You've got a couple of things in there that are gospel.

1)  Creating decent views.  Even before I started adopting SQL I used DDS 
to join multiple files together.  Now all the user has to do is query the 
view instead of joining this to that.  Much better, (and less risky).  The 
first thing that other tools do is have you prebuild a lot of queries for 
your users - in effect, building these same views.

2)  Your last paragraph about turning over these tools to the users versus 
having them duplicate data to Access, or an Oracle based datamart; is 
right on.

Rob Berendt
Group Dekko Services, LLC
Dept 01.073
PO Box 2000
Dock 108
6928N 400E
Kendallville, IN 46755

Mike Eovino <meovino@xxxxxxxxx> 
Sent by: midrange-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxx
10/06/2004 06:46 PM
Please respond to
Midrange Systems Technical Discussion <midrange-l@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

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Re: MIS Departmental improvements

On Wed, 6 Oct 2004 15:43:02 -0500, rob@xxxxxxxxx <rob@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I am not in the camp that all reporting must be strictly controlled by 
> MIS department and that all queries, etc must be generated by them.
> Normally what happens in a shop like this is that a second system is 
> up and a bunch of data gets duplicated and the users look more and more 
> the iSeries, and the IS department, as being inflexible.

All you need is a 5250 client that does file transfers and you're
looking at a nightmare of Excel spreadsheets and Access databases. 
And just wait until they hire some MS Office jockey and start writing
"mission critical" Access databases.  Think it can't happen?  That's
how I got into our IT department.  I was too dangerous on the outside.
 God help you when you have key parts of your business running on MS

> We have our users use queries.  And they can modify them also.  We've 
> users upload PC data to the iSeries because they found Query/400 a great
> tool.  And they used that for their reporting.

How about that.  The iSeries is a better reporting tool than some PC
stuff.  Rob, you oughta do commercials.

I led the push for ASC's SEQUEL query and report tool around here, and
we're piloting it with end users right now (programmers have had it
for about a year and the ones that use it are hooked).  The users love
it, provided we can tell them where the data lives and that the
indexes over the files are halfway decent.  You will need to create
new ones.

Be prepared to spend some time with your end users if you want them
using tools like this.  Also be prepared to create snapshot datasets
for them.  If your database is like ours, you don't want users joining
five files to get the answer they want.  Make it easy.  It's worth the
time and the DASD.

Pretty soon, they'll have their own little data mart, and they'll feel
special.  If they need new data, add it and add it fast.  This can
only make you look good.  When users start taking their reports to
their bosses (hopefully Director/VP level personnel) and tell them how
great it is, IT's value will skyrocket in their eyes.  Instead of
being an obstacle to getting the users what they need, you are the
provider of the solution.  And the best part is, the users are doing
most of the work for themselves.

Some of my bosses were hesitant to release SEQUEL to the user
population.  I convinced them that the alternatives (more Access
databases -- or worse, a data mart running on Oracle) were far worse
than the work involved with rolling out SEQUEL.

Mike E.
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