Last Thursday, we dedicated our monthly CPE training event to the subject “Utilizing Reports to get the most from policyIQ”. While we have recorded training sessions aimed at the teaching users how to create reports, we wanted to take a different approach in our live session and talk to our users about how to answer questions using reports.
There are two things you should ask yourself before you create a report
Not everyone finds creating reports a fun way to pass the time, unlike your author. One of the key points that came out of the training session was a thought process that anyone can use to get started on their reports. Essentially, that process requires that you ask yourself two questions before you start to build your report:
- What question do I need my report to answer?
- What am I going to do with the answer once I have it?
If you have those two pieces of information in front of you, you’re ready to get started!
Filter to get your answer – and add Columns for the detail you need to take action
With those two pieces of information, you start to build Filters – narrowing down the results that your report will bring back and giving you the “answer”. Then add Columns to your report, so that you have all of the detail provided in the final report that you need to take the next step and take action on that answer.
For example, let’s say that we’re managing a project or initiative – and we’re using policyIQ to track all of the tasks that need to be completed. We have a status meeting in a few hours, so we need to run some reports to take into that meeting.
Tips and Hints!
There were a few tips or hints shared during our training session that we think are worth sharing with everyone:
- Do you need to report on items that are “past due” or that occurred in the past?Any Date field can be filtered in a number of ways, including choosing to look for items where the date is “on or before” a specified date. But if you want to run your report more than once for all items where that date is in the past, consider adding a filter for the “Last 9999 Days”. With that filter in place, you can run the report again and again, but never have to change your filters.
- Use the NOT filter!In our training session, we used an example of looking for items where the Status was incomplete. Our Status field had four dropdown choices: Not Started, In Progress, On Hold and Complete. Rather than selecting all three of the other choices, we selected “Complete” as our filter. Back on our main Report Editor, we simply clicked on the “Complete” filter and dragged it below the radio buttons into a new set of filters. We changed the radio button from AND to NOT, and now we had a filter looking for everything where the Status was NOT “Complete”. (See illustration below.)
Questions from the audience
What a great audience! We asked for participation in a number of places throughout the session – asking our audience to give us some examples of different reports that they might need to create. We had several really great questions that we thought we’d take a moment to answer here for everyone.
When you export a Summary Report, does the detail also get exported?
We created examples of both Detail and Summary reports in our training class. Detail reports are qualitative lists of content (or lists of content and their relationships to each other) with columns that show you the detail of each item. Summary reports are quantitative reports, showing you the results numerically across your chosen parameters. You can drill into a Summary report to get to the detail, if desired.
You can export either type of report to Excel, however when exporting a Summary report, the export will show you only the quantitative distribution. You can export the detail behind it, though, using this trick: In the lower right hand corner of every Summary report you will see the grand total of records in that report. If you click on that number, you’ll be taken to a Detail report that lists all of those records. You can export this Detail report, as well.
So the answer to the question is “not directly” – but you can get to the same Details and export that separately!
When looking at a date to go back from, does it include that date also?
If you are using a filter to show items in the past and using the filter for “On or Before”, the results will include items where the date equals your starting date. For example, “On or Before 10/26/2010” will include all items where the date is 10/26/2010 and also items where the date is earlier than 10/26/2010.
Want to catch up on the materials?
If you weren’t able to join us last week, but you’d like to catch up with the materials that we presented, here are some quick links to take you there.
As always, contact our support team if you have any questions or if we can help you with a specific report!