One of the things clients want the most, but don’t realize they want, is automation of difficult processes that they have to handle monthly, weekly or even daily. Automation can save users anywhere from five minutes to several hours. We’ve been known to cut out tens of thousands of dollars in man hours over the course of a year with one project, by automating processes.
A great example of this happened recently. There was a user who grabbed data from TMW Suite, typed it into an Excel sheet and then manually did calculations on those fields to determine some basics about the information provided. An example of that can be seen here.
When we saw this manual operation, we suggested an automated process. By looking at where the user was retrieving their numbers, and reviewing with them what they wanted from the information and what the report was meant to do, we were able to create a SQL Query to generate that information for them. We then took it a step further, creating an SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services) report that would look and feel very similar to what they were originally creating by hand, and have it available to run on demand.
In many cases users want the information to just be generated automatically on a scheduled basis, which is something else we do. By using SQL or Windows Scheduled Tasks, we can generate the report on any given date, day, time, and so forth. Also it can be emailed to users who are looking for the information, so there is no manual interaction needed.
Whether your Accounting department needs a quick list of uninvoiced amounts, whether your Dispatch office wants to see the accuracy of their Drivers, or whether your Executives want to see the latest revenue numbers every morning; setting up automated reporting, especially for regular manual tasks, can save time and increase efficiency.