I saw a presentation the other day that looked at matter management systems and deconstructed their reports into eight levels of increasing sophistication and value. What they called “standard reports” are the canned choices that come with system implementation. Quite a few law departments rarely need to go beyond their capabilities, especially if they export the results to Excel and refine the output there.
Next up the ladder of sophistication were “ad hoc reports” where a user picks and chooses some fields, some parameters, and some layout. With report wizards, this has become fairly routine. Above that level the presenter said are “query/drill down” reports, where the user can click on an output field and look at the underlying data to get closer to the understanding the input of the report.
Five reports were listed above those three, each claimed to be of more value. To that list I could add “trend reports,” because to look at data from one year compared to previous years seems most insightful. My point, in summary, is that law departments should be aware of report types that are more powerful than the one’s they customarily use.