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Nice Reports Finish Last

Posted by Amy Wilson on August 3, 2009


Back when I was an implementation consultant, we always left reporting to the end.  Often, we’d even Go Live on the transactional system and throw reporting into a Phase II project.   Theory was that we had to first get the data in before we needed to even think about getting it out.

That worked really well.  I still have nightmares of those oh-so-complicated SQR’s I had to write with 12 table joins and performance that would choke a horse.

Fortunately, there’s been an evolution in thinking over the last couple years.  Not only have reports taken on an earlier and more critical role in projects, they are becoming central to applications themselves.  We have been hearing about embedded analytics for some time.  These are reports that appear directly in the transaction, providing users with access to information right when they need it to complete the transaction.  This kind of structure highlights the importance of information when doing our jobs.  But it is still, in many ways, an afterthought.

What we really need are applications that are built as reports first and transactions second. Give people the information that they need to get their job done and then, and only then, give them a spot to make a change, add some thoughts, perform a task.

We should be talking about embedded transactions, not embedded analytics.

Reports, it’s time to lead the way!

photo source: outdoors.webshots.com

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