By Garth Jones
If you attend any of my presentations about reporting, I always emphasize that there are three basic reporting styles: summary, list and details.
With these three styles you can handle just about any report design request, from the CEO to end clients. These styles will also help you organize the data that needs to be displayed.
I’ll demonstrate what I mean about each of these styles.
The summary report provides a high-level overview of the information. In the example below, you can see, at a quick glance, important details about Software Update deployments.
The list report provides essential details about a single item from the summary report. You do not want to overload the reader with too much information, so you need to give them enough data to make an informed decision or action.
In the report below you don’t see every detail imaginable about the computer, user or other patches; only include what is necessary.
The details report will provide information about a single computer or object. In this example you can see details about the computer, when the inventory task was last run, and a list of all missing software updates for this computer.
When you are asked to design a report, think about what the requestor is asking for, then think about these styles and how best to display the information. Also keep in mind that you will most likely need to create three reports, not simply one!