Products > MX-Inform > Overview

MX-Inform is a product that has one primary goal, namely to schedule the delivery of certain reports to designated individuals on specified cycles or intervals.

So if I’m the Regional Sales Manager and I have a weekly meeting with my sales staff at 10:00 AM Monday morning, I configure MX-Inform to run the Weekly Sales Report plus the Weekly Activity Report by Salesperson, and deliver these reports to my Inbox on Monday at 8:00 a.m (or even Friday afternoon). That way I have plenty of time to review the reports and analyse the information. Hence I am prepared for the meeting, and also am in a position to give all the relevant parties at the meeting the necessary feedback they need to do their jobs more effectively. Essentially all business success revolves around “closing the loop”, i.e. ensuring that the right people get the right information about what they are doing (or not doing) at the right time.
No longer do I have to scrabble around 5 minutes before the meeting trying to run the relevant reports, particularly when the secretary who normally runs the reports has called in sick, leaving everyone high and dry.

Furthermore reports run regularly and given to team members cause “proactive” activity to take place in time for targets to be met. So for example if it is my objective as a new business salesperson to call 40 new prospects on the phone every 3 or 4 weeks, a report that automatically arrives by e-mail every 3 days that tracks my progress towards my target, gives me the information I need in time to adjust my activity so that I meet my target, instead of me just being in the situation where I’m having to defend my actions after the fact (when the target has not been met).

The Technicalities

MX-Inform is a utility for Crystal Report Writer only. So it only works with reports created in Crystal Reports Versions 9, 10, 11, 11 Release 2 and 2008. However Crystal is probably the world’s most widely used report writer, so there are literally millions of Crystal reports out there. Crystal can also output a report in any format, namely PDF, Word or Excel, so if you need the report in an Excel spreadsheet that you can manipulate further once you receive it, then Crystal is the answer. So basically, MX-Inform can run the report automatically at say 10:00 a.m. every second Monday of the month, export the report to Excel, and attach the Excel spreadsheet to an e-mail, sending it along its way to you in your Inbox.

MX-Inform has several key features:

Design Reports

MX-Inform allows you to edit existing and design new reports, using the same functionality built into the standard Crystal Report Writer version. So you can quickly add additional columns to a report, or add whole new sections linking related items, if you have some knowledge of the way Crystal Reports works.

Schedule Reports

MX-Inform allows you to edit existing and design new reports, using the same functionality built into the standard Crystal Report Writer version. So you can quickly add additional columns to a report, or add whole new sections linking related items, if you have some knowledge of the way Crystal Reports works.

Filter Reports

A query builder is available to define selection criteria for each report. The same report (.rpt file) can be used several times in different report “items”, each with different selection criteria. This is to enable the same report (layout) to be sent to different recipients, each with different data set that is relevant to that audience.

Deliver Single Reports or Batches of Reports

Either a single report can be sent to an individual or a group, or a “batch” of reports can be created and sent in one e-mail. The batch of reports is run and then a single e-mail sent containing all the reports as attachments to the one e-mail. Any number of batches can be setup for different users and/or different groups in the organisation.

Benefits

Encourage Proactiveness

As mentioned, any time reports are timeously available to the people who need the information, there is usually still time to take the necessary action to affect the activity being reported on. Things only go awry when I don’t know what’s happening until it’s too late to prevent a catastrophe.

Prompt Action

Reports are essentially designed to prompt action. So for example, a report that runs every week that lists debtors past due 30 days, will automatically include invoices that have just gone over 30 days. So the Accounts Receivable Manager (and/or the salespeople) who has this information can immediately contact the relevant customer(s) and chase the money.

Reducing Stress

This method of operating definitely reduces the stress associated with managing an operation, because you know you’ll have the information you need in time to make strategic decisions about what should happen.

Saving Time

Because reports can be output to PDF, Word, Excel, etc. they can easily be incorporated into other documents such as weekly management report that must go to the CEO. This saves me time in transposing and reformatting information from say an Excel spreadsheet into a table in a Word document.

Increased Promotion Prospects

With a tool like MX-Inform working for you, there is no doubt you will be seen as a more effective manager, who always has your finger on the pulse. Increasingly it will look like you have the proverbial “crystal ball” given your consistent ability to “see into the future”. This “sixth sense” simply comes from always having the necessary information at hand to make timeous, pro-active decisions.

Increased Respect from Employees

Having correct information at hand at the right time, and being able to feedback to your employees means that you will earn their respect as a fair manager, who is not prone to “gut-feel”, “knee-jerk” decision making.

Saving the Forests

No longer do reports have to printed and left unread in physical In-Trays. The reports can be printed to PDF and e-mailed, and only printed if absolutely necessary.

Wider Distribution of Information

Because an e-mail can easily be CC’d to multiple people, it is no problem to ensure that everyone is on the same page before a meeting of the minds takes place.

Different Filters for Different Audiences

The same report can be used multiple times but with different filters applied that are relevant to the particular audience. So one report can be set up as 4 different report items, each with different parameters and recipinets to be e-mailed to each of 4 Regional Managers, showing only the sales figures for the respective manager’s region. Thus each manager only sees the data relevant to his or her area and does not have to wade through 100 pages of listing looking for the figures that pertain to that manager.