Monday, May 04, 2015

Losing the grouping

This morning, the Vice President of Furniture Sales called me about a problem with a report, which lists all the orders of parts which have been made from a specific catalogue. He mentioned a certain order and gave me to understand that the order does not appear in the report.

I ran the report and the order appeared. It turns out that I misunderstood him: the problem was that the order was not appearing with the correct price. In the report which I created via Priority, each of the three lines appeared with its total; following these lines was a total for the order. I looked at the order itself and the totals matched. So what was the problem?

Then the penny dropped: the VP had created the report from Priority but had displayed it in Excel. When one does this, all the grouping which exists in the native report gets lost, so he saw only three rows, without the total of the order. This is not a problem of Excel per se but rather a problem in the Priority/Excel interface, about which many people seem not to be aware.

Below is what the data might look like in Priority
OrderKL151234Customer nameAppleTotal


And this is what is looks like in Excel:

The VP saw the order number and assumed that the first line represented the entire order, whose value had suddenly dropped to 6,000 only.

This is another reason why I don't like to display Priority reports in Excel.

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