, but don’t know how?  Do you have any tips or best practices you want to share?  If so, please leave a comment here or send me an e-mail at insidesitecatalyst@omniture.com and I will do my best to answer it right here on the blog so everyone can learn! (Don’t worry – I won’t use your name or company name!).  If you are on Twitter, you can follow me at http://twitter.com/Omni_man.

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