Thursday, July 02, 2015

Reporting Flexibility

Be sure, when developing a legal extranet, to provide clients various options in terms of the type of reports that they will need. Some clients will want "pretty" PDF reports which are simple "push-button" reports which they can either print or save to their hard drive for quick and simply electronic distribution (be sure for these report that you place the appropriate confidentiality and disclaimer language as well as the date/time the reports are generated on each report during the programming phase of the project since this information can not be added in an ad-hoc manner when reports are constructed) .

Others will want the ability to print simple reports (in HTML) directly from the browser with no plug ins because they prefer the simplicty of basic reporting. Others will want to export the contents of a report they run to Excel so that they have the flexibility to modify the report themselves, changing formats, headings, footings, etc. Finally, those with true IT skills may want to try and develop their own reports using a query engine/report builder.which provides the users with an interface by which they can seemlessly construct and save SQL statements to generate report output. Report builders are very valuable, they all clients to construct their own reports ASAP with no additional incremental cost since they can hop on the system and extract the data they need without asking for external programming assistance.

To the extent that a development organization can meet these needs during the process of building their legal extranet application, the higher client satisfaction will be once all their data is loaded and they need to begin to get information out of the systems. It is, of course, wonderful that an extranet allows one to look up the status of information on-line anytime, anywhere, but there are still many businesspeople in the world who need and rely upon printed or electronically saved reports, and when building a system like this we need to be sure that we develop the reports that are needed in the formats which are most useful to the user community for that particular project.