All organizations that use ETO software have a need to extract data entered into valuable reports. You can simplify and streamline the entire ETO reporting process with an ETO report blueprint.
What is an ETO report blueprint?
An ETO report blueprint is a written outline that describes a needed report and is usually drafted before building the report in ETO to help you think through a report before getting started.
An ETO report blueprint doesn’t have to be a technical document. A blueprint can be as simple as a narrative description of the report or as complex as a report schematic that defines data sources, tables, report universes, and field locations. Using a report blueprint, in whatever form, is a great way to define the precise elements of your final ETO report.
Why blueprint ETO reports?
There are two important reasons why you should blueprint a report before building it:
1. Accurate Development
The ETO reporting system allows you to pull practically limitless data into a report, which can make the reporting process overwhelming as it may not be clear where to start. An ETO report blueprint will provide clear direction on the purpose and format of a report. You will save time and stress if you develop an ETO blueprint as this will identify where to start and effectively reducing the potential for errors.
2. Historical Reference
Often ETO reports are built for a specific purpose and after a while there is no internal memory of the report’s purpose, who used it, what it was used for, or what data was involved. By documenting the report structure in a blueprint, your organization creates a reference. This reference can be used as a guide if the report needs modifications or updates down the track. The blueprint also reduces the potential of duplicating an existing report in ETO software.
How to document an ETO report blueprint
An ETO report blueprint can be as complex or simple as you want to make it. Usually your ETO Implementation Manager will have a blueprint template for you to complete, but if not, here are some suggested questions that you may use to create a standard ETO report blueprint template:
- What is the purpose of this report? (informational on a daily basis for case managers, grant requirement, management level report, board report)
- Who is the focus of the report? (participant, entity, program, family)
- Who will be using the report? (intake staff, case workers, managers, executive director, board)
- What is the scope of the report? (enterprise, site, program, program group, collection)
- Is the report dependent on a date or date range? (yearly, quarterly, monthly, daily)
- Where is the data coming from? (demographics, services, touchpoints, collections)
- Which data fields should be part of the report? (participant name, program start date, attendance dates, goals)
- Do any of the data fields need to be set so that the report can be filtered on a particular field? (male/female, zip code, program eligibility category, age, type of activity, assessment score)
- How should the report be formatted? (printable format, table/graph, replication of a current form, replication of an official form, across multiple tabs)
In sum, an ETO report blueprint will outline the vision for a report outside of the software or provide the benchmark. Then when you go into ETO software to build the report, you will know how the report should look when it is complete.
With clear report documentation, you can build reports, edit reports, and run reports in a systematic way. Keeping accurate documentation that pertains to your software will save you time and stress, while also giving your organization the reference materials and internal knowledge it needs to manage the database in the long-term.