Reports – Cheap Approach

September 20, 2010 by
Filed under: Excel, Requirements Gathering Tips, ROI 

Reports can be a low ROI (return on investment) and this post discusses ways to make them affordable.

Reports present information. This information can be needed by many different types of people. Where report development costs is when you have expensive developers creating them. Developers should be focused on only providing access to the data required.

Creating a report involves:

  1. Defining Who Needs a Report and Why.
  2. Defining What Data should be on the Report.
  3. Defining What the Report Should Look Like.
  4. Defining How The Report Should be Delivered.

Step 1: Who Needs a Report and Why?

Asking these questions validates the need for the report. If you cannot show why someone needs a report in a measurable way then it is difficult to justify.

Step 2: What Data should be on the Report?

This is where you and the Developer work together. The Developer role is to provide access to the Data that you or the business have identified the Report will need.

Step 3: What the Report Should Look Like?

The Developer should not be engaged for this, instead the business should have access to tools that allow them to create Report Layouts. It could be as simple as Excel or a complete stand alone reporting system like Crystal Reports. By not using the Developer to build the Report Layouts you reduce cost by using cheaper staff to build them.

Step 4: How the Report Should be Delivered?

As for Step 3 the Business needs access to tools that allow them to setup and maintain Delivery of Reports.

By removing the Developer from certain Tasks, costs can be reduced for Report Creation and Maintenance.  This also  increases the business flexibility as they do not have to wait for a Developer Resource to modify Report Layouts or Change Delivery methods.

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