Traditionally reports have been thought of as something businesses use to make financial decisions. The fact is that reports are used by many different people for many different purposes. Reports can be thought of as data extracts, although not all reports are generated from the data in the database; some reports are generated from log files and other sources. For example, website analysis systems often run through collections of log files and analyze page hits and user movements.
Reports can be generally categorized into two main categories, although some reports can fit into either category:
Business reports — Business reports are used by the organization to make various decisions. The business reports are usually stipulated in the requirements. An example of a business report may be the orders placed on a particular date or range of dates broken down by product category.
Technical reports — Technical reports are used by the service delivery team and other technical staff for a variety of reasons — for example, to determine transactions and throughput over time, or to analyze CPU usage. Ad-hoc reports may be run during an incident investigation to pull out an end-to-end transaction view, which will help to pull together the overall timeline.
An organization can use reporting solutions to produce a wide variety of reports, some very simple and others quite complex, including lists, grouped items, charts and graphs, and so on.
Figure 9-1 shows an example ...