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Archive for the ‘Data Reporting’ Category

Business Reporting Software

July 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Choosing the right Business Reporting Software is critical to the success of your organization.   Sunset Reports provides just what you need for to get the data converted to information and distributed to the people that need it.   Here are some of the critical features that you should look for:

  • Quick and easy report design with intuitive interface
  • High quality reports with graphics, charts, and links
  • Create reports from numerous data sources
  • Ability to create queries for sources that don’t have the views required
  • Simple to generate and schedule reports
  • Can utilize built-in formulas, perform calculations, and provide user defined filters
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MLS Data

June 27, 2012 Leave a comment

If you are a subscriber to the MLXchange, you have  the ability to export your search results.   These results can be directly read by Sunset Reports so you can create your own custom reports based on the exported data.  Here are the simple steps:

1 – After you have displayed your search results and included all the columns you need,  go to the export button on the bottom left of the form.

2 – Click on the arrow and choose either “Selected Records” or “All Records”.  Choose the “Comma Delimited” format, then click Next.   (Do not compress the file).

3 – Choose your grid format and make sure you click on “Include Column Headers”.

4 – Finally save the file in a location where you will store the file and connect to it using Sunset Reports.

Even though the file has an extension of “txt”, Sunset Reports will treat it like a CSV file.   Check out this post to see how you use the Query Builder to connect to the CSV file to create a data source based on this exported file.

Microsoft OneNote

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

OneNote is a great program and is part of the Microsoft Office suite.   This program provides a notebook type interface with the ability to have all kinds of content.   You can integrate Sunset Reports output within OneNote is three different ways:

  • Link to a report file
  • Attach a report file
  • Insert a report printout

A very cool feature if you insert a report printout is the ability to have the content of the printout searchable by OneNote.   These powerful capabilities have all kinds of possibilities.

You can also send a report directly to OneNote.

US Census Data

June 9, 2012 Leave a comment

There are a number of datasets you can download and feed into Sunset Reports from the US Census Bureau.   The datasets are numerous and are downloaded as csv files.   Sunset Reports can directly link to these files using the Query Builder and connecting to a CSV Folder.   Each CSV file becomes a table object and you can actually create data sources linking multiple CSV files.   The reporting opportunities are endless.

Report Specification

June 2, 2012 Leave a comment

If a user is to request a report be designed, some questions must be asked by the designer in order to proceed.   The following list of questions can be used as a starting point for discussions when specifying a report:

  1. What is the purpose of the report?
  2. What skill level will be required to read the report?
  3. In what format(s) will the reports be generated?
  4. Who will the receipient(s) be receiving the report?
  5. What is the frequency of the report?
  6. If the report is stored in a repository, how long is the retention time of the report?
  7. What or where is the data source(s) of the report?
  8. What fields or columns will be used?
  9. What type of report will it be?  Columnar, Tabular, CrossTab, Detail, Summary, Charts, Labels, Form Letter, etc.
  10. What is the general content of the report?  Titles, Report Header, Page Header, Report Footer, Page Footer, Detail section, Subreports?
  11. What is the report orientation (Portrait, Landscape)?
  12. What page size should be used?  Margins?
  13. Are there any predefined templates to use?
  14. Are there any predefined style sheets to use?
  15. Are there any groupings for the report?  Contents of group header?  Contents of group footer?  Multigrouping?  Running Totals?
  16. Are there any paging requirements?  New page for groups?
  17. Is there any filtering?
  18. How is the data to be sorted?
  19. Is there any special requirements to emphasis the content of the report with fonts, color, shading, etc.?
  20. Will there be any user prompted parameters to control the content of the report?
  21. Are there any calculations to be performed?
  22. What data is to be summarized?
  23. Will there be any hyperlinks on the report?  Drilldowns?
  24. Will the report include a document map?
  25. Is there any security or permission considerations?

This list is far from complete, but it will give you a good start on the discussions that need to occur when specifying a report.

Purpose of Reports

June 1, 2012 Leave a comment

The content of a report should satisfy the information needs of the recipient.   Reports should be as complete and informative as possible.   Extranious information should be avoided so as not to confuse or distract the reader.   So what are the typical purposes of a report:

  • to analyze trends
  • to provide detailed data
  • to provide totals or statistical summaries
  • to identify exceptions
  • to assist in planning and control
  • to provide an audit trail

The frequency of a report is also tied to it’s content.   Monthly reports should be complete for the month(s) queried.   In general, when a date range is specified, it should be complete and not for a partial period.   This could cause a mis-interpreted analysis and ultimately incorrect decisions.

 

Business Asset

May 26, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the most important assets in business is DATA and when the data is turned into INFORMATION, it becomes the primary asset of a business.   Transforming data from a variety of sources, making it accessible, and presenting it in a form that is useful is the main purpose of Sunset Reports.    Timely information and business intelligence in the right format gives managers the ability to

  • Make quicker decisions
  • Make smarter dicisions
  • Adapt to changes
  • Affect the bottom line

With Sunset Reports, you do not have to manually run reports, they can be delivered on demand or scheduled to occur on a recurring basis.    They can be delivered to a manager’s workstation or portable device like a smartphone or tablet.   They can show up on a website, email, or message.