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Custom Reporting -- Creating a Staff List Example

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This article describe you how to create a custom staff info report for iHRIS Manage. This is a three step process:

  • Create the custom form relationship 'staff_info'.
    Here you choose the forms that you are interested in and how they are related to each other.
  • Create a custom report 'staff_report' based on the 'staff_info' relationship
    Here you choose the fields you want for your report from the relationship you created. You can also choose which fields to limit by for all the report views created from this report.
  • Create a custom report view for the staff report.
    The various views of a report are intended for non-administrative users to view the data in the system.

Actually, this is a four step process, with the first step being to figure out which data you want and where it is stored. Let us suppose we have the following requirement from an HR Manager to:

Requirement: Create a staff list with the person's cadre and facility 


The Form and Field Map

A good starting point is to look at the forms and fields and in particular the "graphic visualization" which is a map of the forms and fields in iHRIS Manage. When we construct a form relationship, we will join forms by traversing the arrows of the form field map, both forward and backward. There are two arrows in this map:

  • black arrows: The source of an arrow, formA, is related to the target of the arrow form, formB, via a mapped field. If the arrow is not labeled, then the mapped field is also named formB. Otherwise it is the label of the arrow. Although, formA maps to a most one instance of formB, there may be many instances of formA mapping to formB. Thus, when yo are going backward on a black arrow, you will probably need to limit the joined form so that a unique form is chosen.
  • red arrows: The source of an arrow, formA, is the parent of the target of the arrow, formB. FormA may have many instances of formB as a child form, but formB can only have one parent form. Thus, when you go forward on a red arrow, you will probably need to limit the child form so that a unique child form is chosen.

Step 0: What data do you want?

This is the most important step, and requires some more advanced knowledge of how the data (forms) in the system are used. Based on the HR Manager's requirement and the form and field we see that we need to include the following forms:

  • facility: We need the name of the facility
  • job: we need to know the cadre the person is working in
  • person: although not explicitly stated as a requirement, let us assume that the HR Manager also wanted to know the name of the people on staff

However, if we look at the data map, we see that there are no arrows that directly connect the facility, job, and person forms. Instead we see that we need to go from the person form, through the person_position form to the position form. From the position form, we can join the facility and job. Here is the relevant portion of the form field map:

Notice that there is one red arrow here, connecting the person and person_position, while the rest of the arrows are black.

Step 1: Create the Form Relationship

We will create a form relationship called 'staff_info'. The form we starting traversing our map from is called the primary form. We are free to choose where we want to start the mapping from, but choosing different primary forms will produce a different data set. There are actually three main relationships that we can create here based on which primary form we choose.

  • Option A: Choose the person form as the primary form. Then the reports based on the relationship "staff_info" will contain everyone in the system whether or not they have a position.
  • Option B: Choose the position form as the primary form. Then the reports based on the relationship "staff_info" will only contain the people in the system that have a position. Also, if there are some positions which have no people assigned to them, then these will also show up in the report.
  • Option C: Choose the person_position form as the primary form. The the reports based on the relationship "staff_info" will only currently filled positions.

Either option can make sense and your choice depends on the requirements from the HR Manager. Since the HR Manager did not give us enough details to go by, we will have to and ask him/her for clarification.


Option A: Person Report

Select Configure System and then Form Relationships. We create a report relationship called 'staff_info' and choose "person" as the primary form, enter a display name and description. Then click update.

Screenshot-create-relationship.gif

Now that we have created the 'staff_info' relationship we can edit it. Now we need to join the "person_position" form to the "position" form. To do this click Joined Forms then Add a New Form. Select person_position (child)" as the form to add, and the the "short name" to be 'person_position.' You should also set a display name and description for this form.

Screenshort-join-person-position.gif

You will notice that we are traversing a red arrow forward, form person to person_position. By what we said above there may be many person_positions associated to a person, so we will need to limit the forms. We will need to limit the person_position form so that:

  • The start_date is maximal among all the values of the start_date field for any person_position that is a child of the current person . This way we get the most recent position the person has started.
  • The end_date is not null, so that we know that person still holds this position.

To do so, we click on Joined Forms once again and select Person Position (person_position), which is the form that we just added. Now we can choose to Limit This Form. Since we have two limits to place on this form, we will need to select the "Operator Node" to be "And."

Screenshot-limit-person-position-AND.png

Once we click the "Update" button, we can choose to Add A New Operand. We will do this twice, once for the 'start_date' and once for the 'end_date.' Once the operands have been added, we can Edit each of them and select to Limit By A Field:

Screenshot-limit-person-position-FIELDS.png

Now click Update once again. We can now choose the two fields we want to limit by and how we want to limit them

Screenshot-limit-person-position-FIELDS2.png


Next, we join the person form to the person_position form as a parent form. We do this by click Joined Forms and then Add A New Child Form underneath the person_position form. Note, we do not need to specify any limits here as we are traversing a black arrow in the correct direction.

Screenshot-join-position.png

We finish by joining the "facility" and "job" forms to the "position" form by clicking Joined Forms and then Add A New Child Form underneath the position form. Note, we do not need to specify any limits here as we are traversing a black arrow in the correct direction.

Variations for Option A

  • Note: There is some potential ambiguity here. If a person was assigned to more than one position at a time with the same start_date, then there will be a person_position for each of the positions, so when the person_position form is joined it will choose one of person_position forms arbitrarily. If you expect that people can have more than one position, then you should choose option B
  • Note: We chose to limit the end_date to be not null so as to only get current positions. If we did not set a limit on the end_date, then we would get the last position the person held, regardless of whether they hold it or not.
  • Note: If we selected Drop row if no form found under the person_position form, then if a person did not have a person_position form associated to them, they would be removed from the report. Selecting to do so would make this a "Current Staff Report," rather than a "Person Report." We won't do this here, but you may choose to do so if this make sense for your requirements.

Option B: Position Report

Select Configure System and then Form Relationships. We create a report relationship called 'staff_info' and choose "position" as the primary form, enter a display name and description. Then click update.

Now that we have created the 'staff_info' relationship we can edit it.

First, we join the "facility" form to the "position" form by the mapped field "position." We also join the "job" form to the "position" form by the mapped field "job."

Next we need to join the "person_position" form as mapping to the position form via the position field. In the form field map, we are traversing a black arrow backwards, so we will need to add in some limits to choose a unique person_position form. There may be many person_positon forms mapping to a given position as multiple people could have held the same position. However, there should only be one person_position form where the end_date is null and this will correspond to the person currently holding this position.

Next, we join the person form as to the person_position form as its parent form. Since we are traversing a red arrow backwards, there is no ambiguity about which form we are joining.

Variations for Option B

  • If we chose to "Drop Row If No Form Found" when we joined in the person_position form, then we only will show those positions which have ever been assigned to someone so it becomes more of "Filled Positions" report, although not a Current Positions report.

Option C: Current Position Report

Select Configure System and then Form Relationships. We create a report relationship called 'staff_info' and choose "person_position" as the primary form, enter a display name and description. Then click update.

Now that we have created the 'staff_info' relationship we can edit it.

First, since we wish to only show the current positions, we will choose to limit the person_position form so that the end_date is not null.

Next, we join the person form which as the parent form of the person_position form. Since we are traversing a red arrow backwards, there is no ambiguity in which person we are joining.

Next we join the position form to person_position form via the mapped field position. Since we are traversing a black arrow forwards, there is no ambiguity in the position form we are joining.

Next we join the job and facility forms to the position form via their respective fields. Again, since we are traversing a black arrow forwards, there is no ambiguity in the forms we are joining.

Variations for Option C

  • If we chose not to use the limit end_date is null, we would end up with a report in which shows the history of any position which has been filled.

Step 2: Create the Report

Now that we have the relationship 'staff_info' built, we can create a report from that relationship. Go to Configure System and then Reports and choose to create a new report, called 'staff_report' based on the 'staff_info' relationship. When we are done you will see the zebra_staff_report table in the database. Here, we can choose the limits that we will want for the report views (below) as well as all the fields that we may want to see in a report view. To do so, click on the "Reporting Forms" and then the "Fields" and you will be able to enable or disable fields from the relationship to include in the report. You will also be able to change the header text for the field and set the limits for the field.

Step 3: Create the Report View

Go to Configure System and then Report Views and choose to create a new report view based on the report "staff_report." Just select the fields you want to display and you are done.