Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Business Reporting’

Quick Introduction

December 31, 2018 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports is based on award winning components and proven technology, and provides users an alternative to such software as Crystal Reports, SSRS, and others.  The report designer handles all types of content.   And you can even import report designs from other software as well.  The report queue allows for scheduling of reports, file and document distribution including recurring schedules and provides easy to use list and calendar views.  Besides using Sunset Reports as a reporting tool, it is perfect for information management, data analysis, business analytics, visualizations, web site design, making labels, data conversion, document management, document distribution, and lots more.

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BIG Advantages

May 16, 2018 Leave a comment

So a company in the construction business is using accounting software like QuickBooks or Timberline which have built in reports.   The reports can be customized to a certain extent and most of them produce the output that is needed for the standard needs of a company.    Using a product like Sunset Reports can take it to a new level with custom reports from scratch where the user has complete control over the content.   Plus, the ability to schedule reports and distribute them in a variety of ways is something almost no accounting software can do.   Two big advantages.

But there is more….  The same company is also using a project scheduling package like Microsoft Project and another package to manage contracts, subcontractors, communications, change orders, etc., and then another software program to do take-offs and estimates.   Each one is perfect for the function it performs, and each one creates reports as necessary.    But you cannot combine the information from all these software packages to produce reports that tie it all together unless you use a program like Sunset Reports.   A really BIG advantage.

Sunset Reports not only can connect to almost any software package to use as a data source, but it can combine the data sources onto one report.   A single reporting solution that will provide consistency across all applications and is fully customizable with the ability to schedule the reports as well as send them or publish them to a variety of destinations and in a variety of formats.

This scenario is not only applicable to the construction industry, but also to materials, consumer goods, financial, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, publishing, technology, utility industries, etc..

Not Just Reports

December 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Yes, Sunset Reports is a great report writer, designer, etc. based on the general understanding of what a report writer is.   But the definition of a report in the software goes far beyond the general understanding.   A report can be a…

  • standard report usually based on some data source
  • document (you can do what most word processors can do)
  • presentation (create a slide presentation where each page is a slide)
  • web page (save to an HTML file and post on a website)
  • Windows form (using the new Windows View)
  • interactive interface (using the new Windows View, you can have the user interact with the window with buttons, etc., make a menu)
  • data converter (define an output format to export to based on an input data source)
  • a software program (using scripts, you can write software in VB.NET C#, JScript .net)

We will explore a couple of these in more detail in future posts.

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

Report Subscriptions

July 5, 2012 Leave a comment
Suppose a user wants to “subscribe” to a report such that the report will be emailed to the user on a periodic basis (i.e. daily, weekly, etc).  The process is very easy to setup.   First add the report to the Queue at the time the user wants the report.   Then open the Calendar view of the Queue and find the report just added.  By double clicking on the report or right mouse clicking on the report and selecting “Open”, you have the ability to change the time and also set the Recurrence of the report.   This is the way you can set reports to recur on specific days and times repeatedly.

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.

Report Server

June 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Sunset Reports can work as a “Report Server” similar to SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Crystal Reports.   The difference is Sunset Reports is much easier to implement and does not provide a web based interface.   No actual server software exists.   Instead a Windows Service is run on any Windows based computer including XP, Vista, 7, Server 2003, and Server 2008.   The service or “Report Processor Service” as we refer to it, runs in the background whether a user is logged on or not.   It runs off a report queue which has a list of reports to run, their scheduled time, format, destination, etc.    Reports can be added via the Windows based user interface, or from an email request.   The Report Processor Service also monitors an incoming email inbox for requests.   Reports can be saved in a variety of formats and even FTP’d to a website.

Report History

June 21, 2012 Leave a comment
Here is a helpful hint if you want to keep a report history…  When Sunset Reports creates a report file from the Queue and Report Processor, you have an option to add a date time stamp as part of the filename.   If you include the date time stamp, files will not be overwritten and you can accumulate a history of a particular report.   Without the date time stamp, the files are overwritten and this is useful if you establish a shortcut to the file and want the shortcut to work all the time. Or if you are creating files that are part of a website, you will need to maintain the same filename for links to work.

End-User Reporting

June 13, 2012 Leave a comment

“End-user computing” as defined by Wikipedia refers to “systems in which non-programmers can create working applications”.   End-user reporting is similar in concept in which non-programmers can create working reports.   Report designing is an application type by itself so whether you call it End-user computing or End-user reporting, you can be talking about the same thing.

Sunset Reports puts the report design, development, and deployment in the hands of the end user.   And with so many features, there is very little the end user will find that they are missing.   In fact, all the features may seem a bit overwhelming at first.   So we highly recommend end users take advantage of the Help and Support page on our website when they get started.

Writing Reports for Users

June 11, 2012 Leave a comment

In the article “10 tasks IT should consider handing off to someone else” by Scott Lowe, he covers a very important topic, “7: Writing reports for users… to a point”.   We would like to add to that discussion, that accomplishing this requires the non IT person needs a tool that can use and master.   We created Sunset Reports to be just that tool.  Several posts have already covered this topic and if you have not tried Sunset Reports yet, we encourage you to see how well it works.

Search our blog for the term “user” and you will see several posts relating to this subject.

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.

 

Product Integration

May 29, 2012 Leave a comment

In the last two posts about Quickbooks (CleverQ) and Medical Software (PsychNotesEMR) , you saw how Sunset Reports can enhance other software by providing a reporting solution.   Sunset Reports will enhance your software as well, by providing a complete reporting tool and information management solution.   To find out more contact us at Sales@SoftwareForProfessionals.com.

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.

IT Departments Should Not Write Reports for Users

May 9, 2012 Leave a comment

In a recent article by Scott Lowe named “Four more things your IT department  should consider not doing“, he mentions writing repors for users is not something IT departments should do for each and every report.   Sunset Reports makes this happen by being easy enough for end users to use.   What the IT department needs to do is to setup the data sources.   So the IT department sets up the data sources and then deploys the Sunset Report RDP file to the end users to create the reports.   It is a win-win situation for all.   IT does not get bogged down with report requests and end users don’t have to wait for their reports.   In fact, the end user can tweak the reports as necessary.

Information Management

April 28, 2012 Leave a comment

If you refer to the definition of “Information Management (IM)” from Wikipedia, you will see that IM “is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences. …. the organization of and control over the structure, processing, and delivery of information”

Does this definition describe Sunset Reports?   Actually this definition is exactly what Sunset Reports does.    You can define many sources of information from databases, Excel documents, or any other type of file created by another system.   With the query builder, report designer, calculations, scripting, etc., information can be processed.   The delivery of information can take many forms in terms of file formats.    Delivery can be scheduled and there are several destination types including websites, shared folders, cloud services, email, and more.

Chart Series Views and Indicators

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

For certain chart types, you can add an indicator to the series views.  There are 9 different types: Regression Line, Trend Line, Fibonacci Arcs, Fibonacci Fans, Fibonacci Retracement, Simple Moving Average, Exponentional Moving Average, Weighted Moving Average, and Triangular Moving Average. Each one has some additional properties that are different from each other. Most people are already familiar with regression, trend, and moving averages. The Fibonacci indicators are primarily used for financial analysis, but with Sunset Reports you can use them with not only stock and candlestick charts, but for any 2D X-Y chart as well as the Gantt series of charts. There are a number of good websites that will give you details of the Fibonacci indicators. Quickly, these indicators expose the golden rule symmetry between two series and are useful to forecast levels of support or resistance for a trend.  Check out this link for more information- Fibonacci Number

More posts coming on this topic, so keep checking back.

Business Dashboard

April 17, 2012 Leave a comment

To create a webpage that has several charts on it like a dashboard do the following:

If you start with a blank report, add all the data sources you need by choosing the “Add Data Source” menu item on the report designer. Then add one or more chart controls onto the report. Click on the chart smart tag on the top right if each chart and select the Data Source, Data Member, and Data Adapter. Do this for each chart. Run the chart wizard now to setup the chart. Arrange the charts so the report appears like a dashboard. You are now ready to go.

Your dashboard can include pivot tables as well as subreports.   There is no limit to the formatting options.   Then set it up to output in all kinds of different file formats and be sent to a website, FTP site, emailed, or other output option.

Note:  For a even more powerful Dashboard solution, check out CleverQ.   This product actually includes a version of Sunset Reports built-in.

Video Introduction to Sunset Reports

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbxoSiGV2IU

Watch this video for a quick view of the program in operation.

Report Carousel

April 14, 2012 Leave a comment

You can also have the program start with the Report Carousel.  The Report Carousel is a great place to browse report definitions available since the entire description is shown as well as a thumbnail of the first page of the report.   From here you can add a report definition to the queue or print/preview it directly.  You can click on the form to have the report carousel move, or use the scroll bar on the bottom right, or the record selectors on the bottom left.