Improvement – Gridlock

Sep 16th, 2015 | by ViaDataWebAdmin |

Grid display

Users asked us to create an export functionality for grids to be exported to Excel. We felt this was an important part of our continuous improvement program for both our Web clients and our Windows clients and so we put our heads together to solve the problem.

Our grids of information have many formatting characteristics hidden in them, such as column width data, formatting and alignment. In our Windows version of Catalyst we made use of a purchased grid component that supported all this formatting, however, for our Web version we had to write the support ourselves.

However, when exported to Excel all formatting was dropped for both the Windows and Web versions of Catalyst. We wanted the Excel exports to look exactly like the grids in Catalyst. We felt that this was a necessary improvement to the Catalyst system that would delight our users.

Solving the problem

When we started to re-look at the problem, we realised that we could re-use all the Web drawing code and get perfect results of the web grid in Excel.

We tweaked the code slightly so that it would present an exported Excel spreadsheet instead of a grid and we were good to go, with all our formatting and code in place.

Distributing the delight…

Our users were delighted at the new improved export functionality, but unfortunately our non-web users were feeling left out of all the fun. We then integrated the export process we had developed for our web users into the Windows application so that any grid can be exported to Excel exactly as it looks on screen, with all the colour and formatting in place – and immediate win with our expanding user base.

And more…

Our users were so enamoured with the new reporting functionality that we found that users were regularly running weekly reports for their non-Catalyst superiors and co-workers in the form of Management Summaries. We were asked by one of our clients to support this weekly creation and distribution of these reports and after two weeks of manual labour another Catalyst improvement was conceived.

We added some scheduling functionality to program the creation and distribution of any Excel report on a periodic basis for the benefit of our users.

This last improvement was created using all the functionality we had created before and taken from an idea to completion in just 4 hours.

In our effort at continuous self-improvement and continuously delighting our users, we had added an Excel export functionality to our web version on Catalyst, transferred that same functionality to our general user population, and added scheduled printing of management summaries for our users – a real case of Improving Every Day. A job well done!

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