Definitive Answer

Our team is considering an upgrade to our reports technology. We are still stuck using Oracle Reports 6i. This is a client server version of Oracle Reports that is getting really old. We want to move to a web based approach. To determine the benefit of this upgrade, our manager wanted to know how many of the 70+ reports in our system are actually being used by the end user.

So our manager called a meeting of the technical staff. One DBA said he thought the application may be logging this somewhere in the database. The reports developer said that we might be writing this information in a database event log table. Nobody could say for sure. That did not put the manager in a good position to speak intelligently with the customer.

When I got back from lunch, my manager asked me if we had the ability to see what reports the users were actually running. I told him it would take me a few minutes. But by that time I could tell him for sure. I also thought we might audit this information. So I scanned all database tables until I found one that looked promising. I checked the code but found only one application actually used that audit table. Then I ran a test to verify that we are actually using that table for this application.

Then I went into each of the other applications, and found that one other application logs the reports run to a file on the local disk. The other application does not log the reports anywhere. I got back to my manager. He was excited to know that at least some of the reports get logged in the database. He had me run a query to find out exactly which reports were being run, and how often.

It is a bit disturbing that many members of the technical team are unable to provide authoritative answers to questions about our system. These are people that have been working on the project for a long time. I know that our project is a bit complicated because it is big. However that is no excuse. Perhaps it is time for a chalk talk with the team to let them know how to fully research questions such as this. The first step will be for me to have them read this blog post. If you are one of my team reading this, it is time to gain the ability to perform due diligence.