Partner TechTip: Did You Lose Your Report Again?

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Online reporting can save you when an end user calls.

 

Do you have thousands of business reports on your output queues? Has a user ever called and asked where his report was? Have you, or has someone on your team, ever deleted a report from an output queue by accident? Did an auditor ever ask you for a report that you could not find in the output queue or the filing cabinet?

 

These are just some of the problems you face if you do not have a report archival system for your Power Systems running IBM i. Over the years, I have seen systems with tens of thousands of business reports sitting on output queues. That means problems. First, anyone with spool control authority can view or delete these reports. Second, these reports are usually not backed up properly. Finally, even if they are backed up, often no one knows how to restore the spooled report file to the original format.

 

Regulations are forcing everyone to keep logs of the reports they view and notes to document report findings. Many people do this manually to prove to auditors that they look at their change management, security, production control, and financial reports. As automation experts, we cringe thinking about adding manual processes to satisfy audits.

 

For years, Robot/REPORTS has helped users maintain an online inventory, by report user, for output. This inventory provides the tracking and access history of what end users view. All users can view reports using their individual favorite interface: green-screen, graphical, or Web browser. And they can easily add notes. Figure 1 shows how easy it is to add notes to the Robot/SCHEDULE Good Morning Report (summarizes batch processing for a specified time period) using the Web-browser interface.

 

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Figure 1: This is the Web browser view of the Good Morning Report.

 

How long do you keep reports? Do you have a retention strategy for different types of reports? With Robot/REPORTS, you can define online, short?term, and long?term strategies for each type of report. For example, the Good Morning Report can be available online for one week, in short?term storage for 30 days, and in long?term storage for two years. Each end user controls when to restore a report for viewing. Figure 2 illustrates how Robot/REPORTS users specify archive options using a report set definition.

 

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Figure 2: Define a report archive (retention) strategy.

 

To print, or not to print, is the question. Robot/REPORTS is the answer. For years, it has helped users reduce printing and eliminate lost reports. Give Robot/REPORTS a free 30?day trial and see how to save money and organize your printed output. And check out Help/Systems' other offerings in the MC Showcase Buyer's Guide.

 

 

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