or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy
Sometimes, I feel I need to work like Inspector Clouseau, in getting to the bottom of system issues & problems, of which readers will be aware, I encounter often.
How often do you realise that you are looking at a symptom, not the problem?
Anyone who knows me well would maybe identify me more with the real ale loving Morse than the comic Belgian. No hidden Brexit references there either! However, powers of determination, investigation etc, remain the same.
A few weeks ago, I remember encountering a problem, defined on a supplier helpdesk as ‘Problem passing report to Excel’. Now it was a SSRS type report, so that kind of functionality is broadly nailed on. However in todays complex landscape, maybe it’s down to a security issue, buggy release of ‘Report Server’, or bad formatting of the primary report.
However, its preventing some heavy-weight full-fat reports being finally assembled, so it’s a priority issue. Well we would probably all agree on that I expect. At the meeting, I had to ask, “So why do we need to pass that report to Excel?”. A good question I thought Morse might have asked, in that room, considering SSRS reports can pretty much bring any sort of data together.
The answer was, that we need to do that, in order to add some other data in. OK, but when that data was described, it would be expected from the original source of the first report. Spooky I thought. So I asked, why are we combining these datasets like this then?
Well that was because the second dataset was not configured in the database, as it used to be and seemingly, will be going forward forever into the future. Clearly this was a bit of a lemon drizzle cake moment for me. I asked, have we even tried to set this second set of data up and incorporated it into this report, which was newly designed?
Now I can understand use of Excel, where data cannot be stored in any corporate database or system of record, rare though that is, but not using features we already have is virtually vandalism.
Have a look around your organisation. How many people use spreadsheets as intermediate staging posts? How many reports could bring all or a greater amount of that data together, with much less manipulation? Save the Excel manipulation and also save a lot of the time of many highly paid senior staff. They could, I assure you be better employed doing higher value work.
Related Post: Do you think application solution sales people try hard enough?
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Jack White – Missing Pieces.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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