How to stop reinventing the wheel and start using existing reports

Sometimes when creating a new report, we do nothing but reinvent the wheel… What am I talking about? It is a common truth that the need for reports of 80% of users can be met with already existing standard reports of a company. But instead of using already existing reports, business users create new ones. Why would they do it? Do they have nothing else to do and therefore strive for more fun?

It’s not like that at all. In most cases, business users simply cannot find reports they need, and sometimes they are even unaware of their existence. Instead of doing their main job, they spend their precious time ‘carving’ the wheel… Doing so, they do not only waste their own time but cause proliferation of reports, which inevitably spins out of control and creates chaos. And these are not just sheer allegations.

The problem of multiple reports is not only in their number. There is always a chance to be misled by contradictory data they often contain. Can you trust a report, which is a compilation of several reports, shared between business users in Excel spreadsheets?

Uncontrollable development of reports is an issue that some companies have already acknowledged and start taking measures for solving it: some introduce strict business policies, others implement self-service BI.

But one of the first and easiest steps to gain control is to give freedom. I mean, to give business users access to existing reports from one single place, let’s say a portal, which is easy and familiar to use, like Facebook, for example. A portal, where people can search for a report they need in an easy, google-like way and then jump straight to the BI system where the report is stored. And let’s add a bit of Wiki features – descriptions to all reports to help users understand what reports mean and what they are about. And a bit of Skype – a single communication channel, where users could ask questions about reports if something remained unclear… Then, I bet business users would thank us for saving their time from reinventing the wheel and creation of new reports that already exist.

At the end of the day, everyone would be happier. Users, because they can find a necessary report within a few minutes and in several clicks; a BI team, as the number of requests for new reports would go down.

You may say I’m a dreamer, but such portals already exist.

One of the examples you can see in this

 

Let’s make life easier!

 
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