Presenting to the right audience If you re like

Presenting to the right audience If you re like me, you need to create reports and share them with other people in the company so that they understand something about the data and then hopefully have them interpret or explain the business context to everyone else. Depending on the functional role of the person with whom you ll be sharing the results, the style of the report is sure to be different. Some people react better to a pure numbers presentation. Others respond better to a graphical view of the information, perhaps showing a trend over time or a comparative chart of performance compared with other like aspects. Reporting Services allows you to customize your information to suit the preferences of a wide variety of consumers of information. Reporting Services allows you to create traditional reports as well as free-form reports. It also allows you to create interactive reports that can drill into more detail by linking directly to another report. If you re making a presentation to the board of directors or perhaps creating a list of To Do s for yourself, knowing your audience helps you define the best style and format for your report. Offering the right content and design When somebody walks up to me at the copy machine and asks me, What is this report that Accounting sent me last week supposed to be telling me? , I usually wonder about two things. First, is this guy testing me with something that I m supposed to be able to pick up quickly? Then, after rapidly scanning the information and concluding that it is not a test, I m usually shocked by how poorly organized the information in the report actually is. Finally, I have to shrug my shoulders and confess that I am just as confused as he is. The moral of this story is that many bad reports are out there! Reporting can be improved by taking advantage of features that present the right information clearly so that you have no question about the right interpretation. A report with the right content and design is easy to understand by ordinary people like you and me. Designing a report so that the content is easy to figure out can be a challenge. For example, it s difficult right off the bat to interview a business professional and puzzle out from the interview all of his or her reporting needs. Even if the interview session goes well, determining what reports are best for his or her purposes and perspectives is difficult. To do a great job at this, you need to have an understanding of all the information coming from the key data sources within the organization. Therefore, good information content in a report requires that you have a holistic understanding of a great many aspects about the business and its operational data assets. Chapter 1: Getting Familiar with Reporting Services 13

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