Does reporting match reality?

graph-paper-magnifyingglassEach day you make strategic decisions based entirely on the variety of reports which you have received from your database systems. What if I told you those reports where wrong? Was your decision to increase the supply of Blue Widgets to Sydney a good one? Did you really just make 300 sales in that market?

Whilst you can provide staff training on using the system appropriately, that will only go so far if the reporting tools are not up to scratch.

A few years back, I was working on a database project. For some reason our reports where not matching with the reports generated by the old system. This is obviously a concern, and questions started coming up such as did we miss something and is all the data across? So we started digging into the reports, both old and new.

As we peeled back the layers of code we discovered that this was the first time that the data had been correctly reported for years. The old reports had a bug in it. This bug meant the old reports was giving a result so far from the truth, the company would have been better simply pulling numbers out of thin air.

So this week, have a think about the reports which you run from your systems. Are you confident that the data the reports are showing is accurate? If you’re unsure you can always ask a database administrator (DBA) to run what are known as custom queries to confirm that your reports are running properly. It might be an idea just to give piece of mind.

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