cViewPICK Pick List Utility for Crystal Reports
cViewPICK Pick List Utility for Crystal Reports
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| This Crystal Reports utility allows you to rebuild the default pick list values in a folder of reports and to import and export pick lists as needed. Free 30-day trial. |
cViewPICK is available in two versions (8.0 and 9.0). These use different Crystal Reports run time libraries.
cViewPICK is a Crystal Reports utility that allows you to rebuild the default pick list values in a folder of reports.
| Picklists are useful, but they can get out of hand. And if you have recurring picklist issues (for whatever reason), you may consider a radical solution: eliminate them entirely. Or, short of that, eliminate the reason for most of the options you might present. |
One reason picklists get long is the report user is presenting too much data instead of information. There are two ways to clear this up.
One is to substitute images for words. We have some great image tools for that:
Another way is to rethink your reports, entirely. What is your basic philosophy of design? If you're the typical report designer, your report reformats data instead of fully using the potential of Crystal Reports to use the data to produce actionable information that supports business decisions. There's a reason why Crystal Reports and competing tools are called "Business Intelligence" and you need to be thinking of that reason when designing your reports.
If people are exporting to Excel, you have a failure on your hands. Not only is your report system not providing the answers they need, but they are playing with data instead of doingthe jobs they need to be doing. Similarly, you don't want them wading through a long picklist; you want them able to quick get the information they need.
If you have the Excel and long picklist problem, it doesn't mean you're a slacker. It just means you haven't taken things to the next level. Many of us have come from a data-oriented background.
You may have spent long hours in spreadsheets, analyzing data. You may have spent long hours in databases, developing queries and looking at rows of data in tables. You've probably worked so much with data that you think in terms of the data container--cells, rows and columns, tables. You have probably gone a step beyond that to work with the relationships between data containers as you join them together. This is great when you are working in data. It is not so great when you are working in reports. Unfortunately, most reports are nothing more than reformatted data. The report developer isn't thinking beyond the query level, despite using a tool (Crystal Reports) designed specifically to move past it.
You need to ensure your reports contain business information, not business data. They need to be decision tools, not intermediary data sources. So, what are you to do? Start by determining what business questions need answering. For example:
Instead of taking the data approach (starting with the data and seeing what you can do to create a report), take the information approach:
Talk with the senior executives (who may or may not be on your existing distribution list), and ask each one to tell you what the top three business questions are. If they give you more, that's OK. Compile a list, and see what data you would need for you to answer those questions with your reports.
Next, repeat this process with the people who are already on your distribution list. You are now ready to determine what will be reported.
Why talk with the senior executives, first? Those are the folks who run your company, so figure out what they want. Providing that helps secure your job and future raises in no small way. But it also helps you build the correct framework for your entire process, so that all users are marching to the same tune. You have to start at the beginning, not in the middle. By definition, middle managers can't see the big picture.
This raises another point. Surveys conducted between 2005 and 2008 showed that senior executives rarely have an accurate picture of their organization or the conditions under which it operates. They have a much rosier view, because people generally try to please them. These same people lack the time to dig through the data to see the real picture. In most companies, senior executives also lack the skills to do so. This means the data-oriented reports they get are essentially useless. If you are in charge of those reports, what does this say about your value to the company?
If you provide the senior executives with the business information they need, and you provide middle managers with the business information they need plus the business information the senior executives are working from, how do you think this will affect the effectiveness of management to make good decisions?
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