New Release of MITS Report Delivers Powerful New Features, Sets Stage for More
MITS®, the leading provider of reporting and business intelligence solutions, today announced a major new release of its popular operational reporting solution, MITS Report.
MITS Report 3.0 includes an array of new features designed to safely put more power in the hands of end users and free up busy IT resources—while ensuring both data security and overall system performance.
“This version will enable organizations to more rapidly understand situations, get answers and act on them,” says Mickey Lass, MITS Vice President of Sales and Business Development. ”It reflects not only the kinds of enhanced capability our customers have requested—but also establishes important foundational technology for future enhancements, both planned and yet to be identified.”
Calculated columns mean more answers—for more end users.
With version 3.0, MITS Report now lets users create and incorporate new data not identified when the reporting environment is initially configured.
“It’s not unusual for organizations to discover new information needs after MITS Report is in use for a while,” says Gary Owen, MITS Vice President of Development. “Often, once users get better visibility of their company’s data using MITS Report, they start asking more questions. The new Calculated Column feature addresses this issue.”
The new feature lets users create a new column from other data already included in a report, much as users of spreadsheet software can specify a formula for deriving a value that’s not included elsewhere. To oversimplify, if the reporting environment provides data on revenues and employees, an end user can create a new “revenue-per-employee” item and include it in a report. Calculated columns like this one are stored in MITS Report along with all the other reporting data, and are available to other end users for their own reporting needs.
Particularly appealing is the way end users specify how a value is calculated. Instead of composing a complex formula as with most spreadsheet software, users can access a graphical, point-and-click, wizard-like dialogue to define a calculated column in a report.
Foundational design offers ease of use, high performance—and more to come.
The MITS Report development team took its time, evaluating multiple design approaches, to add this important feature. “It’s powerful—the ability to define complex calculations with ease and the ability to store these definitions for reuse. We were certain our customer base would begin seeing the possibilities and ask for more, related functionality—so we had to get the design right,” says Gary.
The results include some unique advantages:
- If a user tries to create a new calculated column with the same definition as one created by another use, he’s alerted to use the one already in place.
- Progress bars alert and inform users when complex calculations require extra time.
- Administrators can grant calculated column creation privileges to a subset of end users, while all end users can take advantage of the new data items once they’re defined.
- Security is enforced at the calculated column level. Users cannot see data derived from forbidden columns.
Date-range columns: easy to use comparative and trend reporting.
The MITS development team has already begun to leverage the new foundational technology—in this case, to give users the ability to assign date ranges to columns, enabling comparative and trend-focused reports.
Take a given quantity or amount—such as sales by department, or inventory by product line—and have it display only data falling within a specified date range, and you have a data-range column. Take two or more such columns—each associated with a different date range—and you have ready-made comparison or trend reporting.
Because it is built on top of calculated columns, it gets all the benefits listed above.
“We’re certain our customers will want other specialized features like this,” says Gary. “So it has been well worth the extra time we took to optimize the underlying calculated column design.”
Ranking helps identify sweet spots, areas for attention.
The new release also adds an easy-to-use ranking feature that’s ideal for performing rapid, basic analysis of operational data. Simply by clicking on a column heading, users can sort data after it’s summarized to quickly prioritize their work. Sorting a report, for example, by our calculated revenue-per-employee figure from above, could quickly identify who needs a bonus—or who needs training.
Simple, elegant additions with big impact.
Other new features include convenient tools for modifying reports more quickly, so users can easily look at operational data in different ways, or prepare multiple views of the same information for different report consumers who have varying needs.
As with many major technology advances, the true value of MITS Report 3.0’s new capabilities will be in its everyday use. “We worked hard to make each of these features natural and easy to use,” says Gary. “At the same time, extensibility was a critical goal, and we were very careful to achieve the right blend of new capability and readiness for ongoing expansion and enhancement.”