Pitfalls of Self-service reporting and how you can avoid them

Posted on August 25th 2015

Self-service software has become increasingly popular, particularly given the demands placed on staff at all levels of an organization. With reporting software like Informer, self-service capabilities are certainly an attainable goal. But what happens if you’ve implemented software that isn’t as user friendly as you thought? Or maybe it is, but your end-users get in just a little over their heads? These pitfalls are commonplace, but they can be avoided given you know what to look for.

Pitfall: Implementing software without appropriate self-service features

Solution: This one should be fairly obvious: choose reporting software that suits your self-service needs. Do you have IT staff resources dedicated to report writing and distributing? Then choose a software that allows end-users to view and execute their own reports when needed and let IT do all the back-end work. Do you have limited to no IT resources? Then you need a more end-user focused solution (like Informer) that makes creating, manipulating, scheduling, and exporting reports doable for the non-technical user.

In either case, keep security in mind if you have multiple-level users. It’s important to have a software that allows you to designate exactly who can write, manipulate, view, and run reports.

Pitfall: Vague or unknown expectations of users

Solution: When implementing a new system, technical and non-technical users both need to know exactly what is expected of them and what they need to be able to do on their own. Hold an orientation meeting to discuss what users are responsible for writing reports, identify what non-technical users are allowed to do and when to ask IT for help. With these expectations set initially, there will be much less confusion later.

Pitfall: End-users starting from scratch

Solution: If you’ve chosen a good vendor, their customer support staff should help you set up your initial database connections and troubleshoot any issues during and after implementation. During this time, try to get as much done as possible before even getting it out to end-users. Have as many connections, table mappings, and sample reports completed as you can so that when end-users start using the system, they don’t have to start from scratch.

Pitfall: Users unaware of how to properly utilize the software

Solution: If you’ve skipped past the first three safe-guards, don’t worry. All reporting software vendors (that we know of) offer training. If you’ve chosen a good vendor, like Entrinsik, you can even schedule training for non-technical users and technical staff separately and based on their specific needs. Before you know it, your users will be running their own reports, completely self-service.

 

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