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Brian Ferris
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Beyond Traditional Reporting

INDEXT: Interactive Drill-down & Exception Trapping Architecture

Getting to the heart of the matter with better, faster tools

“The reporting function in my company is getting out of control.” Sound familiar? In today’s business world, the demand for information is compounding every day. Decisions are being made at lightning speed and the decision makers want accurate information. They want it fast and they need to convert their discoveries into action. With so much riding on correct decisions being made from correct information, it’s easy to see why organizations are pressured to develop and distribute more and more reports. 

What challenges and risks arise from this increased demand and pressure?

  • Skilled report writers may be scarce, bottle-necking requests for new/altered reports
  • Detailed reports provide too much information and are at risk of not being reviewed
  • Summarized reports , although easier to digest, may mask potential problems and don’t provide access to supporting data transactions
  • Different levels of users want the data organized/summarized according to their viewpoint - creating multiple versions of the same report in circulation
  • Reporting is a separate function and task – not part of the normal workflow

These inherent challenges with traditional reporting are provoking businesses to seek new methods for accessing and working with summarized data/transactions. They need these new methods and tools to expose the right level of information to higher level decision makers to keep abreast of market changes and stay competitive.

At OverDrive Solutions, we have approached this problem by integrating a design feature into our applications we like to call INDEXT (INteractive Drill-down & EXception Trapping) Architecture.

INDEXT Architecture - An Overview

INDEXT Architecture builds fully customizable, Interactive Drill-downs integrated into the applications that people use every day to manage their area of the business. Users are able to create limitless “slice and dice” views of their data by leveraging a number of column views that intersect with data paths. One- click sorting provides automatic ranking of the views. These are fully exportable for sharing and for offline analysis.
The second feature of INDEXT Architecture provides Exception Trapping. Simply stated, this is a very powerful tool. The application scours all of the data looking for exceptions that the user defines at any summary level of selected view(s). When an exception is found, the user is alerted to it, and they are taken directly to the view of the information. From there, they can drill up or down or access the transaction-level detail that caused the exception. Low-level exception trapping often finds potential problems at levels that are typically hidden when summarized with other information.
Users have a number of tools and methods available to collaborate or share information. Alerts can be generated and sent to interested parties when certain exceptions arise. Snapshot views and reports can be shared to allow others to see the information as the original user saw it. Action Items can be created for another user to follow up or answer a question.
This methodology allows the users of the applications to make analysis and troubleshooting part of the daily workflow process. This type of workflow design boosts power and productivity – integrating troubleshooting, reporting, and analysis all into one seamless process.
In this INDEXT Architecture environment, users become more intimate with the business, and with the transactions and trends governing the business.  They move away from simply reporting on the information to actively managing the information.  Now, your people are much smarter about the things that matter.  They have better tools and more information to work with, and it takes less time.
If you would like to learn more about the INDEXT Architecture philosophy, view our solutions that utilize this technology, or please contact Mike Parolini at MParolini@overdrivesolutions.com 702-476-0878.

Meet the author, Mike Parolini.