Telling a story


I am currently working a project that involves, among other things developing several reports, using a variety of technologies, all centered on a delivery model in SharePoint. Some reports favor SQL Server Reporting Services, others, Excel Web Access and PowerPivot, and others are more focused on PerformancePoint Services. In some cases we are connecting to a SQL Database view that is a transform of a SQL Table, other times we are connecting to data that is entered/stored in SharePoint Lists.
The most important thing about all these reports is that they tell the right story, i.e. the convey the right message. Sometimes when we are building these reports, we get hung up on form or format, and less on bringing the right content up to the reader in an efficient manner. For example, I am working on a report that is a very complex report. It has 10 different data sources, and has 10 different sections. The problem is that we have a customer entity that advocates a 1.7 sec understanding, however the complexities of htis particular report do not lend themselves to that delivery. There are times for susinct, quick hits of information, but there are other times that the ‘Cliffs’ notes version simply will not suffice. This is one of those times. I have been struggling with trying to reduce voluminous, highly complex data sets into a pretty picture, but it is not working. After talking the issue through, we learn that the end users of this report want a complex story, one with many facets and they understand that consuming this report is not a trivial matter. Ultimately the notion of 1.7 second understanding is irrelivent in this report and so I am undertaking, today, to rebuild the report properly. Remove that one condition and the report opens up a vast amount of creativity and allows us as developers to apply the data in a more meaningful way.
When developing requirements for any solution it is important to fully understand the nature of the problem and explain the problem fully and discuss the use case of the proposed solution, whether that is application development, hardware or software investments or in this case reports development. So what I have struggles to come to terms with for the last week now gets to be wiped clear and redone. This time should only take a few hours rather than several days.
Wish me luck!

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wattersbill72

Dad, Husband, Brother, Son , Soccer Player/Fan, SharePoint Person, All Around Geek

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