“I can see paradise by the dashboard light.”
Whether it is dashboards, views or reports, there are two main styles:
- Canned – ie presentations of data that have been pre-configured by you or your application administrators
- Ad-hoc – ie presentations of data that you build on an as-needed basis
- And in the case of reports, there are also Scheduled reports, which are set up to automatically gather data to send (via email) or store, usually on a recurring basis
Similarly, there are two main ideologies with regards to who controls the formatting of data presentation:
- Application administrators – to ensure consistent presentation of data and efficient use of resources with the skill-sets to prepare these views
- Operators – to allow flexibility, speed and presentation of data to meet the needs of each operator
- In addition, there also tend to be Read-only operators who get little say in data formatting (unless they’re executives who want customised dashboards or reports of course ;))
There are pros and cons of each approach and it ends up being a dilemma for many organisations.
For flexibility purposes, the ideal situation is for the operators to control the way they slice, dice and visualise data to meet their personal needs to do their assigned tasks.
But when operators at your organisation don’t have the requisite time, skills or inclination to build reports / dashboards / views, then builds by application administrators is the logical choice.