There is a common perception amongst non-technical people that the IT department is merely a commodity to be used by the rest of the business; available on demand, but working quietly in the background at all other times.
Is it any wonder that you dont get a chance to show your true value, when every minute of the day is spent responding to other peoples demands? You have a new sales initiative, so a new database has to be assembled to show the corresponding figures. There is a new Finance Director who wants reports to be in Word, with pie charts from now on yet another new database to assemble. Your Warehouse Manager needs to know what stock is available in each store another report, another database.
Your team spends hours hovering over computers, analysing multitudes of files, building databases, compiling all of the data into a comprehensive report. With so many other details to take care of, there isnt always time to make deviations to the standard report template. So, when other Directors receive their final, printed report, it is presented in a static format each time with the only difference being the final numbers; no capacity for manipulation or cross referencing.
Every day brings a new report which was needed yesterday. When do you get time to think about the departments strategic contribution to the business? Next time you get five minutes, consider the difference it would make to your departments workload if the other Directors could produce their own reports.
There is software available to enable you to work easily with reports without having to stick to a standardised format; software that allows you to analyse all facets of your companys supply chain through an interactive, secure and user-friendly interface. Based on ASCs SEQUEL product suite, ViewPoint from Island Pacific allows you to compile multiple reports in multiple formats from a single database, so any unexpected requests can be met easily and quickly. Better still, you can email a link to the report that allows the user to select the format and layout that suits their individual requirements.
This does not mean that you need to throw your IT programming skills down the drain! It just means that you have the advantage of comprehending the reporting process from start to finish whilst not having to get drawn into the hour by hour, sale by sale detail.
By implementing a financial reporting programme you can offer other Directors custom views of reports that can be created in a fraction of the time it would have taken you to code them. By offering easy to use software, both technical and non-technical users will be able to design views quickly with tabling features that automatically summarise data by categories, and design reports with formatted text and graphics for PC printer output. Its time for IT Directors and staff to stop bending over backwards for the rest of the company by bringing a little more flexibility into their own department.
Mike Dotson has nearly twenty years experience working in the retail industry and became Director of Operations, Europe at Island Pacific in 2001. In this UK-based position he has been instrumental in growing the software revenue through the development of new sales channels, within the EMEA region. Mike has been with Island Pacific for nine years. Since joining the company in the US in 1994 as an application specialist, he has held various roles in the organization, including managing implementation projects in Europe and management of the professional services department. This position included increasing revenue from existing customers by providing upgrades, health checks, and business process reviews.