Community Open Floor: Various Ways to Approach Forms and Dashboards

reporting dashboard image by maslakhatul

Various Ways to Approach Forms and Dashboards

We know that there are usually various ways to achieve a goal, each associated with pros and cons. Last week during our Community Open Floor meetup, we discussed:

  • Different ways to apply a drop-down list to a form
  • Archive /analytics tool questions
  • Flexible, data-rich forms and dashboards

How to Prevent an Extension Pile Up on a Form

This may be the logical approach to apply a simple list to a form: bind a simple list to a string property on an existing work item form. But how do you maximize the string fields already present and prevent extensions from piling up?

We talked about different ways to execute this, including:

  • Create an enum and bind the enump property on the class. It’s simple, but it stores options and the selected value. You might not want that bulk.
  • Store the property as a JSON string so that it renders on the form as a list. It’s complicated compared to the enum option.
  • Create a custom task that turns a string field control into a drop-down menu, then hard code values into the JavaScript in order to let the user make a selection.
  • Combine the query list from the request offering toolbox. It makes use of enum values, while remaining query-focused.

Check out our conversation to hear the consensus!

Analytics and Audit Tool

Can you print work items (especially closed work items) in the new analytics and auditing tool? Not quite yet—this functionality is coming, but it won’t be present in the initial launch. Look for it in the following release. The second iteration of the archiver will look at actions you can perform on a record. We welcome suggestions on what actions you’d like to see!

To facilitate printing in the meantime, you could paste code in the custom JavaScript file, located in the custom space folder.

Dashboard and Power BI

Everything is measurable these days, the trick is identifying what you want to know and setting a path for gathering the data.

Customer Experience Manager Steve Wright talked about data visualization and the art of storytelling last year at Innovate 2021. He talked specifically about the Cireson portal dashboard during Open Floor: it’s pretty basic out-of-the-box, but behind it lies a very rich repository: Microsoft System Center Service Manager (SCSM).

Steve demonstrated how to create a dashboard that elegantly reveals insights—or the story you want to tell. He showed us how the SCSM cache builder repository (data source) is brought together as a view; how that view is exported into Excel for checks, balances and refinements; and how the Excel file is brought into Power BI.

Best practice takeaway: always split the data from the report, so that you have a distinction between the reporting side and the data set creation. This allows you to maximize the types of reports that can be created by multiple teams. You have endless ways to showcase data.

Members of our Community Open Floor Discussion Group will get to see a version of the reporting file and its inner workings, including queries. Hopefully it will stimulate your imagination of reports and dashboards you can create.

We cover Cireson Portal and SCSM hacks, along with your insights and questions in biweekly Community Open Floor sessions, and we’d love for you to join us. Register now!

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