7/21/2011

Providing Solutions

In today's world of BI it's all about "providing solutions".

This week I met with several of my customers.

For one group, we went over every single report in production for their SSRS Folder.  We reviewed the parameters, the data, the reason for the report, whether the report was obsolete, bug fixes and enhancements.

Then I opened the door and invited them to think of new reports they would like to help better manage their business.

Met with another customer.  Likewise,we reviewed the list of 25 reports in their queue, went over the recent ones and mapped out the next reports to be created.

Met with another new customer who had her 4 reports in Crystal Reports, but because they no longer work in Window 7 without the plug-in, we are porting them to SSRS.  I had to explain about 10 times that only the reports are changing, which will be transparent to her users, and the legacy ASP app will not be changing.  I expect to explain this again and again until it actually goes live and she can see for herself.  That's just the way it is.

I met with another customer where the teacher transcript report went live 2 weeks ago.  We just received a ticket that we left out a good portion of user.  So we need to scramble to get the data imported and available for use.  This is a data issue, not a report functionality issue but the report is wrong so the Reporting Team is tasked (dumped) with getting it corrected.

And another customer who found 10 different ways which could cause my existing report to be incorrect because of the funky business rules.  I met with the 5 super users and we went over several possible solutions until the best (least obvious) solution appeared.

The basic idea is that there are rarely two customer alike.  And there are rarely two issues alike.  However the common thread is that the users will always find bugs/issues and the role of the BI team is to provide working solutions in a timely manor while juggling every single customer. 

Because each customer thinks their issue is most important, its sometimes tough to please everyone.

The other thing to point out is how important the role of BI report developer is to an organization.  Once a user gets the taste of seeing their data, the flood gates will open.  I encourage my users to ask for new report requests.  We are there to create reports for them.  So they can better manage the business.  We are a service provider.  Our goal should be to provide the best product/report.

I've been creating reports for users for over a decade and a half.  Not once has a users said to me, "Thanks, we have enough reports.  We don't need any more."

Every department in every organization can use reports.  The potential to provide solutions is overwhelming!!

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