Posted by: Andrew Barr
As many of our customers will know we have never been very creative when naming our products that support SAM & Workflow. Generally, we say what it does and then create an acronym, such as TMS, AFT and specifically SRF! We have always aspired to having more 'marketable' product names but in the end we have maintained the convention.
While we wrestle with our "not so" creative naming convention internally, this post is more about why we built SRF (Scheduled Reporting Framework) and why we think it is an important part of our evolution. Given that in the upcoming release notes for version 6.2.3 you will see lots of references to SRF I thought it might be timely to provide some background and insight into why it came about.
Historically, reporting has been provided within SAM and Workflow. We created reports at logical points in the application and each and every report was created as a direct result of a request from a customer. In the 10 years that SAM and more recently Workflow has been assisting our customers managing Workforce Logistics the number and variety of reports has grown exponentially. In addition, a manifest for one customer is different to a manifest or another customer and this is true for many other reports.
This created a number of problems for us to solve:
- 1. We needed to be able to deploy reports with the same name that were different for different customers
- 2. We wanted to be able to create reports with options for exporting (CSV, Excel, PDF etc.)
- 3. We wanted to be able to deploy them without doing a full SAM and/or Workflow deployment, and
- 4. We wanted to be able to schedule them to be automatically created and emailed to any number of recipients
From these high level requirements SRF was created. The design principal is that the reporting framework and scheduling application can be deployed once, and any number of reports can be deployed as required.
Each customer can choose their own set of reports and each report can be run as required or on a schedule.
The major benefit being that any of our customers can request a custom report and we can develop, test and deploy in a relatively short amount of time.
Once again, providing the tools to give our clients more visibility of their Workforce travel and accommodation facts.
SRF is still in its infancy but we have big plans for the platform, all aimed at making reports more flexible, easier to consume and faster to develop.