I have just been catching up on my pod cast listening while cleaning up my office (a task worthy of Time Team and also really requiring three days). Episode 56 of the SharePoint Pod Show (also available via iTunes) has an interesting interview with Jeff Huckaby. In the interview they discuss the practical application of reports in SharePoint to a nationwide Truck Stop business.
They discuss an example where a drop in gum sales at one location showed up in a report. A site visit revealed the product point of sale display had been bumped and people couldn’t easily get gum out of it. A well illustrated connection between information in a report and a practical action in response.
In a time past, I was a public servant where gathering data was an end in itself and the use of the gathered information never clearly seen. As an occasional web developer (think Classic ASP, MS Access and SQL server combined with Dreamweaver) where a big part of what I do is data entry and reports for end users and management, I have developed an appreciation for converting data into effective management reports that can be used for taking action. Effective reporting is also a driving factor behind the questions I get in Excel courses. So I find myself regularly encountering Business Intelligence issues and found this epiosode very relevant.
I recommend listening to Episode 56 for any IT literate manager.
I would also recommend Episode 59 which discusses end-user adoption. I have to do some work planning forthcoming SharePoint training so I got some useful ideas from my 25 minute investment.