PUTTING REPORTING INTO THE HANDS OF THE DATA OWNERS Make your own d@$% report! A CASE STUDY OF ACCOUNTING DATA
Why Accounting? <ul><li>Known problem area </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-existing reports </li></ul><ul><li>Simple starting point ...
In the beginning…  (and for a long, long time…) There was paper.
Paper Is Bad, M’Kay? <ul><li>Generated on a fixed schedule at a central location </li></ul><ul><li>Mailed to extension off...
A New Age Dawns <ul><li>Microsoft releases Reporting Services as part of SQL Server </li></ul><ul><li>Web-based, on-demand...
 
But it is a Cloudy Beginning… <ul><li>Security  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A user is granted access to specific account codes <...
Addressing Security <ul><li>What level to add it?  RS?  DB?  SProcs? </li></ul><ul><li>Granted domain users sproc access <...
Usability & The Default Installation <ul><li>No instructions or help </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users unsure of their own acces...
The Sun Comes Out! <ul><li>Created a Web Wrapper Application to integrate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructions </li></ul></...
Adding New Reports to the Wrapper <ul><li>How to add a new report without modifying code? </li></ul><ul><li>Financial Repo...
A Light Bulb Moment <ul><li>What if I could give users the tools to make their own reports? </li></ul><ul><li>Enter: Repor...
Report Builder Overview <ul><li>Uses pre-defined data model to create a user-friendly “view” of data </li></ul><ul><li>Dat...
 
 
Building the Report Model <ul><li>Add common calculations as fields </li></ul><ul><li>Give user-friendly names </li></ul><...
Security Concerns <ul><li>Row-Level security needed to be added </li></ul><ul><li>Modify security model </li></ul><ul><ul>...
Using the Model in Report Builder <ul><li>Access to the model is granted to Accounting Services and Power Users </li></ul>...
 
 
 
Publish Reports <ul><li>One-time reports can be discarded </li></ul><ul><li>Regular reports can be saved to report server ...
Lessons Learned <ul><li>Start with the model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I created views, sprocs, security tables, etc. for dire...
Lessons Learned, cont. <ul><li>Determine all access methods early on </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct database querying </li><...
Questions for Future Growth <ul><li>How do we address the same types of concerns in more diverse fields where parameters a...
Future Directions <ul><li>In accounting: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Projections – state budget or sponsored program budget </li...
Contact <ul><li>Sarah Johnston </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(225) 578 - 6311 </li></ul>
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Netc08 Gl & Rs

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This powerpoint accompianied a presentation and demo of the LSU AgCenter's reporting application and use of ad-hoc reporting

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  • Netc08 Gl & Rs

    1. 1. PUTTING REPORTING INTO THE HANDS OF THE DATA OWNERS Make your own d@$% report! A CASE STUDY OF ACCOUNTING DATA
    2. 2. Why Accounting? <ul><li>Known problem area </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-existing reports </li></ul><ul><li>Simple starting point to explore options for future, more complex data </li></ul>
    3. 3. In the beginning… (and for a long, long time…) There was paper.
    4. 4. Paper Is Bad, M’Kay? <ul><li>Generated on a fixed schedule at a central location </li></ul><ul><li>Mailed to extension offices - Out of date by time of receipt </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to misplace, stain with coffee, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Not a usable format for other reporting needs </li></ul><ul><li>Takes up storage space </li></ul>
    5. 5. A New Age Dawns <ul><li>Microsoft releases Reporting Services as part of SQL Server </li></ul><ul><li>Web-based, on-demand access </li></ul><ul><li>Easily exportable to PDF, Excel and other formats </li></ul><ul><li>Drill-through ability provides detail without searching </li></ul>
    6. 7. But it is a Cloudy Beginning… <ul><li>Security </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A user is granted access to specific account codes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PI’s on a grant should also see their grant accounts without having to request access </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Usability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where to put documentation?? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Development & Extensibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IT has to create all new reports – requires development time and understanding of data </li></ul></ul>
    7. 8. Addressing Security <ul><li>What level to add it? RS? DB? SProcs? </li></ul><ul><li>Granted domain users sproc access </li></ul><ul><li>Added a function to all stored procedures that matches a user’s access to the requested account codes and strips out any part of the request that is unauthorized </li></ul><ul><li>Created an application allowing Accounting Services to grant access to users on an account code or account mask </li></ul>
    8. 9. Usability & The Default Installation <ul><li>No instructions or help </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Users unsure of their own access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users unsure of some reports’ function/purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No parameter verification </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bad parameter entry = blank report = support phone call </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No connection to the rest of our intranet </li></ul><ul><li>Bottom Line: Lots of IT Time providing support for very basic usability issues </li></ul>
    9. 10. The Sun Comes Out! <ul><li>Created a Web Wrapper Application to integrate: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Instructions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Report descriptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Account access display </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Parameter verification </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connected to our intranet </li></ul></ul>
    10. 11. Adding New Reports to the Wrapper <ul><li>How to add a new report without modifying code? </li></ul><ul><li>Financial Reports have a standard set of parameters – build a user control for each </li></ul><ul><li>Use an XML document to define report info </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamically build parameter entry screen </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamically load report </li></ul><ul><li>Add new report by updating XML document </li></ul>
    11. 12. A Light Bulb Moment <ul><li>What if I could give users the tools to make their own reports? </li></ul><ul><li>Enter: Report Builder </li></ul>
    12. 13. Report Builder Overview <ul><li>Uses pre-defined data model to create a user-friendly “view” of data </li></ul><ul><li>Data Model allows for security/access restrictions </li></ul><ul><li>Data Model handles common statistical functions </li></ul><ul><li>Drag and Drop fields and filters to create reports on demand </li></ul><ul><li>Intelligent grouping and subtotaling is automatic but configurable </li></ul><ul><li>Create new fields based on calculations - math or text </li></ul>
    13. 16. Building the Report Model <ul><li>Add common calculations as fields </li></ul><ul><li>Give user-friendly names </li></ul><ul><li>Define relationships between tables </li></ul><ul><li>Set up common look-up values </li></ul><ul><li>Define selection type (when field is used as filter) </li></ul><ul><li>Security Filters are Finicky!!! </li></ul><ul><li>Not-so-great documentation </li></ul><ul><li>Bypasses existing security model** </li></ul>
    14. 17. Security Concerns <ul><li>Row-Level security needed to be added </li></ul><ul><li>Modify security model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t use SQL Function with Current User to limit results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can’t match to account masks – must be direct match </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Enable a security filter by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploding security table to a explicit user: explicit account set of records </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add filters on sensitive entities based on current user and exploded records </li></ul></ul>
    15. 18. Using the Model in Report Builder <ul><li>Access to the model is granted to Accounting Services and Power Users </li></ul><ul><li>The data that the model pulls is limited based on the current user’s access </li></ul><ul><li>Users can create table, matrix or chart report formats </li></ul><ul><li>Grouping and subtotaling is automatically added based on the order of the fields in a table or matrix </li></ul>
    16. 22. Publish Reports <ul><li>One-time reports can be discarded </li></ul><ul><li>Regular reports can be saved to report server </li></ul><ul><li>Now: IT can add a server report to the wrapper application for all users or for a unit-based group </li></ul><ul><li>Later: The user will be able to fill out an online form to add the server report to the wrapper application </li></ul>
    17. 23. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Start with the model </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I created views, sprocs, security tables, etc. for direct data source connections early on </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All this can be encapsulated in a report model, which can be used for both ad-hoc and tech-designed reports </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Back up and test every step when working with security filters </li></ul><ul><li>Spend the time to train or write on-demand help </li></ul><ul><li>If your data will be consumed by other applications, investigate database row-level security </li></ul>
    18. 24. Lessons Learned, cont. <ul><li>Determine all access methods early on </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct database querying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Report model querying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stored procedures only </li></ul></ul><ul><li>??Can report models be built off of stored procedures? If so, can we remove domain user read access from tables?? </li></ul>
    19. 25. Questions for Future Growth <ul><li>How do we address the same types of concerns in more diverse fields where parameters are not standard? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we control the proliferation of new user-generated reports, maintain organization and prevent duplication? </li></ul>
    20. 26. Future Directions <ul><li>In accounting: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Projections – state budget or sponsored program budget </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different Fiscal Years </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Historical perspectives </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other data areas: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grants/Sponsored Programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research Data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Extension Reporting </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Delivery through MOSS (LSU AgCenter Intranet) </li></ul>
    21. 27. Contact <ul><li>Sarah Johnston </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(225) 578 - 6311 </li></ul>

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