Creating a Reporting Warehouse to Hold and Organize your Excess Reports
One thing that Quick Base does extremely well is the relative ease with which everyday users and administrators are empowered through reporting. Through Common or Personal reports, your users can build and run their own reports at will with minimal training. If you are the administrator of your Quick Base environment, one of the most common things you do in the Post-Development phase is support reporting initiatives for your executive teams to get their high-level summary, while working with your daily users to drive their workflows and processes. If you have had the same app for a while, some of your tables might have 100+ reports that were created to help support a changing workflow or business needs.
While having a lot of reports isn’t an issue for Quick Base – it is confusing to the end user. If I help my company manage invoices, and I’m looking through 100+ different reports under the ‘Reports and Charts’ section of my invoices table, it can be difficult to find what I need. Some of them might be from 2015 that are beyond irrelevant, or some might have the same name and you can not tell them apart. In this case – your users have a hard time finding what they need.
So as an Admin, what do you do?
Option 1 – Delete old reports using the ‘App Management’ screen
os: Its generally a good practice, it gets rid of old or misleading reports
Cons: This would be cumbersome to do daily, and even harder if you are not sure which ones are important or not (like Personal Reports for other users). Also -the idea of doing it for 1000+ reports if you have that many sounds like watching paint dry and not a good use of time.
Option 2 – Put the most important reports on a dashboard and hope your users have everything they need.
If you are not already doing this – then I would recommend you reference the article on Putting Reports on a Dashboard and start there before you review this. Dashboards are a great first step for making reports available, and should be optimized first.
Pros: Easily accessible reports and load as part of the dashboard
Cons: Limited to 9 reports per dashboard, every user has the same set of reports for that role and can only be personalized so much.
Option 3 if you’ve exhausted trying 1 and 2 – Build yourself a ‘Reporting Warehouse’.
At a macro level – a Reporting Warehouse is a method for consolidating and adding meta data to any report, from anywhere, all in one place.
At a micro level– it means converting your Quick Base reports into records in a table where you can search across any and all tables, assign specific ownership, tag them by subject, categorize by Business Unit etc.
Let’s say you have a team of users who all manage the same data, but for different geographies, different clients, etc. A common request I hear is ‘Can you make me a report and put it on my dashboard?’. The short answer for most people would be ‘yes’. But if you have a whole team, it doesn’t make sense to try making personalized dashboards for everyone. With a Reporting Warehouse, you can add that report for them, load it into their warehouse, and then display their personal list of reports as a link on a dashboard. This way, all team members can have quick and easy access to every report they want/need in one place.
At its core – the reporting warehouse idea as I’m pitching it, is just a table in one or all of your Quick Base apps. It’s a ‘container’, where you add reports from anywhere that you want to be able to easily find and run. In that table – you will want at a bare minimum of these 3 fields:
✓ Report Name (text)
✓ Report Link (URL)
✓ Item Report Owner (User)
Beyond that, I recommend you adding a few extra fields, such as:
✓ Quick Base Table (text)
✓ Tag/Category (text multi-select)
✓ Team (Text Multiple Choice)
✓ Description (Text Mulit-Line)
The “Quick Base Table” helps you know your data source.
The “Tags/Category” makes your reporting searchable in a way a standard QB report isn’t. Think of all the different ways you might categorize your reports and make that part of your warehouse setup.
The “Team” can be used if you have units in your business and want to make their reports readily accessible. This way, the Accounting team isn’t underwater from all the marketing reports, the Sales team doesn’t care about the Delivery team reports etc.
Everything you add to organize your reports creates the meta data for your reporting warehouse that enhances your searching capabilities. With that setup – you get something that look like this:
Nothing fancy – just a series of reports displayed as records in a Quick Base table. You can search them, filter them, hide ones that do not belong to you, the potential is as limitless as Quick Base is. In the example above – by adding a link to the reporting warehouse on a dashboard, and going even further to filter that list by the ‘Report Owner’ – you can create a dynamic dashboard widget for your team so they see just only their reports right when they log in. No more confusion about where their report is, or not having a button on their dash to get to it. No more long or confusing lists of saved reports. They simply put all their favorites and code their reporting warehouse records as needed, then they, and you, are all set.
- Author: Chayce Duncan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Date Submitted: 12/20/2018