Back in October, I published a blog post called, Four Little Reporting Tips with a Big Impact, and it got me thinking about other ways you could enhance SCCM dashboards and reports. In this blog post, I will cover three more reporting tips: adding subtitles using prompt values, applying interactive sorting and using alternating row colors. These tips will also help give your reports a more finished and professional look.
Note: As I mentioned in my earlier post, whenever I say, “reports,” unless I indicate otherwise, all tips apply to dashboards. Honestly, a dashboard is just one type of report!
Also, these reporting tips apply to any reporting software, whether it’s SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), Power BI, Excel, etc.
Reporting Tip One – Adding a Subtitle Using a Prompt Value
You might have heard me mention this once or twice before, but it’s becoming common practice for auditors to use software update reports in order to validate Service Level Agreements (SLAs). If you are executing reports for a number of different collections, and the collection’s name doesn’t appear on the report itself, how will the auditor know what collection they are reviewing?
Of course, when you run a prompt interactively you know exactly what collection is selected, but what happens when an exported report is looked at months or even a year later? Can you definitely say which collection the report is showing? Chances are you can’t, so adding a subtitle by using a prompt value will eliminate any confusion. To learn more about how to add a subtitle to your report please see, Adding a Prompt Value to the Title of a SCCM Report.
Reporting Tip Two – Leveraging the Interactive Sorting Feature
This is a tip that only applies for interactive mode. By default, when you create a table or a matrix, the only sorting that exists is within the SQL Server query itself. In most cases, this sorting is the more preferred way to see the results of the query.
However, what if you wanted to see the results sorted another way? For example, if you had a report that listed all computers with less than 5 GB of hard drive space and the default was to sort the results by computer name, wouldn’t it be more useful to see which computers have 0 GB free? This way you would know which computers to deal with first. This is where you can leverage interactive sorting.
If you allow a user to sort by any column, then they can see the results as they want. For example, in the screenshot above you can see that the results are sorted by the total number of PC types (lowest to highest). To learn how to do this, please see this post, How to Leverage the Interactive Sorting Feature in SCCM Reports.
Reporting Tip Three – Using Alternating Row Colors in a Table or Matrix
It always surprises me whenever I see a table or a matrix without alternating row colors, so make your reports easier to read by using this simple tip. For a step-by-step guide, see my blog post entitled, How to Add Alternating Row Colors to SCCM Reports. Take your table or matrix from hard-to-read and boring to easy-to-read and more professional-looking!
If you have any questions about these three reporting tips with a big impact, please feel free to contact me @GarthMJ.