Recipe for juicy daily reports

Published on 03 February 2009 by Joanna Dabal in AR, Blog, The Greenbill Team

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Why are we having a tasty Turkey Dinner only once a year, on Thanksgiving? For the same reason why we run yearly reports once a year, at the end of the year.  They have too much complexity, it takes too much time to prepare them and then to consume and analyze. We don’t need such complicated and elaborated meals/reports on daily basis. Leave tasty, stuffed with data meals for special occasions.

Reporting is like cooking; Business Intelligence is like Culinary Art. You should know when and how to serve your data.
Reports that we run every morning should be short and summarized as much as possible. When you get home after work, you want to enjoy your dinner, but better have it fast; kids are waiting for you to help them with homework. Same thing at work; having morning coffee you are quickly analyzing your reports before meeting with the manager. Last thing you want to see is a 10 page detailed list of new invoices generated yesterday. Total count, sum and possible average should be good enough. You always have the ability to drill in for details if you need them.
Daily reports should be simple, but not cooked rare. Try to imagine having a T-Bone that never hit the grill (perhaps you like them still mooing but humor me with the analogy). Uncooked steak is the same as query results from a database. Even a complicated query with inner select statement and a couple of left outer joins with other tables is useless if it doesn’t taste good. Taste, flavor, aroma and results matter the most.

An effective report should be marinated with conditions, filters, sections, groups, sub and grand totals. Don’t put dressing on the salad before serving; have the ability to select your own condition using dynamic prompts.
Last, but not least, don’t forget about dessert. Have a nice chart to sweeten up your report.
Enjoy your data!
Waiting for exchange recipes, by that I mean replies with your own experiences!

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