Consulting Opportunity 11.4

Assignment: Design a report (or reports) that better suits Stephen Links.

  1. What approach can the analyst take in suggesting more reports with a less- crowded format?

This seems to be a stressful situation for Paul but there are a number of ways in which Paul, as an analyst can re organize the report to make is better and well understood by Stephen. Any report that I prepared for any audience must be easy on the eyes. The organization must be easy to follow. With this, the reader will not be confused and will be able to find the information he/she is looking for. There should be specific areas of the report for specific related material in it. Paul could prepare a report in which all information related to meat products should be situated near to each other so that it can be seen by Stephen easily and compared easily.

  1. Comment on the difficulty of implementing user suggestions that go against your design training.

User led system designs are always challenging (Franz & Robey, 1984). Users have their own preferences when it comes to reading a report. The difficulty comes when as an analyst, we have to focus on the unique characteristics of the user, for example in our case Stephen, who is demanding and want something that is different than what we are trained for. In such cases, the analyst must be able to decide about the length of each section of the report as well the overall length of the report itself.

  1. What are the trade-offs involved (as far as information overload goes) in generating numerous reports as opposed to generating one large report containing all the information Stephen wants?

Separate reports can be used to engage the readers more effectively as these reports will be focusing on some specific information rather than all the information. The reader can then get to read what he/she actually wants to read and hence the purpose of writing the report can be fulfilled in this manner. In case of large reports, the reader will most probably skim the report instead of going in to details of each and every topic of the report. The first few pages will be read effectively and with attention but not the remaining pages.

  1. Devise a heuristic concerning the display of report information on one report in contrast to the generation of numerous reports.

I would suggest to devise a strategy to bring the required information in the attention of the reader. This can be done by bolding, italicizing or underlining the information that we want to engage the reader in. In this manner, the reader will be focusing in that specific portion of the report and the shortcoming of the rest of the report can be overlooked. Thus the information on one report can be useful.

  1. Consider advocating a Web-based or dashboard solution that would permit hyper-links to all the information Stephen desires. How feasible is that?

A web based or dashboard solution is one of the most useful way of presenting information to the reader. Web based solution are playing an important role in connecting different departments of an organization (Teo & Pian, 2004).  This technique acts just like a table of content where you can click on a content and reach the desired information within a second. In contrast, the paper based report need a lot of time and attention to reach to the desired information. When the report is web based, it can be connected to the sales information system that will enable it to automatically update with each sale happening. This report will be reachable from anywhere that has a computer, a smart device and internet.