The reporting life cycle is often described as a process consisting of three sequential phases. A report is first designed and developed in the authoring phase, made accessible to end- users in the management phase, and then placed in the hands of end - users in the delivery phase.
• Report Specialist
• On-Demand (Pull)
• Subscription (Push)
The authoring phase of the reporting life cycle starts with the gathering of requirements through formal and informal processes. These requirements then drive the design of queries that provide data for the report. Data is integrated with charts, tables, matrices, or other presentation elements to form the basic report. Formatting and layout adjustments are then applied to produce a draft report that is validated for accuracy and consistency with the requirements before being published to a centralized management system in preparation for end- user consumption.
Report authoring is handled by two general classes of workers:
End - User Authors — End - user authors develop reports as a secondary part of their job. These folks typically belong to the non - IT part of an organization and tend to require less technical, more user - friendly report authoring tools. These tools present data in a manner that is easy to interpret and incorporate into the report design and make report layout and formatting a relatively simple task.
Reporting Specialists — Reporting specialists, on the other hand, are focused on report development as a primary part of their job. These folks often reside within the IT department. Reporting specialists demand precise control over query and report design. Their authoring tools tend to be more technical, providing access to the complete array of features available through the reporting system.
Of course, not every report author falls neatly into one of these two buckets. The end - user author and the reporting specialist represent two ends of a spectrum, with many authors leaning toward one end or the other. A variety of report development tools are needed to address the full range of needs along this spectrum.
In the management phase of the reporting life cycle, published reports are organized, secured, and configured for end - user access. Resources employed by multiple reports and specialized features, such as subscription delivery and caching, are configured. These activities are collectively referred to as content management and are often handled to some degree by both authors and administrators.
The report management system itself requires configuration and ongoing maintenance to ensure its continued operation. System management activities are often the exclusive domain of administrators.
Once deployed and configured, a report is ready for end- user consumption, in the delivery phase of the reporting life cycle. End - users may view reports on demand or may request that reports be delivered to them on a predefined schedule. These are referred to as the pull and push methods of report delivery, respectively. The key to successful report delivery is flexibility.